December 29, 2017
Christmas in the Mouse House unfortunately turned out to be rather a non-event this year as Michael hasn’t been at all well over the last few days. Whatever bug he’s caught started last weekend and by Christmas Day he was so unwell he never got out of bed, so needless to say I didn’t bother doing Christmas dinner for us. It was Wednesday evening before he decided to try having something to eat and then it was only half a can of soup ; yesterday was marginally better and he actually had a whole can.
Of course my son doesn’t do things by halves and along with the bug he’s now got a mouth infection – he stuck his tongue out at me last night and it was so white it looked like he’d been licking a block of lard. Today I Googled it and found out what it is and apparently it can occur when one’s immune system is low, which figures as he didn’t have it before he became ill. It seems there’s no over-the-counter remedy for it so it looked like a visit to the doctor’s was on the cards, but at the end of the week and almost on the New Year there wasn’t a cat in hell’s chance of getting an appointment before at least next Tuesday, however he rang on the off chance and was told to go in at 5.15pm today – we think maybe they’d had a cancellation as under normal circumstances he wouldn’t have got an appointment so soon.
The doctor he saw confirmed my own Googled diagnosis and gave Michael a prescription for some medication to use four times a day; he also suggested that it would help to chew some fresh pineapple – neither of us had heard of that before but on the way home Michael duly called into the local Asda store and arrived back with said fresh pineapple.
At the moment it doesn’t look particularly ripe, and maybe by the time it’s ready to eat Michael’s mouth infection will have gone anyway, but as it’s probably the only fresh pineapple we will ever see in this house I thought I’d take a photo of it before we cut into it – and hopefully Michael will soon be back to normal with or without its help.
After a really busy five days during which I had an absolute pig of a day on Tuesday, I finally finished work yesterday until Jan. 2nd, and with no private house cleaning to do over the festive period I’m really looking forward to having some much-needed chill out time. The shopping was all done yesterday and with only myself and Michael here I didn’t buy much more than I would for any normal week ; his presents were bought and wrapped before I went to Ireland and I hand delivered the last two remaining Christmas cards last night while taking the dogs for their late night walk, so I have nothing to do now except relax and wish everyone who reads this blog a very Merry Christmas.
And for those of you who also read my other blog this means that you get two lots of Christmas wishes for the price of one, and that can’t be bad! So thank you everyone for visiting my blog(s) over the last twelve months – enjoy yourselves this festive season and have a lovely time!
Over dinner yesterday Michael and I were having a general discussion about Roscrea and his time spent there while he’s been off work with his broken ankle, and the conversation turned to something which happened while he was there a few months ago. It wasn’t funny at the time but it makes me laugh so I thought I’d write about it here – I know he won’t mind if I share it.
It was round about the time of his birthday in mid July, just over three weeks after he’d broken his ankle. Nellie was going away for a couple of days with one of the groups from church and on the morning of the day she went she prepared an evening meal for Michael and left it plated up in the microwave ready to heat up when he wanted it. Come the evening and he duly warmed up the meal but it was when he wanted to take it out of the microwave that disaster struck.
The microwave door was one which you just pull open and Michael, unable to put much weight on his bad foot and therefore leaning on crutches, overbalanced slightly and stumbled backwards while opening the door. Fortunately he didn’t fall but unfortunately the microwave did, straight off the worktop, and having detached itself from its own door it landed on the floor leaving the door in Michael’s hand. Needless to say, the dinner which had been inside was a complete write-off ; the plate was smashed, there was mashed potato, carrots and gravy plastered up the front of the fridge, bits of chicken on the floor – and a rather stunned Michael wondering what the hell just happened.
Once he’d got his brain back into gear, and with the help of Trixie, who ate up most of what was on the floor, Michael managed to do a reasonable clean up job and make himself something else to eat, then he went to bed to ponder on the problem of the broken microwave. The following morning, with the help of Paul who lives across the road, he got it sorted ; he hopped up the road to the electrical shop in town, bought a new microwave and asked them to deliver it as he was unable to carry it himself, then with the new one in place Paul took the old one away, though Michael didn’t ask what he did with it.
Nellie arrived home the following day while Michael was out and when he got back he fully expected her to mention the microwave but she didn’t, even though it was obvious that the one she had come home to wasn’t the one she had left. Now we don’t know whether Paul ever said anything to her when Michael wasn’t around (I’m sure he must have done) but to this day she’s never mentioned it – obviously if she ever does then Michael will tell her exactly what happened but until then I think he’d rather keep quiet about it, even if it was an accident. It does make a funny story though!
Following a CT scan and an MRI scan on Michael’s ankle almost a month ago he’s heard nothing from the hospital since. On Wednesday he had a physio appointment with the first physiotherapist he saw, and again the guy was puzzled as to why he was there as he’s had no treatment on his ankle so far. The results of the scans etc are showing that he has a ‘floating bone’ in that one side of the ankle has healed but the other hasn’t and, in the words of the physiotherapist, “needs to be pinned”. It seems that the only reason he can walk about on it without support is that the ‘good’ side is compensating for the bad side, but it’s obvious things aren’t right as not only is he still in a certain degree of pain but the whole ankle is completely out of shape and looks a bit like a dog’s back leg.
Yesterday, while cleaning at the boss’s house, I was talking to his partner who is a doctor – actually a consultant paediatric cardiologist – and I said I was seriously thinking about taking legal advice regarding the situation of Michael’s ankle and what we consider to be the lack of proper treatment, and she told me the first steps to take in making a complaint direct to the hospital before going down any legal route. First he needed to get a leaflet and a form from the hospital reception so as soon as I’d finished my work I collected him from home and took him up there.
I waited in the van while he went to get the form but he was quite a while and when he came back – minus the form – he said that as soon as he’d told the receptionist that he wanted the form to make a complaint another woman took him into a side office, took his name and got all his details up on her pc. It seemed that for some reason the scan results weren’t showing on his file so she said to leave it with her and she would try to find out what was happening – and less than two hours later – surprise, surprise! – Michael got a phone call with an appointment to see the specialist on January 3rd! Seems to me like they don’t want the hassle of an official complaint!
In just over a week’s time it will be six months since Michael first broke his ankle and he’s still no further forward. He’s still off work too so we’re keeping our fingers crossed that this next appointment will finally see some proper action being taken to sort it out once and for all – and if it doesn’t then I will be taking things further. And I may not turn green like the Incredible Hulk but they won’t like me when I’m angry!
Just like the previous day the morning started off rather dull but it did brighten up as time went on. With only a small cabin bag and a backpack it didn’t take long to pack my things for coming home then I took a walk up to town as there was one thing I wanted to do – get something suitable to leave at the grave. Sometime during the summer Michael had added half a dozen solar lights and only a few days previously had put two vases of fresh tulips there ; Nellie had added a remembrance plaque for Jimmy, the lantern which I’d left there last year was still lit, and with the remembrance plaques Michael and I had put there last year and another couple of flower arrangements, albeit artificial, the plot looked quite pretty, but I still felt like I should add something. Eventually I settled on a bunch of red and white flowers and and a small plaque and made my way up to the cemetery.
Back at the house, and with some time to spare, I decided to go in search of something I’d only found out about since my stay there last year – a stream with man-made waterfalls running through the grounds of Mount St. Joseph Abbey, which I hadn’t seen when I walked round there last November. Having previously promised Trixie that I would take her for a walk sometime I clipped the lead on her, grabbed the camera and off we went ; it was 11.15am and my coach wasn’t until 3pm so I would have plenty of time to walk two miles to the abbey, find and photograph the stream and walk the two miles back again.
All the time I was walking the weather was brightening up until eventually the sun came out and blue sky appeared, and my brisk pace made me so warm that I ended up taking my jacket off and tying it round my waist. I reached the monastery in forty minutes and following Michael’s directions went past the parking area and round into the woods where I found the stream quite easily, and realised that if I’d walked just a little bit further into the woods last year I would have found it then. Being surrounded by trees it was a bit gloomy but I got a handful of photos and made a mental note to revisit, if possible in spring or summer next time.
It was 1.15pm when I got back to the house so I’d only been out a couple of hours, and I hadn’t been in long when Nellie put a dinner on the table for me – she said she didn’t want me travelling home without having had a decent meal even though I told her I could get something at the airport. Michael was out but he came back in time to come up to the bus stop with me – he wasn’t coming home with me but staying on for another week. Nellie said she would come too as she needed to post a letter, so after saying goodbye to Trixie who was curled up on her cushion we all walked up to town together.
Now while I may have had no problems at all on my journey from home to Roscrea the same couldn’t be said of the reverse. The coach to the airport arrived bang on time at 3pm and it was a very pleasant ride up to Dublin although with traffic building up through the city centre the coach was twenty minutes late at the airport, but that didn’t matter as my flight wasn’t until 7pm so I had plenty of time. The delay was actually with the plane itself ; wherever it had come from it was late, and though the departure gate closed at 6.30 there was no sign of any staff or any indication of when boarding would start.
Eventually, just before 7pm, the staff arrived and after a load of faffing about started the boarding process ; I was third in the queue but it didn’t make any difference as everyone had to queue up again and wait for the door onto the tarmac to be opened. Then when we got to the plane we had to queue up again before they would allow us on as they were still trying to clean and tidy up. Finally we were allowed on, and it was obvious they’d only done a quick job as there were crumbs on the three seats and the floor where I was, and probably in many other places as well. Eventually the plane took off forty minutes late and finally landed in Manchester at 8.15pm, but even then my problems weren’t over – and this is where it gets ever-so-slightly stupid.
On my three trips to Ireland last year, on all outbound and return flights and the flight to Dublin a few days previously, passengers have always walked the very short distance from the plane to the airport building but not this time. When everyone got off the plane we all had to queue to get onto a couple of shuttle buses ; I thought maybe the plane had pulled up quite a distance from the entrance we had to use so that’s why we had to go on the buses but in actual fact the plane was right where it should be and the buses just turned in a big circle and pulled up right outside the building! Of course the second bus, which I was on, had to wait until everyone had got off the first one and it had driven off before it could pull up to the entrance – yet another few minutes delay and there were grumbles coming from several passengers. Honestly, it would have been quicker to walk across the tarmac as on previous occasions! I really couldn’t understand the reason for all that at all, and I’ve actually done a very rough drawing to illustrate it – as you can see, I’m no great artist!
By the time I’d got through the airport and done the ten minute walk to the station Sod’s Law decreed that I would just miss a train and I had twenty minutes to wait for the next one. Fortunately it only made three brief stops going through Manchester so I was back in my home town a bit sooner than I expected. With a taxi from my local station I finally arrived home almost eight hours after I left Roscrea; needless to say the dogs were pleased to see me so I took them for a quick walk then made a coffee and retreated to my bed – any unpacking could wait until the morning. I’d had such a tiring and frustrating few hours I just wanted some chill-out time and a good night’s sleep – and with the whole bed to myself I was sure to get it!
Sunday morning December 3rd was very much a chill-out morning after the previous rather uncomfortable night. Nellie had gone to morning mass so I made myself some coffee and toast and took it back to bed to relax with my book for a while, only getting up when she came back in. Even though I said I’d already had breakfast she insisted on making me another one and did me some more of her divine scrambled eggs – I don’t know how she does them but they really are delicious.
Although the day had started off dull it brightened up by late morning so I decided to take myself off to Nenagh, a half-hour coach ride away from Roscrea ; Nellie had told me that although the town centre wasn’t a big place there was a nice church and a castle there so it would be worth going to take a look. As the coach got further west the day brightened up even more until I arrived at Nenagh in bright sunshine with blue sky – that would do for me.
Nellie had told me that if I turned right when I got off the coach I would find most things of interest close by so that’s what I did. The first thing I came to was the Courthouse, designed and built in 1843, and in the very pleasant grounds were the bronze sculptures of three Olympic gold medallists with links to Nenagh. Next was the gatehouse to the old prison which now has only one cell block left intact and with its unique octagonal governor’s residence is classed as a historic monument.
Further along the road I came to St. Mary’s of the Rosary Catholic Church, a neo-gothic church built in 1895 – and this must be the most spectacularly ornate church I’ve ever been in so far. The whole place was truly beautiful and it was hard to know what to look at first – if I’d been using 35mm film I would have used up more than one roll. As it was, with limited time if I didn’t want to fall foul of the odd bus times back to Roscrea, I stuck to just over a dozen photos but that’s one place I will definitely return to at a later date to get some more shots.
Out in the grounds, and adjacent to this church, was the smaller St. Mary’s Church of Ireland, built in 1862 and seemingly a much simpler building than its more ornate next door neighbour. Any intention of looking inside though was forgotten about when I saw that the castle keep was right next door, separated from the church grounds by a tall wrought iron fence and gate. Unfortunately the gate was locked so I took a shot of the keep through the bars then went off in search of another way in.
I was destined to be disappointed however, as when I did find the official entrance that gate was locked too and a notice informed me that the castle isn’t open on Sundays, so I had to be content with a couple of shots from a nearby car park down a narrow side street. Also down the side street was the back yard wall of a pub which fronted onto the main street, and set into the wall was a very colourful mosaic picture – pubs and alcohol don’t interest me but the picture was worth a photo.
From there I made my way round to the main street to have a look at the shops. The town centre was a bit bigger than Roscrea but it didn’t take long to look round ; I only went into two shops though I didn’t buy anything from either of them, and just two hours after arriving in Nenagh I was back on the coach to Roscrea. I hadn’t been in the house long when Nellie said dinner was ready ; it was a lovely meal and I couldn’t have eaten another thing afterwards. As soon as it had gone properly dark I nipped out to take a shot of the Christmas display in the garden of a house a few doors away then I settled indoors for the rest of the evening.
Nellie told me that the people who live there add one extra thing every year – it certainly looks pretty and it brightens the street but I wouldn’t like to get their electricity bill afterwards!