It could be true what they say….

That men are from Mars.
Yesterday afternoon Michael was going to our local Asda store ten minutes walk away so I asked him if he would get me a Kingsmill Thick Wholemeal loaf  – a simple enough task, and it would save me calling in there on my way home from work just for one item. I went out before he came home but when I got back from work I found that he had indeed got me a thick sliced Kingsmill loaf but it was white – and I don’t have white bread unless there’s absolutely no alternative. He said he thought at the time it was strange that I should ask for white so obviously he’d misheard me but never thought to question it, though I don’t think the word ‘wholemeal’ sounds anything like the word ‘white’. I actually used a couple of slices of it for toast this morning but it’s just not the same.
Today he had to go to an HR meeting at work and on his way home he called back in Asda to get me the thick wholemeal loaf I really wanted, although I hadn’t asked him to – well he came back with a Kingsmill loaf and yes, it’s wholemeal, but this time it’s only a medium! I haven’t said anything to him as I don’t want him to think I’m ungrateful but I’m now wondering – if I sent him out again would it be third time lucky and would he finally come back with the right combination?? He’s a wonderful son but sometimes I really do wonder which planet he’s on!



Progress of sorts, and a trip to Ireland

Just a couple of days after Michael’s last hospital appointment two weeks ago he got a phone call giving him a date for the CT scan on his ankle – the 22nd of this month. He went back to Ireland that evening while I kept an eye on the post for him and over the next few days he got three letters – for a physio appointment yesterday, an MRI scan on the 17th, and a confirmation of the CT scan on the 22nd. So it seems that things are finally moving along and he arrived back from Ireland on Monday, however the physio appointment yesterday turned out to be a bit confusing.
The physiotherapist that Michael saw (a different one to last time) seemed to be quite puzzled as to why he was there and asked who had sent him. Michael showed him all three letters and the guy said that really there was no need for him to be there as the physio would only start once he’d had the CT scan and a decision had been made about an operation. However he did examine the ankle and had Michael doing various contortions with it, then made him another appointment for the 20th of this month – which totally contradicts what he’d said only a few minutes before. So Michael is effectively ‘grounded’ now until he’s had the CT scan, however once that’s out of the way and he knows whether or not he’ll need an operation he’ll be going back to Ireland – and I’ll be following him at the end of this month.
When he arrived home on Monday evening it was with the news that on December 2nd there will be a special evening mass in remembrance of his dad and uncle Jimmy as it will be twelve months since they both passed away. Of course I would like to be there so on Tuesday I looked online for flights and got some really good prices, which I didn’t expect, so once I’d arranged a few days off work and asked my friend Lin if she will look after the pets for me I made the booking. I’ll be flying over at noon on Thursday the 30th of this month and coming back in the evening of the following Monday – I don’t normally take time off work during the winter months as I’d rather save the days for better weather, but this is rather a special occasion, and to be honest I’m really looking forward to going back home to Roscrea even if it is only for a few days.

A canal walk and a few photos

After fine but heavy rain which lasted through most of yesterday afternoon and last night today turned out to be gloriously sunny, and with just a light breeze it was perfect for a dog walk. As I had to call at a store which was south of the town centre I decided to stay in that direction and go along a section of the Manchester, Bolton & Bury canal which I’ve been along several times before. My walk started in Moses Gate country park and after doing a circuit of the wildlife lake I made my way via a short bit of road and a footpath to the upper part of the canal.
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The canalside path was extremely muddy in many places so I was glad I’d changed into my wellies before I left the van; there were a couple of spots where I had to be careful I didn’t slip and fall into the water but other than that it was a really pleasant walk. About halfway along I came across a pony grazing quietly in a rather waterlogged field, then a bit further on I was greeted by a family of three swans who glided along to say hello; they weren’t impressed by the dogs though and one of them hissed at Sophie. It was this section of the canal where the recent incidents concerning the other two swans had taken place, and other than a few ducks it seems that these three are now the only residents – I just hope that they are left alone to live their lives in peace and tranquility.
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Eventually I came to where the canal had been blocked off to make way for a wide bridle path and though I could have gone further I didn’t want to run out of sunshine so I made that my turn round point and headed back the other way, then with one more photo taken I left the canal itself and took a path down through the nearby woods which eventually took me back to the country park.
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By the time I got back to the van our rather muddy walk had taken its toll on both me and the dogs – their legs and undersides were completely black and soggy and my trousers, which I hadn’t  thought to tuck into my wellies, were wet round the bottom and splashed with mud right up to my knees. It had been a very enjoyable walk though, and both the dogs and the trousers could easily be cleaned up when we got home.


My first postcard

Less than two weeks after joining Postcrossing and sending out my first four postcards I’ve just received my first one back. It’s from a semi-retired man in Germany who wrote me a nice message in which he says he likes travelling and walking or cycling by the sea or along rivers.
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Last Saturday I spent well over an hour looking round the town centre for postcards of my local area but couldn’t find a single one – every place which would logically have had them doesn’t seem to sell them now and even the one shop where I would have been guaranteed to get some didn’t have any in stock. So I turned to the internet and was lucky enough to find some unused English postcards for a very good price so I sent for 100. They arrived on Thursday and yesterday I sent out cards to France, Japan, Italy and Finland – I was really pleased when I got the Italy address as it’s a lovely town on the Ligurian coast which I visited several years ago.
While I’ve been typing this I’ve just had an email from Postcrossing to say that someone (not the recipient) has ‘favourited’ one of the Southport cards I sent out and which has been uploaded to the gallery – it’s nice to know that someone likes it as I do think it’s quite an attractive card. I think this Postcrossing thing is getting more interesting by the day and I can’t wait to see where my next card will come from.


Another sad story

Following on from this post which I wrote back in April, this story has just been in my local paper
                                 Swan put down by RSPCA after suffering severe injuries on canal
A swan which survived an attack on a local canal several months ago has had to be put down after it suffered severe injuries in another incident.
In April this year a male swan was shot and killed by a gang of youths on the stretch of Manchester, Bolton and Bury Canal in Little Lever, and its partner has now died. The cause of the female swan’s injuries has not yet been discovered but the RSPCA said the bird had not been shot.
The charity went to the canalside to try to catch the bird after a member of the public called to say it had been seen with injuries above its beak. RSPCA animal collection officer, Gina Ratcliff, said: “I was very lucky to catch her at all, someone else had been out the night before, but had no success. She was very wary of me and the water was quite deep where she was so I knew I only had one chance from dry land. I lay down on the canal bank and luckily managed to get hold of her with a swan hook.”
“We don’t know what caused the injuries she had sustained, but they were severe. She was taken to our specialist wildlife centre RSPCA Stapeley Grange in Cheshire but very sadly there was nothing that could be done for her and she had to be put to sleep. It’s always upsetting when things go this way, but more so here because of what previously happened to her mate.”
Patrols along the Manchester, Bolton and Bury Canal have been stepped up in response to a rise in illegal incidents affecting the bird population in recent months. Anyone with information about what caused the swan’s injuries should call the RSPCA on 0300 123 8018.
With no mention of any cygnets I can only assume that any eggs she had at the time her mate was killed didn’t hatch; there’s currently no evidence to suggest that she was targeted by the same youths who killed her mate, but however she came by her injuries the fact remains that a whole family has now been wiped out – and that’s just so, so sad.

Another broken ankle update

Exactly four months after breaking his ankle Michael is still no nearer to getting it sorted out properly and he’s understandably getting really cheesed off with the whole situation. Back on September 1st he had an x-ray and got an appointment to see a specialist, Mr W, two weeks later ; he made another trip back to Ireland on the 6th, then while I was away camping in Norfolk he came back home on the 14th for his appointment the following day but that proved to be a total waste of time. He was kept waiting for forty minutes after his actual appointment time then when he finally did see someone it was the collar bone and shoulder specialist!
This guy prodded, poked and manipulated Michael’s ankle and asked if it hurt, to which he replied “Yes, it ****does!!” then he was told he would get a letter in two to three weeks time to see Mr W – which is what that day’s appointment was supposed to be for! Needless to say, he wasn’t very happy as there had been no real point in coming back from Ireland just to be told that, so on his way back from hospital he called at the bus station ticket office and booked himself on the ferry that same night – he rang me and said he’d got an open ticket so once he got a letter from the hospital he could come home in time for whenever the next appointment would be.
Unfortunately, even after four weeks there was still no letter for him from the hospital so rather than ring he decided to come back home and actually go there to find out what was going on. He arrived back here at 6.30am on the 13th of this month then after a couple of hours sleep he went up to the hospital, only to be told that they had no record of a further appointment for him! At this stage he (sort of quietly) hit the roof and was finally able to speak to Mr W’s secretary who immediately gave him the earliest appointment available which was for today.
That appointment was for 10am but it was 11.30 before he was seen and he was in for quite a while, during which his ankle was prodded and poked yet again but without the specialist coming to a firm conclusion. From there he had to go to physio where the guy there just gave him a few exercises to do at home to strengthen the new bone growth, and he now has to wait for yet another appointment to have a scan this time, when (hopefully) it will be decided whether or not he needs an operation. Needless to say he’s really fed up with the whole ongoing situation now and really needs a final decision to be made one way or the other as he wants to get back to work – his ankle is still very sore but even though he can now walk about without the boot the nature of his job means that he isn’t even allowed in the bakery so as much as he wants to go back to work he can’t.
However, he is  going back to Ireland on Friday night, with an open ticket so he can come home whenever he needs to, and I’ll be keeping an eye on the post for him, though he said he’s only going to leave it for a week before he rings the hospital, and he’ll keep ringing them until he gets that next appointment date. I really hope something gets sorted out for him soon as I’m just as fed up with the situation as he is – and though it’s nice to have him at home when he is  here I do miss my presents of free bread and teacakes!

Something new and interesting

Thanks to reading Sharon’s blog over breakfast last Sunday morning I’ve recently discovered Postcrossing. I’d never heard of it before and it sounded so intriguing I checked out the website, and what I found interested me so much that I joined immediately. Basically it’s a way of sending and receiving postcards to and from different people all over the world – you create an account and profile, request to send a postcard and get a random name and address of someone somewhere else in the world. You send them a postcard, they register it on the website once they’ve got it and you then become eligible to receive a postcard from a random member somewhere else – and the more cards you send out the more you get back.
After reading through the website a couple of times I couldn’t wait to get started so while I was in Southport later that day I picked up half a dozen cards from a newsagent’s near the promenade, then when I got home I logged onto the website and requested to send four cards. You are only allowed to have a certain number ‘travelling’ in the system at any one time so I thought four was enough to start off with and I wrote them that night – to Galway in Ireland, New York, Germany and Moscow – then posted them on Monday morning.
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Tonight, just about an hour ago, I got an email from the Postcrossing website to say that my card to Ireland had been received and registered today, having travelled 273 miles, and the lady in question had even sent me a nice little message. It will obviously take a while longer for the other three people to get theirs but now I know the first one has been received I’m really looking forward to eventually getting some back – and not knowing who or where they’ll come from means I’ll have some nice surprises dropping through my letterbox before long.