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Life Blog – Days 329 – 337 Back to Work & Witley Court

Sat/Sun 18th and 19th June. A normal weekend because Monday would be a work day and all the better it was for being a normal weekend.

Monday 20th June 2011. Today is 36 days since I had my liver resection and it was my first day back at work.  I went in for the afternoon and did 1 till 5. It was great seeing everyone again and the genuine concern people showed for my well being was a real tonic too. Within an hour it felt like I had never been away and I settled in very quickly. It was in truth a massive tonic for my well being and I felt on top of the world, it is hard to explain the degree of normality the simple act of going to work brings to my life but it really helped a lot.

Tuesday 21st June 2011. My second day and an afternoon stint again. The difference today though was that it really was a pretty much full on day and I left a little later than five with a real feeling of having made a real contribution and being a big help. I went home tired but tired in a good way, a satisfied way and I knew for certain that going back to work was the right thing to do!

Wednesday 22nd June 2011.  A day off to let my batteries recharge and Peanut decided that we should have a small walk on the Malverns. It was fantastic. It is such a simple thing to do but we have done it for so long now that it is a big part of our lives. There is no TV or internet to distract and we find that we have really long chats; silly chats, serious chats, sorting the world out chats and more silly chats and we come away always that little bit closer. This time though, I also came away thinking, “Thank God I’m back in work tomorrow – I will be glad of the rest!”

Thursday 23rd June 2011. Another work day and because I got up with Peanut I was in at 8 and away at 12 and had a small sleep in the afternoon.

Friday 24th June 2011. Work in the morning and away at 12.30 and hello weekend. Wow, I can’t tell you how good the simple pleasure of being in work and looking forward to the weekend is. This felt brilliant. Not only that though, it was pay day too. From work I went to the District Nurses who dressed my wound for me. The main scar has healed nicely but a drain hole that the hospital inserted is taking longer to heal but it is getting there. The tummy still remains very tender, though work is a handy distraction from it. After the nurse, I had a mooch round the shops in Malvern Link and spotted some combat trousers that I fancied, I would have to show these to Lady P!

I hadn’t been in long when Mr RVW, my Lincolnshire pal phoned telling me to put the kettle on!  I was a bit surprised but he was off to see Jaffa Racer a MINI mate for the weekend and so was in this part of the world. It was really good seeing RVW and Storm and their timing was perfect as they could give me a lift to the garage down the road where the Opel GT was being serviced and MOT’d.  The weekend was now off to a great start and it got even better because the Opel passed its MOT without any hiccups!

Saturday 25th June 2011. Peanut was working in the morning and I took her to work and then went into Worcester  to collect a 3D Blue Ray DVD player to go with the new TV. We had bought a 3D flatscreen TV but hadn’t thought that we need a 3D DVD player to watch any movies on it! Anyway problem rectified and I went back to collect Peanut from work at 12. We headed to Malvern Link where I showed her the combats that I fancied.

Now you have to understand that here at Beastie Folly we do work quite hard at distancing ourselves from reality. Don’t get me wrong reality can be great fun but equally I don’t feel that I have to worship at its church on a daily basis. I’m not a great political animal but one of the few things I remember about John Major’s time in office was his “Safe Haven” plan for Kurdish refugees. He created a safe zone for them and in so doing “safe haven” became quite a buzz phrase in the world of politics at the time.  I thought about this and what it meant and concluded that really, that is what we all do in life. We find ourselves a home, pretty much  like birds make a nest in a safe area, where we feel protected from the troubles of the world. Beastie Folly is our safe haven and we do our best to keep reality firmly outside of the front door. Inside we can get on with the serious business of being crackers. One example I guess, is that each week we have a different car on our want list. Lately it has been a MINI GP  but there is a new kid on the block – a Jeep Patriot. We love them, we read reviews on them and the more often we read about it being a bit average or a bit plasticky on the inside and so on, the more we want one! Well obviously, reality has sneaked into Beastie Folly through the letter box and said that we can’t have one. Fair enough 1-0 to reality. However, if we had a Jeep Patriot combat trousers would really suit its military look methinks. Peanut agrees and wants some too, so when I tried mine on, they looked good and the deal was done. That’s an equaliser in my book so we are now 1 – 1 with reality!

Do you understand our reality now? We want combat trousers because we want a Jeep Patriot that we can’t have!


Sunday 27th June 2011. Witley Court. Dealmaker had texted us on Saturday inviting us to join them for a picnic at Witley Court. Witley Court burnt down in the 1930s and is now a very impressive ruin but with some marvellous fountains that have been restored. You can read up about Witley Court here. Peanut has wanted to go there for the last ten years but we have never got around to it so we jumped at the chance.

Quite simply we had a fantastic day out with the great company of Dealmaker and StarGirl, a smashing picnic, glorious weather and in Witley Court a wonderful place to spend the day. The fountains are splendid, the grounds beautiful and the teashop a cracker. It will definitely not be ten years before we visit again. That’s all for now so bye till the next time and please click on the photograph for a slideshow of photographs from the day.


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Life Blog – Days 327/328 Fun Friday

Thursday16th June 2011. Peanut was at work today and my Mum and Anthony left to head back to their home in Buckley at about 10.30 which left me home alone and to be honest it was all a bit boring.

Friday 17th June 2011.  I thought today was going to be as dull as Thursday so i resigned myself to a heavy session in front of the tele. Sherlock Holmes, Ironside and Poirot filled the morning and to be fair they were all good episodes. The Holmes episode was “The Six Napoleons” and this interested me because the scenes of the factory which made the Napoleonic busts were filmed in my old clothing factory, from a former life that now seems so many, many years ago. Still it took me back to Manchester as did the scenes filmed at the gates of Strangeways prison which I used to drive past every day (and no I wasn’t visiting family). Good old Ironside was an episode all about racial tension and it was kind of interesting to think back to the times when it was made (late sixties early seventies) and to see how it was trying to make a social comment about the issues of the times. Finally Poirot celebrating Christmas with a good old murder and a wonderfully inventive Christie plot involving balloons and long bits of string to fool people about the time of the murder.

Peanut’s son Dunc noted from Facebook that I had watched these and asked me to “rank the three ‘tecs in terms of their respective performances (and ideally as if they were cars).” Well I have to confess he got me thinking ( something I have done little of since I have been off work) and I quite enjoyed pondering on this. I decided as follows “Hard one Dunc,  Poirot is very methodical and doesn’t rush, he is a Rolls Royce Detective, Holmes too is a deep thinker but more game for action, not easy this but a well equipped Grand Tourer hmmm, Bentley Continental GT methinks. Ironside although confined to a wheelchair is the grittiest pushing his team into a fight quite often, so he is four wheel drive, Jeep or Hummer. The order… Bentley, Rolls Royce, Hummer!”

Already the day had more about it than the previous one but there was more. Just before the end of Poirot Postie dropped some letters onto the mat and one was a Red Letter Day for me, for a Single Seater Experience at Silverstone! This was a gift from all my mates at Exception PCB where I work and I was bowled over by this! What a brilliant precursor to the weekend! My son-in-law Driverman has already done this and we went to photograph it so I know what a brilliant RED Letter Day this is!

You will notice that suddenly the weekend has taken on a great significance. This is because I am back to work part time from Monday, so the weekends are not just more days like before but now have definition again and can be savoured as precious leisure days! I am looking forward to going back to work now not just because of the sense of normality it brings back to my life but also because now I have something to look forward to on a day when I wont be working!

Finally, finally as if today hasn’t been brill enough already, Ola sat on my lap for the best part of an hour this afternoon. Lady P will be so jealous!


Just to get Lady P jealous!


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Life Blog – Days 319 – 326 Getting Better

Wednesday 8th, Thursday 9th June 2011 were just slow days of doing very little and feeling very tender but enjoying the company of Peanut who was off for the week to keep an eye on me.

Friday 10th June 2011. This was a fun day because we filled it with simple but enjoyable things. In the morning we did a shop at Waitrose and then in the afternoon we bought some annuals for the garden and planted them out. Well in truth Peanut planted while I supervised from a chair on the sidelines. I am getting frustrated at how slowly things are improving but really I should remember I only had the operation on my liver on the 16th May so  it isn’t even a month yet!

The supervising is going well!

Saturday and Sunday, 11th/12th June 2011. The Elf and her husband Driverman came over for the weekend which was great fun for us and gave us some welcome company. Unfortunately I really wasn’y very mobile and there was a fair bit of pain in my tummy but their company was a good distraction from this and we all enjoyed a nice roast on Saturday evening and a big fry up Sunday morning. Yum yum and all very good. They left in time to be home to watch the Canadian Grand Prix which we also watched and like most of the rest of the nation loved Button’s fantastic drive to win the race. Fantastic and well done Jenson. Hopefully Hamilton will learn from the race and bounce back to great things for the rest of the season! The day though very definitely belonged to Button. Having just watched the Senna movie I have to say that if Button’s win had been part of a movie you would say it was too far fetched to be for real but no after pinching myself it was real and the moment when his pressure on Vettel paid off as he pushed him into making a mistake, allowing Button to take the lead, was truly a moment to savour!

Mum and Anthony

Monday 13th June 2011. As one pair of visitors leave another arrives as my Mum and Anthony drove down from Buckley today to stay for a few days. It was good to see them but I confess I did take an early opportunity to bore them with loads of my photographs on the new TV. It really does showcase them well and to be fair they made a heroic attempt to watch them and Anthony did ten minutes before falling asleep!

Tuesday 14th June 2011. Today we had a walk around Malvern. Mum and Anthony are at an age where they walk very slowly which usually frustrates the life out of my impatient soul but today their pace was perfect for me. It really did me good and in truth I think I have been on the lazy side so far, as walking has been so painful that I have become a couched potato. A week after the operation I had it in my mind that I would be able to go back to work on the 20th June, just over a month after the operation. However, with my recovery seeming to stall that was looking increasingly like a remote hope. Today though the walking seemed to help and I began to feel that actually I need the discipline of going to work to help me get over the operation.

While wandering around Malvern we found a great shoe shop. Lady P loves shoes (don’t all girls?) and I must admit that I like to see her in pretty shoes. Well let’s say a pair spoke to us both, so they had to be bought!

Saw these and had to spoil Lady P

Wednesday 15th June 2011. Today I went to the Doctors who gave me a good checking over and we both agreed that a phased return to work from Monday 20th would be the best way ahead. She was very pleased with how I looked and my progress and I felt very pleased that things were going the way I had hoped when I first came out of hospital. I felt very pleased indeed.

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Life Blog – Days 311 – 318 The Healing Slows

Tuesday 31/05/2011. A friend of ours Seth had pointed me at a cracking deal for an iPhone so we got up and headed for Worcester to get one. It was lovely to get out of the house and walking about. the walk thoughfrom the car park to the shops was quite a long one and I was quite slow doing this. Anyway we went straight to the shop and did the deal which was just as Seth had said. We were delighted and at last I could join the modern connected world properly. This had taken half an hour and Peanut had paid for two hours parking so we decided to have a wallk about the shops. The Sony centre beckoned and a lovely 46″ 3D flatscreen jobbie called to us. I needed a sit down so we sat on a comfy sofa and watched a 3D demo. The water floating above my head and the fish swimming around in the store really impressed and for once the fish hooked the man rather than the other way round. The deed was done with delivery arranged for the following Monday!  We still had 45 minutes left on the parking but decided we had better head for home before something else tempted us.

Actually we did not go home but went to my works to say hello to everyone. There is a joke about the Expediting team who I work closely with, as they are always busy and always rushing around at 100 mph and it gets under your skin. Just being there and my walking got quicker and before i knew it peanut was struggling to keep up with me as I started to dash around saying hello to people. It was lovely to see everyone again but we did not stay too long as they are a busy gang! Quite a busy day then.

Wednesday and Thursday 1st and 2nd June. Peanut was back in work and it was the first time I was on my own. To keep myself busy I decided to get stuck into the BeastWatch Magazine which I like to do quarterly. It certainly kept me busy but after the two days it was done and I uploaded it so if watches are your thing please take a look at it here! Great fun to do and I was pleased with the results. However, the downside was i spent too long sitting down and my war wounds from the liver operation  felt very sore. Scar tissue is growing inside and creating a lump on my tum below my ribs and this is very uncomfortable. My walking has slowed again and I was finding it hard to stand fully upright and I am looking a bit hunched.

Friday 3rd June. The magazine was done and I realised I needed an easier day so I took things very easy today but did walk to the nearby garage in the sunshine and treated myself to a Feast icecream! Yum yum it was good! One thing that I have learned from my battle with the Big C over the last year is to take pleasure from the simple things in life, savouring each precious moment, or in this case bite!

Sat 4th June. Another simple day but this time peanut was back in town. having spent so much time together lately, I had really missed her the last 3 days so it was great having her around again. the nurses came in the morning and redressed my op wound and reassured me that nothing was amiss with the lumpiness along the top of the scar etc.

In the afternoon Peanut washed the car ready for the Bristol Mini Day on Sunday that we were going to and after this we had a BBQ in the garden. All very good fun but at the same time my mobility has not been improving and my tummy has been feeling very sore. A new problem too has been breathing. Trapped wind is common after a liver operation and I was getting a sharp stabbing pain every time I breathed deeply, which frankly was quite demoralising.

Sun 5th June. Bristol Mini Day so we were up early and set off in the pouring rain! When we got there it was, yep, pouring with rain we stuck it out till just after 12 and then retired for a wander around the shops at Cribb’s Causeway, which sadly I have to say I am not a great fan of. Anyway you can read about our Bristol Mini Day here if you wish. Of course, since Tuesday I have had an iPhone so by now I am obviously the world’s greatest expert on the phone and I love it. My new big hobby is iPhoneography and again you can read about my conversion to this religion in a separate blog which I have done here! Yep I am having a lot of fun with the iPhone which clearly is so much more than just a phone!

Monday 6th June. Well we had just about got showered and dressed when the new televion arrived so the day was given over to playing with this. Once the engineers had finished setting up we set about connecting it to our home network as the TV came  wireless enabled ready for this. After a bit of searching around we found some third party software from Twonky which facilitated this and the result is probably one of the features that I like best of all about the TV. I can view my photographs that are stored on my Macs on the TV and although I say this myself they look simply stunning displayed there. Next week my Mum is coming for a few days and I almost feel sorry for her already, as I know I will make her look at loads of my photographs this way! Oh and the pictureon the TV  isn’t bad eiher!

Tuesday 7th June. Today was another busy day as in the evening we were going to see Senna with some mates in Birmingham. We decided to make a day of it and have a wander around Merry Hill shopping centre in the afternoon.

First though, we had a small job at home. before the TV we had been watching Freeview via a set top box on our old TV. This was now spare so we fitted it to our TV upstairs. It works a treat and we now have all the Freeview channels on our ancient Amstrad TV in our den. The picture quality by the way is stunning and we both feel very pleased with the results.

Meanwhile the scarring in my tummy was still troubling me and I feel very slow when moving around. the drive to Birmingham in the afternoon was fine on the motorway but my tummy did not appreciate the bouncing around it got on the A and B roads. Like Cribbs causeway, merry Hill shopping centre failed to impress and in truth I feel it is starting to look a bit tired in places and neither of us were fans. We would much rather head to Solihull for an afternoon’s shopping than either of these shopping centres. However parked in the mall was a Jeep Patriot 4 wheel drive jobbie and we were both impressed by this. we liked its chunkie military looks and prurposeful looking interior. In fact we were rather smitten so i think we will have to test drive one. Of course the reviews talk about cheap plastic interiors and the general averageness of the motor, but it looked good to us both inside and outside. Oh the fun of adding to my dreams!

Senna. Well a gang of 8 of us went to see it and not one of us was disappointed. I wont try to review the film I will simply say that it is well worth going to see whether you are an F1 fan or not.

Not a bad week at all then, some new toys and a few good days out – I’m a lucky, lucky man, but pervading through it all has been a sore tum, some laboured breathing and a struggle to walk far or quickly. It will improve but right now it all feels a bit slow. To make it all worse I feel a cold threatening as I have been sneezing a bit and trust me sneezing for me is very, very painful on the old tum!

Anyway keep smiling – I am – and bye for now!