Author Archives: Jak

Weekly roundup

I can come across as blunt.  I hope I’m not rude (well, unless the person I’m speaking to has been rude to me, then the gloves are off), but I can be blunt.  It’s a cultural thing and not meant to be offensive.  I live surrounded by farmers who don’t even know the words tact and diplomacy exist.  They call a spade a spade and if you don’t like it you shouldn’t speak to them.   Northerners are lovely people but they are, on the whole, straight shooters.  We also swear.  A lot.  It’s just part of our every day language and I know the hoards of southerners who retire here, buying up all our houses cos they’re cheap compared to London prices and leaving us locals with no-where to live, find us brash.  “Bugger off back down south then” is what I say to that, which my friends would find hilarious because they get me, and southerners would find offensive because they don’t.  I tell this tale because I had lunch with my best mate on Friday.  I was excited to show her the photo I’d taken of my posh frock from China (more on that later) and produce it with a triumphant flourish.
“Yeah” her nose curls up in distaste, “I don’t like it” she tells me.
I’m gutted, cos I love it.  “Why, what’s wrong with it?!”
“The arches look like lumps of rock, there’s no perspective, you look like a modern woman dressed up and plonked in a 14th-century Priory, the lighting is wrong and you’re not believable, you look cut out and stuck in.”  She then catches herself and says “sorry!  The butterflies are nice.”
I couldn’t help but laugh.  She’s speaking to me, her bestie, so can totally be herself but I get the worry that she thinks I’m offended because she has been honest and not pulled any punches.  We constantly have to worry about how we come across to people because we forget that not everyone is British, northern, sarcastic and blunt like us.  I tell her to fuck off and we get on with our lunch.

As I mentioned in my last post, I’ve spent the entire week with a migraine.  It finally disappeared on Saturday, only to return in the early hours of Sunday morning, waking me from sleep.  Parts of my neck, spine and shoulder are really, really sore so I’m wondering if I’ve torn/sprained/strained something and it’s that causing such a prolonged migraine, or whether it’s the muscle spasms from the prolonged migraine that’s causing the spine and shoulder pain.  Whatever, I am so over it I can’t even tell you.

Despite my banging noggin and queasy stomach, my Mum had an appointment at the Sunderland Eye Infirmary on Thursday, a 3 hour round trip away.  Driving with a migraine is not for the faint-hearted and by the time we got to Scotch Corner I could barely see and was on the verge of vomiting.   To add insult to injury, Sunderland had had torrential rain, we had to drive through flash floods not knowing where we were going, and we’d forgotten Mum’s wheelchair.  All in all it was not a fun day but I managed it without crashing the car, a bonus considering where my head was at.

As I mentioned above, my posh frock arrived from China this week and it is stunning, if slightly challenging to wear.  I bought a 6 hoop underskirt to go underneath, not thinking of the logistics of getting through the narrow doorways of my cottage which meant I spent 10 minutes trying to leave the bedroom, but eventually I managed to get this picture which I’m calling The Butterfly Effect.  I love dressing up.  I spend my entire life in jeans and pyjamas, so to put on a long dress and flounce around like a princess is fabulous 😉

Well, I can hear Bertie pottering around downstairs so I’d better get dressed and take him out even though I feel like crap and it’s the last thing on earth I want to do.  Pray for me that this sodding head pain goes soon.


Head Banger

I am on day 6 of a migraine.  I’ve never had one go on this long before and the novelty wore off on about day number 3.  If it doesn’t jog itself along soon we’re going to have a serious falling out.

Migraines and headaches are two totally separate entities.  If you have to ask if you have a migraine, you probably don’t have a migraine.  Headaches are bothersome, but they don’t make want to chop your noggin off with a rusty axe.

My migraines usually have a distinct prodrome phase.  This is like the warning you get from Microsoft when there is about to be a major Windows update – it will begin outside of working hours (often just as I am about to go to sleep), will cause significant pain and will bugger up everything.  You know it’s coming but there is nothing you can do to stop it.  During the prodrome, I am like the hungry caterpillar munching everything in sight.  I have been known to eat Starburst for breakfast and to chomp my way through a family-sized bag of peanut M&Ms at midnight.  Unlike the hungry caterpillar, however, I will not get fat, slip into a cocoon and emerge a beautiful butterfly – no, I will just get fatter and fatter until I explode.  If, one day, you hear a very loud bang feel free to come and scrape my body parts off the ceiling.

After 48 hours of acting like I have Prader-Willi syndrome, the pain starts.  It is, on the whole, one-sided though there are occasions where it affects my entire head.  It is throbbing in nature and even the slightest movement is like an ice pick in my skull, the solution to which is not to move.  Not even to breathe.

With the pain comes the nausea.  My stomach resembles a washing machine as it swishes and spins and occasionally voids its contents out of my mouth.  Peanut M&Ms, I’ve discovered, are nowhere near as nice on the way up as they were on the way down.

Half my face is crimson red and the other deathly white.  One eye is semi-shut, one eardrum is burning, my neck is made of crushed glass and the back of my head is completely numb.  I am not a happy bunny.

Sleep is impossible.  I lie there in the dark, my skull gnawed by rats and pain pulsating to the beat of my heart.   At 3am I raid the kitchen for ice cubes, which do help despite the fact they freezer burn my skin off.  My pillow is now also soggy.

Dawn arrives and with it enemy number one – light.  It pierces my eyeballs like a laser and burns holes in my brain.  Ouch.  No, really.  OUCH!  Then the postie arrives, each step towards the letterbox mirrored by violent yaps from my dog, which sends lightening bolts of searing pain to my nut.  I’m consumed by the desire to rip out his vocal chords with my bare hands.

In desperation I swallow a teaspoon of infant ibuprofen (age 3 months+), then hold my breath for an hour waiting for the anaphylaxis to begin.  So far it never has, but that’s no guarantee for the future.  It helps a bit.  Not a lot, but a bit.

Eventually, sometimes after 1 day, sometimes after 6, the rats stop gnawing, my guts stop churning and I gingerly lift my head off the damp pillow, blinking at the daylight like I’ve spent a month in a pitch-black cave.  My brain swims, my spasmed jaw aches and my neck and shoulders crunch like gravel.  I’d see an osteopath if I weren’t allergic to manipulation.  And acupuncture.  And massage.  And painkillers.  And triptans.  And just about any goddamn thing which might help.

Now begins the postdrome phase.  It’s like a hangover, just without the fun of being drunk.  I have the cognitive ability of a 2 year old, the energy of a 102 year old, and I’m so grumpy even the dog is wary.  I doubt whether Tyson Fury after a knockout has a brain which feels this bruised and my post-on-fire eyeballs are full of grit.   But finally I sleep, and when I wake all is well.  Until the next time …..






Weekly roundup

I had every intention of writing a fun, informative post on some wildly exciting theme this week but life had other plans.  I’m currently contemplating redecorating my lounge and I would love a new sofa.  I bought the one I have now 15 years ago because it was practical – it’s a recliner for my orthostatic intolerance, it has high backs to support my neck and it’s dark coloured wipeable leather for the world’s muckiest dog – it’s also ugly as sin and cold to sit on.   Just for once I want a pretty sofa and have my eye on a velvet corner unit, however if I’m going to spend a massive amount of cash on a piece of furniture it has to be just right and I’m struggling to find exactly what I want.  So on Tuesday I decided to trail miles to Gateshead to the Sofa Workshop to see if they could make me one up.

However, I knew I’d get back late and be totally zonked so at 7.30am I thought I’d prepare the veg for my dinner so it was ready to come home to.  Big mistake.  Huge.  No-one should be in charge of sharp objects when they haven’t eaten breakfast yet and are still half asleep.  You know what’s coming.  Yes, my friends, the knife slipped and I tried to chop my thumb off.  Ouch!  (only I didn’t say that – I said words that began with F and B 😉 ).  There was blood everywhere and I nearly fainted because I hadn’t eaten for 13 hours, however I finally got my hand wrapped in a damp dishcloth, managed to make and eat breakfast and get dressed, waited for my dog walker to arrive so that she could have the mutt and drove the 7 miles to A&E one handed where I ended up having 6 steri strips put on.  As I have hEDS and my skin gapes like a fish when it’s cut I thought I might need stitches and to be fair looking at it 6 days on I think I should have had stiches because it hasn’t knitted together well and the wound is all lumpy, but it is what it is.    Taking the steri strips off yesterday was a sod, as I had to rip the caked on bloody scabs off too – yowza.

So all the things I had planned for this week went out the window as life one handed is tricky.  Having said all that, later that morning I still drove all the way to Gateshead,  light headed and with my hand on fire, to look at sofas and was gutted when even they didn’t have what I was looking for!

As if all that weren’t enough, I was out with Bertie for his afternoon jollies on Friday when all of a sudden he sat down and started licking his back end.  When he stood up again his lovely tail, which proudly curles over his back, was limp and hanging like a dead weight and he was obviously in pain and refusing to move.   He already has a severely herniated disc right at the base of his back/top of his tail so any problem involving his back end makes me panic!   His legs seemed fine though, so I wondered if he’d been stung by a bee or something.  I managed to get him home and gave him some paracetomol but it didn’t help and he was in so much pain he couldn’t sit, stand or lie, so we ended up at the vets who was as flummoxed as I was.  She gave him some Tramadol and said to see how he was the next morning, but even the Tramadol didn’t stop the pain and by 6pm he was still unable to sit or lie down.  So I rang the vet back and we added 200mg of Gabapentin (he’s already on a low dose of Gabapentin for his spinal problem).  That did the trick and he finally managed to get some sleep.  Thankfully on Saturday morning he could move his tail, if not curl it, and the pain was much improved so I’m now wondering if it was a bite from a horse fly into the joint – they’re evil little fuckers and having been bitten by one myself I can safely say it’s agony.

So my week has been a bit draining, both physically and emotionally.  I love my dog so much the thought of anything happening to him turns my insides to ice.

There has been good news too though, yet again from my photography.  Each year, our regionial wildlife charity puts together a Calendar to raise funds and I have had this image of Swans chosen for the February entry 🙂  The other exciting thing to happen this week is that I bought a gorgeous red and gold hooped gown in a flash sale to use for a photo, so look out for the resulting image in next week’s roundup.


Weekly roundup

Today, I feel like I’ve been hit by a bus.  I woke up tired, it’s progressed as the day has worn on and by 3.30pm I had to crawl into bed to have a sleep, from which I woke feeling like I’d been given anaesthetic.  It’s either my hormones (I seem to be having many more of these types of days than usual this year), I’m in the prodrome phase of a migraine or its the weather which has suddenly gone from gorgeous to overcast, cold and showery.

The contrast with Friday and Saturday is staggering.  The sun finally decided to shine for the first time this summer, it was a balmy 25C and I felt fantastic.  I usually do on sunny days between about 18-26C and I have no clue why.  I am energized, my pain levels receed, I sleep well and my brain is clearer.   Not for the first time I wish I lived somewhere with a better climate.  You can tell I was feeling good, because I tackled DIY!  The dimmer switch had stopped working in my lounge and needed replacing – Handy Andy eat your heart out 😉

After my struggle to fit the door on my new fridge/freezer the other way round, I’m loving it.  My old fridge had been too cold for several months and I’d forgotten what it was like to not have slush-puppy smoothies and icicle covered fruit.  My Mum has also been credited for the money stolen off her by the online shop, which has since closed – not sure if that was the doing of the company, Trading Standards or the fraud squad!

Both my closest friends have been away on their holidays this week and I, as usual, am going nowhere.  Bizarrely they’ve both gone to Wales and I think a touch of the green eyed monster kicked in when I secretly hoped it rained (my bestie will probably read that and piss herself laughing).  So as not to feel too left out, I decided to take myself off for the day to a local nature reserve to photograph dragonflies.  The sun was shining, there were only 2 other people there (both photographers) and I was in my element.  Being amongst peaceful nature does something to my soul and I came away absolutely buzzing 🙂  I also ticked something off my bucket list – a picture of mating Dragonflies! (well, actually, they’re Damselflies but it doesn’t sound as good 😉 ).  Click on the photo for a closer look – their faces are so cute!

My top news of the week, however, is that I have been awarded yet another photographic distinction, this time from the Photographic Society of America (PSA).   So I am: DPAGB, AFIAP, QPSA – there are now more letters after my name than is in it! 😀  Lord knows when I’ll ever use them – it’s not like I’m putting all that on the bottom of a letter, not that anyone writes letters anymore.  I have literally just found out I’ve been awarded QPSA as I was writing this post, so I’m now off to ring my folks and tell them 🙂

Getting Better

I have had M.E. for over a quarter of a century.  For the first two years I was moderately affected, unable to work but able to self-care.  Then I developed meningitis on holiday in Kenya and became very severely affected, and on occasions critically ill, for a decade.  I tried every treatment known to man, plus a few no-one had heard of, and nothing much helped.  Eventually I decided I was going to be severely ill for the rest of my life so I had to find peace with that and live my best life despite it.  I stopped searching for a ‘cure’ or any effective treatment, focused on eating as well as I could and embarked on a strict pacing schedule despite being stuck in bed for 99% of the day (more on that in this post).  It’s then I started to see improvement.

Over the next 4 years I went from being bedridden all the time to bedridden for about 80% of the time, and now 10 years later I am up and around for about 7 hours each day.  I have to spend the rest of the time in bed, but for most of that I’m either on my laptop or watching TV – I don’t have to lie down in the dark and quiet like I used to.  It’s nothing short of miraculous the recovery I’ve made.  Once you’ve been severely affected for more than 5 years the chance of any kind of recovery is about 7% and the fact I didn’t do anything specific to bring on my improvement is even rarer.

My life has changed beyond all recognition now I’m back to being moderately affected.  When I was bedridden I used to spend all my ‘active’ time online and was heavily involved in the M.E. community.  I volunteered for a national ME charity and helped run an online support group, but as I started becoming part of the ‘real’ world again I began to resent having to spend so much time in cyberspace.  I wanted to be outside in the fresh air, sitting in cafes reading the paper, weeding my garden, spending time chatting with my family, having lunch with friends and sometimes just driving round the countryside in my car simply because I could – all the stuff I’d missed out on for so long.  Then along came photography, and at the same time both my parents’ health took a huge nosedive and they needed me to care for them, so I no longer had time to be online.  I gave up the volunteer work I’d done for 14 years and completely dropped out of the online ME community, eventually losing touch with almost all of the ME friends I’d had for years.

It wasn’t that I didn’t care any more, but I still had very limited energy.  I’d been forced to spend my time online because I’d had no other choice, but now I had the opportunity to live again I had to take it.  If I’m totally honest, I also didn’t want to talk about being sick any more.  It’s depressing and after 20 years I was all sick-talked out.  My home life had also changed.  When I was bedridden I employed someone for 6 hours each week to help me, but the money I spent on that I now wanted for other things – I bought a car on finance, had lunch out now and again, plus photography gear is ridiculously expensive – so I now had to spend much of my time and limited energy cooking, doing laundry and generally taking care of my home and self.

Although some of my severely ill friends were hugely supportive and genuinely delighted for me, many weren’t.   No-one said anything to my face but I know there was chatter in the ME community about my improvement.  By this stage I’d discovered I also had Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome and there was talk that I probably hadn’t had ME in the first place and my problems were down to hEDS, which isn’t true and was really hurtful particularly as I’d nearly died from ME.  However, I totally understand the resentment and jealousy at my recovery and the anger that I left the ME community behind.  For all the years I was bedridden, every time I heard of someone getting better I would rage that they obviously didn’t have ME to start with and most of the time I was right!  I’m hugely suspicious of people who are diagnosed with ME and who make a full recovery – you have to wonder if they actually had ME in the first place.   I haven’t made a full recovery and without drastic intervention I don’t think full recovery from ME is possible (please God may I not get comments from people who “recovered” by going gluten free or some such shite).  I am still very much affected by M.E..  I have made a degree of improvement but I am still sick and I personally think that without novel intervention (such as the surgery undertaken by Jen Brea whose recovery I celebrate whole heartedly) that’s the case for most of the severely affected patients who see improvement – I don’t know of anyone who has gone from being bedridden for decades to living a normal life again.

Not only did I face resentment and suspicion from some of the ME community, I also faced it from the healthy community.  When I was bedridden I simply never saw anyone.  Now, however, I was amongst ‘normal’ people again but not in a way they understood.  They would see me pruning the roses in my garden in the morning, then using a mobility scooter to walk the dog in the afternoon.  Or they would see me going out in the car at 10am, then the bedroom curtains would be shut at 4 o’clock in the afternoon.  They would see me going out on a Wednesday night to my photo Club, then declining their invitation to bingo on a Friday night because “I’m not well enough to go out in the evenings” – I probably should have added that’s because it took me all week to recover from going to my photo club!  Some of my neighbours have voiced their scepticism of my lifestyle to my face and it’s been hard to deal with, especially when each day is still a monumental struggle during which I don’t feel well or pain free for a single second.

The biggest upside to my recovery has been the effect it’s had on my parents.  They spent years worrying themselves stupid over me, and now they are both sick themselves I’m finally in a position to look after them for a change.  I can’t do anywhere near as much as I’d like to, but I’m there when it counts and I feel I’m paying them back in small part for their care of me during all my very sick years.  The best part has been that they are finally proud of me.  I was a really clever kid and my parents thought I’d become a Vet or a Lawyer, but illness struck and that was the end of that.  I’ll never forget being at one of their big wedding anniversary parties, when my Dad stood up to make a speech – he thanked his sons for giving him his wonderful grandchildren, then it came to me and he didn’t quite know what to say 😦  But my friend overheard him this week talking about me to his hairdresser.  “I’m going to show you something” my Dad told her excitedly, pulling out a wildlife Calendar containing two of my pictures “and she’s had a photo in a gallery in London!  She has letters after her name now y’know” he went on “and she’s won 5 international gold medals so far this year” – he was apparently beaming with pride.

I wake every day grateful for the improvement I’ve seen, but it isn’t exactly how I’d imagined.  I thought recovery would be just that – totally recovery – not some kind of limbo land inbetween sick and well.  It’s no coincidence that most of my closest friends now are elderly because that’s who I seem to share my lifestyle with – being at home all day, struggling on despite health problems and not having the energy to go out in the evenings!  I gave my all to the severe ME community when I was bedridden, but now I have to be selfish and spend my limited energy on doing what makes me happy alongside caring for myself and my home despite ongoing illness.  However I feel like I don’t belong anywhere – I’m not severely ill, but neither am I completely well – and in its own way that’s more isolating than being one or the other.


My brain injury & ME

Notwithstanding all the physical limitations M.E. has placed on me, the effect it’s had on my brain is the toughest aspect to deal with.  I used to be really clever and prided myself on my quick wit and extensive knowledge.  I had an excellent memory, could win any argument, was interested in politics and economics, read voraciously and took delight in engaging with the world around me.  And now I feel like I have dementia.

My M.E. came on gradually over several months.  I caught one bug after another, started suffering from insomnia, felt fluey and my stamina disappeared, but the thing that stands out most from those early months (apart from the 10am vomiting) is the decline in my brain function.  I can type 140 words a minute and as a Press Officer could knock out a press release in minutes, but once M.E. struck it would take me all morning just to write a single paragraph.  I started to experience the world through a fog – nothing was clear and it felt like I’d been woken at 3am from a deep sleep, all fuzzy and confused and disorientated.  I have felt that way every second of the 26 years since.

I started not being able to spell.  I would agonize over whether the word “if” had one f or two and I noticed that although I had all the correct letters in a word they would be in the wrong order.  I would also randomly add extra letters, “e” and “i” being particular favourites, so instead of writing “spelling” for example, I’d put “spelliing”.  If I was on the computer for too long letters would start moving, dancing around the page like fireflies, and whole sentences would be coloured purple or lime green.

After I contracted meningitis and became severely affected by M.E. my brain function was scarily bad.  My short term memory was almost non-existent, I developed a stammer which I’d never had before, I totally lost the ability to learn anything new (and still really struggle with that), reading became impossible (I still can’t read and miss books terribly), I had to count on my fingers as I could no longer do math and making simple decisions like what to eat for lunch was beyond me.  Every thought, every expression was a monumental effort and the world was suddenly a scary, confusing, disorientating place to be.

After 14 years, when I finally started climbing out of the severe end of M.E. and into the moderate, I started re-engaging with the world and that’s when the effects the disease had had on my brain really became apparent.  My sense of humour had done a bunk and I could no longer come back with witty one liners and a killing sense of irony.  I could know someone for 5 years and still not remember their name, and if I saw someone I knew out of context (for example, randomly in the supermarket) I simply couldn’t place them at all – I knew I was supposed to know them, but just coulnd’t work out where I knew them from, which can be quite hurtful if the person is a relative!  (I’m leaving the word coulnd’t as I spelt it, just to show the way in which I muddle letters up).

Reading is tortuous.  My whole brain feels as if it’s stuffed with cotton wool and there just isn’t space for new information.  On the plus side, if I do manage to read an article I can pick it up 2 months later and read it all over again, because I can’t remember reading it the first time around 😉  I get terribly muddled and often quite confused over the simplest of things, and it’s then I truly feel like a dementia patient and the world feels overwhelming.

I also have sensitivity issues.  When I was severely affected I could only bare speech in whispers, often couldn’t stand daylight, being touched was acutely painful, I couldn’t cope with the TV or radio, and if someone slammed a car door out in the street I would have a seizure.  Thankfully this has improved a lot, however I’m still not great with moving images (couldn’t possibly watch a tennis match or the Grand Prix), loud noises cause an explosion of nerve pain all over my body and movement, such as being in a car, makes my entire body buzz like I’m plugged in to the electric.  My stammer has gone though, and I only slur my words when I’m particularly tired.

After donkeys years of apologising, calling myself “dippy” and “stupid”, blaming my poor memory on my hormones, and making excuses for my misbehaving brain I simply got fed up of blaming myself for being sick and made the decision to call a spade a spade.  I have a brain injury.  I don’t have an official diagnosis (in fact, no-one has ever evaluated my cognitive difficulties) but there is no other explanation for how M.E. and meningitis have affected me and this is now what I tell people.  I also say that I am dyslexic.  Again, I haven’t been evaluated but I have friends with dyslexia and their symptoms and mine are identical.

Like every other aspect of M.E. you can’t see my brain symptoms from looking at me, so unless I tell people how are they to know?  Before I started talking about my brain injury people could be quite cruel – they would take the mickey out of my difficulties with concentration and get quite shirty when I forgot things, particularly conversations we’d had.  However, once I started explaining that I had a brain injury they treated me very differently and I stopped apologising and feeling ashamed. Now, for example, if I meet someone new I will say to them “I have a mild brain injury, so if the next time I see you I act like we’ve never met before, please do tell me your name and remind me of where we met and it usually will jog my memory”.  I’ve been amazed at how much that’s helped and how kind people can be once they are aware of my struggle.

When you go to the doctor as an M.E. patient they only ever ask about your body symptoms.  No-one ever talks about the effect the disease has on your brain.  I’ve had a brain scan, and an EEG, to rule out epilepsy because of my seizures but I’ve had zero cognition tests.  It’s only when I sat in with my Dad who was being tested for Dementia and decided to try and answer the questions in my head for a bit of fun and he scored double what I did that I realized the full impact M.E. has had on my brain function.  You’re asked to remember 4 simple words, like ball and dog, then the psychologist chats with you for a bit, then asks you to repeat the words back – I only ever managed 2 out of the 4.  Another test is where you’re asked to say as many words beginning with a particular letter, for example P, in a minute.  My Dad was phenomenal, scoring 19 while I got stuck at 7 :-/  Where I did do well were tests involving spatial awareness and problem solving, but anything to do with memory or concentration were disastrous.  I would love to do the dementia test formerly to see how I would actually score.

The cognitive symptoms of M.E. are largely ignored and that we, as patients, call our problems ‘brain fog’ trivializes what can be a frightening and hugely debilitating issue.  It enrages me when research focuses on ‘fatigue’ like that’s all there is to the disease, and ignores things like speech problems, seizures, sensitivity, confusion and often severe issues with memory and information processing.  My brain has felt like that of a pensioner since I was in my twenties, and now I’m actually getting older my memory, in particular, is going from bad to even worse.  I have no issue with calling my symptoms a brain injury and maybe if the medical profession did the same this aspect of M.E. would be taken more seriously.


Weekly roundup

Ten days ago, my period arrived out of the blue and I have felt absolutely rubbish ever since.  My brain is super foggy, I feel constantly disorientated, every joint hurts, my back has kept me awake at night and my energy has totally done a bunk.  Yay.

I’ve also felt emotionally quite fragile, so I still haven’t spoken to my GP regarding the cancelled MCAS appointment.  Isn’t it dreadful that you have to psych yourself up to speak to a professional whose job it is to help you?  Don’t get me wrong I like my GP and she’s very helpful, but it just feels overwhelming atm.

After threatening Domestic & General with the Financial Ombudsman they agreed that under the terms of my policy I was entitled to a replacement fridge/freezer which arrived on Tuesday.  Hurrahhh, I no longer have frozen milk and can eat a melon without breaking my teeth 😉  However, the door opened the wrong way so I had to switch it over.  There were no written instructions, just pictures which indicated that I had to drill several holes in the casing of my new appliance – say what?!  For this I would need a 3mm metal drill bit, like most people simply have these specialist pilot bits lurking in their shed!  Actually, I did have a 3mm metal drill bit lurking in my shed but that’s because I’m weird, so I had to lean a nearly 2m tall fridge/freezer against my kitchen windowsill, get underneath to take the hinge off, drill new holes under the fridge and switch the hinge over.  Only the hinge didn’t fit.  Half a sweaty, frustrating hour later I discovered, quite by chance, that a left hand hinge had been taped to the inside of the salad bin in the fridge – it would have been nice to have been told that in the instructions.  Honestly, who makes a customer start drilling holes in their new appliance?!!!

Speaking of complaining about businesses, I’ve had to report an online trader to the police this week for fraud!  My parents use a particular brand of denture cleanser that they really like but have been struggling to get it from their usual suppliers in town, so I found some online at a website called Megadepot.  Placed the order and 3 weeks later had not received the goods.  It was only then that I researched the company and realized they were taking all their customers money and simply not sending them their order!  So I’ve had to initiate a chargeback through my bank and report them to Action Fraud and Trading Standards.

The sun made a brief appearance this week.  I wore a t-shirt with 3/4 length sleeves for my half hour walk with Bertie and every biting insect in a 10 mile radius flocked to my newly exposed skin and feasted – the little fuckers.

Today, I am taking my Mum through to the city as she wants to look for an outfit for a wedding we’re going to in the Autumn.  I hate clothes shopping, and she hates clothes shopping, so it’s looking like a fun afternoon.

Reading this post back, I’m aware that I have officially become a grumpy old git.  It was bound to happen sooner or later, but I had thought I might at least be in my seventies rather than just turned 50.  I shall try harder in future posts to be more cheerful but can’t make any promises 😉