Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Christmas 2006

I'm sure you have all noticed that christmas is upon us once again.

In our familiy we moved into the gaming arena, with an xbox 360, you can seem my gamer tag on the righthand sidebar ? my daughter chose the gamer tag?

Sunday, December 3, 2006

Oh No, Not Again!!!

After being back on the ice for quite some time now, i still have not managed to get back to the same level that i was before, but I have been steadily imporoving.

That is until NOW.

This weekend we had been busy with christmas shopping, this took the whole of Saturday, so to try and catch up a bit, my wife decided to stay at home this morning and do the housework, while i took our daughter Ice skating.

The Ice rink seemed very busy, but also buzzing with atmosphere, My daughters lesson was scheduled for 11.00 am and she was just about to complete her 10th level for her UK skateing association badge.

Just before 11, it happened...

While skating around slowly, and not even trying to do anything, my toe rake caught the Ice, i tripped over and heard a ripping sound as i fell.

After the last incident where i broke my hip, i was eager to get of the ice as quick as possible, so i manged to drag myself to the side where i pulled myself up onto the spectator seats.

i didn't feel to good, but i had to put on a brave face for my daughter, i rested for a while and she went and had her lesson, while she was busy i  managed to hobble to the changing areas where i got my skates off and put my trainers back on, at least i could hoble this time, i was relieved that i had not broken a bone, but i was keen to get my leg looked at, after hearing the ripping sound.

well i managed to drive home without too much discomfort, but shortly afterwards, i drove to the local hospital minor injuries ward.

after a short wait and a quick examination by a nurse, it looked like a ihad torn a ligament in my left knee.

that was it, i was issues with a pair of crutches and sent home.

After this time, the skates are going on Ebay, time i found myself a less dangerous hobby.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Change of Direction

We have been spending a lot of time working on the basis the the Solarchart business will have 2 angles, the first is that we (I mean Andrew) will manage meduims and hold spirtual events, this will basically add up to even management but based arounf mental mediumship and spiritualism.

the second angle which was dues to come later was to offer online astrological reading over the internet, both personal and via online reporting.

Some Recent events have started a change in plan, to start the business we only had 1 meduim to manage, however this has now reduced to 0, mainly due to our medium deciding that this was probably not the best way for her to express her gifts.

this now leaves us in a postion where we need to quickly re assess the potential of astroligical readings online, so we are currently in research mode, looking for the right software application (and there are plent to choose from) and the right web solution to back this up, so far there does not seem to be a web based package of the shelf, but i will keep on googling.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

As the title suggest, this category is all about by brothers business, the company is called..... yep you guessed it.. Solarchart.

You can view the website by clicking here it's probaly better for you to understand the business by looking at the site, or better still reading Andrews blog, this is very good and will give you a greater understanding of what Solarchart is all about.

Still, i have some more work to do, so i will crack on with that while you catch up with what we're all about.

Long time no post?

It has been a long time since i last posted to my blog, so whats been going on ??

Well i have been very busy at work, this has mainly been due to a large project we have been working on, and i am noe managing! as well as some other smaller, but eqaully as important projects.

as well as all this, my brother has recently been working on setting up his own business, this has been an apsiration for some years now, but now it is becoming a reality.

As I have a good working knowledge of IT and website developement, he has asked that i help hime with the website, this i have done, we have jointly been working on a website with the lowest possible outlay, so we have found an ecommerce package that is opensource, that we can modify to suit our needs.

Keep watching, i will setup a new category to tracj the progress of the website and the new business venture.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Tracey Beaker - oxford Playhouse

This evening we went to the oxford playhouse to see "Tracey Beaker Gets Real"The show started at 7 pm and we had booked our seats well in advance, The oxford playhouse allows you to select your seats from a web page view of the auditorium when booking online, this is a great service as you know exactly what seats are already booked and what are still available.

The play itself was quite good, the cats did an exceptional job at portraying the characters from the TV programme, although some of the characters names were different.

the only annoying character was "Duke", in this play called "Sherriff", this part was played by an American actor with a Jamaican tinge, this meant that every time he said the word "Thing" he actually said "Ting", this just happens to be a pet hate of mine, but one I had learnt to ignore it I hade a great time, and more importantly, so did my daughter.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Back On The Ice (After 4 Months)

After my last check-up with the doctor and my confidence being pretty high, I thought I would try to get back on the ice this weekend.

I had tried on my ice skates (With blade guards on) at home, just to get the feel of them again and also to see if I could actually stand up on the blades without discomfort or falling over.

After a successful trial around my living room, I thought I would try my luck.

First thing this morning I was feeling a bit nervous and not too sure if I was doing the right thing, all the thoughts going through my mind were, what if I fall, what if I break my leg again... but then I though it's now or never.

At the ice rink I got my skates on and want onto the ice, my legs were trembling as I stepped on holding on to the barrier, then my hands were trembling to.

It felt very different from the last time I went on the ice.

I stood up for a few moments to get my balance, then very slowly started to skate round like a beginner, holding onto the barrier, just in case.

A few of the regulars there we glad to see me on the ice and all offered support.

As I went round I felt my confidence building up, I decided that I would do no more than basic skating around the rink today, I don't want to tempt fete.

I started to notice how much my muscles were aching, event a simple t-stop made even my good leg ache, but after 4 months off the ice it was only to be expected.

I didn't push myself too hard and got off the ice when I began to feel tired, but after all of that I feel good about being back.

Will I dance on ice again ? not sure yet, certainly if I do it will be at arms length.

Saturday, September 9, 2006

Jousting @ Blenheim Palace

While we were at the Blenheim International Horse Trials last weekend, we took note of the today's event, Jousting.

We managed to make use of a 2 for 1 offer from the programme we bought last week, so we got entry with 2 adults for the price of one, this allowed us to get a ticket for the Palace and the tournament.

We had a quick tour of the house and the Winston Churchill exhibition, after this we made our way to the south lawns to see the falconry displays and the Jousting tournament.

The falconry displays were nothing special, in fact they were pretty poor compared with others we have seen, however, they were just a time filler for the main event.

100_2846 At 12:30 the procession started and the tournament began, it was very exciting and the crowd took it all in, as well as the actual jousting there was also lots of sword fighting and medieval punishments, of course the crowd were encouraged to participate in the teams with lots of cheers for the their own teams and booing for the opponents.

Overall a great day, although the catering left a bit to be desired, not the usual standards for Blenheim Palace.

Wednesday, September 6, 2006

Check up with the Doc

Today was my checkup with the orphopedic consultant now 5 months after i broke my hip.

When i arrived i waited for a little while, then went through the process of filling in forms again and then finally having an x-ray, by now i know the procedure as well as the radiologist.

after the x-rays i was called into see the consultant while he looked at the x-rays, his opinion wa that all looks fine, i should not participate in full contact sports for another 3 months, (i wasn't planning on taking up rugby or wrestling anyway!!), but i can now participate in light sports, does this ,mean i can step out onto the ice again and begin skating???.

Yes it does, all i need now is the confidence!

Check up with the Doc

Today was my checkup with the orphopedic consultant now 5 months after i broke my hip.

When i arrived i waited for a little while, then went through the process of filling in forms again and then finally having an x-ray, by now i know the procedure as well as the radiologist.

after the x-rays i was called into see the consultant while he looked at the x-rays, his opinion wa that all looks fine, i should not participate in full contact sports for another 3 months, (i wasn't planning on taking up rugby or wrestling anyway!!), but i can now participate in light sports, does this ,mean i can step out onto the ice again and begin skating???.

Yes it does, all i need now is the confidence!

Saturday, September 2, 2006

Blenheim Horse Trials 2006


We normally try to get to the Blenheim Horse Trials Cross Country day each year, although this years after a fantastic summer, the weather prediction for the cross country day has been pretty bleak, the forecast has been very wet and windy with heavy rain all day..

Luckily I never believe a word of the weather forecasters, my own view if they put windows into the office of the weather forecasters, then we would get more accurate forecasts.


when we looked at the pricing this year we noticed that children under 14 were admitted free of charge if accompanied by an adult, we decided to take advantage of this and offered to take one of our daughters friends with us too, this invitation was accepted with delight.

As it happened the weather was fine, all we had was a couple of very light showers, this however did mean that the event was not as busy as it normally is.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Loch Lomond Shores

The weather today was far better than both predicted and expected, but we took a chance and drove to Loch Lomond, we were interested to have a look around the new sea life centre that has just opened.sealife

on the whole the day turned out quite well, the sea life centre was pretty good, and we also had time to take out a pedal boat on the Loch.

At the entrance to the visitors centre there was a mini fair, at this my daughter tried the trampolines with bungee's attached, she was quite exited at how high she went, she enjoyed it so much she had to go on it again.

Loudon Castle

loudoncastle Today we went to Loudon castle theme park, although it rained pretty hard for most of the day, we managed to get on most of the rides, the main ride being the rat.This ride was really exciting and scary, so much so that we went on it twice!.

rat The park has quite a few attractions and also has a Pirates cove with rides for the younger family members, the park operates a red, amber and green height guide for all of the rides so you can see before you pay the entrance fee how many rides you may or may not qualify for.

Friday, August 18, 2006


Today we went to Inverary, this is a small town about half way between Dunoon and Oban.The main attractions are a woollen mill, a castle and a historic jail.


I have never managed to view the woollen mill, but a few years ago I did visit the castle, this was a bit disappointing, and in my view was not worth the entrance fee.

Most years though we have visited the jail.

I had hoped to miss it this year but my daughter wanted to see it.

The jail is quite good and starts of with an exhibition called Death & Damnation, this is an exhibition about torture!.


After this you are able to view a courtroom with real cases from the history books being played, followed by a trip downstairs to view the original jail, followed by the newer jail that was still in use until around the 1840's

Part of the exhibition goes on to tell how good a life a modern prisoner gets in prison today!.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Isle of Bute

The weather forecast for today was pretty good again (not bad for Scotland), so we decided to go to the Isle of Bute.While there we had a look around Rothsay and bought a bucket and spade and fishing net before heading off to the beach at Ettrick bay.The beach is slightly stoney but overall not bad.Halfway down the beach is an old fishing boat wreck that the kids love to play on.


The beach also has a tea room that serves a decent snack or light meal.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

A Day in Oban

well we didn't actually spend the day in Oban, but what we did do was visit a couple of attractions just outside of Oban.

Oban Sea Life Sanctuary.


We have been here a few times over the years, and generally have enjoyed it, even though from Dunoon, the drive is just under 2 hours.

In my view this is not as good as it used to be, they used to allow the public to feed the sharks in the shark pool, but no longer, the otter pool is not up to much and the seal pool looked like it needed some tlc, certainly not worth the entrance fee this year, at it's best the centre was only a half day attraction, but now a couple of hours is plenty.

Rare breads farm park.rarebreeds

This place is pretty good, you could easily drive past it, it is located just before the Connell bridge and is about 3 miles down a single track.

when you get there be prepared for a good walk up hill, the park keeps rare breeds of sheep, pigs or anything that they consider to be rare.

at the top of the park, the have an open enclosure where the animals are tame enough to approach the kids looking for food.

we managed to get right next to some red deer and some alpacas.

the site would keep you occupied for a good half day, and the kids will drag out their time in the animal handling area in their top barn where they can handle rabbits and guinea pigs.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Blair Drummond Safari and Adventure Park

This morning we awoke to such a great warm sunny day, we decided to spend the day at Blair Drummond safari Park.Although the safari is not the best in the world, its enough for kids to enjoy, we certainly enjoyed it, here is a quick flash of the day.


we all had a great time and returned back to our lodge via KFC absolutely shattered.

the weather forecast for tomorrow does not seem so good?.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Relax & Settle In

After the journey up yesterday followed by all the unpacking, it is good to spend the first day relaxing and getting into the holiday routine.This morning, I cooked a traditional Scottish breakfast (this is my usual Holiday Job) while my wife and daughter went to explore the local beach.

moragsfairyglen_banner   After breakfast we had a gentle trek around Morag's Fairy Glen.


After this we went down to the beach for a stone skimming competition on the beach.

Once we had relocated most of the beach, we went back to the holiday village for a swim before tea.

next job was to plan days out for the rest of the holiday, this was done using a combination of the Tourist information leaflets available at the holiday village and my trusty Tomtom satnav system.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Summer Holiday

Today is the start of our family summer holiday.we normally spend this staying at Hunters Quay Holiday Village in Dunoon, this allows to see my parents at the same time.

As the drive to Dunoon is fairly Long, we left home before 7 am so that we could avoid the traffic and make good time, this paid off as we were booking into our lodge at just after 4:30 pm, this was after a stop at Sandbach for coffee, another stop at Gretna Green and a quick shop at Tesco's at Greenock for some general supplies etc.

It didn't take long to unpack  everything into our lodge, this year we are staying in fircroft 9.

Holiday in Dunoon

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Avascular Necrosis

Avascular necrosis is a disease resulting from the temporary or permanent loss of the blood supply to the bones. Without blood, the bone tissue dies and causes the bone to collapse. If the process involves the bones near a joint, it often leads to collapse of the joint surface. This disease also is known as osteonecrosis, aseptic necrosis, and ischemic bone necrosis.

Although it can happen in any bone, avascular necrosis most commonly affects the ends (epiphyses) of long bones such as the femur, the bone extending from the knee joint to the hip joint. Other common sites include the upper arm bone, knees, shoulders, and ankles. The disease may affect just one bone, more than one bone at the same time, or more than one bone at different times. Avascular necrosis usually affects people between 30 and 50 years of age; about 10,000 to 20,000 people develop avascular necrosis each year. Orthopaedic doctors most often diagnose the disease.

The amount of disability that results from avascular necrosis depends on what part of the bone is affected, how large an area is involved, and how effectively the bone rebuilds itself. The process of bone rebuilding takes place after an injury as well as during normal growth. Normally, bone continuously breaks down and rebuilds - old bone is reabsorbed and replaced with new bone. The process keeps the skeleton strong and helps it to maintain a balance of minerals. In the course of avascular necrosis, however, the healing process is usually ineffective and the bone tissues break down faster than the body can repair them. If left untreated, the disease progresses, the bone collapses, and the joint surface breaks down, leading to pain and arthritis.

Avascular necrosis affects both men and women and affects people of all ages. It is most common among people in their thirties and forties. Depending on a person's risk factors and whether the underlying cause is trauma, it also can affect younger or older people.

Avascular necrosis has several causes. Loss of blood supply to the bone can be caused by an injury (trauma-related avascular necrosis or joint dislocation) or by certain risk factors (nontraumatic avascular necrosis), such as some medications (steroids), blood coagulation disorders, or excessive alcohol use. Increased pressure within the bone also is associated with avascular necrosis. The pressure within the bone causes the blood vessels to narrow, making it hard for the vessels to deliver enough blood to the bone cells.

  • Injury: When a joint is injured, as in a fracture or dislocation, the blood vessels may be damaged. This can interfere with the blood circulation to the bone and lead to trauma-related avascular necrosis. Studies suggest that this type of avascular necrosis may develop in more than 20% of people who dislocate their hip joint.

  • Steroid Medications: Corticosteroids such as prednisone are commonly used to treat diseases in which there is inflammation, such as systemic lupus erythematosus, rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, and vasculitis. Studies suggest that long-term, systemic (oral or intravenous) corticosteroid use is associated with 35% of all cases of nontraumatic avascular necrosis. However, there is no known risk of avascular necrosis associated with the limited use of steroids. Patients should discuss concerns about steroid use with their doctor.
    Doctors aren't sure exactly why the use of corticosteroids sometimes leads to avascular necrosis. They may interfere with the body's ability to break down fatty substances. These substances then build up in and clog the blood vessels, causing them to narrow. This reduces the amount of blood that gets to the bone. Some studies suggest that corticosteroid-related avascular necrosis is more severe and more likely to affect both hips (when occurring in the hip) than avascular necrosis resulting from other causes.

  • Alcohol Use: Excessive alcohol use and corticosteroid use are two of the most common causes of nontraumatic avascular necrosis. In people who drink an excessive amount of alcohol, fatty substances may block blood vessels, causing a decreased blood supply to the bones that results in avascular necrosis.

  • Other Risk Factors: Other risk factors or conditions associated with nontraumatic avascular necrosis include Gaucher's disease, pancreatitis, radiation treatments and chemotherapy, decompression disease, and blood disorders such as sickle cell disease.

In the early stages of avascular necrosis, patients may not have any symptoms. As the disease progresses, however, most patients experience joint pain - at first, only when putting weight on the affected joint, and then even when resting. Pain usually develops gradually and may be mild or severe. If avascular necrosis progresses and the bone and surrounding joint surface collapse, pain may develop or increase dramatically. Pain may be severe enough to limit the patient's range of motion in the affected joint. In some cases, particularly those involving the hip, disabling osteoarthritis may develop. The period of time between the first symptoms and loss of joint function is different for each patient, ranging from several months to more than a year.

After performing a complete physical examination and asking about the patient's medical history (for example, what health problems the patient has had and for how long), the doctor may use one or more imaging techniques to diagnose avascular necrosis. As with many other diseases, early diagnosis increases the chances of treatment success.

  • X-Ray: An X-ray is a common tool that the doctor may use to help diagnose the cause of joint pain. It is a simple way to produce pictures of bones. The X-ray of a person with early avascular necrosis is likely to be normal because X-rays are not sensitive enough to detect the bone changes in the early stages of the disease. X-rays can show bone damage in the later stages, and once the diagnosis is made, they are often used to monitor the course of the condition.

  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI): MRI is quickly becoming a common method for diagnosing avascular necrosis. Unlike X-rays, bone scans, and CT (computed/computerized tomography) scans, MRI detects chemical changes in the bone marrow and can show avascular necrosis in its earliest stages. MRI provides the doctor with a picture of the area affected and the bone rebuilding process. In addition, MRI may show diseased areas that are not yet causing any symptoms.

  • Bone Scan: Also known as bone scintigraphy, bone scans are used most commonly in patients who have normal X-rays. A harmless radioactive dye is injected into the affected bone and a picture of the bone is taken with a special camera. The picture shows how the dye travels through the bone and where normal bone formation is occurring. A single bone scan finds all areas in the body that are affected, thus reducing the need to expose the patient to more radiation. Bone scans do not detect avascular necrosis at the earliest stages.

  • Computed/Computerized Tomography (CT Scan): A CT scan is an imaging technique that provides the doctor with a three-dimensional picture of the bone. It also shows "slices" of the bone, making the picture much clearer than X-rays and bone scans. Some doctors disagree about the usefulness of this test to diagnose avascular necrosis. Although a diagnosis usually can be made without a CT scan, the technique may be useful in determining the extent of bone damage.

  • Biopsy: A biopsy is a surgical procedure in which tissue from the affected bone is removed and studied. Although a biopsy is a conclusive way to diagnose avascular necrosis, it is rarely used because it requires surgery.

  • Functional Evaluation of Bone: Tests to measure the pressure inside a bone may be used when the doctor strongly suspects that a patient has avascular necrosis, despite normal results of X-rays, bone scans, and MRIs. These tests are very sensitive for detecting increased pressure within the bone, but they require surgery.

Appropriate treatment for avascular necrosis is necessary to keep joints from breaking down. If untreated, most patients will experience severe pain and limitation in movement within 2 years. Several treatments are available that can help prevent further bone and joint damage and reduce pain. To determine the most appropriate treatment, the doctor considers the following aspects of a patient's disease:

  • The age of the patient

  • The stage of the disease - early or late

  • The location and amount of bone affected - a small or large area

  • The underlying cause of avascular necrosis - with an ongoing cause such as corticosteroid or alcohol use, treatment may not work unless use of the substance is stopped.

The goal in treating avascular necrosis is to improve the patient's use of the affected joint, stop further damage to the bone, and ensure bone and joint survival. To reach these goals, the doctor may use one or more of the following treatments.

Conservative Treatment

  • Medicines to reduce fatty substances (lipids) that increase with corticosteroid treatment or to reduce blood clotting in the presence of clotting disorders. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs may also be prescribed to reduce pain.

  • Reduced weight bearing. If avascular necrosis is diagnosed early, the doctor may begin treatment by having the patient remove weight from the affected joint. The doctor may recommend limiting activities or using crutches. In some cases, reduced weight bearing can slow the damage caused by avascular necrosis and permit natural healing. When combined with medication to reduce pain, reduced weight bearing can be an effective way to avoid or delay surgery for some patients.

  • Range-of-motion exercises may be prescribed to maintain or improve joint range of motion.

  • Electrical stimulation to induce bone growth.

Conservative treatments have been used experimentally alone or in combination. However, these treatments rarely provide lasting improvement. Therefore, most patients will eventually need surgery to repair the joint permanently.

Surgical Treatment

  • Core decompression. This surgical procedure removes the inner layer of bone, which reduces pressure within the bone, increases blood flow to the bone, and allows more blood vessels to form. Core decompression works best in people who are in the earliest stages of avascular necrosis, often before the collapse of the joint. This procedure sometimes can reduce pain and slow the progression of bone and joint destruction in these patients.

  • Osteotomy. This surgical procedure reshapes the bone to reduce stress on the affected area. There is a lengthy recovery period, and the patient's activities are very limited for 3 to 12 months after an osteotomy. This procedure is most effective for patients with advanced avascular necrosis and those with a large area of affected bone.

  • Bone graft. A bone graft may be used to support a joint after core decompression. Bone grafting is surgery that transplants healthy bone from one part of the patient, such as the leg, to the diseased area. Commonly, grafts (called vascular grafts) that include an artery and veins are used to increase the blood supply to the affected area. There is a lengthy recovery period after a bone graft, usually from 6 to 12 months. This procedure is complex and its effectiveness is not yet proven. Clinical studies are underway to determine its effectiveness.

  • Arthroplasty/total joint replacement. Total joint replacement is the treatment of choice in late-stage avascular necrosis and when the joint is destroyed. In this surgery, the diseased joint is replaced with artificial parts. It may be recommended for people who are not good candidates for other treatments, such as patients who do not do well with repeated attempts to preserve the joint. Various types of replacements are available, and people should discuss specific needs with their doctor.

For most people with avascular necrosis, treatment is an ongoing process. Doctors may first recommend the least complex and invasive procedure, such as protecting the joint by limiting movement, and watch the effect on the patient's condition. Other treatments then may be used to prevent further bone destruction and reduce pain. It is important that patients carefully follow instructions about activity limitations and work closely with their doctor to ensure that appropriate treatments are used.

The information in this article has been made available by the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, National Institutes of Health.

Article Created: 2001-01-01
Article Reviewed: 2005-07-21

Thursday, July 27, 2006

The Consultants appointment (3 Month check-up)

Today is the 3 month check-up of my broken leg.All the information I've had so far has been that after 3 months I should be ok to fully bear weight on my bad leg.

My appointment was at 3:30 pm, but I arrived early as usual.

Normally I had notice that the outpatients surgery was empty except for the other private patents, I had always thought this was odd, but could not explain why it was so.

However today is a Thursday ! the place was packed.

After waiting a few moments I was called in by my consultant, he told me he would x-ray me, but he didn't have my notes because my appointment was actually yesterday ?, strange he said, out of 12 appointment yesterday 4 failed to show, but so far 3 of them had shown today..... I wonder where the mistakes was made......

Anyway seeing as his surgery is on a Wednesday, and it is now Thursday and "Adult Fractures Clinic" I had to wait nearly an hour for an x-ray, I also had to complete more forms as my notes were not available.

After the x-ray I was promptly seen by my consultant, who is being paid privately for my treatment.

His advice was that all seems normal, I can fully mobilise, and I should inform the physio of this, I should after a few weeks wean myself of the crutches.

He also pointed out that as I am so young there is still a risk of "Avascular necrosis", this means that I will have to continue to have x-rays for about 12 months to ensure there are no problems.

Monday, July 24, 2006

New Boiler - Emergency!!!

Since having our new boiler installed I have noticed that it takes a couple of seconds to fire up when it starts.

As it is a new boiler fitted and installed by British Gas, I could only assume that this is normal, so left it without worry for a few days, however these things do tend to play on your mind a little.

As we have had such a good summer, we have spent more time in the garden, while enjoying the sun on the patio, I heard the boiler fire up and splutter slightly, I also thought I could smell gas!!!!.

After watching this carefully now, I decided that we should call in the experts, and first thing Monday morning called British gas.

we explained the problem to the girl on the phone who promptly decided it was not a British gas problem and we should call Transco...

After a few minutes of arguing the girl finally agreed that maybe as we are paying British gas for a maintenance contract as well as the fact the boiler was fitted less than 30 days ago, that British gas should respond.

Within half an hour we had a Transco van pull up outside, the engineer fired up the boiler, measured the gas out put and promptly stuck big orange sticker on the boiler, stating it was a faulty appliance and should not be used.

He then left.

Lucky its summer.

Later that day, a British gas engineer turned up, he fired up the boiler, measured the gas output, then stated that as the wall had been drilled as part of the installation, I bit of grit had got into the boiler, causing the problem.

After a clean all seemed ok and we were back to normal... we think....

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Water Water Everywhere

When we bought this house we knew it had a leaky garage roof.

we had our builder look at the roof and do a quick repair job, the initial view was that he had been successful and we no longer had a leaky roof, however..

With the storms of this weekend, we notice that we had a waterfall in the utility room, which is at the back of the garage.

it was actually one hell of a waterfall, but it was also one hell of a storm, on top of this we also notice that the garage roof was leaking again.

a call to the builder on Monday and he will be back out again to take a look on Saturday.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Medical Systems & Communications

After the last physiotherapy appointment I had, I was left waiting for the physio to talk to my consultant before arranging my next appointment.

After waiting 2 weeks I finally gave up and called the physio, funnily enough, I was on her list of people to call that day.

Now that the physio and the consultant had spoken / communicated, the physio has decided that I should not do too much and should stick to using 2 crutches and only place 70 lbs of weight on my bad leg.

Ooops, I've been doing more than that while I was waiting.....

Anyway I've now booked and appointment to see the physio the day after my next appointment with my consultant.

Wednesday, July 5, 2006

More Physio

Today I had my first physiotherapy since my consultant informed me that I could begin putting weight on my broken (but now repaired hip).

When I made the appointment with the physio, I had left it a few days after my outpatient appointment to allow my consultant to write to the physiotherapist informing her of the status, the Physiotherapist also left messages with my consultant asking for info, or in reality, my physio's secretary, left a message on the answering service of my consultants secretary requesting information from my consultant about me on behalf of my physiotherapist.

Needless to say that when I arrived for my appointment, the only person that seemed to have any information about me was me..

So a got a few more exercises to do, no real progress though and no commitment from the physio.

So she will now contact my consultant, and when the physio knows more about what I should and shouldn't do, she will call me to make another appointment.

Some food for thought.... this is private medical treatment ! what would it be like on the NHS ?

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Boiler Installation Day 3

Hooray we have hot water and heating..

When we arrived home from our daughters sports day, the engineer had gone, a quick check around showed that all was working as we had expected.

The next job for me was to set the timing on the ht water and heating programmer.

After trying to figure out how it worked I finally read the instructions, aha, it wasn't me being thick, the instructions really were different to the control panel on the wall.

Luckily at that moment the engineer called to say he had left some kit in our garage and could he arrange to collect it, yep we said, but... could you sort out the control panel.

Apparently the reason it was not working as expected is that during installation you need to decide what mode it is going to work in, then that's it, unless of course you an get an engineer to re programme it.

so the nice engineer will do that for us this week end sometime.

Apart from that all seems to be working well.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Hospital Check-up

Today I had an appointment to see my consultant.Every 4 weeks I am back at the hospital for an X-ray and a check-up.

It is now 8 weeks since I slipped on the Ice and broke my Hip (Read the Post), with all the exercise I have been doing to build up the muscles around the hip an leg, I must say it is feeling really good, I have had no pain for some weeks now so I am feeling really confident.

when I got to the hospital it was the usual good treatment, I was seen almost straight away by my doctor, he gave me a quick examination to check for pain and movement etc, he basically compared movement range with my good leg, so far so good.

He then sent me of for an X-Ray, once done I was back in his consultation room again, while we checked them out, again all looked good so hip

He has now said I can begin weight bearing partially on my bad leg, this will help with the healing process and stimulate growth, so next thing to do is to get another appointment with the physiotherapist.

so next I bombarded him with all the questions I needed answers to.

  1. Can I drive my car ?
  2. Can I go back to work ?
  3. Do I need any documents to satisfy insurance company's etc.

To answer my questions he basically said

  1. I can drive a manual car, but build up to it over a few days.
  2. I can go back to work part time (2 days a week) but only if the office is crutch friendly and the use of crutches is covered in the company H & S policy.
  3. As the hospital seem to have run out of forms, the consultant will write a letter for me.

so on the way home, a quick check with the insurance company to make sure they are happy (and they are), and I get my car back again.

On the way out my wife asked the consultant a question:

"Is there any vitamin tablet or supplement that can be taken to help promote growth" ?

His answer:

They are all a waste of money.

Boiler Installation Day 2

Day 2 of the boiler installation, at the end of day 1, the installing engineer was confident that he would be finished by the end of day 2, he would work hard all day to get finished and work a bit late, also by the end of the day the electricians would have been etc.well, he was close..

The day started well, he arrived a bit later than we had expected, but not beyond reason, and he does seem like a nice and decent chap, so we wont be too hard on him.

after talking to him (as you do), it turns out that his wife used to go to the same school as our daughter ! not only that... but his sister lives in the same village as we do.

anyway, he got straight into his worked and started draining down the radiators and fitting the thermostatic valves, about mid morning he was called away to an emergency, so that set the end of the 2 day installation.

after about an hour he came back and got stuck into his work all seems to be going pretty well, he has even added the new radiator to the kitchen.

just after lunch the electricians turned up, one point they need to clear up was where to put the room thermostat, after a quick chat he agreed where it was to go and then informed me that he would need to run some plastic trunking down the wall to the position of the control.... Aaargh... I hate plastic trunking.

I tried to persuade him to chase the wiring in, but he did not have the tools, however he did mention that now you can buy RF Wireless controls.RF Wireless Control Panel

so a quick call to the installing supervisor and agreement to pay £60 extra and within the hour we had wireless control panel on the wall.

By about 5 pm, it was time to go home, the elctricians finished, all that need to be done now, is the power flush of the heating system and the commisioning of the new boiler.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Boiler Installation Day 1

Well it's been a busy day today.First thing this morning, we had a delivery from the builders merchants, they were delivering on behalf of British gas, they had called a couple of days ago to arrange the delivery, and they were on time.

Also a couple of days ago, I got a call from British gas advising that the installation engineer would be late as he had to finish another job, so I was expecting him at about lunch time.Old Boiler - Stripped Down

Well shock.... he only turned up while the builders merchant was delivering the supplies for him, I was even more impressed when he walked into the kitchen and correctly identified the old boiler!!!!.

Any way off I went to work and left my wife to show him what needed to be done etc...

I was collected from work by my wife (I'm still on crutches after my Ice Slip) and taken to the school to watch my Daughters ballet lesson (Read The  post).

When I got home the Gas man had left for the day, he had left us post it notes all around the house informing us that we had no hot water, we had expected this so it was no real shock.

New Boiler Exactly where it should beso what has he done...

          • Begun the removal of the old boiler

          • Fitted the new boiler

          • Taken out the old hot water tank

          • Fitted a new hot water tank.

He will be back tomorrow.

Also today.... our water butt finally arrived, we can now begin to conserve water during the water shortage....


Old Hot Water TankNew Hot Water Tank


Out with the Old......In with the new......

School Ballet Lesson

As it's coming up to the end of the school term, the school ballet teacher normally opens up a Ballet lesson to the parents, this is just to show us what we are paying for.

Last year, the school forgot to notify the parents of this so we all missed out, however this year there were four of us, of the four two were myself and my wife!.

The Kids performed well, and the parents took plenty of pictures and video.

as they are all do so well, their teacher will be putting them forward for their first ballet exam in January next year, to help them she is offering extra lessons???.

Still it is worth every penny.

Monday, June 26, 2006

A Family of Bloggers

Well this evening my daughter wrote a story, she was so pleased with it that she decided she would write some more, she would also illustrate them (i would help her scan the images in) and publish them on a blog!!!.

So i have set her up with her own blog, it can be found here.

Not bad for an 8 Year old....

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Pond Life

In our garden, we have a pond ! (not the most exciting statement to make, I know?)Our 8 year old daughter being a typical girl can't keep away from the pond, this time of year though it is full of frogs.A Frog from our Pond

I'm not sure about other 8 year old girls, but our daughter seems to have a fascination for bugs, she is always capturing worms and woodlice, and keeping them as temporary pets in little plastic bug boxes, or even well designed plastic tubing that connects a number of bug boxes together, these boxes allow an amount of dirt and rotten leaves etc to make the bugs feel at home.

anyway, back to the pond, here are a couple of photos of our frogs that we found today.

Frog hiding in the bushesfrog Swimming in the pond

Friday, June 23, 2006

Boiler Installation - Preparation

Today we started to prepare for the new boiler installation that British gas will carry out, here is a picture (left) of the boiler that they will take out.

Old BoilerI'll get a picture of that once its fitted, I may even get some work in progress blogs if the boiler chaps don't mind so much.

This morning things started to fit together, I had a call from the local builders merchant, advising me of a delivery they will make next Tuesday on behalf of British gas, strangely this is the same day that British Gas are due to start work, so it's just as well that we are the first delivery and can expect to take delivery at about 8:00 am, I should be here still then so no problem.


In the meantime my wife has started to clear the kitchen of breakables, also as the boiler installation will involve some plumbing, we have had to clear one of the upstairs rooms to and prepare for the floor boards to be lifted.


New Boiler Location (Planned)

An Interesting fact..... Apparantly although the existing boiler vents out to a chimney, this is no longer considered safe, because of this we are having to relocate the new boiler to a position where it can be vented straight out through an external wall.



here is where they will put the new one !!

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Zenith Windows (Good or Bad)

After all the confusion with double glazing windows, we are sure it is an absolute minefield.Today I had a visits from Zenith Windows, I arranged for the "Free quote" via their website, while I was there I looked at their windows specifications etc to see if I could get as much information as possible.After a few days I had a call from Zenith to arrange the visit and all was set for today at 10:00 am.

At 10:00 AM I had a call from Zenith asking me a few questions.

1. Is it still convenient to come - I replied yes (of course)

2. Am I the sole owner of the property - I replied I am (although it is joint with my wife, but I could not see the relevance if giving them this information).

they then informed me that a rep was on his way and he should be with me soon, possibly a bit late allowing for traffic.

Just before 11:00 am there was a ring at my door bell, it was the man From Zenith, who immediately apologised for being late, promptly blamed it all on the office and came in.

we had a chat where he asked what I knew about Zenith, so I informed him of all the stuff I had read in the web, including the negative comments posted about pushy salesmen, he assured me he was aware of these comments but that was not the Zenith style, and anyway, he was the show home marketing manager, not a salesman, so he was not on a commission etc, he just wanted to identify a potential show home, which by the way, could result in a full refund!!!.

I then told him of my concern of the make up of the windows, this was very unclear on their website, he promptly went out to his car to bring in a sample, meanwhile I made the coffee.

we were just about to get talking when his mobile phone rank, he took the call (unusual while with a client), after a while he asked if I could talk to his colleague on the phone, it was the man I spoke to earlier, asking if I was the sole owner again, I assured him I was jointly with my wife.

strangely he asked if my wife was available, to which I said "No, she's at work", he then passed me onto his manager, who insisted that we should reschedule the meeting to a time when my wife was available, as I could not make the decision on my own?

I though this strange and explained how I work "I will gather the information, I will discuss with my wife, compare with other quotes gained from other companies and decide sometime next week", the man from Zenith was not happy about this, he wanted a decision today, to this I explained that wont happen.

he then advised me that the Zenith windows are Unique, and no other company can offer them, after some more general advice (unwanted) he suggested that the salesman went away, a greed, passed the phone back to the salesman who chatted and hung up.

No sooner had he hung up, the salesman said the manager is always doing this and losing business every time, I explained I would not ask Zenith back, to which came the reply, "I am leaving Zenith this week, they don't know it yet, and from Monday I will work for another company that can supply the exact same windows as zenith", that's odd, I had just been told that zenith windows are unique?

anyway by this time I had decided not was I not interested in Zenith Windows, I was also not interested in the company where this salesman was going either.

Was this all part of some weird sales tactic by Zenith ???? I think so.

Bottom Line, I will never go to Zenith double glazing.


Saturday, June 10, 2006

The School Summer Fete

!0:30 Saturday morning, it was time to go to school and help prepare and setup the stalls for the school fete, as usual there was no layout plan for the stalls, so we all relied upon what we did lat year.

We were lucky today as the temperatures were up at around 30 degrees, so the sun block was an absolute must for the kids(wish id followed my own advice).

I sat behind the wine stall for most of the 4 hours that afternoon with the only break being when we watched our daughter take part in the country dancing demonstration.

By the end of the day, I was burnt to a cinder.

The good News, our stall made over £100.

Roll on next year and a biog well done to the PA.

School Summer fete

Thursday, June 8, 2006

Preparation for the School Summer fete

Every Year our school has a summer fete, its an occasion where the children get to come to school on a saturday and meet and have fun.
Tthe parents (organised by the PA) get to setup a range of stalls and even sometimes get a couple of fun fair rides in.

Usually the school swimming pool is also open for a couple of hours.

Each year, my wife and I are tasked with running the wine and water stall, this is where we collect as many empty wine bottles as we can, we then fill them up with a mixture that looks similar to wine, then we reseal the top with tape. The mixture we use is as follows

Red WineWhite wineRose
Cola (use sugar to remove the Fizz)Grape JuiceDiluted Blackcurrent Ribena
Burdock & Dandelion Elder FlowerCranberry Jiuce
Diluted Black current RibenaGooseberry Juice 

The way the stall works is that we place some full new bottles of wine on a table and mix them up with the bottles we have filled, we then place a plastic cup over every bottle, it is then up to the punters to guess whether a bottle is real wine or not, just by looking at the bottle, for this privilege we charge them £1.

We have now filled up about 24 bottle ready for the fete on Saturday, on the day we will keep moving the bottle around and changing them about so that we keep removing and swapping some full bottles of wine and some fake bottles

Tuesday, June 6, 2006

Ringrose Tree Surgery

Ringrose Tree Surgery

The Leaking Roof

After many days of rain the chap that we had arranged to fix our leaking roof over the garage could finally make it. at about 12:30 I got the call from him saying he was on his way and would be at my house in about half an hour, as I was now at work (in spite of my injury) I promptly called my wife (who was at home) to let her know.

When we arranged for the builder to fix the roof, the only instruction he gave us was to buy some external weather proof clear silicon mastic.
In our quest for this we discovered that it either does not exist within the world of home DIY, or every DIY shop had sold out, or none of us actually knew what we were after.

Eventually we decided to go to a builders merchant, who sold us what he thought we needed, however he only had it in black!
so today our builder looked at our silicon, and being the nice chap he is, tried to disguise the colour by placing the silicon deeper into the crevices that it was trying to seal.

Now only time will tell if he has been successful.

Monday, June 5, 2006

British Gas Delivery

British Gas to Deliver kit for new Boiler Installation


Physiotherapy at the Nuffield

Consultant Appointment (JR)

The Double Glazing (too Much Choice)

Over the weekend, my wife was out and about, and on her travels another of the neighbours introduced themselves, there were very neighbourly and invited my wife in to look around their house. My wife was very impressed, especially as they have had exactly the same things done to their house as we are planning to do to ours....

Their kitchen is to die for (apparently) so now we know where to get some contact details for when we are ready to fit a new kitchen.

Then there is the windows!!! apparently our house is almost the only house in the close that so far still has the original windows.
now that we have placed an order 2 of our neighbours have given us recommendations (yes, both different companies) for double glazing, and both at about half the price we have been quoted for a similar sized house. so we have promptly cancelled the order with the company that claims to fit the best while we re-evaluate After committing to the company that claims to fit the best, we are now re-evaluating the minefield of double glazing, watch this space, or feel free to comment with your good or bad experiences, I need some help on this... 


If you choose the optoin "Somebody Else" please leave a comment with who they are and how i can contact them

New Boiler Installation

British Gass to Install New Boiler

Sunday, June 4, 2006

Back at the Rink

This morning we went off to the Ice Rink as usual, we had promised our daughter that she could stay on after the public session and attend the club session.

As usual I got to sit at the side of the Rink and watch, as I am still incapacitated with my hip injury.

I thought I would take the opportunity of taking some photos, so I had a word with the management and filled out a request for photography, this is mainly an agreement that if requested I will stop taking photos, and that my reason is for family record, this is all part of the Ice Rinks photography policy. sure enough to put it to the test, I had no sooner taken my first photo of my daughter on the Ice when I was asked to show my permit by one of the ice stewards.

During the public session there was the usual dance session, where all the public get off the ice and the oxford ice dance club demonstrate their dancing, we had got to know a most of the regulars by now due to the fact that we were regulars ourselves now, and attend the club session from time to time, I also became instantly recognised at the "Hip" after my recent fall.

During the dance session, a couple of very good skaters clipped their blades and fell over, (just goes to prove how easy it is), luckily there were not injured anymore that a nasty bruise. My wife later on approached them and thanked them for falling, proving we are not the only ones that do it!!!!, luckily they saw the humour in the remark.

Friday, June 2, 2006

Oven Clean

The Clean Oven Co

This Morning we had our oven cleaned...

After the fiasco of getting our new cooker delivered as mentioned in an earlier post, we decided that as the whole kitchen need to be replaced, that we would make do with the existing cooker until we get the kitchen done, however, we will need to get it cleaned in the meantime.

It just so happens that a friend runs his own oven cleaning business, so a quick call to him was all that was needed.

so at 8:30 this morning the door bell rang, with our oven cleaner stood at the door, he got stuck in straight away.

I have to say the job he did was absolutely fantastic, I would recommend him to anyone, hence I have posted his business details along with this post.

Just in case the photo is not clear he is the Clean Oven co Tel: 01993 778609 (ring for a free quote).

Thursday, June 1, 2006

The Electrician

We were expecting the electrician to turn up at 4 pm, but the time came and went, so by about 5:30 we gave him a call, "just finishing a job, then it'll be right with you" came the reply.

A little while later he turned up..

The job to do ?

Remove a wall light in preparation for British gas to install anew boiler.

We had prepared by clearing the room directly above the kitchen to allow the electrician to take the boards up and trace the wiring back to the junction and remove it safely. I had to remind him to do this, i got the impression that given half a chance he would have just cut the wires and left them live.

We heard some banging and thumping, it seem the boards were nailed down with 3 inch nails, more that is required. after a while and some hard work, he managed to get the boards up enough to get to the junction, he safely removed the wire, the wall light was taken down, and we were left to clear up the mess.

A job well done (except for the damage to the floor boards).


Booked Electriacian to remove Kitchen Wall Light.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

First checkup since the op!

A Typical X-ray of a Repaired HipAlthough the X-ray to the right is not me, it is similar in the injury I sustained and the repair work the surgeons have carried out.My first appointment was at 4 pm, I am still being treated privately, but of course the doctors use the facilities of the NHS ?, it was strange turning up to the out patients unit to find just a few people waiting to be seen, these were also private patents.

as I looked around , I noticed that everything was deserted, there was no reception staff, no nurses, in fact the only person about was the consultant I was to see. it did make me think about all we hear in the new about NHS inefficiency???.

Anyway the consultant had to find a radiologist to x-ray me before he could see me, the x-ray to the right is what we saw, so far the bone growth is as expected for four weeks post op, I still have to keep weight of my left leg, and this is likely to be a total of 3 months, my next appointment is in four weeks.

A Good description of my injury can be found here

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Blocked Drains

Since we moved in my wife has complained of a funny smell, we couldn't identify it at first but it smelt like it could be coming from the drains.

One of the things that the survey on this property picked up on was that there was a large number (more than usual) of drain covers. as it is a bank holiday weekend, we used the time to lift the drain covers, sure as anything, they were blocked.

Luckily they were not so bad that they were backing up yet, so we started to get the rods out, eventually we identified the source of the blockage, yep it was the old woman next door, where we have private drains connected up before meeting the main sewer, we discovered that that was the cause of the blockage (not the old lady stuck in the drain, but some of her waste).

We got the rods going through the drains, and went round next door and rodded here drains too, before we new it all drains were clean as a whistle and we promptly disinfected them and replaced the covers. Not a pleasant job, but one that need to be done every once in a while.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Our Daughters Bedroom Carpet

The carpet in our daughters bedroom has always been a bit rough looking, however it was begining to get on our nerves, before i broke my hip i was planning on taking it up and laying a wooden floor with a few well placed rugs, unfortunately that plan is on hold.

Or is it......

Today my wife got so fed up with i, that after collecting me from Physio she got stuck into the carpet, with a trusty Stanley knife, she ripped up the carpet piece by piece.

After a couple of hours the carpet was in plastic bags ready for the bin men (if they will take it), in the mean time we will cover the floor with rugs, while we decide how and what we will do as a final solution.

PhysioTherapy assesment

Today i had my Physiotherapy assessment, after all the hassle of trying to organise a private physiotherapist that was not running a makeshift clinic in their home, i finally manged to see the private clinic at the Nuffield Hospital.

After having my assessment, it turn out that there is not too much i can do until I'm allowed to weight bear on my broken leg, this wont be for another 3 weeks yet, but in the mean time they have given me plenty of excersises to do to prevent all my leg muscles from wasting away.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Double Glazing - Fit the best (as they say)

After the last double glazing salesmen left, we decided that we would look at alternatives, so coincidentally, we had a card through the door from Everest. offering a 30% discount.

so we called the man, and he came to see us at 12:30 today.

Unlike the last chap we saw, this gut was well dressed, well groomed and polite and pleasant, so we offered him a coffee and got on with the sales pitch, I was quite impressed when we started asking about windows and styles, when he went out to his car, grabbed a window and brought it in for us to see. we could examine it ask questions etc, he also had a cut out section that showed us the internal make up.

As with the last salesman, we went around the house measuring up, and discussing styles, number of openings etc, after a while the salesman sat down and started working things out, after mumbling a few very frightening figures he started applying the discount, these were good...

  • 30% special offer

  • 10% home account offer

  • 15% flexibility offer

by the time he had finished we had a price no to far away from the price the local company had quoted, and this was Everest, so we started talking guarantees, this is what he offered.

  • Windows Seals Lifetime Guarantee (65 years)

  • UPVC discolouration 20 Years

  • windows in general 20 years

  • Installation guarantee that there will be no interior or exterior damage during the fitting

  • No mastic filler

All in all sounded pretty good, the guarantee's were twice as long as the local company offered, so we signed up there and then and paid our deposit, all we need to do now is wait and see if they are as good as their word.

On that subject, the payment options are very good, although we have paid a deposit of 10%, we don't pat anymore until 1 month after the installation, then we pay

  • 5 months at £250

  • 1 month 80% of the total

  • 5 months £250 (this is paid with the cash back we get as part of the deal too)

With this option, we are not paying any real money until we have had the windows for 6 months, so by then we will know if we are happy and satisfied customers or not, so not happy then not pay.... the incentive is with them.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Contact Me

Please use this form to contact me if you wish to comment about a matter not covered in any of the posts on the Blog.

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Green Bin Too

Well today is what must really be called bin day, not only have we had a brown bin delivered, but we have also had a green bin, The Green recycling Boxthis is not the standard wheelie bin though, this is for the other recycling bit and is bin days are really confusing, once I've got round what bin takes what rubbish, I then have to work out what bin gets emptied on what day of the week, then just to make things worse, the brown bin only gets emptied every 2 weeks (yep and I pay for the privilege), now did they come last week or not???? 

What I'm Selling on eBay

You mght have heard about eBay, well I am a big fan of eBay and I have been selling "bits and bobs" on it for a couple of years now, I basically sell anything that I (or my daughter) no longer want.

Above you can see what (if anything) I am currently listing on eBay please feel free to place a bid should anything catch your eye, I can always be emailed directly if you have any questions.



Brown Bin Arrived

Brown Bin, So Aptly named as we pay for it!!Today we got the arrival of our brown bin, this is a scheme operated by our local council The Vale of White Horse, the scheme is supposedly set to encourage recycling and be environmentally friendly.the CatchWe have to pay an additional £29 per year for the brown bin, we can now put allsorts of rubbish in the brown bin, that previously we would have put in our normal rubbish bags.I personally felt that this is just another gorgon Brown Tax, but my wife likes the idea, so anything for a peaceful life.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Double Glazing (1st Rep)

We have decided to get a couple of quotes for double glazing, just to see how much it will cost us, we have a budget in mind but we are not going to tell the double glazing salesman what it is.We spoke to the first company, this a local company that we stumbled across while wondering around a garden centre.At the garden centre they have a range of conservatories built with just about every kind of door and window you could imagine, they even have a cut out windows so you can see the make up of the frame.very impressive, shame about the salesman...

so the appointment was kept, at about 10:30 am the doorbell rang and this salesman was at the door, he was slightly over weight, he had hair combed back and covered in some kind of grease or brilcream, his clothes were a bit worn and tired looking, he certainly wasn't the worlds best dressed salesman.

overall he looked like a man you would not leave your kids with..

anyway not to judge a book by its cover we let him get on with his sales pitch, we made him a coffee and proceeded through the niceties, maybe we were wrong with our first impression (my wife did not like the look of him).

we eventually went round looking at all our windows and doors, measuring them up and discussing styles of window, openings etc ate each one, as we sat back down again the salesman had enough information to work out an almost exact price.

well it was nit as much as we expected, so we asked the usual questions about guarantees etc, they seemed a bit shorter than we expected, so we started asking some more questions, like "What are the different hinge options" and "What are the locking mechanisms" we also asked if he had any technical information about what the windows were, how they were made up etc, at this point he seemed a bit worried and reluctant to give us any information, he seemed to think we would be happy parting with nearly £15k and only having a 2 hour chat with him to show for it ? I don't think so....

he kept throwing down a challenge to me when ever I asked him a difficult question, he replied with "if your not entirely confident, then don't place an order" hmm I thought a challenge worth taking him up on.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Back at the Rink

Sunday morning is normally an ice skating morning, in fact normally Saturday and Sunday mornings are for Ice Skating, but for some reason, yesterday our daughter decided she did not want to go, not sure why.So this morning first thing we asked our daughter if she wanted to go ? her reply was somewhat surprising, "I don't want to go until dad can get back on the ice.".After explaining that this could be sometime, but I would certainly sit at the edge of the ice rink and mum (my wife) would get on the ice with her, I think sometimes it can be a bit boring if none of her friends are at the ice rink, there is only so much an eight year can do one her own, being eight and having lessons, she still wants to have fun apart from practicing her newly learnt skills.

I may have explained in an earlier post that we normally go to the public session on a Sunday, but after that the ice is resurfaced and the Oxford Ice Skating club run a session for it's members between the morning public session and the afternoon public session, as it was at the Club session where I had my Recent injury, a number of the other members have been asking how I am, they have also expressed their displeasure that time the ambulance took to arrive and then the attitude of the paramedic that refused to step onto the ice rink.

When entering the ice rink this morning and paying for our daughters lesson, the cashier guessed I wasn't skating (must be the crutches that give it away), he asked how I had injured my self, I informed him it was here. "Ahh" he said "you must be the broken hip", "Yep that's me", he proceeded to inform me that the Ice rink has now changed their emergency procedures and have provided a pair if spiked over shoes, so that the paramedic's can step onto the ice in the future without fear of slipping over, apparently this has now been documented in details so there can no confusion in the future, I really hope that it is not me or my family that test this new procedure out!!, but then again this sport can be a bit dangerous so im sure it will be tested fairly soon, way before I'm back on the ice.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Sense At Last

This morning I received a call from the private section of the physiotherapy department at the Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre.

They can fit me in with an appointment next Friday 26th, at last, this looks like it might even be a proper assessment.

Although I do have to go through the spiel of what happened to me and what's been done, it's really quite worrying that so much is based around the patents non medical opinion!!

Thursday, May 18, 2006

I Don't Believe It !

off I went to see the Physiotherapist...

I followed the directions she gave me, and got my wife to drive me there, we navigated around town and took this little side road, down we went to an old courtyard, with an old cottage.

Hmm, I thought to myself, this does not look very clinical?

I wandered down a typical cottage garden path, and an elderly lady came out asking if I was looking for physiotherapy (the crutches are a give away), I say she was elderly, she was definitely retired.

Taking one look at me the first question she asked was "Can you get up stairs", luckily being confident on crutches, I could, however I was not expecting to have to dodge around a 300 year old cottage, clime a spiral staircase with high risers and narrow treads to get to the treatment room, not exactly what you expect for a physiotherapist!.

So puffed out and a bit concerned, I sat down, she took away my crutches and asked what was wrong with me, I gave her the usual information.

  • Name of consultant

  • How my injury had happened

  • What had been done to fix my injury

This is when the physiotherapist looked at me and told me that she did not feel able to treat me as she hadn't treated a broken hip for some time (if only she could have told me that yesterday on the phone).

she did however have a friend she could refer me too, I took her details, while she phone her friend to pass on my details, again I had to confirm what my injury was, who my consultant was etc.

This woman was a lovely lady, I'm sure, although I was thankful that she could not treat me, she hadn't inspired confidence so far.

so off home I went to start the process off again, a call to PPP to get a list of approved Physiotherapists, this time I asked for names of Physiotherapist that were registered at one of the oxford Hospitals, rather than a private address.

I have left a message with the Nuffield Hospital Physiotherapy department private section, to call me, hopefully they will return my call as I would rather receive my treatment at a hospital rather than someone's lounge.

meanwhile the Colleague of the retired Physiotherapist has called me, I have been honest and explained my situation and preference to be treated at a proper clinic, not wishing to burn my bridges I have left it so that if I don't get a call from the Nuffield, I will call her back.

About Me

This is my first attempt at blogging, so you may need to be a bit patent with me.

I am an IT professional, working in IT for most of my Working career in one form or another, I currently work for a company in Oxfordshire, where I run the IT department.

My job has for a long time been technically "Hands off", although I do try to keep my own personal skills and technical knowledge up-to date by running my own network at home.

I also do crazy thinks like setting up a mail server, running this blog site and the occasional website development for close friends and family, on occasions I may even host their email and web sites for them, of course this allows me to keep technically aware, a useful part of my own career.

At home, I am pretty much a family man, I am married with one daughter aged 8 years old (at time of writing).

I have been married for 10 years and I am very happy, we are a typical family living in the south east of England, life is a struggle and we pay far too much tax etc.

About my blog

Although I am a great fan of the internet, I am also very aware that some of the people that use it are not as pleasant as we would all like, therefore you will notice in my blog that I will not publish any personal photo's or names of anyone related to me, therefore the only people who may recognise them will already be close friends.

Feel free to comment on my blogs, I will try to keep them as factual and humorous as possible.

feel free to comment on my blog by participating in the Poll


Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Select a Physiotherapist!

I am now on the search for a Physiotherapist, I have called PPP and asked them for a list of approved names, they give me three to start with, the first two I call have no answer, or I get the option to leave a message with the BT 157 answer service?

this sounds like a private residence to me? but if its approved it must be ok.

The third number I call answer, I duly describe my injury, and arrange an appointment for the 18th May, I then describe my injury again (maybe she forgot).

Now all I have to do is call PPP to inform them of my selected Physiotherapist, and leave a message on my consultants answer machine (I know the phone wont be answered).

More confusion

While on ward 3a at the JR hospital, although I had expressed a wish to be treated privately, all seemed to go through the NHS.

This was ok at the time, however as I was finally transferred to private care at the last minute, all of my future treatment has been arranged on the NHS, I would actually prefer (as I pay for it) for my treatment to be private.

This means I have to try and get hold of my consultant and confirm a few things, this has taken 2 days. what I need to confirming is the following:

  • should I seek private physiotherapy or take physiotherapy on the NHS (I have had experience of this before and was not overly impressed)

  • which appoints should I keep and which should I cancel ?

  • Although I have been signed off work for 6 weeks, bearing in mind I have a desk job, can I work part time ?

Well the Physiotherapy question is fairly simple, all I have to do is cancel any NHS appointments, call PPP and get a list of approved physiotherapists, then make a few calls, inform everybody of the chosen physio and start the treatment.

In terms of appointments, that's too difficult to solve over the phone, when I see my consultant for x-rays in a couple of weeks, I'll take all appointment cards and ask him which I honour and which I cancel.

The working question was fairly straight forward, the answer is yes as long as I don't drive, put any weight on my leg or do anything that could affect my injury, this is more about being sensible than anything else.

I have a very good working relationship with my boss, and have agreed to work what I feel comfortable with, no one wants to take any risks, so I will work from home where possible and visit the office once or twice a week, providing I can get a lift in etc.

Friday, May 12, 2006

The day to go home

So Thursday has arrived, I had a much better night's rest last night up here on ward 5C.

When the consultant came round this morning he gave me the option of going home if I felt comfortable, or staying in hospital for a further day.

I opted to go home, I had had enough of hospitals by now and all I wanted was some home comforts.

My wife collected me in the afternoon after doing the school run, so I had an excited daughter as well.

as we got into the car, the boot decided it would not close, so we had to drive back from oxford with the boot open, luckily the boot lid is heavy enough to hold it down even on he bumpiest roads.

a quick call to the fleet management company and that will be sorted, the car is due for a service next week anyway.

I left the hospital with a bag full of drugs, a couple of dressings, a letter for my GP, a letter for the district nurse, and some confusion over the paperwork that the medical insurance company requires.

things aren't helped that much by the Philippine nurse on the ward, although very capable and very caring and obviously good at her job, it was difficult to understand what she was saying most of the time, this invariably ended up with some smiling and nodding, but in actual fact some hidden frustration.

I finally got home, it's at times like this a feel luck to have sushi wonderful family surrounding me, my wife has been an absolute angel, I could not have wished for better care and understanding.

My daughter also surprised me, for an 8 year old, she has shown remarkable empathy and consideration towards me.

I must say, she does get a buzz out of adjusting my crutches down to her size, and then flying round the house on them, only occasionally does she forget that I need them to get around :-)

Thursday, May 11, 2006

The Organiser

While I have been temporarily incapacitated, my wife has been running around trying to do all the things she normally does, look after me and arrange all the things we need to do quickly in our new home.

So far she has managed to get British Gas out to look at the heating system, they are going to remove the old boiler and fit a new one, apparently it can't go in the same place as the old one due to new legislation (the old one is vented through a chimney, and now the must be vented through an external wall).

While they are at it they are also going to sort out a couple of the problem radiators we have, including one with a leak, change the hot water tank and then insure our system for the rest of our lives.

Problem Wall Lightthe only problem we have to sort out in advance is that we have a wall light in the kitchen which just so happens to be in the exact spot where the new boiler is going to go.

The new boiler will also have a proper time clock on it.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Private or NHS

I have a benefit at work that entitles me to private medical care, although this is a benefit, I am taxed heavily for it, this is over and above the normal tax I pay as do the rest of the working population in the UK.

although I had, and my wife had expressed the wish to be treated privately, there seemed to be some resistance to this, I'm not sure where this came from, but I would have thought with the NHS in the state it's in they would be glad to get rid of me, in actual fact they were keen to discharge me, but not treat me privately.

I was a bit out of touch in hospital, relying on my wife to visit me around the school run and her own work, but she was still managing to chase up consultants, insurance companies, consultants secretaries (that never seem to return your calls) to get me transferred, she did actually find a bed in another local private hospital that was keen for me to transfer, all that was required... was to get my consultant to transfer me.

I stayed on ward 3a from the Sunday night through to the Wednesday afternoon, on Tuesday I was moved out of the side room back into a 4 bed ward.

By the Wednesday I was receiving physiotherapy, the bare minimum to ensure that I was safe to be let home, it seems to be normal practice that once you can get up and down a flight of stairs on crutches safely, you can be sent home, luckily due to an injury approx 20 years ago, I had some previous experience on crutches, and just like riding a bike, it's one of those skill you cant forget.

do by Wednesday I was ready to go home...... or was I?

it seemed that everyone was so impressed with my agility on crutches, they had overlooked that fact that the surgeon had carved a great big hole in my leg while he did his DIY on my bones.

going home on Wednesday was not out of the question as I still had an open wound. however at this point they seemed keen to transfer to a private ward and I was eventually whisked up to ward 5C.

Monday, May 8, 2006

Ward 3a

I was now on Ward 3a of the John Radcliffe Hospital.

I was hooked up to morphine on tap, a great invention when it works, during the night the alarm went off on my supply and it stopped supplying me, I had no idea what this bleeping noise was, other than the fact that it was rather annoying, I was still a bit high, but the morphine was wearing off and the pain was getting stronger, I did wonder if there was a connection between the noise and the increase in pain.

I had a few nurses walk past my side room (bearing in mind their rest room was opposite) throughout the night, all of them experienced enough to recognise the sound of failing equipment.

eventually I managed to get the attention of a nurse who looked at it agreed it was not working and then went away, about 30 mins later a more senior nurse arrived to turn of the alarm, fix the problem and return my supply of morphine back to a working condition.

Sunday, May 7, 2006

Post Op

I'm not sure what time I got out of theatre and recovery, but it was late, by the time I was put on the ward the night staff had arrived and taken over.

I work for a company that offers Private healthcare, bearing this in mind I and my wife had enquired about this in A & E and informed doctors and staff.

They didn't seem that interested though and said all that can be sorted out later.

The first night on the ward was terrible...

I had not eaten since midday, and only then a small snack, as we were at the ice skating rink, our intention was to eat well later on, this did not happen for me.

After I was placed on the ward, by now about 10 pm, one nurse asked if I would like a sandwich box as I had missed all the meals, by now I was ready to eat my pillow.

The noise on the ward was terrible, there were some very Ill geriatrics on the ward that were making sure they got the nursing staffs attention.

me however, I had this magic little button connected to me, all I had to do was press it and I got a dose of morphine, I was hungry but actually very sleepy, and on a different planet.

The nursing staff obviously felt I needed more rest and promptly moved me into one of the side rooms on the ward, here I was forgotten about until about 2 am, when I finally got my sandwich.

Some friendly faces

By now I'm back in a treatment room in A & E, every so often I see someone walk past, occasionally I think they are coming to see me, but I'm wrong.

Suddenly I hear a friendly voice, it's my wife and daughter, strangely, the recognise me by the fact that my foot is sticking out of the treatment room, and the sock is a dead giveaway.

They immediately enter and bring I smile to my face, I inform my wife of the bad news, we had both hoped my injury was a dislocation and after a few pushes, pulls tweaks and shouts of pain, I would be on my way home, however this is not the case.

Now the doctor is in, she is very friendly, and gets on well with my daughter, showing her my X-ray and explaining what's wrong, at the same time I nurse comes in and puts a needle in my hand, takes some blood and then attaches a syringe full of morphine into it, asking me to tell here when I stop feeling pain.

Now I got pretty high on that stuff, needless to say I required the whole syringe full.

the doctors started talking serious now and explained that I need surgery immediately, I was already on the list and before I knew it I was being prepared for theatre.

The explanation I had was that the fracture I incurred was at the neck of the femur, this part of the bone required a blood supply, if the blood supply is damaged, the neck will crumble in time, leaving needing a hip replacement, at my age(41) this is best avoided as I could end up having lots of them.

This is suddenly very serious and we are all hoping things go well in theatre.

My family leave now and go home to inform relatives and colleagues of my situation, meantime, I'm going down to enjoy some free drugs while it's legal!!!!

The X-Ray

A Porter came along to my treatment bay and promptly wheeled me to the X-ray department, I lay in the corridor for I while with just a sheet, a pair of boxer shorts and a sock (the nurses had missed it in their excitement).

After a short wait (the gas is wearing off a bit now) I was wheeled into the X-ray room so that I could be moved from one bed to another, this was done with expert precision and very little fuss or pain.

The Nurse taking the x-rays was very efficient, getting me in the right position, and at one point even placing a chair on the bed to rest my good leg on so she could get a clear X-ray (that's what she said anyway) from the inside of my hip.

Then the bad news....

"Its broken"

Then the really bad news

"Its broken badly"

The Nurse then explained that this was an injury common in old people, it is early to say, and not being a doctor, she was not qualified, but suspected that it would either be a screw through the bone or a prosthetic hip.

I was placed back on the original trolley and wheeled outside to wait for the friendly porter to wheel me back to A & E.

Good paramedic bad paramedic

I eventually arrived in the A & E department, by now I was cold, wet a little bit high, and shaking all over, I felt every right turn the ambulance made on the way (the bad paramedic was driving and not very well), but luckily I had good paramedic in the back with me, had it bee the other way round, I would have expected a smoother ride, but less gas.

as I was wheeled in to A & E the bad paramedic just seemed to find things to moan at, the examination compartments were too small, there was too much equipment on the wall an in the way.

I think he should really consider his career...

After a short while I saw a couple of nurses who were quick to get my wet clothes off me. this was painful, but somehow I managed to put up with it:-).

Next thing was for the doctor to send me of for an X-ray.

Oops ----- A slight Slip (or more)

Well it is inevitable I suppose.

We have all been getting on so well with our Ice skating that we wanted more, after the Sunday morning public session there is the Oxford Ice Skating Club (OXIST).

We have been umming and erring about whether to join this club or not and have got chatting to a few of the people that are in it and run it, they all seem very friendly, and the added benefit is that the Ice is not so busy during the club session.

We have decided to try the club out as guests for a few weeks and make sure that it is not too much for our daughter.

Well it was may the 7th, it was the club session (we had gone as guests), I had warmed up nicely during the public session and felt confident practicing the Dutch waltz with my wife.

We had got some help with the Dutch Waltz from a more experienced skater in the club, but we had noticed that when we skated the Novice Fox Trot, our position on the Ice was not right, so one of the other more experienced skaters offer to show us the correct position, off we went following her around the ice when......


Something had gone wrong.. My wife and I had ended up sat on the Ice, both asking if each other was ok, Im not sure how I got there?
I tried to stand up and realised that something was not right, so I immediately sat back down.

A few people gathered round to see if I was ok, and one of the Ice stewards offered first aid, I of course took up the offer.
I could see that something was not right with my left leg (obviously you may be thinking), but its position was not normal, even for my leg with it's past injuries (many years ago on a motor bike, but that's another blog).

My immediate thought was a dislocation as I was not in a huge amount of pain, anyway the Ice rink manager called for an ambulance.
In the Meantime I relaxed as much as I could on the Ice with my Wife and the Ice rink manage comforting me.

30 Minutes later the ambulance arrived, by now I was cold and shivering and stuck to the ice!, the adrenalin had worn of and the ice was luckily numbing me enough to stop me feeling any real long as I didn't move!!!

When the paramedics saw me they must of thought "heyup that stuff is slippery", I say that as one of the paramedics refused to step onto the Ice to examine me, my wife was not impressed with this and proceeded to play the protective wife and defend my right to be cared for.
The smaller (and nicer) paramedic was eventually persuaded to step onto the Ice and examine me, at this point the only diagnosis was my own, that of a possible dislocated hip.

I must be pretty convincing as everyone believed it to be the case, anyway eventually the paramedic (the nice one) aided by my wife, the ice rink manager, my own right arm and a couple of the Ice Coaches, lifted me up onto the Ice Rinks stretcher, I was then wheeled to the edge of the ice rink by one of the coaches who could skate backwards really well.

The lift up did hurt a bit, that's when I was really sure this was serious.

Next I had to be moved onto the paramedics stretcher, now I was off the ice I had the use of both paramedics to aid me, the paramedic that refused to step onto the ice kept on wanting to have a moan at the ice rink manager, who so far had only followed instructions from the ambulance service off "Don't move the patent".

Next I was in the back of the ambulance inhaling some really good gas and on my way to the John Radcliffe Hospital.

Friday, May 5, 2006

DIY General

When we bought this house we knew we were going to have to spend some money, there are a number of areas that are absolutely essential and cannot be avoided, these are

  • Double Glazing

  • Boiler & Heating system

  • Bathrooms and ensuites

  • Kitchen

  • Double Glazing

The house still has the original windows, bearing in mind the house was built in 1971 (I think) they have done pretty well so far there are no real sign of the hardwood surround rotting, but we do get a little bit of noise from outside, but as that is mainly birds singing, we cant really complain.

Boiler & heating

Old BoilerThe boiler looks like it is about 50 years older than the house ! when we bought the house they told us the system was working, although there were no guarantees for the system.

When the survey was carried out it was also clear that the house was warm so there should be no problems, but just a single look at the system showed it was in need of updating.

on the day we moved in we tried to adjust the clock timing's for when the heating came on and went off, that's when we realised that the time clock just spun around... Time Clock Just spins roundyep we had to have all or nothing heating...

Bathrooms and ensuites

These were definitely dated, although they were unsightly and fashionable a long time ago, they are functional and therefore worthy of being put somewhere near the bottom of the priority list.


The kitchen is a very nice Schreiber kitchen, when I say nice I meant that in the sense that it probably was nice in the 80's, but now it is dated and in need of replacement, again apart from the cooker it is functional and can therefore wait a while.