A Minor Operation*

Seem to have survived The Operation.  Am sitting up in my hospital bed.  On pressing a button, the back of the bed cranks up to a vertical position.  So, am comfortable.  The panther sprawls across my legs.  Everything else in the room is white, except him: white walls, white sheets, white window frames and even a white ceiling.  It is calm and peaceful here.  My fan is on, blowing a gentle breeze through the panther’s fur.  Stroking the soft back of his neck, I sip my water.

The television appears to have hundreds of channels, but despite this, all can find to watch is:

  • Yes, Minister – watching this now.
  • Top Gear
  • Frasier – watch this all morning.
  • The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – have just caught The Naval Treaty.
  • Come Dine With Me – have watched a few episodes.
  • Wild Wales – a series about – you guessed it – the wildlife to be found in Wales, presented by Iolo Williams.  Just waiting for this to come on after Yes, Minister.


1.  Tummy pains – from constipation due to the morphine.

2.  Bits of pain around chest where expanders have been exchanged for implants.

The morphine and tramadol are keeping the pain down though, which is good.

Have just done my Body Scan and tried, and failed to sleep.

Have two drains: one on each side, so the bottles sit in plastic bags on the floor at either side of my bed.

Will write more tomorrow.  Am very sleepy.

The attached photo is the brave fluffy monster at the veterinary hospital the other day.

Happy Wednesday everyone!
*1937.  By Alfred Walter Stewart writing as J.J. Connington.  Murder mystery novel.

Fudge Cupcake Murder*

Scribbling this from my hospital bed at 7.35am.  Ray is here to keep me company – see photo above and attached photo.

Here are some knitted cakes.  Met them in a shop yesterday called Sugar to Tea.  It’s near my Spin studio at the farm.

Mum sits in a chair next to my bed, still working on The Times Bank Holiday Jumbo crossword.  The panther lies across my legs on the bed.  Stroking his head, I gaze out of the window at the sunlight falling on the leaves, which are turning yellow.

Can hear the rumble of cars on the distant road, and the buzz of hoovering in the corridor outside my room.  Have already put on my Hospital Pants.

Think Mum will take my phone away when I go in to the operating theatre, so this is my last chance to scribble something before The Operation.

Happy Tuesday everyone!
*2004.  By Joanna Fluke.  Book Five in the Hannah Swenson series of cozy culinary mystery novels.

Taken At The Flood*

1.  Push self hard at 2 Hour Bank Holiday Spinathon.  Show you my graph:

There are some bits of lower-effort but they are at the start, end and middle.  Am able to push self throughout the two hours.  Burn 1144 calories.  Outfit photo attached.

2.  Have packed a little suitcase for hospital containing:

  • Various medications.
  • Several pairs of socks.
  • A few pairs of pants.
  • Sleepwear.
  • Books 2 and 3 of The Balkan Trilogy By Olivia Manning.
  • Shampoo, facial wash, toothbrush, toothpaste.
  • Dressing gown.

Will pack phone and phone charger at the last minute.

3.  Have removed Minx foil wraps from toes and removed nail polish from fingers.  Just sitting with Mum and the panther in the garden for the last time.  Mum is working on The Times Bank Holiday Jumbo Crossword.  The panther is stretched out on the swinging bench, his paws and tail dangling over the edges of the wood.

4.  It’s 6.02pm.  We are catching the last rays of the sun.  Tomorrow at six thirty in the morning we set off for hospital and my Operation.

Happy Monday everyone!
*1948.  By Agatha Christie.  Hercule Poirot detective novel.

The Dead Zone*


1.  Terrible headache.

2.  Muscle pains in arms from weights earlier in the week – so that’s good.

3.  Pain at site of expander port just above ribs – not good, but soon – on Tuesday – the expander and its troublesome port will be gone forever.

Push self hard at Spin this morning.  Show you my effort graph: 

It shows an average of 79% effort, but it’s mainly in the 80% range – the yellow section.  It’s just the messing about before class starts that brings the average effort level down.  Anyway: this morning’s class is a tough fifty minute one, to prepare us for the two hour Bank Holiday Special tomorrow.  So am looking forward to that.  Today’s Spin outfit photo is attached.

Dad is dozing in his chair.  Mum sits near me on the sofa, reading The Sunday Times Style section.  The fluffy monster lies on the carpet behind us.  Here he is:

The panther lies on the sofa next to me.  He is grooming himself: rasping his flank with his rough tongue.

Had better go and make The Omelette: the parentals are going out this evening and leaving me to fend for myself.

Happy Sunday everyone!
*1979.  By Stephen King.  Supernatural thriller with a headache theme…

Cut Like Wound*

“So, how are things?” My psychiatrist Dr Stein says, pen poised above my notes.  He’s sitting on one side of the desk and I’m sitting on the other side.  The panther lies on the floor at my feet, tail curled round himself.

“Well,” I say.  “I’m feeling a bit better: been exercising and going to The Office and writing the blog every day and…”

“Good,” he says, scribbling in my notes.

“My mood is still low though,” I say.  “I mean, it’s come up a bit but…do you think maybe we need to up the dose of the lurasidone or…”

“When do you go in for your operation?” He says, looking at me with his piercing blue eyes.

“Tuesday,” I say.  “At seven o’clock in the morning so…”

“Well, I’m reluctant to change anything when you’re just about to have surgery,” he says.  “Let’s see how you are when you’ve had the operation. I want you to give this letter to your surgeon which says that they can call me if there are any problems or…”

“Thank you,” I say.  After my last operation my mood went very high and the hospital didn’t get in touch with him, so we don’t want that to happen again.  It was just by chance that he visited me in hospital and ended up having to prescribe extra Clonazepam as the morphine, surgery or a combination of the two had sent my mood up to a dangerous level.

In other news, the fluffy monster has a strange wound above his eye.  Look:Any idea what’s going on here?  We are flummoxed by it.  The vet has told Mum to bathe the wound with salt water, and not to bring him into the surgery unless it becomes infected.

Here he is rolling in the garden:

We’re keeping him in for the night now.

“Well he’s gobbled down a whole plate of food in about thirty seconds,” Mum says.  Let’s just hope there’s nothing wrong with him.

The attached photo is at Spin this morning.

Happy Saturday everyone!
*2012.  By Anita Nair.  Brutal psychological thriller set in Bangalore, starring Inspector Borei Gowda.

Jurassic Park*

I don’t end up having a bath at five o’clock yesterday afternoon.  Instead, I drag myself for a walk up to the park, where I photograph the dinosaurs.  Here they are:

Also encounter:

1.  Parakeets screeching overhead.

2.  The kookaburras laughing.

3.  Coatis.

4.  Lemurs.

5.  Maras.

6.  Egrets.

7.  Deer.

8.  Rheas.

9.  Eagle owls.

10.  Squirrels.

All these animals live in enclosures in the park: apart from the wild parakeets and squirrels.

Walking around the park, there are various signs of Autumn encroaching.  There are fallen leaves underfoot and the leaves on the trees are turning yellow and brown.  It’s busy in the park and as I do a little circuit of the animal enclosures, I feel the sadness of Summer ending.  The panther pads next to me on soft paws.  He seems to take a mild interest in the other animals, but realises that he can’t break into their enclosures.

This is my last walk to the park before returning to the parentals for my operation, and I feel sad that it’s the end of my summer.  Had made plans with Seb of things to do over Spring and Summer, and then of course we split up and it’s been a miserable five months since then.  Have spent the whole time with the panther.  Haven’t done anything fun.

I’m back at the parentals now and I’ve just been for a walk up to the cows.  They’ve moved to the far field again.  Here they are:

The attached photo is today’s gym outfit.  Lifted lots of weights for the last time before Tuesday’s operation.

Anyway: am determined to enjoy this Bank Holiday weekend with my parentals, brother and fluffy monster.  Have started it off by shelling the broad beans for supper.

Happy Friday everyone!
*1990.  By Michael Crichton.  Science fiction novel.  Filmed in 1993 by Steven Spielberg, starring Jeff Goldblum, Laura Dern, Sam Neill and Richard Attenborough.

Last Orders*

1.  Make it to the gym for training at 9am – see attached photo.

2.  Push self hard at training – hardly rest between sets of weights and we squeeze in a lot of different exercises so trainer is pleased with me.  It’s my last training session before the operation, and have no idea how long the recovery period will be before can return to the gym.

3.  Make and consume The Omelette at lunchtime – today’s one contains mushrooms and cauliflower.

4.  And watch another episode of Peaky Blinders.

5.  Unload the washing machine with brother’s help and hang everything up on the airer.

6.  Unload dishwasher and put away cutlery, crockery and glasses.

7.  Do Body Scan meditation.

8.  Achieve afternoon sleep.

9.  Drink big glass of lemon squash.

10.  Am sitting up in bed in the flat.  The panther sprawls across the bed next to me.  Stroking his soft head, I listen to a plane fly overhead.  It is quiet and peaceful here.  This is my last day at the flat before returning to parentals tomorrow to prepare for going into hospital early on Tuesday morning – at seven o’clock a.m, if I remember rightly from last time.

11.  Had better wash self.

12.  And water the garden.

13.  Have filled the fat ball feeder but must fill the other bird feeders and the birds’ water.

14.  It is sunny: can see blue sky through my net curtains.

15.  Next time return to the flat, will be a different person, post-operation.

16.  Tomorrow will see my fluffy monster and cuddle him all over.

Happy Thursday everyone! 
*1996.  By Graham Swift.  Booker-Prize-winning novel.  Literary fiction.

Cabbages and Crime*

Push self hard at training today.  Four sets of 150kg on the leg press, four sets of lifting 20kg bar with my chest. Various other weights too. My trainer is pleased with me and am seeing her again tomorrow for last time before The Operation.  See attached outfit photo.

Other achievements of the day include:

1.  Walk down to pay cheque into the bank after gym.

2.  Pick up some washing tablets, olive oil, dishwasher tablets and washing up liquid at the supermarket and walk home in the  27 degree heat carrying all this shopping.

3.  Make and consume The Omelette for lunch.

4.  Watch episode 2, series 3 of Peaky Blinders during lunch.

5.  Achieve Body Scan meditation.

6.  And afternoon sleep.

7.  Photograph this red cabbage in the street:

8.  Am just about to wash self and hair because it’s been a few days since last wash.

9.  Going to the cinema with brother tonight to watch The Childhood Of A Leader, which sounds fascinating.

10.  An oak tree near the flat has dropped this acorn:

Another sign that Autumn is coming…

The panther is stretched out next to me in bed, resting his head on his paws.  He’s dozing: every so often he flicks an ear or twitches his tail.

Right: had better wash and dress self and help brother make some supper.  This is a rare treat: going to the cinema in the evening.  Hope that will be able to stay awake during the film…

Happy Wednesday everyone!
*1945.  By Anne Nash.  Detective novel.

The Last Days Murder List*

It’s my last day at The Office before the operation and who-knows-how-much-time-off.  Am lying on my shawl in the little park near work.  The panther stretches out next to me, cleaning his shoulder.  He rasps his fur with his rough tongue.

When I leave the flat this morning, there are boxes in the hallway and removal men.

“What’s going on?” I say to my neighbour who’s standing there.

“We’re moving out.  To a house,” she says.

“Congratulations,” I say, feeling sad because we’ve been at the flats the same length of time.  “How long have we been here?”

“Six, seven years,” she says.  

“I’ll miss you,” I say.  “My neighbours across the garden are moving too and…”

“Are they?  I didn’t know that.  I’ll keep reading the blog,” she says.

We have a hug.  She has a husband now and a baby and it’s time for them to move on.

It’s 28 degrees in the little park but there’s a sense of the last days of summer.  Autumn is encroaching: there are conkers on the horse chestnut trees.

This is the last few days before my operation.  I’m going to enter hospital, and then leave it a different person with shiny new implants where the expanders have been.  Fingers crossed I can leave the panther behind too, and all the sadnesses of what’s been a miserable spring and Summer after my break-up with Seb.

So I think of last days and, hopefully, of new beginnings.

The attached photo is sunlight falling on the canal near The Office this morning on my way to work.

Had better return to my last afternoon of Important Work.

Happy Tuesday everyone!

*2000.  By Alice Holman.  Detective novel.

Stay Close*

I’ve spread my shawl out on the grass and I’m lying on top of it.  The panther stretches out next to me.  We’re in the little park near The Office.  Have achieved this morning’s Important Work – was even at The Office on time – and now it’s my lunch break.

Pigeons peck over the grass nearby.  There are groups of youngsters having their lunches.  A rubbish collector picks bits of garbage out of the bin with a pronged device.

“You look so fat in that dress,” the panther says, staring at me – a look of disgust in his amber eyes.

“I don’t,” I say, and actually for once I don’t look fat: the dress is navy and has ruching over the tummy.  It’s quite flattering.  Anyway: I’m lying down on my tummy.  He can’t see it.

“You make me sick,” the panther says, glaring at my arms.

It’s true: my arms aren’t as thin as they were, but I’ve started seeing my trainer again to tone them up.  I’m doing my best.  

“Why are you still here, anyway?” I say to the panther.  “You’ve been here for four months now.  That’s long enough.  You ought to be on your way by now and…”

“I like it here, with you,” the panther says, rubbing his cheek against mine.  Resting his head on his front paws, he appears to fall asleep.

The above and attached photos are Mum’s achillea in the yellow-and-orange-bed.

Had better return to my Important Work.

Happy Monday everyone!
*2012.  By Harlan Coben.  Detective thriller novel.