The Adventure Of The Musgrave Ritual*

“Not in my arm,” I say to the doctor as I arrive at the front of the queue.  “I’ve had all my nodes out so…you know: I don’t want lymphodoema…in my leg please.”  Lifting up my skirt, I expose my left thigh.

“Oh, OK, sure,” the doctor says, plunging the needle into my leg and then throwing the syringe into a bin.  “All done.”  He smiles.  Don’t recognise him: he must be a new one.  

Following the line of octogenarians, I wait outside for Dad.  We’re at the GP surgery with all the other at-risk-people for our yearly flu jabs: basically a hundred pensioners and me.

“Can’t believe we’ve got to walk home as well now,” Dad says, holding a cottonwool ball to his injection site, carrying his sweater and coat.

“Here, let me hold your coat,” I say, as Dad struggles to put on his jumper.

We amble home.  It’s good to have some human company on my walk for once.  The panther stalks down the road beside us, keeping close to me, padding on huge paws.

Achievements of the day include: 

1.  Push self hard at Spin – see graph.  Manage an average effort of 78% with a lot of time in the 80s:

Outfit photo attached.

2.  Pick up some prescriptions from chemist and request some more.  Am on so many meds at the moment.

3.  Watch The Musgrave Ritual with parentals.

4.  Walk to and from the doctor – 40 minutes.

5.  Body scan and rest although can’t sleep.

6.  Walk twice round the block – 30 minutes.

7.  See a thrush on my walk.

Am feeling a bit better now that am back with the parentals and my fluffy monster, so that’s good.

Happy Tuesday everyone!
*1893.  By Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Sherlock Holmes detective story, first published in the Strand magazine and later in The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes.

Friends And Heroes*

Have just been for a walk with Mr Fluffypants for 40 minutes.  Now we are relaxing in front of Bloodline series 2, Episode 6 – or “Part 19” as the series calls it.  

Look how fluffy he is.  Really have to drag self out on the street and throughout our 40 minute trek.  Legs feel so tired – partly due to leg press yesterday and partly due to wearing my MBTs again for the last few days.  They feel heavy compared with the fit flops have been wearing all summer.

Am so tired.  The alarm goes off at 7am and can’t drag self out of bed till 7.25am.  Fortuitously, brother is able to drive me to near where Mr Fluffypants lives, so read my book Friends and Heroes in a cafe till it’s time to arrive at his house.

It’s nearly lunchtime.  The panther lies next to me on the sofa, resting his head in my lap.  Mr Fluffypants is stretched out on the floor in front of me: a canine shagpile carpet.  We’ll go for another walk after lunch.

It’s good to be here: feel that am getting a bit of my life back.  And he is the best company, of course.  Am so happy to have my canine chum and to be able to spend time with him today.

You can see us together in the attached photo.

Happy Monday everyone!
*1965.  By Olivia Manning.  Book 3 in “The Balkan Trilogy”.

The Davis Cup Conspiracy*

Waking up with a start, I sit up in bed.  Pushing the panther away, I fumble on the bedside table for my watch: 4.05pm.  

Hauling myself out of bed, dragging myself to the kitchen, I switch on the kettle.  Am so tired.  Have recorded today’s Davis Cup action so will watch some of that in a bit.

Achievements of today:

1.  Walk to gym: 15 minutes.

2.  Lift weights for 30 minutes for the first time since operation.  Have to make some of my weights lighter than before, but that’s OK.

3.  Walk home from gym: 15 minutes.

4.  Make and consume The Omelette and watch yesterday’s Davis Cup doubles.  Well done Andy and Jamie!

5.  Body Scan and sleep.

Now am going to haul self to the television and watch today’s matches.  We have to win both of them to get through to the final…

The attached photo is my gym outfit today.

Happy Sunday everyone!
*1994.  By Jack M. Bickman.  Tennis crime novel.

No Man’s Land*

Am, of course, two hours early to meet brother for the theatre, so pop into the National Gallery to see Whistlejacket – photo attached.  They seem to have given up trying to stop people photographing the paintings with their phones, which is a shame in a way as a phone photo can’t do him justice.  The horse is, in fact, larger than life size.  It’s an imposing work.  Legend has it that when Whistlejacket himself was shown his portrait he attacked it, believing it to be another stallion.

The theatre experience is far more pleasant than had been anticipating, due to the fact that brother has purchased a box.  There is plenty of room and no Other People to be squashed next to or behind.  And – our own toilet tucked away behind the box.

The play: Harold Pinter’s No Man’s Land is wonderful: stellar performances by Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart in the lead roles and great support from Owen Teale and Damien Molony.  And, sitting next to my brother in our box, I’m neither distracted nor uncomfortable.  The panther lies at my feet across the front of the box, head resting on his front paws, eyes closed.

I’m in a No Man’s Land of my own at the moment, I reflect.  Not ill enough to be in hospital and not yet well enough to return to work and looking after self.  Am having a couple of days at the flat with brother.  Now we’re watching the Davis Cup doubles recorded earlier today and thinking about supper.

Happy Saturday everyone!
*1974/5.  By Harold Pinter.  Play.

The Adventure Of The Priory School*

“There you go, fluffy monster,” I say, putting him outside.  It’s been raining all day and he’s been dozing under my chair whilst I’ve been having my afternoon sleep.  Now the rain has stopped so he can go out.

“I’m just going for a walk round the block,” I say to Dad who’s sitting in his chair.

Outside, the air smells damp.  There are fallen pine needles at the side of the road.  Really don’t feel like this walk, but push myself.  It’s the double-walk-round-the-block today as all the rain will have made it muddy up by the cows.  

Passing a blackbird and two wood pigeons, I try to pick up the pace – it may well start raining again.  The panther lopes down the street by my side on huge paws.  

Sometimes I wonder if there’s any point in these little rituals I do to pass the days.  My mood seems to have dropped even further.  And yet all I can do is continue with my coping strategies: exercise and writing this blog.  Without them: time stretches out – a featureless mass.  I miss Seb, I think.  I still miss him So Much.

Achievements of the day include:

1.  Push self hard at Spin – see attached outfit photo.

2.  Wash self and Spin clothes.

3.  Body Scan and afternoon sleep.

4.  Watch The Priory School with parentals.

5.  Shell the peas and broad beans.

Am writing this in my bedroom on the new wifi extension.

Happy Friday everyone!
*1904.  By Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Short story published in the collection The Return of Sherlock Holmes.  Concerns a missing bicycle…

Broken Trust*

Really don’t feel like walking up to see the cows at 4pm.  It’s 25 degrees and cloudy and the air feels heavy, as do my legs after Spin for three days running, after two weeks off.  But drag self out of the house and to the fields.  The panther lopes down the road next to me, staying close to me.

When we arrive, the cows are at the back of the first field.  Show you:

It’s a relief not to have to walk any further.

Have just made it back home and put on the ladies’ basketball.  The Americans are beating us 81 – 61.

Other achievements of the day include:

1.  Push self hard at Spin – see attached outfit photo.

2.  See a red kite at the farm – circling over the buildings.

3.  Wash self and Spin clothes in bath and dry them in the sunshine.

4.  Watch The Empty House.

5.  Watch Emma Wiggs win Gold in the Kayak K1 KL2 200m.  Emma is the daughter of Annie who works at our farm shop.  Amazingly well done, Emma.

6.  Body Scan meditation and sleep.

7.  Succeed in charging my heart rate device for Spin.

8.  Read a bit of book – Philippa Gregory’s Three Sisters, Three Queens.

Am feeling very tired again – probably as a consequence of adding Spin back in to my routine. But must KBO – Keep Buggering On – as Winston Churchill used to say.

Mum wants you to see these gladioli:

Happy Thursday everyone!
*2008.  By Jerry Marcus.  Novel about the murder of the basketball star Jack Molinas.

The Silence Of The Lambs*

Watching Gordon Reid in the wheelchair tennis who is a set up and 4 – 1 up in the second.  The panther lies on the sofa next to me, head resting on his front paws, watching the ball bounce back and forth with his amber eyes.

Gordon breaks.  5 – 1.  He’s serving for the match but is 0 – 30 down.  Come on Gordon!  15 – 30.  Oh no!  The Frenchman has break points: 15 – 40.  He gets the break: 2 – 5.

Suddenly Gordon has three match points on the Frenchman’s serve.  He hits one into the net but hits the second past the Frenchman to win the match.  Amazingly well done Gordon!  He takes the match 7 – 5, 6 – 2.

Achievements of the day include:

1.  Push self hard at Spin – see attached photo.

2.  Watch The Final Problem with Mum and have a little cry when Sherlock Holmes disappears, presumed dead.

3.  Body Scan meditation and afternoon sleep.

4.  Finish The Spoilt City by Olivia Manning.  Now am going to read the new Philippa Gregory: Three Sisters, Three Queens.  Am looking forward to it.  During chemotherapy, Philippa Gregory was pretty much the only author I could read as her books are so gripping, absorbing and different from my life.  This one is about the relationship between Katherine of Aragon and Henry VIII’s sisters Margaret and Mary.

5.  Walk up to the cows.  Here they are:

6.  Shell the broad beans.

7.  Cuddle the fluffy monster and pick some grass seeds out of his coat.

Happy Wednesday everyone!
*1988.  By Thomas Harris.  Psychological horror thriller.  Contains fava beans…

The Adventure Of The Resident Patient*

First day back at Spin – see attached outfit photo.  Push self hard and you can see that in my graph here:

The blue is before the start of the class, and once we get going am able to stay in the 70s and even 80s.  So am pleased with self.  It feels good to be back on my bike.

Have settled down with the panther to watch a bit of Paralympics.  The panther rests his head on my lap and it’s hot to have a big cat sprawled all over me.  Stroking his soft head, I stare at the screen where they are talking about adapting the equipment for disabled athletes.

Other achievements of the day include:

1.  Bath: wash hair and self.

2.  Watch The Red Headed League with Mum, which is one of our favourite Sherlock Holmes stories.  The fluffy monster could be a member of the League in fact.  Yesterday was The Resident Patient, which describes my situation at the parental home…

3.  Body Scan meditation and two hour sleep.

4.  Walk with Mum into the village and back (45 minutes) at 4pm.  It’s 28 degrees but feels very hot.  We have to buy little bottles of San Pellegrino for the walk home.

5.  Don’t feel so horribly tired today – maybe Spin has helped my exhaustion…

Suzie is coming to see me this evening.  Haven’t seen her for weeks.  The parentals are going out.

Happy Tuesday everyone!
*1893.  By Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Short story in the cycle collected as The Memoirs Of Sherlock Holmes.

Sleep Of Death*

Just settling down in front of the wheelchair tennis.  Gordon Reid is a set up and 5 – 0 up in the second set.  The panther sprawls across the sofa, his head in my lap.  Stroking his head, I try to focus on the television screen but I’m So Tired.

Not sure if this is perhaps a side effect of starting the venlafaxine but am exhausted.  Remember when started duloxetine many years ago, went to Abbotsbury Swannery with the parentals to see the cygnets and slept all the way there and back.  Or it could just be post-operation exhaustion, or a consequence of my continuing low mood.

The Frenchman has just taken a game. 1 – 5 and then saves a match point and then it’s 2 – 5.  Come on Gordon!

Achievements of the day:

1.  Walk up to the cows – 45 minutes.  Here they are:

Meet a Samoyed up there and have a lovely white fluffy cuddle.

2.  Walk into the village: 20 minutes.

3.  Meet Mum and attend a pop-up shop where purchase a couple of items.

Gordon has just won!  Well done Gordon!  6 – 0, 6 – 2.

4.  Body Scan and sleep for 2 hours.

5.  Double walk around the block – 30 minutes.

Hope this severe exhaustion passes soon.  My legs are lead at the moment.

Happy Monday everyone!
*2000.  By Philip Gooden.  A Nick Revill murder mystery, set in Elizabethan times.

Murder At The House Of Rooster Happiness*

Sitting on the terrace with Dad and the panther, but have moved into the shade to achieve a better wifi signal.  Mum is watering the sunflowers.  

Today’s achievements include:

1.  Walk up to the cows (45 minutes).  Here they are:

2.  Trip with Mum to the garden centre to buy pansies.  We meet Roger the Rooster (see attached photo) and these cyclamen:

3.  Trip to buy diary and Akita calendar.  Show you:

4.  Body Scan meditation and long (2 hour) afternoon sleep.

5.  Double walk around the block (30 minutes).

Am looking forward to returning to Spin in a mere two days.

The panther stretches out over the terrace, cleaning his bottom: one leg thrown behind his head.

Happy Sunday everyone!
*2016.  By David Casarett.  An Ethical Chiang Mai Detective Agency novel.