Black Friday 2017

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For most of the population, Black Friday is that time of year to grab a bargain somewhere. For me, this year’s event was where something grabbed me! It was the culmination of a really bad week, health-wise – and I’m hardly ever ill!

Somehow, I’d picked up a bug that came out during our Brighton trip trip last weekend and over the week that followed, it just got worse.. and worse… and worse I ended up cancelling my two Classes on Monday and Tuesday due to what seemed to be a chest infection with added cold symptoms – lovely!

I also had to postpone my twice-yearly get-together with Alison on Thursday. I just about managed to stagger out to Derngate on Thursday evening to see Rob Brydon and ironically, Rob had a really bad cold too!

By Friday, I was feeling a bit better and we were therefore able to keep our date with Bev and Denis for lunch. Bev noticed my cough as it sounded like I’d been smoking 50-a-day!

By Saturday, I still wasn’t feeling brilliant, but I had a long-standing appointment at my old school’s reunion in London. I was now feeling a bit better, however, just five minutes into the event, during my first conversation, I felt my voice breaking. So, perhaps I hadn’t recovered as much as I thought!

I lasted about two-hours before I could feel that my voice was turning ‘super-squeaky’ and consequently every chance of losing it all together (I’ve had these symptoms before), so, I made my excuses and left.

Sunday came and went and luckily, by then, I was genuinely feeling very much better. I still had my cough, and I still had some mild cold symptoms, but I simply couldn’t cancel another set of Classes otherwise that would have put the Group seriously behind.

Luckily, I slept well, and by Monday, I was more-or-less ready to get back to the normal routine. In the days that followed, I was still a bit husky, but I think, at least the fever had gone!

I HATE BEING ILL!!! It makes you soooo unproductive!

Heaven Stent

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Today, Denis went in for his scheduled NHS stop-over that included a two stents and the rather tongue-twisty rotablation procedure. All being well, he’ll be discharged on Christmas Eve, and so we’ll go to his for Christmas Day, having prepared him a full Christmas Lunch wrapped in foil!

Roger’s 50th – Tosca

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Just occasionally we do ‘posh’ – and tonight was one of those occasions.

The Royal Opera House

With DJs and posh frocks on the outside and Sudafed and Strepsils (for Ann and me ) on the inside, we set off for the Royal Opera House to celebrate Roger’s 50th. After our quick change of clothes, we headed for Stevenage station and the luxury of a first-class seat into London. 

It was all a big secret and all Roger knew was that he had to wear black-tie and we’d be heading into London. What he didn’t yet know was that we were heading for the opening night of Tosca. We were also going to treat him to a meal in the ROH’s restaurant (where they serve your meal prior to the opera and continue serving desserts and coffees during the various intervals) – a simple concept, that makes the best use of time.

A view from our table in the restaurant

The Royal Opera House
Another view from our table in the restaurant

Nearly time for curtain-up!

After our meal we headed to our seats, slightly to the right and to the back of the auditorium. If there’s still a recession on, then someone needs to tell the ROH! – the place was packed by 7.30  with not one single empty seat in the house. And with tickets starting at around £100, it was going to be a good night for the accountants!

I wouldn’t put myself down as an opera buff, but I do like a good tune – and of the three acts, the aria in Act II was probably the most memorable. The storyline was pretty similar to most other operas – love, lust, anger, betrayal, blood, power and death –  and you just knew from the moment the Opera began, things weren’t going to turn out well for the main characters. Three hours and three gallons of tears later, both main characters were dead and so was the main bad-guy!

Tosca makes EastEnders look like The One Show! (and you probably won’t see that comment anywhere else on the ‘net!)

And then it was back to reality with a bang as once the curtain was down and the obligatory ‘bravos’ were shouted, everyone then headed for the cloakroom to retrieve their coats. The ROH may be posh, but the retrieval process for the coats looked and felt more like a rugby scrum on a bad day (albeit a very well-dressed bad-day!) – there may have been a queuing system, but it was hard to tell! I didn’t help the process by losing the coat token (only to find later that Jane had it!) Doh!

It was then a quick taxi-ride back to Kings Cross and then onto the train taking us back to Stevenage. The first-class carriage was as cramped as when we travelled in earlier – just 12 seats. The added free entertainment was that two guys and a gal (sensing that no-one would check their tickets) piled into first class and made themselves comfortable. One of the guys was clearly off-his-face, proudly announcing how much he’d drunk to his friends whilst totting up how many burgers he’s had so far that evening (apparently, five!). Call me an old fuddy-duddy (I am), but his language was pretty objectionable – ‘f’ this, woven in with the occasional ‘c’ word – disgusting! (Maybe I should take the train to Tunbridge Wells instead!!!).

Of course, being typically Brits, we tutted – and did nothing!

By now, the bug I’d picked up earlier in the week was winning, and I was feeling pretty rough. It may have been the medication I was on, but I really did have some uncharitable thoughts about our burger-friend including hoping that he could get a part in Tosca –  preferably as one of the main characters!

As soon as we got back to Roger and Jane’s, it was a quick drink and then off to bed, rattling with medication.

It’s been a great night for Roger’s 50th – I just wish I’d been firing on more than one cylinder. The Opera was very enjoyable – although not my personal favourite, it had its moments and more importantly, it had been a night to remember for Roger!


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Those that know me, know that I don’t ‘do’ illness – it’s such a waste of time!
Well, I’ve picked up bug sometime in the past week that has now absolutely crippled me! I’ve got a cough that sounds like I’m on 50 Navy Cut a day; aches and pains all over – arms, legs, head, ears and teeth – and if that’s not enough, last night I had the worst night’s sleep I’ve think I’ve ever had. My head feels like someone has filled it with cotton wool and I’m running a temperature that alternates with the shivers! That croaky voice yesterday was obviously the first sign, but what’s caught me out is that it all seems to have developed so quickly – this time yesterday, I was fine, today I feel worse that awful.
Sick smile

Spookily, Ann seems to have caught the same bug – and we’ve been apart for four days!

None of this is particularly good timing as we have Roger’s 50th Birthday celebration this weekend in London, and we’ve been really looking forward to it – Currently I just want to go to sleep!

I’ve painted a big ‘X’ on the front door to keep people way!

Nails, Nibbles and Nice Friends

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Not long to go...   



The Mayor arrives.... 


Any colour you like...

Custom built seating...

The official opening...

We’re now both getting over our respective colds, so it was good to be able to get out for some fresh air and catch-up with friends.

First stop was into town and the newly renovated and pedestrianised Market Street. Boy, it’s changed round here since I last looked – in about 2002!!!!! All very impressive. Why Market Street? well, Rosi and Avril have started a business – Upmarket Nails.

When we arrived, they were busy titivating and entertaining the small (but growing) crowd of friends and relations awaiting the official opening. All the gang were there – Tom, Julie, Paul, Karen, John, Trish and Stella and many others. Rosi and Avril had also thoughtfully arranged nibbles courtesy of the very short walk to the Cafe opposite, which we took advantage of after a quick tour round their new establishment. 

The Mayor arrived and after a suitable witty speech declared Upmarket Nails officially open.

We then headed back to the Cafe and sampled some more of the nibbles. It’s a small world and we ran into Bob, who had done a lot of carpentry for us when we first moved in – he’d been heavily involved in building the seating and other storage areas for their new business and it was good to catch-up, as we haven’t seen him for quite a few years.

Waiting for Jane and Mick 

Then it was off to The Oundle Mill, to meet up with Jane and Mick.

My Starter - fish cakes






We’d last been there in January and were really impressed with everything on offer. Luckily, nothing had changed and food and service were absolutely superb! It’s quite expensive to eat there (but well worth it!). Definitely a place to visit if you fancy something a little more upmarket and special!

We got home around 10 – stuffed!!!


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No! Absolutely not!!! But whatever it is, I’ve got it!

Normally, I can shake off a cold quicker than you can say ‘paracetemol’, but this one is proving really difficult to shift. It started last week with just a tickly throat and there were no associated aches and pains with only a short period where I ran a temperature. I did all the right stuff – drank plenty and took a few tablets, so, ‘good’ I thought, ‘it’s sorted’ – only to find that a day later, I began to lose my voice.

As a result, we had to cancel a number of social events – and that made me feel even worse!

For the days that followed, I was croaking away like like Mr Toad. If that wasn’t enough, I wasn’t sleeping too well either – a perfect combination for being grouchy and croaky at the same time! I’m not a nice person to be around when I’m ill!

The bug’s timing was perfect (NOT!!!) as I was in the middle of designing some new training materials and also trying to plan my speech for a largish presentation this Friday coming.

Motivated? errr, no!

After a serious coughing fit in the middle of the night and popping a few sinus tablets, today was the first day for a while, where I felt it might be on its way out.

My nose still feels like someone’s filled it with cement, and my voice would be a good competitor to Barry White’s, but at least I feel more motivated to do some work.

I HATE being ill – it’s such a waste of time!!!

Mum’s Progress

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We are now experts in form filling and completion!

Completed ‘Application for Higher Level of Attendance Allowance’ form (29 pages) – check

Completed ‘Application to Register a Lasting Power of Attorney – Property and Financial’ form (14 pages) – check

Completed ‘Application to Register a Lasting Power of Attorney – Health and Welfare’ form (14 pages) – check

Completed ‘Lasting Power of Attorney Form – Property and Financial’ form (11 pages) – check

Completed ‘Lasting Power of Attorney Form – Health and Welfare’ form (12 pages) – check

Jar of Writers’ Cramp Cream – check

New packet of pens – check

Headache Pills – check

Lie down in a darkened room – check