Sluggish

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Well my dears, I suppose it’s time to run a blog post up the pole and see if anyone salutes it. I haven’t been writing, as some of you have kindly spotted, and one reason has been that I have been feeling sluggish.

Not lethargic, although that has also been the case. Just lately I seem to have run out of energy to do more than gaze vacantly at Hugh Laurie in “House” on Netflix. I don’t mean that’s a bad thing at all. Who doesn’t love every Sherlock Holmes spin off going? At this rate I might even watch Elementary, which someone has recommended to me and in most cases her word is as good as a promise. I find her judgement in matters of televisual entertainment sound and reliable. Just – Lucy Liu; in this instance, why? To be fair that was also my friend’s initial reaction, apparently, but she said she got over it.

My other favourite Sherlock-wannabe, Dr Who, is off the air for now too so I am driven, my dears, simply driven, to Hugh. Life could be worse.

So, in summary, EBL is somewhat lethargic, and enjoys a bit of Laurie as much as a bit of Fry in a QI context. But that is another story, best saved for a Friday evening after a few glugs of Merlot.

The sluggishness though has been of an altogether different variety. I have literally felt as if I was turning into a slug; I was positively sliming around the house in a veritable misery of hayfever until recently when the British Summer broke in its traditional celebration of the start of school holidays, and we have been shivering under Arctic blasts and torrential downpours, and drinking hot chocolate huddled under chunky blankets while gazing at Hugh Laurie.

Sorry, he does keep on turning up unexpectedly. Perhaps he should play Columbo? “Just one more thing, EBL…”

Where was I? Sluggish, yes.

So there I was for several weeks, being positively glutinous. Mucus, my dears, of significant proportions from multiple outlets. Boxes of tissues threw themselves into the fray and laid down their leaves for the greater good. Sigoth protested that as we had a new carpet coming he would prefer it if I didn’t enter the living room until Autumn in order to protect our investment. He’s firm but fair on such matters.

I am in no doubt that other sufferers gave thanks to the gods of rain with me when the temperature plummeted and the heavens wept. I haven’t had a bout of hayfever this bad for some years. I’ll let the ladies into a secret; I hadn’t had a bout at all since the menopause. My dears, yet another fantastic side effect as far as I am concerned. EBL and Mature Age are Best Mates, it’s official. I’m thinking of setting up a new website: EBL4Aging.com, except people might think it was about living off roadkill and berries, which would never do.

I’ll just wait while you work that one out.

OK?

So now that I am somewhat less slimy, and my fingers aren’t skidding quite so much on the keys, I thought I would drop a line and see how the hell you all are?

Posts may continue slow for the time being as I am still waiting for my eye to be lasered into submission. I had an eye test last Friday and actually couldn’t see the board, let alone read that big letter at the top. But I should be all better on 10th August or thereabouts when they clear the membrane which has grown over the lens and I will be binocular again.

At which point I will see Hugh even more clearly.

Your homework this time is to tell me the best Sherlock Holmes, or SH-spin off, that you know.  Basil Rathbone Jeremy Brett, Dominic Bandersnatch? Dr Who, House, steam-punk crazy Robert Downey Jr? And if you don’t know any, then go away and do some research. It will be good for you.

Namaste.

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Eventfulness, thankfulness and creativeness

OK I made that last -ness up. The Rule of Threes demanded I did so, and I can only apologise for any unintended damages caused to the English language. It’s a robust little chap though, the English language, so I am sure it will recover. It’s one of the things I like about it, that you can put words in pretty much any order, or invent new ones, and still be understood. That, and the fact that loads of people in other countries have made the effort to learn it so I can relax when I go on holiday. It’s really very considerate of them.

I suppose I am fixating on language because I have been doing some Anglo-Saxon revision today. This week I have been on holiday so that obviously meant I got to rush about doing jobs instead of sitting about sunning myself. It was just as well, because there has been precious little to see of the old currant bun. Anyway today, Thursday, was the first day I was able to spend at home, so I decided it was time to break out the inks and start practising my penwomanship for a little project I have in mind. It involved cataloguing three shelves of books and sorting out the drawer under the bed before I could begin. Isn’t it always the way? I needed to find some books and they have all got themselves rather higgledly-piggledy of late, so I had to tidy up. That meant I discovered I had two copies of a book because I had forgotten I had already bought it and bought it again. So I created a spreadsheet which I can check on my phone when I am out to try and prevent me doing that again. That also led me to discover that a particular book I was looking for had gone AWOL so I ended up searching under the bed, and tidying that up too. It was two hours before I had the items I needed on the desk.

Beowulf manuscript

First page of Beowulf, from WikiCommons

Then I spent a happy hour getting all smudgy and blotting ink all over the paper and generally providing evidence that I am not really very good at calligraphy, although I certainly enjoy playing at it.

After that I thought it was time to sit down in front of the fire with my Anglo Saxon language course and refresh my memory of how the wretched thing actually works. Naturally I also messed about on Project Gutenberg finding a copy of Beowulf and downloading it to my Kindle so I can read it on the train, or rather, stare blankly at it on the train. That reminded me to pre-order the new Tolkien translation which is due out in May. Of course then I had to check my emails and figure out how to put audio files on the Kindle as well.

All of this went fairly smoothly though because of my great good fortune yesterday, which is the thankfulness part of this post.

I had an appointment at the eye clinic at the hospital because my left eye has been getting rather blurry. Last year I had cataract surgery on both eyes which resulted in the miracle of sight for the first time in my life. To celebrate I had a special ceremony where I burnt my contact lenses in a miniature Viking dragon ship on our pond.

However, back in the Autumn I noticed that I was having a bit of trouble reading sub-titles on the television, and car number plates and so on. Eventually I went to the optician who told me I needed to go back to the clinic because the membrane in my eye was growing over places it should not grow over and obscuring my sight. Yesterday I went to the clinic.

Snellen chart

They are such nice people at the clinic. They tested my eyes and I was unable to read even the letter at the top of the chart with my left eye. It was a bit of a shock. I almost started reading the furniture by mistake and wondered if I had inadvertently slipped into a Two Ronnies sketch.

After the failure of the eye test, the consultant explained to me what was happening with the aid of a little model of the eye, and that I needed laser treatment to get rid of the membrane otherwise I would lose my sight completely. Then he said if I would wait he would try and fit me in that afternoon as they were doing laser treatments that day anyway.

Sigoth and I sat and waited. The place was packed and there weren’t enough seats and I felt a bit of a fraud for taking up everyone’s time. Then I saw the man in charge, who had also performed the operation on my eyes last year. He explained it was important to do it as soon as possible and that although risky, the alternatives were not much better. Then he clamped a special lens on my eye and within ten minutes I had my vision restored. Another miracle! I was completely wiped out by it all, both emotionally and physically.

I am being cautious for the next few days as I am at quite high risk (1 in 40) of a detached retina, but hopefully I will be OK. It’s fantastic being able to see so well again; it had really crept up on me, like the frog in the pan of water.

Today as I have worked on my Anglo-Saxon writing and reading I have been untroubled by eyesight problems. As I type this post I am able to see the screen more clearly than for a long time. I have no idea why I waited so long.

I love science and medics and the miracles that are possible. I know that often we are let down by them, or they fail to live up to our expectations, or the side-effects are worse than the symptoms. But just for once it all worked out and I feel so lucky. Sometimes it can turn out OK.

I hope you have a miracle of some kind this week too, large or small. Perhaps even sight of the old currant bun – who knows?

Share your good fortune when you do to give us all a boost.

Namaste

 

To Valhalla!

Well, my dears, the festivity laden weekend has drawn to a close with a mighty flourish. Our In our closing hours of chocolyptic celebration the family has enacted a Viking ceremony to affirm the death of the Contact Lenses formerly resident on my very eyes.

Regular readers will recall as a matter of priority that I was subject to eye surgery both last year and more recently in early March to replace my biological, but inept, lenses with artificial, but effective, plastic versions in order to allow me to perceive the World of Light. This miracle having transpired, I have been settling down to what you humans call “vision” and gradually accommodating myself to waking up and being able to look at things such as the ceiling, the alarm clock and the sleepy face of Sigoth. Blessings abound.

In any case, these are the things I no longer require as part of my daily routine.

collection of contact lens paraphernalia

It seemed only appropriate to gather as many of the family as possible to recognise the importance of this moment, and to usher in the new world of visual competence awaiting me. A holiday weekend provided the opportunity and the weather relented on Monday afternoon to enable us to hold the ceremony in a traditionally biting easterly wind, blowing directly from the Viking homeland across the North Sea to the Yorkshire coast and then roaring inland towards EBL Towers.

Sigoth constructed a Dragon Ship to carry the lenses to the Halls of Valhalla, for they have striven mightily in the battle to reveal the world in its true colours over the years. Their achievements equalled those of the greatest warriors in piercing the gloom of myopia and the mists of shortsightedness, and we shall remember them with honour.

Dragon Ship model

Here is the proud vessel in all its glory.

I’m not sure why it has oars, but never mind.

We loaded it with fuel and took it to the water’s edge.

 

Ship by the pond

The Offspringses beg to inform you that they rolled their eyes but I am also pleased to say they played along, indulging their poor old mum and standing in the Arctic blast to watch the ship burn and start to sink in the icy wastes of the pond in the back garden.

 

Burning ship

It is the firm belief, and certain testimony, of the management that no lives were harmed during this funereal occasion, including any pond life; we removed the ship before it could cause any negative environmental consequences, and took it indoors to finish burning in the fireplace (once it has dried off enough from becoming waterlogged)..

And so we sent the plastic heroes to the Mead Hall to drink with the mighty Fallen, and we went back inside, shivering from cold, and ate a feast worthy of Odin: chocolate muffins and Yorkshire tea.

I hope your holidays were as mighty in their own way.

Namaste.

Daily Prompt: Playlist of the Week

Tell us how your week went by putting together a playlist of  five songs that represent it.

Well my dears, I haven’t had time to tell you about my week, which included a cataract operation, a decision on The Project and Mother’s day dinner with my mother. So obviously the Daily Prompt felt that it needed to remind me to do so.

Fit the First:

On Wednesday I went across to Head Office in Leeds ahead of my operation because I knew I would have to avoid travelling for some time after it. The train was, as ever, crowded and a little late. It is ever thus.

That was not what was on my mind though. I was thinking about how we actually need another stop, like we used to have, to help all the harried commuters who live on the outskirts of York at Wigginton and Haxby. Every now and then they talk about restoring the station at Haxby which was torn out during the Beeching Evisceration of the railways on the 1960s. Flanders and Swann wrote a song about it at the time, called “Slow Train”. It’s very sad and sweet, rather different from most of their songs.

No-one departs, no-one arrives,
From Selby to Goole,
From St. Erth to St. Ives,
They all passed out of our lives

Fit the Second:

On Thursday I went to hospital for the cataract operation, the second of the two. Being Britain this was done under the auspices of the NHS, which meant I had a long wait between eye one and eye two, and then sat in a dingy room with five beds which was designed for four beds, surrounded by curtains which had a cheerful logo on about “Clean Hands Saves Lives” . The logo bothered me. I’m sure it should have said “Clean Hands Save Lives” but I suppose grammar has been cut to make savings. Sigoth couldn’t wait with me because there was no room for visitors so he went into town for the afternoon and came back about tea time to collect me.

In another bed an 85 year old woman was being sent home to manage on her own. She was blind, although the surgeon hoped to have given her some sight back, but she had no one with her. She will have to manage eye drops for four weeks. Eye drops are tricky beasts to wrangle. I dread to think what it is like to do them when you are 85 and mostly blind. Social care is also being cut along with grammar and ethics.

The surgeon was a delightful Dutch gentleman, fairly young and rather stressed because the 85 year old had blood pressure above 200 and he needed to operate on her first so she could get home before the transport system stopped at 5.30. Transport has been cut so it only runs during office hours regardless of what time you wake up from anaesthetics.

He gazed at me and said “Amazing! I’ve never seen anyone with Minus 24 before!” He was referring to my eyesight, in case you were wondering. I am used to it. It’s why I am having surgery. What it means is that they all pay attention and do a good job because it interests them.

They gave me a general anaesthetic and when I woke up the eye patch I was wearing made things a bit blurry, but I could see the surgeon smiling. Cue Jimmy Cliff and God Bless the NHS!

I can see clearly now the rain is gone
I can see all obstacles in my way
Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind
It’s gonna be a bright (bright) bright (bright) sunshinin’ day

Fit the Third:

On Saturday I woke up, took off the eye patch and I could see. I could read the clock. I could see the knots in the ceiling beams. I could read the crossword clues to Sigoth. I could see the pattern on the curtains and on the duvet cover, and the veins in my hand. I could see the photos on the wall and the dust on the dressing table and the shadows to eh birds against the curtains as they flew past the window.

Really, I love science, and I love medicine and I loved that consultant for taking time out ina  really busy afternoon to run through the formula for the lens change three times to make sure he got he it as good as he could.

I have to praise you
I have to praise you like I should

Fit the Fourth:

On Sunday it was Mothers’ Day and we took my mother to the local pub for Sunday lunch. She enjoyed herself but couldn’t remember where we were going for the less than one minute drive (it less than ¼ mile from the house) or read the menu. She had fun though and I let her have a Knickerbocker Glory despite the diabetes.

We’ll build the world of our own that no one else can share
All our sorrows will leave far behind the stairs
And I know you will find there’ll be peace of mind
And we’ll live in a world of our own

Fit the Fifth:

Later on Sunday the Offspring who loves locally decided not to call me, but came over instead with a beautiful card. I was able to read it and I was so happy to see her and get the card and to Skype other Offspringses and I felt so blessed.

It was a cold day with snow on the wind. The weather forecast was grim so we stayed inside and lit a fire and drank tea. We have a song we sing when it’s cold. We nicked the tune from Lennon & Macca.

All you need is gloves!” we carol. “Gloves is all you need!

Epilogue

I haven’t even mentioned that I rang into a tele-conference on Friday to approve go ahead for The Project, so was feeling very chipper about that too.But I did. It’s been an amazing few days.

Next Wednesday I am back at the hospital to have a suture removed. They might need an entire opera for that.

Namaste.

Operation

I finally received an appointment for the second cataract operation.

Previously on ElectronicBagLady’s Blog….In case you don’t recall, or missed the first one, I am between operations to replace the lenses in my eyes. I don’t have fully formed cataracts yet, but I am myopic (“pathological myopia”, they told me) to an extreme level, so much so that the optician can no longer correct the problem fully. So they are giving me new plastic lenses in the eyes which should correct the vision and also prevent the further development of cataracts (they are beginning to form). The first operation in October was very successful but in the interim I have been suffering headaches and vertigo and nausea from having one eye very slightly long sighted, and the other so short sighted it’s almost looking behind me. And now the story continues…

There was a great deal of fuss involved in sorting out how to get to and from the hospital (not that easy from where I live), arranging the pre-op assessment (again a whole day to get there and back for a five minute MRSA swab – annoying but necessary) and many colleagues to calm down because it will be a week before Project Go Live and about 24 hours after I sign off Go Live, assuming that I do, in fact, sign off Go Live.

Well, that was all gobbledegook, wasn’t it? In English then, I will be going in for an operation at a Very Awkward Moment for everyone at work. However, being a Project Manager of some competence, I had recorded the possibility in the Risk Log and we all had agreed what to do if it happened (which is what a risk is). So there was no excuse when I held everyone to account, looked them in the eye down the phone line and said, “So you know what to do, right?”

Bless their hearts, they did. After the initial shock everyone admitted they might be able to manage, which soothed my ego nicely. I am sure they are cheering really because I have been so neurotic over the last few weeks they will be glad to get rid of me. The other item in our favour was that we finally signed off the documentation yesterday, by which I mean the planning documents, policies, joint procedures and so on, and have more or less finished running the Disaster Scenario tests.

Oh my dears, I will be so pleased to have this operation over. I hope the second eye will be as successful as the first (although it’s a different surgeon so I am a little nervous). They had said the wait would be 6-10 weeks, and that was a few months ago. God bless the NHS and all who sail in her, but they are lousy at timing, although in this case it has worked out better for my work life, even if it has meant a period of nausea and vertigo which was longer than hoped.

I don’t really have much to say tonight; I just wanted to share with you about the operation, and to say I am not sure if I will be able to see well enough to post for a while. If I do, I pray you will indulge the many typing errors (as opposed to the hopefully lower number that slip through during normal service).

I can’t touch-type. I wish I could now, but when I was more nimble pf brain and finger, my school took the attitude that we girls should not learn to type because that was what less academic girls did in order to become typists. We were destined to do greater things, attend university and marry well so we could entertain our husband’s business colleagues amusingly and intelligently. That was why girls went to university, don’cha know?

It didn’t work out. I fear I have let Sigoth down terribly. I am most ashamed. If he ever brought captains of industry home for supper, I shudder to think what would happen. Much would depend on their conversational ability, and the level of casual –ism of choice (racism, sexism, homophobia, which is an –ism really, or their position on hanging, which will have some –isms attached somewhere, probably by a reef knot).

On the other hand, if I bring home strays from work, as I used to do back in the day when we didn’t live in Ultima Thule, Sigoth can whip up demon veggie lasagne and we have a right good laugh. Even that time I invited my boss, we forgot he was coming and ate everything before he arrived. He enjoyed his Indian takeaway very much though so I think we got away with it.

Namaste.

NaNoWriMo Day 17 – looking back in relief

Well, my dears, how was your Saturday? Mine was pretty good, thanks.

You may have gathered from yesterday’s post that I picked up my reading glasses? What a difference it makes to be able to see when you’re typing. I had a very productive afternoon’s wordsmithing while Sigoth deconstructed a wardrobe. 2908 victories, my Friends, 2908 little combinations of letters into recognisable meaning. I can’t comment about the meta-meaning of the sentences, but nevertheless, a victory was achieved.

In preparation for this Herculean task (OK, I know it’s not that impressive really, but the past couple of days have been a bit lacking in wordage) Sigoth and I went into town to collect the aforementioned glasses, drop off clutter in the charity shop, acquire fresh clutter from the charity shop, drop Offspring back in town, and purchase a new duvet ready for Christmas visitors. Then we had lunch.

Then the writing. Oh the writing-ness of a Saturday afternoon in November. It is a thing of joy and delight when the words do flow. I had been hesitating with the later scenes, as I have mentioned, but the introduction of a couple of competent police officers with a fast car soon restored law and order, and we proceeded in a more orderly fashion to the next stage.

Sigoth dismantled the wardrobe in Moved-to-new-home Offspring’s former room so that I can turn it into an office. Today we aim to re-route the broadband, move the desk and devices upstairs and generally make it possible for me to log on to the office system tomorrow morning. What could possibly go wrong? It’s only technology. Oh, wait, that’s what could go wrong…

I interrupted my authorial endeavours to help transfer the wardrobe carcass and a small desk into the loft. We had tea, because that is what you do when you have had a successful afternoon, then I knocked out a few more words before dinner.

Enough is enough, people, do you want my fingers to bleed? I watched television. My former infatuation with Sarah Lund is rekindled. For the next few weeks, make sure you do not call while “The Killing” is on, unless you enjoy talking to answerphones.

I hope your weekend is productive, and / or joyful, and the words rain down like mercy from heaven upon the page beneath.

NaNoWriMo Day 16 – looking back in blankness

Day 16 was the day I wrote no novel words at all.

It was fine. I expected it. I had to leave home early to get to Leeds, travelled back late, then was out in the evening and had an Offspring turn up for a visit. These are all good things (even the work which means I get money every now and then to pay for my Internet connection and tea bags).

I barely even thought about the novel in fact. I just felt tired. I had planned to try a little writing on the train home, but the train was completely rammed. There were Friday evening body parts in your face all the way to York, after which just breathing was enough excitement.

The weekend looms ahead now with many tasks to accomplish but I remain optimistic. My main leisure activity will be watching “The Killing III” tonight. I’m a bit in love with Sarah Lund, as are a number of people I know. My reading glasses have arrived just in time to let me manage the sub-titles easily too, so it could not have been better if I had planned it.

I have the last few plot steps to finish in the story, and then it will about putting it into order, and working out where there are gaps. So I may be doing quite a lot of reading. With the reading glasses. Did I mention them? OK, sorry….but I’m really excited because I got one of those little cords to put on the frames as well so I can wear them round my neck. Honestly, I feel like I’ve won the Lottery or something. I would like to think it’s endearing, but it’s pretty daft!

Actually that image is not quite true as I have to wear the contact lens in my right eye until that is operated on. But what the hell, let’s look forwards, not backwards! There are two glasses cases because at minus 24, I have to wear glasses on top of my contact lenses….

It’s hard to write about murder and intrigue when I’m feeling like a firework display or glass of bubbly inside. I start to plan out what to write and my brain suddenly veers off and notices that the distance is fuzzy with the glasses on, and sharp with them off, which is, like, totally the opposite of normal! Or I become intrigued to read the small print in the TV Guide about what’s on, even though I have no intention of watching it. Or I spend five minutes positioning my glasses on my nose so I can look over the top of the frame.

I am definitely going to buy those half-moon style frames when I finally buy new glasses. I always wanted them when I was little because I wanted to be a Librarian.

Now I just want to be Dumbledore.

Friends, that’s the state of my brain today. I am not expecting great progress.

I hope your weekend is successful and your words fly onto the page.