Sunday Musings After A Cold Week

As the post title suggests, it has been a very cold week. When the heating failed to work on Tuesday, we tried calling a different engineer. It just so happened that he was at his mother’s house nearby, so he came round immediately. He could tell the boiler was not firing correctly, but as he had no experience of that make of boiler, he gave us another contact phone number. The second engineer actually lives at the end of our street, so agreed to come and look at the problem on his way home. He diagnosed the fault in moments, and fitted a small replacement part that solved the issue, though he did say we need the boiler system extensively serviced. As he cannot do the service at the moment, he took no money for his work or the replacement part on Tuesday, and told us to pay later.


One great thing about living in Beetley, you get to meet a lot of very honest and fair people.


Ollie’s head-shaking seems to have subsided. His appetite is huge at the moment, perhaps caused by feeling the cold. But we have to control what he eats, because he is no longer as active as he used to be.


The freezing conditions continue, but at least they come with bright sunny days and blue skies. It is forecast to climb well above freezing next week, but those slightly warmer temperatures will also bring cloud and rain.


I try not to wish my life away yearning for the longer days and brighter evenings that will come soon. Trying to find something positive about January and February is not easy though, and I struggle with the dark afternoons, using my SAD lamp when necessary.


Whatever you are doing today, and wherever you are doing it, I hope you have an enjoyable Sunday.


Sunday Musings On The 15th Of January

The week has been dominated by weather. Bad weather, constant rain and strong winds. The combination has caused something to happen on the roof, resulting in a leak that is finding its way down the chimney of the wood burner, onto the stove top. So now as well as walking Ollie in slick mud and getting regularly soaked, I have to wait for a roofer to call me on Monday to discuss whether or not he is interested in doing what might be a ‘small job’. I cannot go up ladders any longer because of Vertigo, and it annoys me that the condition has stopped me from investigating the problem myself.


Ollie started shaking his head again on Friday, so we are back treating him with the ear-gel. It has almost run out, and I suspect an expensive trip to see the Vet is on the horizon.


The central heating is still deciding when and if it will work. Another job next week is to get a company in to try to solve the problem once and for all. Naturally, temperatures are set to go back to below freezing from tonight. Winter tests houses, and also tests my patience. January is often the most expensive month for us, and we can be sure that many things will go wrong at once.


Yesterday was Julie’s birthday. I took her to The Chequers Inn for dinner. This is a 17th-Century Inn with great character and original features, specialising in large portions! Just over 30 minutes away by car, it is in the small village of Thompson, south of Beetley. There are some photos of it on this website.


This evening we are meeting up with all of her family at a pub/restaurant in Dereham. So she will get to see everyone at once and continue to celebrate her birthday.


Whatever you are doing today, and wherever you live, I hope that your Sunday is a happy one.


Late Musings On A Jaunuary Sunday

I am late to the blog today, as we went out early to deliver gifts to my step-children and grandchildren. Because we were both ill with Covid over Christmas, this served as a substitute ‘Christmas Day’ for all of us. While we were over there, a thunderstorm started, and we drove home in torrential rain. As soon as we got home, I had to take Ollie out for a much later than usual walk. We both got soaked!


The recovery from Covid continues. We are both testing negative, and Julie returned to work last week. As I mentioned earlier this week, the fatigue continues, and I am soon exhausted by trying to do anything physical. I appreciate this may take a long time, but at least I am able to sleep all night now.


Weather-wise, we have unusually warm weather for the time of year, punctuated by heavy showers, and occasional gale-force winds. It doesn’t feel much like January at all, to be honest.


I will do my best to catch up with everyone’s blogs next week.


I hope you all had a peaceful Sunday, whatever you are doing, and wherever you live.


A Covid Recap

I am now starting to think I may have seen the last of the bad bout of Covid-19 I endured recently. There are quite a few positives to report.

*I am able to sleep all night, as long as I make sure to stay propped up on extra pillows.
*The sore throat has gone, and I am able to enjoy eating and drinking once again.
*The cough is only really a bother at night, and 90% less distressing than it was a few days ago.
*There is no longer any need to take tablets or medication for congestion and other symptoms.

But I have some legacy of the virus that feels as if it is going to take some weeks or months to go away.

*I have almost no energy.
*Walking Ollie for 90 minutes leaves me completely exhausted, even after resting briefly on seats or benches during the walk.
*Trying to do anything remotely physical (I tried clearing away some fallen leaves and gave up) feels impossible.
*Despite sleeping all night, I wake up tired, and look forward to going to bed early.
*Even something as simple as having a bath and getting ready to take Ollie out leaves me drained.

Given that I had all the vaccinations and boosters, I can only imagine how much worse it might have been had I chosen not to have them.

It has been a lesson learned. Covid has not gone away, and we still have to take all available precautions against catching it. Even with the vaccinations and antibodies, it still almost sent me into hospital with breathing difficulties.

Just because I seem to have recovered so far, that doesn’t mean I can’t catch it again.

So my advice to everyone is to be very careful, and if you have symptoms like a cough and sore throat, get tested for Covid-19.

Missed It

I should have known better than to suggest I might stay up until 00:01 to see in the New Year. After a long day punctuated by coughing fits, the best I could do last night was to reluctantly munch a pizza at 18:30, then sit coughing until I just had to go to bed and lie down at 23:00.

So I slept through the moment, waking at 02:15 for yet another coughing fit. My first of 2023!
(Should I celebrate that moment perhaps?)

Fortunately, I was then able to go back to sleep until an hour ago.

The sun is shining in Beetley this morning, but not forecast to remain for the day. The birds are singing in the hedge outside.

At least it has stopped raining.

Some Short Musings On New Year’s Eve 2022

We have no plans to celebrate tonight. Both still feeling flat after Covid, and not in the mood to venture out or invite anyone into the house, it will be all I can do to try to stay awake until one second past midnight.


Tomorrow, we are having our Christmas Dinner on New Year’s Day. The turkey we couldn’t face eating when we were ill is thawing ready to go into the oven in the morning, and the stuffing, bacon, and pigs in blankets are ready to accompany it. I have a feeling it will make at least three meals, plus sandwiches and some offcuts for Ollie.


The weather is still damp, raining on and off. The sky is battleship grey, and the cold wind is still blowing. Another quite miserable dog-walk is looming.


Whatever you are doing tonight, I hope you enjoy it. Bid farewell to 2022 with no regrets, a year best forgotten for many of us.


Waiting Until 2023

As you can tell from my past few posts, I have been listening to some music recently. Whilst not completely recovered from Covid, I have been getting some sleep at night, and that has made me feel so much better.

Where blogging is concerned, I have decided to wait until the new year to get back to normal. I will complete the serial ‘The Four Musketeers’ next week, which was unfortunately interrupted by my becoming ill.

2022 is a year I would rather forget. Months of frustration trying to renew my driving licence, followed by weeks of illness and hospital tests resulting in a ‘sort-of’ diagnosis of Lactose Intolerance. Then the year rounded off by the heating breaking down during one of the coldest spells of bad weather for 40 years.

All of that followed by us both contracting Covid-19, cancelling Christmas, and spending the whole festive season shut in at home.

What I am hoping for now is to be able to stay up until midnight tomorrow, to bid farewell to my 70th year with a shout of “Good riddance!”

Musings On The Eighth Day

On the 21st of December, I tested positive for Covid-19 and wrote off Christmas 2022 as a non-event. The next few days became a blur of constant coughing, hardly getting any sleep, and not being able to lie down and rest.


Between us, we tried our best to scrape up some Christmas spirit. Julie was able to watch her grandchildren opening presents on the 25th, but only via video-link on her phone. Ollie received his gifts with his usual infectious excitement, and that at least gave us both some smiles. There was no traditional dinner though. We settled for two days of eating a selection of Tapas items that involved little preparation, and no cooking.


For the first few days, Julie had to take Ollie for his walks, as I wasn’t capable. Deciding to get some fresh air, I started taking him out again, sliding around in the mud caused by the relentless rain that has accompanied this year’s festive season. Although I carefully avoided any other walkers, I didn’t have to try too hard, as there have been few people out in the dull weather.


Today is supposedly ‘back to normal’ in England, at least until the New Year holiday. Many people are back at work, and shops are open regular hours. Not that you would know that, here in Beetley. You could hear a pin drop in the street outside. No traffic has moved up or down the road, and nobody has walked past the house. I am the noisiest thing in Beetley this morning, as my persistent coughing punctures the silence.


I suppose I should say I have improved. On evidence, I have. As long as my head and shoulders are propped up, I have managed some sleep over the last few nights. A luxurious seven-and-a-half hours last night alone. I have finished my 7-day course of antibiotics, and I have stopped taking the cold and flu combination tablets. So, am I better? I certainly don’t feel much better. The muscles in my chest and lower abdomen are completely shot from constant coughing. Whatever remains of the C-19 virus in my body has left me with just about enough strength to get in and out of the bath, and that’s it. If I feel a coughing fit coming on, I have to brace myself for the pain that will follow. At least I am used to that by now.


It would be good to end on a positive note, so here it is.
I am not as bad as I was, nowhere near that bad.
I hope you all have a wonderful Wednesday, whatever you are doing.


Seasonal Greetings From Beetley

Whether or not you celebrate Christmas, I would like to wish every one of my blogging friends a Happy Christmas anyway. I hope that all of you can be around friends or family, or someone or something important to you at this time of year. I am not including a ‘Happy New Year’, as I hope to be back to regular blogging by the 31st.

I am aware that in some countries, Christmas Eve is the day for present giving and some feasting and celebration. So I am posting this a day early.

My Niven-Covid And Me

Today marks the fifth day of feeling very unwell, and the second day since I tested positive for Covid. It feels like much longer than that of course, as I can no longer remember how I felt when I was still ‘okay’. From the skewed perspective of illness and lack of sleep, it seems I have always felt like this, not just for less than one week.

Covid seems to affect people in different ways, and at different levels of severity. So I have come to think of it as ‘My’ Covid. It has a personality, a sense of purpose, and seems to speak to me with an accent similar to that of the late David Niven. So I call it Niven-Covid.

There are definite rules.

I must not be allowed to sleep.
I must not be allowed to recline comfortably.
I must not be allowed to enjoy a meal.
I must not be allowed to relish a refreshing drink.
I must not be allowed to concentrate on anything, such as enjoying a film or reading a book.

I must feel as if I have molten lava tricking down my throat at all times.
I must pull all the muscles in my chest and stomach with incessant coughing day and night.
I must feel too hot under the bedclothes, and too cold outside of them.
Everything I try to drink or eat has to taste like a rusty tin can.

Niven-Covid is firm about those rules, and woe betide you ignore them. Try lying down in bed like a normal person, and seconds later you will be in a paroxysm of coughing that is violent enough to make you get out of bed and lean against the wall. So you sit in the bed, legs crossed, covers drawn around you to stay warm. That way, you can still breathe.

Trouble is, you eventually get so tired that you slide down into the bed. Then you can almost see that Niven-smile as you feel like you are under a lake of warm water that is invading your lungs as you fling bedcovers off in a panic.

Cough-Splutter-Choke. Repeat.

How much internal fluid can one elderly human man produce? I can’t give you a measurement, but I can tell you it is a lot. Much more than you might expect. Enough to refill my lungs every 120 seconds or so. Enough to make my eyes stream for sixteen hours non-stop. Enough to fill my mouth with water twenty times an hour until I want to run screaming out of the house into the constant rain that has been falling outside for days on end.

Lack of sleep can make you act strangely after a while. You start to imagine that you are actually recovered. There hasn’t been a Cough-Splutter-Choke moment for at least six minutes. Maybe I’m better? Now I can actually stretch out and lie down. Even as my legs move under the duvet, and I contemplate the luxury of real rest, I hear the voice of the actor whispering in my ear.

“Come now, Pete. Lying down? Really? I’m still here you know. Ignore me at your peril”.

Cough-Splutter-Choke. Repeat.