The Last Sunday Musings For January

The weather warmed up after the recent ‘big chill’. We went from -7C one night, to +4C the next day. Still cold, especially in the wind, but nowhere near as bad as the previous weeks.


On Thursday the heating engineer returned by arrangement, this time to do a complete service of the heating system. We only needed one new complete part, a condenser, and its partly-perished hose. He even called in a colleague to help realign and tighten the flue pipe, securing it solidly into the system. Before he left, he looked at the main bedroom radiator, which had a ‘stuck’ thermostat. Two minutes later, and that was working too. I didn’t even have to pay him anything that afternoon, as his company will send me a detailed invoice by email, in due course. It was a great service all round, and I really don’t care how much the bill will be, as the heating is working better than ever.


Ollie began shaking his head again on Thursday evening, and we knew that he would have to go back to the Vet’s. When I rang them on Friday morning, I was pleased to be offered an appointment that same afternoon. Ollie was prescribed the same treatment he had last time, as it had worked so well. But this time he has to be checked over in ten days, to ensure that the swelling has gone down inside his ears. He hates me putting the tube into his ears, and sometimes gives me a warning growl. So we worked out a system where Julie shows him a treat, then holds his head still. When it is over, he gets the treat and soon forgets his discomfort.
If only we could be as resiilient as dogs! (Doughnuts would work as my treat.)


Julie has not been into work at all this week, due to a persistent cough and sore throat that made her lose her voice and kept her awake at night. Naturally, she tested for Covid, but was negative. And this time, I didn’t catch it! (Whatever it was…)


I am wishing you a happy and peaceful Sunday, wherever you are.


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.

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.


A Blogging Thank You

I am still not feeling well enough to comment on posts and reply to comments on mine. I will have to start from scratch once I feel able to sit at the PC and write something coherent.

Meanwhile, I would like to thank everyone who commented on my recent posts, and apologise for not taking time to reply to you all individually.

If you are still celebrating the season, I hope you have a wonderful time.

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.

A Very Different Christmas

Our plans for Christmas 2022 were very simple. Nothing remotely grand, just a Christmas Morning visit to Julie’s children to see everyone open their presents, then back to Beetley to get ready for the traditional meal in a restaurant at 3:30pm. Just the two of us, booked well in advance.

Then Julie became unwell, and tested positive for Covid-19. She was hoping that would be over and done with by the 25th, and the plans could stay the same. But she is still testing positive, five days later.

Yesterday, my cough and sore throat got worse, and I wasn’t able to do much, as I felt so ill. By 8:30pm, I was coughing do badly, I decided to go to bed. But that helped nothing, as I felt as if I was drowning in the amount of nasty stuff coming up from my lungs. I tried sitting up in bed. That didn’t help. Lying flat was not an option, as that made me feel like I was fighting for breath.

As a consequence, I haven’t been asleep at all, and I have currently been awake for 26 hours. I have tried to sleep this morning, but every attempt has left me in a fit of coughing. I will try again later after taking Ollie out, and warning other dog-walkers to avoid me completely.

One hour ago, I did a Covid test, and have tested positive for the first time since the pandemic. This means I am unable to go to see my doctor and get antibiotics for what I am sure is a chest infection. However, Julie was able to secure me a telephone appointment later today, and if the GP agrees to prescribe drugs, we can get someone else to collect them for us, and put them through the letter-box.

The next step for Julie was to cancel the meal. We had paid a deposit of £10 each which we wil lose, but that’s not so bad. Better that than to sit in a crowded restaurant on the 25th, coughing and spluttering and not being able to enjoy Christmas Dinner. Then she rang one of her daughters, to cancel the morning visit to see the present opening. With two small children in the house, we cannot risk infecting them with something nasty.

Christmas has evaporated before our eyes, like morning mist driven away by sunshine. Julie is naturally upset to miss out on her family time, and we are both sorry to have had to cancel the restaurant.

I am not sure what is going to be happening with my blog during the next week. There is a chance I might recover quickly of course, but if that doesn’t happen I will be absent from my blog, and those blogs I follow.

Thanks to everyone who has left the kind comments on recent posts. I apologise for just ‘Liking’ them, and not replying properly, but please be aware that they have been read, and are much appreciated.

Best wishes to all my blogging friends, Pete.

Too Ill To Blog

I have done my best to reply to comments and comment on other blogs today, but now I am overwhelmed by coughing and other symptoms. I have tested negative for Covid once again this morning, so feel it must be Flu or Bronchitis.

Whatever it is, I don’t feel up to writing anything else today, so there will be no serial episode, (sorry about that) and no other posts from me.

See you all soon.

Something Medical

Lactose Intolerance.

This post may come under the category of ‘too much information’ for some readers, but I have published it anyway, as it may be helpful to those experiencing the same symptoms.

During the peak of the heatwave this summer, when it reached 39.4 C (103F) in Beetley, I started to feel quite ill. I had a very upset stomach, and could keep nothing inside me for any length of time. That developed into almost permanent Diarrhoea, and could not be controlled by the usual medications like Immodium. I thought it was because of heatstroke, and expected it to go away when the weather cooled down. But it didn’t.

I still had my appetite, but became worried about eating anything as I could not risk being too far away from home, day or night. Following two weeks of this, I got an appointment with my doctor which resulted in tests on stool samples and urine. When they came back indicating nothing specifiic or worrying, my doctor confessed she had no idea what might be causing it.

It carried on for another few weeks, and it looked as if I might have to go into hospital for tests on my stomach and bowel. Then Julie suggested that it might be Lactose Intolerance, a reaction to eating and drinking dairy products. I was known to eat cheddar cheese on an almost daily basis, as well as being partial to drinking milk when I was thirsty. So rather than face the insertion of cameras and other unpleasant tests that might be necessary, I agreed to try cutting out dairy.

Out went my beloved cheese. Semi-skimmed milk was replaced by a non-dairy milk substitute for use in tea and on cereals. That tasted rather strange at first, but I got used to it in three days. After those same three days, the problem was gone. We concluded that Julie had been correct, and at this late stage in my life I had suddenly developed Lactose Intolerance.

Then I had to start looking carefully at what I was eating. A momentary lapse with a real cream cake had me up half the night, and I could no longer enjoy my one pizza a week, as the base was covered in cheese. Lasagna was no longer an option, and creamy sauces on Pasta Carbonara and similar meals were now a no-no. Recipes for home-cooked food had to be amended, and buying any pre-prepared meals involved looking at the ingredients label in fine detail.

Some months on, I am basically a non-dairy person. I have got used to that milk in my tea, and discovered Oat Milk, which is delicious on cereals or as a drink. (Not so good in tea, I would avoid using it for that.) There are Vegan cheeses that simulate the taste and experience of eating cheese, though they are best used with other ingredients, as they are not convicing eaten on their own. Some have a ‘oily’ constistency, others replicate the taste better but are still obviously ‘not cheese’. They are also considerably more expensive. (I also tried whole Soya Milk and Coconut Milk, but neither were acceptable to my taste.)

Whatever the cons of this dairy-free diet, it has to be better than the alternative. And there is also a ‘cheat’, though that is not to be used too often. Tablets are available online that can ‘pause’ the side effects of eating cheese, cream, or any dairy product. So if you want to enjoy a pizza, or eat out in a restaurant without worrying about what’s on the menu, just take one shortly before eating, and you will have no after-effects at all.

For anyone thinking they might have a similar problem, or if you just want to cut out dairy from your diet, here are some links. I am not promoting any brands or receiving anything to mention them. They are just to give you some idea what is available.