Home again …

Well, I’m back home.

Pretty scared if I’m honest. I came way too close to dying this time. Not my opinion, two docs told me on separate occasions – and while I hate being in hospital, it can be, and was, a life-saver.

I’m glad to be out of there – no bloody peace day or night – but the absence of that support is what’s scary. The amount of support I received, via Twitter, was immensely moving, though. Thank you all.

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Missing me?

In hospital again  folks so no posts for a while – my heart’s turned on me and they’ve finally admitted it’s utterly buggered.

But – I WILL be back!


Sorry – can”t publish comments from my phone but thanks and I will as soon as I can.

Gaggia Classic espresso machine basket modification…

Let me say upfront that, with the supplied crema-enhancing gadget, my new Classic makes excellent coffee now we’re used to each other. However, when I opened the box and found I was stuck with the gadget (much reviled online, but in my view, after using it for a few weeks, needlessly so), the first thing I did was go to http://www.espressoservices.co.uk/ and order a standard double basket.

Which didn’t fit the group head. The dispersion plate holder’s diameter was just a tad too big to allow the basket to fit over it

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A Spoonie’s Kitchen Spaces…

My kitchen is about as wide as a king-size bed, and a tad longer. However, with all the stuff in there that I need, the floor space available for me is 2 feet wide by 5 feet long. And my actual workspace – that part of the worktop that’s usable – is smaller than a pillowcase. I have, however, been able to turn that to my advantage, in that once I’m installed, I barely have to move more than a foot or two in any direction. And that’s a good thing as a few feet, most days, is all I can manage.

Before continuing, this is my DWP snoops’ disclaimer – I cannot cook from scratch every day or, at times, even every week. Therefore, when I can cook, I batch-cook soups and stews which will either feed me for days (I have no problem eating the same food for several days in succession as long as it’s good food), or be portioned and frozen for future use.

My kitchen, entirely fortuitously, has divided itself into 2 main zones (with some inevitable overlap), preparation & coffee, and cooking, and I just have room to stand between them. To give you an idea how small it is, using a 28mm lens I had to stand in the living room to take the first photo. 

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Morphine and Codeine – not a happy combination…

As I have COPD, I am fully aware that taking too much morphine could kill me, through respiratory suppression, if I were reckless or dumb enough to take too much. And no matter how desperate I might feel, at times, to escape this shitty life,** that is NOT a good way to go.

**Yesterday, the pain was so horrendous, even with my meds maxed out, I just sat and cried – for hours. Just couldn’t help myself. Today isn’t shaping up to be any better.

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Some Gaggia Classic espresso machine tips for Spoonies…

This is an addendum to my previous post and is aimed, for the most part, at Spoonies. (If you’re not a Spoonie,** and/or want to know more, please click through.)

**In a nutshell, a Spoonie is a disabled person whose illness is not immediately apparent to a casual observer – think MS, Crohn’s, or ME, or my heart/lung/Addison’s problems.


Noise abatement.

First, some background. I live in a sheltered flat (I’m disabled, and a Spoonie, for the newbies among you). The place was purpose-built but you could be forgiven for thinking it was a conversion as the build quality is crap.

Each flat is a brick box, but all the internal walls are hollow stud and plasterboard abominations. In the kitchen, the worktops are mounted on these hollow walls, turning it into a huge, reverberating, drum.

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Reclaiming my life…

Well, sort of, anyway.

Since I went down with what was eventually diagnosed as ME, but might equally be the long-term effects of being struck by lightning or even the earliest stages of Addison’s Disease, I lost a chunk of every day to enforced “rest” – by which I mean I was pretty much unconscious for much of the afternoon, and often the evening, every day.

I eventually figured out that by not eating lunch this didn’t happen in the afternoon, and so I got back to some semblance of normality. However, this year the problem has not only returned, it’s expanded into every evening, the end result being – aside from losing a large part of my day – that I couldn’t sleep at night (I’ll gloss over the perversity of the severe pain that kept me awake at night failing to do so during the day/evening!).

So I thought – COFFEE! That keeps people awake…

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Pigs’ Liver Casserole Resurrected …

A caveat: if blood freaks you out, this isn’t for you. And if you’re not a fan of offal, this might not be the best introduction, as the flavour of pig liver is rather, erm, robust and, perhaps, probably better suited to winter or to this cold and wet Saturday.

And it is very good.

And which apostrophe should I use? If the liver is from one pig, it’s Pig’s, but if it’s bits from several, as it might easily be, then it’s Pigs’. Since I have no way of knowing, I chose to assume that the latter is more likely.

This is a dish that used to be an old favourite (having been on disability benefits since 1986, poverty has been a frequent companion), but, for some reason that completely eludes me, I haven’t made it for, oh, I don’t know, must be about 15 years. Time to put that right.

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DWP Admit Knowing They Would Cause Harm

Originally posted on Benefit tales:

About PIP and the 20 meter rule.

this is from ‘Diary of a Benefit Scrounger’

I hate this fight and everything it says about my country.

But I dearly love the remarkable characters who’ve stepped up (or hobbled in many cases) to face it.

We are often unlikely warriors, with our limps and our oxygen tanks and our feeding tubes. But perhaps there was something the DWP didn’t realise. Far from being easy victims, weak and helpless, it turned out (as we argued all along) that we were unbreakable.

Doctors hadn’t broken us, endless hospital stays hadn’t broken us, misdiagnoses, constant forms and judgement and unnecessary bureaucracy hadn’t broken us. “Suffering” or “Hunger” or “Terror” might be abstract terms for most, but we had triumphed over them all. Some of us for decades in an endless Groundhog Day loop. How ironic that the DWP thought they had picked the most…

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