Creative cooking, on the fly…

Yesterday evening, hungry but, as is happening increasingly of late, with no desire to eat, I decided to do what I most love to do –  of the things I can still do –  and that’s create a new recipe on the fly, from what I can find more or less within arm’s reach.

This came about because I’d planned to have a couple of Continue reading

Hill-walking with major predators…

This, a plan to introduce bears and wolves to the Scottish Highlands, is insanity on a grand scale. Dangerous insanity, too, in an area immensely popular with climbers, walkers, peak-baggers and backpackers. Mountain-bikers too, I suppose. These are not simply, as he views them, “large mammals”, but major predators, each at the top of its respective food chain. They are not to be treated lightly.

The idiot landowner is talking about introducing Continue reading

Violent storm on the way for Sunday – Monday…

If this is accurate then I’d better look to my emergency kit and charge every conceivable battery between now and Monday.

I have a two-mantle gas lantern, two camping stoves, and gas for both, plus a seriously warm sleeping bag, and a head-torch, all relics of my backpacking days. The flats here are all electric, so and vulnerable to power cuts, and that would also take out the communal central heating pumps.

If the electricity stays, but the gas goes down (unlikely, but still), that also means no heat, which is the least of my worries as I have ample thermals and fleeces.

A potential problem is my Continue reading

District nurse cock-up…


I’ve phoned the district nurses to find out what’s happened to my appointment for today. I saw a nurse in the building this morning, so it seemed unlikely that anyone would be coming back later in the day.

So I phoned and asked, politely, if anyone was coming to change my dressings today. And – surprise, surprise – there’s no appointment scheduled for today – it’s tomorrow. This despite the last thing the staff nurse said on Tuesday was that there would be Continue reading

Leaking Lymphoedema and compression – not a good mix – Update…

And yes – I am as sick and tired of this as you are, but putting this in the public domain means that nobody has deniability. Fine, call me paranoid – I’m past caring.

This is my right leg. On Tuesday it showed a single shiny, wet, patch – now it’s a suppurating mess. Here I’ve just turned down the top of the dressing pad, to see Continue reading

Leaking Lymphoedema and compression – have I found a solution?

I believe I might have figured out what’s causing me such grievous problems.

The nurses, district and hospital, use a very coarse, tubular, mesh (can’t recall what it’s called), usually next to the skin to hold antiseptic dressings in place.

The trouble is, it’s so coarse, and my skin is so fragile, that if I rub it to ease an itch,** or pain, even through Continue reading

Leaking Lymphoedema and compression – not a good mix…

I’m recording this here mainly in self-defence, because my legs have taken a turn for the worse and the nurses refuse to accept that this is as bad as I believe it is. For me it’s not a belief issue – I can plainly see that all is not well.

On the left ankle, the shiny area is raw flesh, where the skin has eroded under compression bandages with which, for now, at least, I have refused to continue. On Sunday, that area was the size of a 10p coin – that it is now Continue reading

Inflation for wheelies in hospital.

One item I forgot to mention in Packing for hospital is a tyre pump. If you’re a wheelie, and in hospital for any length of time, your tyres will deflate. The cause of this is that the inner tube is porous to CO2, which leaks away. This means that using a CO2 inflator will help briefly but will then exacerbate the problem.

At home I use a rechargeable pump for my powerchair and scooter, but this won’t reach the high pressure needed for my manual chair (the higher the pressure the lower the rolling resistance, the easier it is to propel), so for that I use a cyclists’ track pump (aka floor pump, though I’ve yet to see a floor that wasn’t supposed to be flat). Even for a knackered spoonie like me, this takes just a couple of strokes to maintain the rock-hardness I favour. (My tyres – do keep up . . .)

The problem with track pumps is that they’re, well, big, but they can be strapped on top of the holdall or even, with a little ingenuity, on the seat back.

I’ve already got one, but if you want one, this is where I buy my cycling-related kit for my chairs – the link goes to track pumps.

Look to pay between £20 and £30. It must have a gauge, and a dual head for Presta and Schrader valves. Long, skinny barrels are more efficient, but shorter, fatter models are easier to pack. Choose a model with a long hose if you can, it just makes life easier. Also, you really must read the reviews. I liked the SKS Air X-Press Control Track Pump (Gauge), but the reviews revealed that the valve head was rubbish.

I’d recommend this one. £25.99, free UK delivery, and worth every penny. If I was in the market for a new pump, I’d have this.


Good reviews and lots of them, and a reputable brand. I’d hoped for something smaller that would fit inside the holdall, but that wasn’t to be. It can be strapped to the top of it though. It’ll last you for years, both at home and in hospital, and if you’re currently using a normal bike pump on your manual chair, this will be an absolute revelation.

Are you adequately hydrated?

Because I have heart failure, and Lymphoedema,  I take diuretics. What a lot of people don’t realise is that, when taking diuretics, you need to increase your fluid intake.

This sounds counter-intuitive when you’re peeing every 20-30 minutes and, indeed, many people get it wrong and cut their fluid intake, but unless your intake exceeds your output, you can become dangerously dehydrated – I know, I’ve been there. It was part of what Continue reading

Packing for hospital…

That this is where I’ll wind up, because of legs or lungs, is looking increasingly inevitable, so I’ve just bought a load more nightwear for hospital – thank whatever gods there might be for Matalan – M&S would have bankrupted me!

As there’s no-one to keep me resupplied with clean clothes I have to take enough for two months (based on my previous 6-week incarceration – tip: Continue reading