Beware of filtered water…

As recommended by other users, I use Brita filtered water in my Gaggia Classic espresso machine. Brita sternly warns against using such water for longer than one day. This might be fine when keeping a family supplied with coffee, not so much when it’s just for one. It’s wasteful in terms of water, and also in terms of filter use, as it reaches its throw-way date long before it’s processed the optimum amount of water.

I get through, at most, 3 200ml mugs of café crema a day (think of an Americano, but 100% coffee, no hot water), and often just one cup.

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The amputation of my ulcerous leg will happen…

Updated November 14 for clarity and typos.


This morning I met with the vascular surgeon.

To be honest, it didn’t start well, and a couple of nurses descended upon me and asked would I be OK to move from my powerchair to the couch. I’d only just begun to realises that, for a wonder, I had no pain at all (after an agonising and horribly early start to my day), so I said if they could do their thing while I stayed in my chair, I’d be happier as I had no desire to awaken my leg, but, if I really had to, I could move. We agreed I could stay where I was.

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Surgical appointment…

Trigger warning – suicide mentioned.


Next Tuesday morning an event that has taken two years of incessant pleading and nagging will finally happen – I get to meet a vascular surgeon who has expressed a willingness, no doubt hedged about by caveats, to possibly amputate my right leg below the knee.

Actually, that crisis was brought about by an unwillingness on the part of my GP to prescribe effective analgesia. In the end I had to go over his head to the senior partner in the practice. By then it had taken a year.

My GP was – probably still is – convinced that a effective dose of morphine would shut down my breathing reflex. True, it might, but might is a universe away from will, yet he treated me as if possibility equalled certainty, and it does not.

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Spicy Vegetable Soup (Alternative version)…

Because making anything more ambitious is beyond me right now.

There’s a recipe of the same name already, but this is substantially different, hence the “Alternative version”. Eat with good bread or, for a change, crackers, for a decent protein hit. Crumbling crackers into soup is very much an American habit that popped up in the UK with the introduction of Saltines (late 50s, early 60s if memory serves), which then vanished. You can buy them again (try Amazon), but the price is absurd (in excess of £6 per 1lb box). Try Krackawheat instead. They never seem to be truly fresh and crisp these days, but are fine broken up and tossed into a bowl of soup and eaten while they still have some crunch.

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Breathing would be nice…

Since my admission to hospital with Pulmonary Oedema (PO), in August, my ability to breathe, especially at night, has been seriously compromised.

Though I didn’t know it at the time, I’ve been having bouts of PO for about 2 years – I just didn’t think it was anything more serious than yet another malign aspect of my COPD. After all, I’ve been coughing blood, from time to time, for over 40 years. PO, though, is just a tad more serious – it’s potentially fatal and it damn near did for me in August.

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Food and Stuff…



This is slowly gathering pace. I’m using The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Dehydrating Foods (Kindle version) for, er, guidance, as it gives temperatures and times for a wide range of foods. Being an American book, it’s in Imperial units (and bloody cups** see footnote – when are Americans going to realise scales are more accurate?) and degrees F, so when converting to degrees C I round up to the next 5 (so if the C temp is 51 it gets rounded to 55. If it’s 55 it goes to 60, and so on. Two things accrue from this – faster drying times and more even drying, with no detriment to the product.

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I haz a new toy, Part 371…

I came to computers late in life, well into my 40s before I dipped my toe in the geekish waters.

Part of the reason is that, while I was still able to work, my company was busy computerising itself. But that was in the days of the horrendous MS-DOS, where each piece of software had its own codes/keystrokes for identical operations, which meant that you needed a phenomenal memory – or lots of overlays for the Function keys.

OK, I had a phenomenal memory – then. I carried a decade’s worth of information in my head – if my boss, in 1980, wanted to know how much we paid for an item in 1972, and where we got the best deal, I could tell him in seconds – but when it came to DOS my brain refused to co-operate. It completely put me off computers.

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