Posted by: glenswatman | September 1, 2013

20130821-31 Another family break

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WEDNESDAY 21 AUGUST – Steve would happily fester here all week but I coax him for a day out to Hornsea.  We begin at the Mere then move on to Freeport where I am unable to persuade him to buy some Craghoppers mosquito proof zip off trousers with sunscreen built in.  He’s still edging on the side of caution as to whether he will get to use them or not and can’t be persuaded otherwise.  We park at the south end of the beach then walk along the promenade and settle for pensioners fish and chips by the seafront.  Hornsea is quite appealing with a quiet beach, small town, Tesco superstore and most basic facilities you might need.  We check out a couple of caravan parks a short walk from town with the Flowers of May one only charging £1620 a year site fees, however they don’t have any pitches to suit us and most are only big enough for small holiday caravans.  There are lots of ripe blackberries on the drive into the club so we stop to pick a few which go down well with fresh pineapple.  Today Freda and her husband are using the pool and the hot tub so I get to join in both.   Watching TV in the evening we are joined by Pauline who is here with her cousin.  She’s also an avid traveller and we share experiences.


THURSDAY 22 AUGUST – We are really pleased to hear Daniel’s GCSE results, 5 A*, 6A and 1B that’s on top of the A in Advanced maths that he heard about last week.  We sure have a brain box in the family.  It’s an even hotter sunnier day so we wait until it clouds over in the afternoon for me to have a jog and Steve to go blackberry picking down the lane leading to the club.  I join Freda and her husband for a swim and hot tub before tea.  In the evening we get a few heavy downpours which should make it easier for us to leave tomorrow.  We’ve really enjoyed our week which has flown by.  Such a shame they only have 8 months usage here and limited power and drainage otherwise I could picture us having a static.  Pauline has joined us many evenings watching TV in the clubhouse, although she is now 70 she is a bit of a lost travelling soul who is also at a point of needing to make changes but can’t decide what to buy as a base in England and it is like talking through our own issues chatting to her.  At least we are a couple, younger than her and by the sounds of things a little more financially stable – but still can’t come to a decision.


FRIDAY 23 AUGUST – We linger until 11.30am, always hard to leave a naturist venue on a sunny day but the static was booked over the holiday weekend so we have no choice.  Apparently the only attraction in Goole is the Waterways Museum so we give it a whirl.  Unless you have serious interest in the canals etc then the 2 small rooms would not make it worth the detour.  On the outskirts of Wakefield Nostall Priory, a National Trust Property, is worthy of our visit.  It’s a magnificent mansion famous for housing the largest Chippendale collection anywhere and has lots of Adams style decorative features.  Arriving at Auntie Pamela’s she is in the middle of having her hair coloured but even with the dye on looks really well considering her recent hear attacks.  She tells us she has opted to go for the bypass and this will be done in about 3 months time.  In the meantime a dietician has given her some guidance and we tell her all about the stress management we learnt at Penny Brohn.  Karen calls round after work and we follow her home.  Her daughter Sarah and partner Mike arrive shortly after.  After dinner Karen brings down some old photos she found whilst clearing out the spare bedroom and we all have a good chuckle.


SATURDAY 24 AUGUST – Claire is away for the weekend and has asked me to call in and feed the rabbit.  It’s pouring with rain and I have to wade through puddles up the steps to get to her back garden.  The gate handle is broken so I have to paddle back to the car to get something to raise the latch.  In the garden I pick up the hidden package including a house key but can only find a front door key and the rabbit food is in the kitchen.  She lives in a 3 story house with the front door one level below so it’s another trip down to get into the house for the food then back again to the garden with the rabbit food.  By the time I get back to the car I am rather damp and less than pleased when Steve says he has found a kitchen door key in the package Claire left!  We return home and I put a load of washing in before we drive to Keith & Sandra’s.  We’ve not seem them for weeks so spend the whole day there chatting in between enjoying lunch and evening meal.  It’s really nice to chill out with good company and to be able to bounce a few ideas around.


SUNDAY 25 AUGUST – David came up yesterday to stay at the studio for a couple of nights and has requested a “Mum’s Sunday dinner”.  Unfortunately he texts early morning to say he has woken up with a cold and a bad headache so can’t come.  I’ve also invited Mom & Dad to join us so Steve has his first go at driving in order to pick them up.  Dad has trouble remembering where we live but recognises it when he arrives and they both comment on how much they would like to be living here, although in reality wouldn’t move as their places is warden controlled and nearer to town.  Mid afternoon the drizzle stops and I manage to get 3 lots of washing out and dried and finish off all the unpacking.  Not sure why I bother as we will be off again on Thursday!


MONDAY 26 AUGUST – David calls up for breakfast and a chat.  Once he leaves I do a bit of gardening and then wash the car before sitting out.  I can’t settle when there is work to be done so clear out our outdoor storage cupboard whilst getting the lawnmower.  I’ve just had my workout with the hand mower when our neighbour calls me over.  She’s just bought a new lawnmower and gives me her old electric mini flymo and a rake which is really kind.


TUESDAY 27 AUGUST – After walking to town I go for my blood test, call in on Mom and Dad and do a bit of shopping.  I’ve got a scan this afternoon so after 10.30am must not eat and only drink clear fluids.  At lunch time we get a phone call from Claire who is on her way to North Staffs Infirmary.  Along with the kids and Daniels friend they had gone to Alton Towers Water Park and she has had an accident and probably broken her foot.  She knows she won’t be able to drive back so will need some help.  Unfortunately Steve can’t drive because of his broken shoulder and I have my scan appointment at 16.45.  Both Claire and I make a few phone calls and half an hour later have a new plan.  I head straight to Airedale, explain our plight and manage to get my scan done virtually instantly (one large gall stone and lots of sludge).  Next I pick up Claire’s friend Sally as she is going to drive Claire’s car back.  En route Claire gives us a call, she has broken the 4th and 5th metatarsals on her left foot, is in plaster up to her knee and on crutches.  She tells us it was not her fault in any way but the design of the Master Blaster that caused her to hit her foot.  A taxi is taking them back to Splash Landings Hotel where we will meet them.  It’s a 2 ½ hour journey and we arrive there at about 6pm.  Claire and the kids are on a bench by hotel reception and other than someone giving them all a sandwich no one has paid them any attention at all.  Claire is happy for me to handle things so I ask to speak to the Manager.  After a second request I get to talk to a somewhat unprofessional team manager who basically doesn’t want to do anything other than fob me off with a name and an Email of the head of department.  I am annoyed by their total lack of care regardless of fault and insist on seeing someone in higher authority.  Duty Manager Jo is much more professional but also states their policy is to do nothing until it has been established where any blame may lie.  I still feel a large company like Alton Towers could show much better customer care to a family without affecting regardless and make my feelings known.  However we’ve a long journey ahead and it’s after 7pm so I settle for lodging my complaint, confirming the incident has been logged and getting contact information and requesting a call tomorrow.   Sally drives Claire back whilst I take the kids in order to stop for some food en route.  Even with just a quick stops at a corner shop it’s 11pm by the time I’ve dropped off the kids, picked up Sally, taken her home then driven myself home.  Claire will need help for the next couple of days so I pack up our bags so we can stay at her house and also in readiness for our time away next week.  What a day.


WEDNESDAY 28 AUGUST – Claire has to go to Bradford Royal Infirmary for a follow up and Steve also has an appointment there today so we detour to pick up Claire & Natasha.  Steve heads to the orthopaedic trauma clinic whilst Claire and Natasha go into the emergency department next door.  I spend the morning running between the two areas getting updates.  Steve has an X-Ray and Mr Radcliffe tells us that it is really good that Steve has more mobility and less pain but that’s the end of the good news as the injury is not healing at all well due to Steve’s treatment.  He is still happy to see how things go naturally and wants Steve back in a few months.  Claire has another X-Ray as the one from North Staffs was password protected.  After visiting a few clinic areas they decide to leave her in the temporary cast and she has to return on 9th September for a follow up to the clinic Steve has just been to.  We pick up a few groceries on the way back and I cook up dinner for us all including Natasha’s friend Natalie who has just arrived.  Its unfortunate Claire has just moved into a 3 storey house as she has to go up and down stairs on her bottom.  She was in a lot of pain yesterday but at least if she rests with her foot raised it is not too bad.  They have all got tickets to go see the show “Hairspray” in Leeds so have got me a ticket on line so that I can taxi them there and join in as well.  With the one way systems it’s a bit of a challenge getting near enough for Claire to hobble in whilst Daniel and I park.  I don’t know much about Hairspray but Daniel has outlined the plot and there are certainly some great songs in it.  By the time we get home Claire is in quite a lot of pain but felt it was worthwhile.


THURSDAY 29 AUGUST – Claire and I are up first so under instructions I potter round doing washing and other jobs for her.  Alton Towers did not get in touch yesterday so I send quite a strong Email and request a call back.  Marie calls back and tells me they are investigating the way the problem was dealt with and tomorrow morning they will review the CTV footage to see how the accident happened and get back to me after that.  I drive Claire to Keighley for her afternoon nail appointment.  Back at Claire’s Daniel makes us laugh by announcing they he has bought himself a few birthday presents but wants Natasha to wrap them so that he can open them in the morning and look surprised!  Richard, Matthew and Azura arrive back from their holiday at about 11pm and creep in, bit of a waste of time as Azura is sharing a bedroom with Natasha and they chatter and laugh until about 1am.


FRIDAY 30 AUGUST – After Claire, Richard and I settle down to breakfast Daniel appears and begins opening his pile of presents.  He’s treated himself to a high spec laptop with accessories and also gets loads of money.  His friend Alice is hospital after having a spinal fusion yesterday so he hitches a ride with us.  We drop him at LGI then head to St James for Steve’s regular 6 weekly appointments.  Whilst waiting I get a call from Alton Towers who say they cannot see the exact moment of Claire’s accident on CCTV footage but the rest ties in with our story.  We’re just getting on to what they are going to do to help when Steve gets called in and Marie agrees to call back on Monday.  We see Dr Gilleece and with Steve approaching his transplant anniversary she talks through the ongoing treatment.  At 1 year he will have a lumbar puncture appointment, another for a type of overall MOT and a 3rd one as a regular check up.  He will then continue with 6 weekly checks but these will gradually get longer (we had thought it would be 3 monthly).   After strongly advising against travel abroad during the first year she now tells us she cannot recommend it during the 2nd year.  I explain our plan to fly to Spain (with Steve wearing a mask) then stay in an apartment that I can clean and where I can cook to minimise risk of infection.  She says we can’t negotiate with her and the original advice still stands and if Steve does go abroad and has a problem she will have to tell the insurance it was against her recommendation – thus no doubt invalidating travel insurance.  A bit of a blow but as we value her opinion we will take the advice.  After picking up Daniel we head to Chiquito Mexican restaurant.  En route we talk about how we will get through a second winter in England and figure on taking lots of UK breaks and me taking an occasional trip abroad without Steve.  Richard, Claire, Azura and Natasha arrive and the 7 of us sit outside for Daniels birthday meal.  I get a phone call from my Doctor to say she has blood tests and scan results.  An option for the gall stone and sludge would be a flush out operation but I mention I first want to try shifting it with a special diet.  She says the ultrasound also revealed an abnormality in my spleen which they are concerned about and want me to go for a CAT scan at which point they will also be able to tell if the diet worked (she thinks it won’t).  Guess we really won’t be going far this winter because I’m sure that with my investigations in progress I would have insurance problems too.  We all really enjoy our meal although the service is a bit slow.  We’re heading down to Market Drayton and have a very long journey due to numerous hold ups on the M6.  For no apparent reason all the traffic keeps grinding to a standstill then moves slowly, builds up to full speed then hits another blockage the same.  We call in to Mum in her new apartment and Netty has got it looking really nice and cosy.  Can’t believe how much of her stuff she has managed to fit in.  She loves being there and on some days goes out walking 3 times and is much fitter and livelier than before.  We’re staying at the bungalow and it is quite strange to see the empty rooms.  Luckily Steve spots Mum’s hearing aid (lost just before she moved) in the corner of her bedroom which is a great result.  We’re here to help with clearing things out and also to follow up on our cottage.  I begin by emptying the kitchen cupboards onto the work surfaces whilst throwing away any really obvious rubbish.  Mum can come back and pick out exactly what she needs before family taking what they want and the rest going to charity.  Netty & Ian call round and she tells me she wants to do the dining room clearing but would like me to do “our” bedroom and the conservatory.



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