Posted by: glenswatman | December 11, 2013

20131201-10 Seaside and shingles

View from the Tower

View from the Tower

I'm not looking down

I’m not looking down

20131203 Blackpool (8) 20131203 Blackpool (12) 20131203 Blackpool (19) 20131203 Blackpool (22) 20131203 Blackpool (26)

We were amazed how tall William was

We were amazed how tall William was

The fifth Beatle ?

The fifth Beatle ?

20131203 Blackpool (40) 20131204 Blackpool (1)

Billy no mates at The Circus

Billy no mates at The Circus

20131204 Blackpool (5) 20131205 Tree down on a lorry near Gisburn (4)

First signs of shingles rash, now much worse.

First signs of shingles rash, now much worse.

201312

SUNDAY 1 DECEMBER 2013 – David and Donna join us for lunch and then take Steve back down town so he can watch the Liverpool match in the pub with David. It seems like Steve is becoming quite a regular at “The Royal Oak” although they won’t get rich quick on his pints of lime soda.
KEIGHELY

MONDAY 2 DECEMBER – At Airedale I have an X-ray before seeing the Doctor. My foot has healed well and I can now walk around without the special boot (have been testing this out a bit at home over the weekend) but mustn’t do weight bearing exercise or wear high heels for another 6 weeks. At Mom & Dad’s I try to help sorting out a bill for Dad’s day visits to the care centre. Last year they changed the system and now you have to pay even if you didn’t attend. Mom did not get notification of this but got a massive bill going back to last June for days Dad missed (often when he was in hospital). This seems really unfair so I take up the challenge to get the bill voided or at least reduced. I also phone Airedale to find out where I am on the waiting list for my gall bladder removal operation. It turns out the surgeon I am listed under is also the only breast cancer surgeon at the hospital and rightly these patients take higher priority. However there are other surgeons who can do my operation sooner so I opt to go on their list instead. Now why couldn’t they tell you all this in the first place?
KEIGHLEY

TUESDAY 3 DECEMBER – We’ve booked to go away for a couple of nights. We always like a visit to the coast and with Merlin annual passes (given free to Claire and family because of her accident at Alton Towers) Blackpool is a good choice. First attraction is the Tower Eye and 4D experience. The 4D movie is enhanced with special effects such as water splashes and wind. Next you take a lift to the top of the tower to enjoy the views. We look in to the magnificent ballroom which is surprisingly busy with dancers, not like the recent episode of Coronation Street at all when Hayley and Roy had it to themselves and there’s no Meerkat on the organ! Madame Tussauds is fun and we are surprised how short people like Helen Mirren and John Thaw are but also how tall Prince William and Kate are. Final attraction is Sea World where we see and learn about “mermaid’s purses” the pouches discarded after holding fertilised stingray and sharks eggs. We’ve got a good deal at the four stars Puma Group “Imperial Hotel”, the oldest hotel in Blackpool. It’s a really grand building with a palatial entrance. Many famous people have stayed here including American presidents, UK Prime Ministers and more recently Bob Dylan and Andre Rieu with his entourage. Unfortunately the room we are given has old fashioned badly fitted sash windows with lots of mould. After quietly explaining Steve’s health problem we end up in a delightful room on the front of the building where all rooms have modern double glazing. It’s fabulous to turn the seats to take in the view of the sea through the deep windows. I make full use of the gym, swimming pool and hot tub before our evening meal. We get a superb table for 2 in the restaurant – overlooking the promenade and romantically candlelit. After a very nice evening meal we decide we are too cosy to bother going out so relax in the room.
BLACKPOOL, IMPERIAL HOTEL £120 deal 2 nights bed and breakfast and 3 course evening meal on one night.

WEDNESDAY 4 DECEMBER – After tucking in to a full breakfast we head back to Blackpool Tower. Yesterday we checked out the beautiful circus auditorium with a view to seeing the show today. The Manager explained that it would be full of school children as the circus was mixed with Cinderella pantomime but he offered us a seating area well above the children. The kids are really hyped up and almost raise the roof singing along with Slades “Merry Christmas”. The noise gets worse when the pantomime routine gets on to the “oh no it isn’t” routine. There are some good acrobatics including a man on a mono cycle skipping but by the interval we’ve had enough and figure we know the story so take our leave. Last Merlin venue is The Dungeon. Tours leave every hour but unfortunately we are the only ones on ours. I say unfortunately as it means we are picked on to be stooges in every room. Making your way through numerous rooms you learn the story of the plague, Pendle Witches, torture and other barbaric things. It is mainly in the dark and could be quite scary for young kids. The cast are sometimes hidden away amongst mannequins and you end up trying to guess which one is going to come to life and are invariably wrong. As we are on the coast we can’t resist a fish and chip lunch before taking a drive down the south shore to Lytham St Anne’s. Fancying some ice cream we find all the stalls and kiosks closed so end up at Lidl where I am “forced” to buy the smallest they have which is a 1 litre chocolate chip tub of ice cream, well it was either that or a pack of 6 fake Magnums. I attempt to work off some of the ice cream with another session in the gym and pool. There’s a change in the weather and throughout the night we hear the waves crashing in and wind rattling the windows.
BLACKPOOL 2, IMPERIAL HOTEL

THURSDAY 5 DECEMBER- My 57th birthday and 2 years since Steve was diagnosed. My best present is to have Steve not in hospital which is where he has been on my last 2 birthdays. Opening the curtains we see an extremely rough sea with spray being blown onto the windows. A service truck is travelling the promenade trying to secure the remaining illuminations that are getting tangled up. The trams appear to have stopped running and no one is brave enough to venture out. Getting ready to leave we get a phone call from reception to say that due to the dangerously bad weather we are invited to stay in our room until 2pm as the storm is expected to get worse before it gets better. Really tempting but we have booked to have lunch with friends on our way home. We explain we’d rather leave and are told someone will bring our car to the front door and make sure we are OK. The north shore promenade is closed as the waves are crashing over the road. We head out down the back streets and even there the strong winds are causing damage. Constant updates on the radio alert us to just how bad things are with lorries turned over, trains in Scotland at a halt and flooding on the east coast. We manage to avoid lots of small branches on the road but the last country road is blocked. A massive tree has come down and landed on the cab of an oncoming lorry. The two vehicles in front of us are there to deal with the problem so it can’t have happened too long ago and we can only hope the driver was OK. We double back and make our way down country lanes avoiding branches and other debris to arrive half an hour late at The Boars Head in Preston. We can see our good friends Jean & Arf’s new bright red car in the car park. Jean has recently had laser surgery to her eyes and is delighted with the results. Arf’s had a consultation with a nutritionist and a slightly amended diet should help with inflammation in his joints. Until they can sort out Arf’s neck and back pain they are not keen to head away for the winter so hoping this works. There’s a Christmas menu on today and we start by pulling our crackers, telling the jokes but declining to wear the hats. It’s a nice meal but overall we prefer the a la carte ones we’ve had in the past – but enjoy meeting up with Jean & Arf and the food secondary. The winds seem to have died down as we head home but damage is evident everywhere and temperatures are dropping fast. It takes a good couple of hours to get the bungalow warmed up. Claire arrives late and is soon fed and tucked up on the sofa bad. She’s bought a box of Milk Tray for my birthday so we make sure we check out all the different varieties. Sad news on the TV that Nelson Mandela has died.
KEIGHLEY

FRIDAY 6 DECEMBER- We’re just about to leave when Lisa calls to say she has a bad cold. Steve is just about over his second cold we are not keen for him to get another so cancel the plan to go to Lisa’s tonight after visiting Auntie Pam. Steve decides to go alone to his hospital appointment in Leeds whilst I stay home and get the Christmas decorations up. He arrives back saying Suzanne says he is her easiest patient and all the blood counts are good. Steve must be feeling good about that news as he sets about cleaning the car. I can now drive again and want to buy myself some dressy flat shoes and smart black trousers. 2 shops and 2 hours later I have shoes but can’t get the right trousers and will have to try again tomorrow, they are all either too bulky at the waist for under tight tops, too tight on the thighs or too long in the leg. Might be easier to put my weight back on and fit into the size 14 ones I used to like! Steve heads off to the airport at 11pm to pick up Keith & Sandra who are arriving back after their 2 weeks in Tenerife. They’ve had a great holiday although not the best of weather but Steve says that would be hard to believe judging by Sandra’s tan.
KEIGHLEY

SATURDAY 7 DECEMBER – Determined to get some trousers I try and fail again, they all seem to be narrow legs that don’t suit me or too long or too short for with flat shoes. I do buy my Christmas cards as it is Farish House Christmas party today and I can hand some out to family. Unfortunately I speak to Lisa and learn her cold is still bad and she is sniffling and sneezing a lot. I’m reluctant to go down and share a table with her as it is me that has passed the last 2 colds on to Steve. The party runs late so there is not enough time for Netty & Mark to pop up and see us. Late evening Steve says he is starting to feel a bit achy and still has this strange kind of creepy feeling under the skin by his shoulder.
KEIGHLEY

SUNDAY 8 DECEMBER – We receive the sad news that our good friend Kay in Australia has just died. It was unexpected as she had a bad fall a couple of weeks ago and the bump on her head caused internal bleeding in her brain. Such a shame we were not able to get back to Australia last year as planned. Richard and Jane join us for a roast beef dinner, must say the organic beef really does taste good – a big bonus as I am still a little sceptical about some of the other organic produce as it tastes no different. Steve is feeling out of sorts and heads to bed a soon as they leave.
KEIGHELY

MONDAY 9 DECEMBER – Steve is feeling so unwell he doesn’t get up until mid day just before I am due to head out. He says his skin is itchy and when I check on it I can see why. He has a trail of patches down his right shoulder, under his arm pit and across to his chest. His explanation is that they itch, ache, feel creepy and his chest feels tight. I suspect shingles so phone the local Doctor’s and the best they can offer is a telephone appointment this afternoon. I’m not entirely happy about that so also take a photo of the rash and Email it to Dr Gilleece in Leeds. Steve insists I go out to the walking group Christmas party. It is being held a Mary’s huge 6 bedroom house as she has plenty of space to seat 22 of us for a 3 course meal – homemade soup, fish pie and a choice of desserts. I get a text asking Steve to go in to Leeds on Friday morning to see the Doctor. Volunteered to organise the quiz I hand out sheets with 20 questions plus 2 picture quizzes, one showing famous people with distorted faces and another for board games. I’ve just about finished reading the answers when our local Doctor calls and after a brief explanation asks me to take Steve down straight away. It is shingles but by catching it early they can begin the standard treatment of 5 x 800mg Aciclovir doses a day for a week which should help. I double check with Suzanne at Leeds who confirms this is the treatment they would have prescribed and there is no need for Steve to go in on Friday. Steve’s not infectious as such but needs to stay away from pregnant women who haven’t had chicken pox and people with low immunity. It’s frustrating as we were just starting to do more stuff after my operation. My gall bladder pain is bad in the evening so the pair of us head off to bed early feeling a little sorry for ourselves.
KEIGHLEY

TUESDAY 10 DECEMBER – Steve’s rash is spreading so I dab Sudocrem on to try and help. I’ve had a leaflet from ASDA showing all their Christmas treats and after Claire saw my highlighted suggestions she and the kids are coming round on Friday for a feast. I head off to do a festive shop. Unfortunately Keighley only have a small range and none of the thing I wanted. Steve’s feeling well enough for us to go out to Scrabble and politely we both allow ourselves to be beaten in the first game! I’m on permanent medication for asthma and because of this the nurse does a 5 year well being check. She’s amazed that I weigh the same as I did 5 years ago and I’m surprised to learn I have grown 1”in height and by today’s standards have a small waist! Think that is a sign of the society we now live in but the good news doesn’t stop me going on line and ordering a load of unhealthy party food for delivery.
KEIGHLEY

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