Snow in March!

So March is here. So comes the snow! Only a little but the first of the winter.
I have an eye infection just now. it’s going but it has stopped me going out in the wet windy weather. I have recently purchased an external 8TB hard disk. Yes thats right 8TB!! The cost was less then £200. Not many years ago this would just not be possible let alone so cheap(relatively).
I have used this to combine all the contents of my other external hard disks and remove duplicates. As all my systems are Linux based, I have reformatted the disk as ext4 instead of NTFS. This is a more ‘efficient filing system and is fragmentation resistant.
As I write this, the sun has come out. It is that time of the year when the weather cannot make up it’s mind. Winter is fighting to hold on and Spring is pushing to come in.

Happy New Year!

A Happy New year to you all.
The year has started with mixed results. I have lost an aunt. She dies just after Xmas. June Preston was the last of five sisters. One of them being my mum. My mum (Lillian Abbott) died in 2009, but somehow because June was still alive, it was like they were all there. I could close my eyes and just listen to them all talking when June spoke.
June Preston was a very down to Earth character and loved by so many people. Never any ‘airs or graces’. Just a true ‘WYSIWYG'(What you see is what you get!).
She was the same right up until the end. It is the very sad end of an era.
On a brighter note. My health whilst not being good shows signs of improving. I (like lots of us) have put weight on over the holidays. This must come off and soon. I am now on a synthesized version of morphine for pain. Non of the ‘trips’ but just as addictive and associated side effects.
I try to only take when I just can’t stand the pain any more. I am supposed to be taking every four hours!
The weather has been very mild with temps up at 17C!! It is more ‘normal’ temps now for December but still mild.
If anyone (LOL) is actually interested in following what I do (not much more interesting then watching paint dry!), then look me up on Face ache (Face Book). I post every day almost.
I have decided to continue this blog for now. More for my own satisfaction then anything.
2015 was a very mixed year for me. Some good things and some terrible things. Hope fully 2016 will be more of the good and a lot less of the terrible.
Alan

Why is the weather better in Autumn then Summer?

Well Autumn has arrived and it’s warmer and sunny!
Better then last month. so whats going on?
Nothing much has gone on. I have had a viral chest ‘infection’. This has taken many weeks to start to go.
I am undecided if I will continue this blog. No one reads it anyway.
Perhaps it is time to get rid of some of the old things I did and start with new ones that I can do better now?
Time will tell.

What’s happened to the summer?

Well it’s the second week in August and the temp this morning was 13C!!
It has gone sunny now but a summer it is not!
I have been going to the local swimming pool/spa about three times a week. I use the Jacuzzi for an hour and this gives me about one and a half hours less pain.
We have been getting out to various shows/events. This is a two edged sword for me as whilst it is good/fun, It tires me considerably. It is always a balance between the two.

‘White (Brown in this case) van man strikes again’!

This happened Monday:
I have just come into town on my ROAD mobility scooter. It’s new. Taxed, registered with DVLA, INSURED WITH BREAKDOWN COVER. FULL road legal. It does 8mph. The legal max allowed. I have lights, hi vis vest and reflectors on it.
At the Hartford road works, I get a load of verbal abuse from a man in a brown van.
Telling me to ‘get on the bloody pavements and shouldn’t be allowed on the roads. ‘
Well Mr van driver, I am sorry I was so slow coming though the temp lights that you had to wait another 3 mins. I am sorry I am disabled and I am sure in your eyes we should all be ‘put down’.
I didn’t choose to become disabled. I didn’t choose to risk my life on the roads with inconsiderate drivers just to try to have some independence.
I didn’t choose to have my life ripped apart by being ill. To have to live off benefits instead of working. I would much rather not be in so much pain every day that I can’t stand it.I would much rather be the workaholic I once was. Thank you for making me feel so good on such a nice day.

Betty’s 91st Birthday

Today is my mother in law’s 91st Birthday. She is in fine health. no arthritis, bit deaf, but nothing else.
We celebrated her Birthday this weekend.It has been a fine family affair. Her social life puts ours to shame!
The summer is here and the weather has improved. Things are generally looking up. My health has stabilized and so long as I don’t do too much. That is something I am still learning lol.
The new Northwich swimming(leisure complex) has opened and I have taken a membership out. This includes swimming (which I can’t really do), and the Spa area. This is mainly what I have taken membership out for. The concessionary rate is £22.50 per month. The main reason is for the jacuzzi, which helps my pain with the heat. We thought about getting our own jacuzzi, but apart form the big bill of buying one (starting at about £4k for one that will last), there is the running costs. These are about £1 per day(£30 per month). The membership costs £22.50 per month and they have all the maintenance! So I am trying to go three times a week(Mon, Wed, Fri). Suzanna goes swimming during her lunch at work to the swimming pool near her office. Anne joins me and goes swimming. After we have been, we go across the road to the local Weatherspoons (a national pub chain). They serve ‘bottomless coffee’ for 99p. We sit and play cards and drink coffee.
This may seem like a leisurely morning, but remember I am disabled and had to retire. It has been a great difficulty for me to accept that I will never work again and will spend the rest of my life feeling like I have ‘pulled a 48hr job’ and just been beaten up.
So I am trying to have some routine in my life. It would be all to easy to just not bother. Why bother? what’s the point?
so easy to say, especially when you are in constant pain that you wouldn’t wish on your enemy.
I visit the local library and go around the local shops. I have started to carry a camera or two with me, but so far have not had the ‘drive’ to start taking pictures. Soon I hope.
It would be very easy to look at my Mother in law and be jealous of her health. I am 55. She is 91!
But life deals you a set of cards. My parents were not in good health. Not ‘lifestyle’ but genes.
I have been dealt a hand, it is up to me to make the best use of them.

Local swimming pool

A new Leisure complex has opened up in Northwich. Included in this complex are the usual swimming pool, Gym and Spa area (saunas, hot tub etc). We went today to try it out. Suzanna already goes to a similar complex near her works during her lunch break a few times a week.
Now I am not really going to be able to swim, but I can use the hot tub and saunas. the heat helps my pain a great deal. Funny really as before, I used to love the cold. Now I welcome heat.
First impressions are that whilst it has the usual ‘snagging’ of a new complex to get done, it is worth using. so I have taken out a membership. It works out at less than the running cost of having our own hot tub per day. so worth the cost. It will also give me another reason to get out and got to town.
I tried to develop some film using daylight tanks. I had to stop as the concentration needed to make up the diluted developer and fixer was just too much for me. I know that this sounds silly, but the more I think or exert myself, the more I seem to ‘use up some chemical’ that easily becomes depleted.
I am determined to get back to doing my own films, but will have to work out how to do it in stages.
Stand developing sounds as a pos developing times is in hours not mins. this way I could put things together and go and rest for a while.
I have a new mobility scooter. A ‘class 3’ (which means it does up to 8 mph and can go on the road). also I have bought a bigger battery pack for the ‘Boot scooter’. This has given me a greater deal of freedom. I can now go to town by myself when I wish. A very good feeling.

Scooters and Batteries

This last weekend we went to a motorbility show. We went to look at scooters. I have two scooters. One is a ‘Boot Scooter’ This is a small 4mph scooter that comes apart into about five pieces. this is so that you can ‘fit it in the boot’!
The other is an old ‘Shop mobility’ scooter. It is still 4mph(In the UK there are two types. 4mph(class 2) and 8mph(class 3) scooters. 4mph are for use on the pavements (sidewalks). the 8 mph are for use on the roads(with all the cars!!). These usually can be ‘turned down’ to 4mph to be used on the pavements). The Shop mobility scooter has done me well and cost me basically the cost of new batteries(~£150). I use this to go to the local pub/shops.Now we have moved, the distance to town in such that it would take me about 1 1/2 hours to go to town. Also it is limited in range to about 15~20 miles(on a good warm day!). We have bought a new scooter (kymco MAXER). It is a class 3 scooter and has a range of about 35 miles. Taking into account the more ‘realistic’ range, I would be able to go to town and back with plenty to spare. It also has suspension! lol. Hopefully it will be here at the end of this week. I will not be able to use this on the buses, but it will allow me to go to town and the local park.
A great amount of freedom.
The Boot scooter (the one that has had battery problems), I have ordered a bigger battery pack from the manufacturers. This will be a 20AH pack not the 12AH pack. The battery pack I have now (which is down after only one month with new batteries), is giving me about ONE mile range!!!These batteries have been replaced under warranty once already. the suppliers have agreed to replace again but with a different make of battery.
I have used a couple of my film cameras. the first time an a while. I have a few films to develop, but my confidence is not good just now, so I have not done them yet.
There are so many things I am wanting to do, yet just cannot get going doing them.

Mobility, Bus passes and Batteries

I have a mobility scooter, I have a bus pass (disabled) and a scooter bus pass also. Well I lost the passes on Monday! So I have been stuck in the house and will be until the replacements arrive. They are no use to anyone as they have my picture on them and what scooter. Anne took me to town today and it has only been two days, but the feeling of the loss of independence is great. I couldn’t just go out. The scooter does 4mph and a range of about 8 miles (on the flat with a tail wind!). To get to town is 5 miles with some big hills(one in ten). So even if the battery lasts, it would take me about 1.5 hours to get there and the same back. Assuming I go nowhere in town.
So unless I can use the bus, I am stuck in the village. With the bus I can get to town (Northwich) , Chester, and surrounding villages. Even that is restricting. I cannot get to the local park as there is no direct bus and too much hill. So after the twentieth visit, you run out of shopping/looking at shops to do!
All because of the restrictions of lead acid batteries lol. They do make lithium batteries but they are over £100 each !! (two needed).

I do not drive now. I haven’t since my operation. I have a licence and could prob drive, but I am not 100% certain I would always be able to concentrate/react well enough. So I do not wish to take the chance.

I got my Toyo Large format camera out the other day and set it up. I managed to put the front standard on backwards and only realized when I couldn’t focus! lol I have some 4×5 film. So I am hoping to actually take some pictures with it soon. My aim is to be able to take the camera out on a scooter and go to the local park. (Visions of a mad scooter with a large tripod and big camera hanging out!).

It looks like I will finally be getting my works pension (microscopic though it is).
Health wise I have been up and down. I have had a lot of trouble with joints and ligaments that have hurt badly. Just now my right kneecap feels like someone is prying it off!
I normally put up with the pain, but every so often it ‘gets to me’.

The weather here has definitely gone to spring with temps around 40F at night to 54F during the day. A lot better for me. I used to love the cold, but now it causes so much pain.

I looked at some cct diagrams yesterday. Things that I could have drawn from scratch not long ago. I couldn’t even ‘see’ then properly now. I must admit that is where I am finding it very hard to accept. I used to have a near photographic memory and be very quick to take things in. I cannot seem to learn things now and things like a simple Colpitts oscillator cct is beyond me.
I had a scare last week. I was in town and thinking of going on the bus to Chester (I have to catch the Chester bus from town). I suddenly could not remember where Chester was or which bus or in fact anything but my name and how to get home. This lasted for about 1/2 hour. I decided to just ‘get home’!!
This is the first time that has happened for such a long period. Usually it is for say 1 min. I have been ‘pushing myself’ in the last few days physically and suspect I ‘reset’. the feeling was like I went (in my brain ) to get access to some memories and the room was ’empty’.
Life goes on.

We have moved!

Well finally after many months, we have moved. Only about five miles, but to another village around Northwich.
Weaverham is a nice village with a reasonable selection of shops (and pubs lol)
We have bought a 1930’s (but much extended) bungalow. So no stairs.
New windows and a new boiler have gone in and the place is warm and comfortable. There is lots of decorating to do sometime, but non is in such terrible condition as to need doing straight away.
I have a ‘man cave’ lol Actually it’s a well-built, flat roofed shed with main electricity in it(about 10ft x 20ft). This will house my stoves and general camping /Bushcraft gear.
I am starting to get interested in photography again and hope to be setting up a darkroom in the next few months.
I have still not got my works pension(the battle goes on!) Suzanna has been ill these past few months. A broken rib, followed by the stress of moving left her run down and open to viral attack. This caused a ‘concern’ about the condition of her heart. Fortunately, things have settled down and she is returning to work.
I am slowly getting used to what I can and cannot do. It does not take much to tip the balance and give me a flare up in my condition. Cold affects me greatly. This is something new to me as I have always in the past loved the cold. Now it causes great pain and total loss of energy.
I will be starting work again on the Gallery soon. This will have a public section and a private family section. In the public section I intend to put some of my photographs for general viewing.
The family sections will be for family photos so that they are able to be shared and if wanted prints ordered.
The family history sections will be reviewed (a lot of these sections have been ‘behind the scenes’ for some time). I am feeling ‘stable enough’ now to start to do some things again. Time will tell what I continue to do!