new surgery

New house means new medical centre, if you move across the city as we did. So I went for my introductory appointment, and that was fine.  Except my blood pressure was very high, and I’ve never had high blood pressure, ever.  And then they wanted to do a diabetic review with the nurse, and that was fine, but the blood pressure was still too high. And she took a load of bloods.

And the next working day I got a phone call summoning me for a medication review. It turns out that my HbA1c is up from 53 to 61(!), and my cholesterol is also going up (7.1%). But my blood pressure is going down, so that’s good.

I haven’t been anywhere near as good at looking after myself as usual this year, it’s fair to say. Stress and worry, comfort eating, not enough exercise. I’ve already taken that in hand; being more careful with my diet, bought a treadmill at the weekend. So I need to keep that up. But … statins. I’m afraid so. Ho hum.

varying costs of work

Regular readers will know that we had a woodburning stove in OldHouse. We left it there, as they are supposed to be attractive to buyers, but in the end the house went to a developer, who beat us down on price; we told him that we would accept his offer, but would be removing the woodburner, and had someone go in and take it out the next day and deliver it to us here, where it resides in the garage. Curiously enough, his solicitors mailed ours yesterday to ask if we’d consider leaving it for an extra £100. We scoffed, openly.

So I’ve been looking around for someone to fit it in here, a rambling Victorian terrace. We were going to do this before the autumn, but having our little Morso Squirrel back has cut the install cost by a few hundred quid, so we thought we might as well get on with it. Plus, as I type, it might be Spring according to the calendar, but it’s blowing a gale with sideways rain outside.

First call was to a chap who advertised on Gumtree. He came last Friday, and started out by saying that we needed to get the Building Regs people in to certify the chimney (never heard that before). He was a dreadful old woman, stayed for about an hour, constantly wringing his hands and repeating himself, and we got the impression he didn’t want the job. Which is fine – just say so, and leave.

He claimed that our nice fire surround was slate, that he probably couldn’t get it out without breaking it, that he’d need *everything* taken out of the room, and all in all just seemed to make an enormous fuss about everything, He said he’d e-mail me a quote (although he omitted to ask for an e-mail address, which I pressed upon him), and that he would send it this week as it was a bank holiday weekend. We’ll see, but he’s going to pad the quote, I’m sure of it, and if he works as slowly as he surveys, he’ll need a fortnight.

Next up was a youngish bloke, who claims to do sub-contract work for various fireplace showrooms. He came on Saturday morning, on his way to a bike rally, and certainly seemed to know his stuff. He looked up the chimney and said it didn’t need sweeping, he said the lintel was resin, and was no problem to remove and put back, and quoted us £470 without the cost of lining the chimney, which he doesn’t do. We want it lined, so he said he’d put us in touch with someone who did that, and the HETAS cert. Not heard so far, but he was pretty good.

After that, I talked to a company called Ecofit in Pontefract, who were the only people to respond to an ad on mybuilder.com (which seems useless these days, to be honest). He phoned me and asked some questions, and then rang back 40 minutes later with a price of £1,250 (not clear whether that was VAT included or not). I have no intention whatsoever of employing someone to do that sort of work who can’t be bothered to come and do a site survey – how can they possibly price it without knowing what’s properly involved? So they’re out the window.

And they we got our mates John and Paul, the self-named Dead Popes, to have a look. They had the nous to pull the carpet back, revealing some lovely original tiles for the hearth, worked out where the chimney went, had a look at the upstairs chimney for me as well, and this morning quoted me £300 plus the cost of a register plate (because, despite their assurances, I want a lined chimney). So that’s where the work will be going – always been happy with their services in the past.

All I need now is to find someone to drop the liner down a very high chimney – how hard can it be?

new house, new post

Time, time – where does it go?

We have moved house, and I promise to write more, honest.

yet another diabetic review 13 oct 2014

[note to self – last cholesterol level 6.4%]

Honestly, I don’t think he knew why I was there for a moment. Had to ask me what medication I took! All they’re interested in is pushing statins, but I think he’s given up with me now. I was verging on Polite.

Cholesterol now 6.1%, so improving slowly.

diabetic review 27 aug 2014

Bah and grrr.

HbA1c 53mmol/mo, up 5 from last time. He wasn’t bothered. Cholesterol climbing slowly, where it had been falling – I suspect due to not exercising as much. I’ll tackle that.

LOng conversation (different doctor this time, one who does actually look at you, and pay attention) on the subject of statins. When you look at the statics, they make about 5% difference to your chance of heart attack/stroke, and I’m not sure I want to take more drugs for that result. Have fought him off till my next set of bloods in five weeks time, and see if I can get them down again.

Stupidly, I didn’t take a not of what the level actually *is*, and he didn’t write it down with the others.

As an aside, I had blood taken last Tuesday. She couldn’t get anything at all out of one arm, and I still have a huge black bruise on the other. I do wish my veins would cooperate – resistance is futile, really, the vampires will get me.

Morrisons breakfasts

We were up at sparrowfart this morning, so as to dance the May in with a (rather diminished) Rackaback at Beverley Westwood at 5 a.m.

Somewhere between locking the front door and getting out of the car in Beverley, my house keys vanished. This is beyond irritating. We actually went back to Westwood to have another look, after searching the car and all pockets, etc., but no sign. No dreadful worry, in that there is nothing on the keyring to identify them, but I shall now have to trundle out and get a pair of keys cut.

While returning from Beverley (the second time), we thought Morrisons! Breakfast! The Beverley store doesn’t open until 8 a.m. so we sat in the car for ten minutes, then barged in the direction of the café. Now, according to their menu,

Big Breakfast: 1060 calories

Little Breakfast: 967 calories

Now, given that the Big offers, over and above the Little, two additional rashers of bacon, an additional hash brown, one slice of white toast, one slice of fried bread, and some tomatoes and mushrooms,  I fail to see how the Little can be only 93 calories less. I fed its ingredients into myfitnesspal.com,  and made it 594 calories.  I shall draw it to their attention, via the medium of Twitter. Watch this space.

so I went to see the doctor

And firstly, he kept addressing me as Mary, which is my middle name, and really, I think he should have referred to me as Mrs Jordan anyway, to begin with at least.

I told him I didn’t want statins, and he started off on “all the benefits”. I stopped him, and said that as my cholesterol level was actually down since my last bloods, and was within 0.1% of my level 2 years ago, I failed to see what all the fuss was about. And that there was no history of early heart disease in my family. And that I didn’t want them anyway? “Why?”, he asked, and I explained that I saw no reason to take a drug “just in case”, when there seemed no necessity for it.

I also said that getting a receptionist to phone and tell me to come to the surgery and collect a prescription for new drugs was quite disgraceful; an appointment should have been offered at the very least, and it had made me really quite scared.

He apologised – not very sincerely, I don’t think. He looked at his screen virtually all the time, rather than at me, which I didn’t like. He said that the blood test results came back in batches, and were parcelled out to various doctors in the practice, and that clearly the doctor who reviewed mine didn’t check the history. I forebore to point out that the diabetic nurse yesterday showed me my records on screen, and guess who reviewed mine? Yup, got it in one.

So now, I don’t need them for no, he has noted my healthy diet and exercise regime. But I tell you what – I didn’t like him, and I shall attempt to see another doctor next time, because this one seems rushed and untrustworthy to me.

diabetic review April 2014

So I had new bloods done a couple of weeks ago, and two working days later, the surgery phoned. Telling me to come in and pick up a prescription for statins *that day*, because my cholesterol was too high (but they wouldn’t tell me what it was over the phone). I refused to accept more drugs without seeing a doctor, which miffed them mightily, but I held out, and this morning, I went to see my diabetic nurse to get the numbers.

HbA1c 48mmol/mol – up three from October, so not too bad. Cholesterol? 6.0%. Down from 6.9% in October, and the same pretty much as it was 2.5 years ago (at 5.9%, when nobody even mentioned it as a dangerous level). So sod statins for a game of soldiers, then. I’m seeing the doctor tomorrow, and shall tell him that, and will see if I can get it down myself.

More bloods on 1 July. And no, I’m not giving up my ounce of cheese a day, so there.

(Previous health entry here.)

Scottish Power – positively Kafkaesque

I sent this to the Chief Operating Officer of Scottish Power by e-mail on Feb 18th:

Dear Mr Anderson

re Outstanding monies owed on Agreement 510292699

I switched my accounts from Scottish Power to EDF in mid November. I queried at that time how long it would take for a refund to be issued for the credit balance, and was told “4-6 weeks”. I think this is far too long, but it would have been a lot better than where I am now.

There is still an outstanding credit on my account of £370.96. I made a complaint via your web form on 5th Feb, and got an auto response saying that I would get an answer by 10th Feb. I found this unacceptable, so took to Twitter to try to get some assistance. Incidentally, as of this morning, 18th Feb, I have still had no response to this complaint e-mail.

After the third Tweet, your Customer Services department got back to me. On 5 Feb, Nicola informed me, via Twitter direct mail, that “for some reason the final bill hasn’t been produced and it won’t allow me to complete this so I am seeking advice on how to get this generated and will be back in touch as soon as I can progress this.”

I asked for an update, again via Twitter direct mail, on 10th Feb, and was told that

“I had raised a work item to get the final bill produced but this hasn’t been completed yet. I know it can take a while for the work item to be picked up”.

I asked how long was “a while”, but no response, and I have heard no more.

My account with yourselves is marked as closed. I have no idea why no final invoice has been produced, but I am tired of waiting for my money. I therefore enclose an invoice for the full sum, and would advise that if payment is not received, in full, within 7 days, I will have no hesitation in taking this matter further. Please also note that I reserve the right to charge interest on late payment.

Nothing. Not even an autoresponder. Utter silence.

Started Tweeting again on Monday 25th, and many people are in the same boat. Still no response. I also found a Complaints e-mail address by Googling, copied the lot to them, and said I’d be taking them to Small Claims next week. No response, not even an automatic one.

Yesterday, I received a response to my *original* e-mail, the one on 5th Feb, which merely stated:

We are still in process of finalising the account and once it will be done we will issue the refund.

I apologize for the inconvenience this may have caused to you.

In somewhat of a rage, I replied that they might like to escalate this to a superior, as I would taking it to the Small Claims Court next week. And got a reply,

Thank you for sending your email to the ScottishPower Online Energy customer service centre. A copy of what you have sent to us is included at the bottom of this email.

We will respond to your enquiry within 5 working days.

Please be aware that this message is generated from an unmanned mailbox. We cannot respond to any mail to this address.

Thanks and regards,

Online Energy Customer Service Team, ScottishPower

60?

birthday cake made by my clever daughter

birthday cake made by my clever daughter

 

How did that happen?! Still, 60 I was at the weekend, and nowt I can do about it, except to continue to refuse to act like it.

We considered all manner of parties, but in the end, I didn’t want a fuss, so my daughter and her gentleman friend, and her son, came up to Hull for a long weekend. We ate shepherds pie, and potato scones, and little sausages, and Nandos, and bananananana muffins. We watched Independence Day and one of the X Men films (no idea which). We went and played music at the session at the Sun in Beverley. We went to the Maritime Museum, and the park a couple of times.

And we had 14 in the house for Saturday night, as a sort of joint birthday celebration / goodbye Lynn and Lars party (he’s off to become Bishop of Crewe or some such, and will be missed more than we can say).

It was an utterly grand weekend, involving rather a lot of red wine (Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights – oh dear). Splendid company, lovely cards and gifts, just perfect.

Thanks all :)