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 :)

diabetic review Oct 2013

Good, mostly, but not all.

HbA1c 6.4% (down from 7.1%),  or 45 mmol/mol (down from 54), which is very nearly in the range for non-diabetics.

Weight down 4kgs (but up 2kgs in the past four weeks, which is mad). waist measurement down, feet fine).  But …

Cholesterol up to 6.9% (from 5.9% two years ago). So if I can’t get that under control – and I’m not sure how – they’re going to want to give me statins, which I really don’t want.

Ho and indeed hum.

immersion therapy

lego crystal meth lab
I’m currently watching Breaking Bad every spare moment I have. I only discovered it a couple of weeks ago, and am completely desperate to catch up on Netflix so I can watch the final episode when everyone else does. I’ll be writing more on the subject when it’s finished, but I made these comments on a Facebook thread, and wanted to record them for posterity. Or, at least, as an aide memoire :)

  • No idea. If you like beautifully plotted stuff, with extraordinary character development. moments of sheer laugh out loud black comedy, beautiful and clever direction and cinematography, and acting from some people which is peerless, then watch it. It is extraordinary television.
  • I loathe explicit violence in films, and avoid ones with it in. There is, of course, violence in BB – given the nature of its subject matter, that’s unavoidable. But I don’t find it gratuitous, or overly gory or drawn out. Oh, and I find it challenging, intellectually – my emotions are drawn hither and thither. It’s brilliantly plotted, written and performed.

For years and years, I have held that The West Wing is the best television ever made. BB has knocked it off its perch. Watch it.

p.s. Every home should have a Lego crystal meth lab. Even the mother of my 6 year old grandson said so.

a weekend with family

Untitled

Clare (daughter) and Harry (GrandToad) came up to spend a few days with us. They arrived on Friday, and after settling in and having some lunch, we took ourselves off to our local Pearson Park; we’re lucky enough to live just over 5 minutes walk from there. We took the scooter we bought for Harry a few months ago, and which lives here. He’s now just about grown into it, so he scooted all over the place, and then we headed for the playground, and he spotted … THE ZIP WIRE. So he had several goes on that, aided and abetted by GrandPete, while his mum hid her eyes :)  Then home, for shower, Mars Attacks with GrandPete, then lamb curry and bed.

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On Saturday, Rackaback were dancing out at the Hull Folk Festival, in the company of the Raving Maes, Makara and the Thieving Magpies.Now, Harry loves watching Rackaback, and is a good little musician, so we asked him if he’d like to play with the band during the day. He said he’d wear the (little) tatter jacket that Debby made, but he didn’t want a hat, or face paint, so we said sorry – them’s the rules. And he caved :) He played tambourine for every one of the dances, and also went round with our collecting bucket, standing in front of  people, pretty much demanding money with cuteness – we’ve never raised so much! I think the side would like to have him there at every dance out! It was a long day for him, but he never flagged, bless him. We went home to sausages and baked spuds, and an early night for all of us :)

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On Sunday, we took Clare and Harry to the National Armouries at Leeds, which is just a fabulous place to visit. My daughter and grandson have clearly inherited my love of sharp shiny things, and we were all most covetous. I really, really want the horned helmet given to Henry VIII by Maximilian I, but I doubt they’d let me have it. Really, an hour down the motorway and free entry made this an excellent value day out, and we shall go again. Very highly recommended. We came home to a picky tea of bits and pieces, Galaxy Quest and then, when Harry had gone to bed, a glass of wine. Which turned into four (I think) bottles between three of us, dodgy 80s music on the Apple TV and, I’m sorry to say, dancing during the later hours.

Ouch.

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Clare and Harry set off for home on Monday rather later than they had planned, due to Not Feeling Very Well. Pete and I took the GrandToad back to the park for a bit to give her some peace, and fed him a chocolate ice cream, then after lunch off they want.

A lovely weekend with family, doing things we love with good friends – what’s not to like?

However, this horrible coldy thing I’ve got came back with a vengeance during the afternoon yesterday, I couldn’t speak, my throat was closed up. Went to bed at 8, as I was falling asleep on the sofa. And this week I need to crack on with my Breaking Bad obsession, as the final episode is looming, and I must catch up!

a small victory

I still haven’t related the Thaga of the Thaab. It blew up in an embarrassing fashion when we were on our way to Malton on 19th April with a bunch of Morris Dancers as passengers (we were going to perform at the Malton Folk Festival). The oil light came on just as we came into Wetwang (yes, that’s a real place), and within two minutes, the engine … stopped.

We were in a sort of convoy, and two more Rackacars pulled in very shortly. The Morrisers, myself included, were distributed and squashed into them, and Pete remained behind to await the RAC man. Who pronounced the head gasket gone, and organised a recovery back to Hull. To cut a long story short, the garage said about £850 to fix, plus at least another £200 to get the car through the impending MOT. So we decided to scrap it. The local yard offered us £250, and then one of the mechanics at the garage said he’d give us the scrap value, and fix it for his dad, so we did that, and the last time I called in at the garage (see below) the Thaab had gone. Fixed. Which is really nice. Especially as we’d bought it three new tyres and had the tailgate fixed three weeks before it died [snarl].

Still, such is the way of things if you do what we do – buy old cars, and run them until they’re too expensive to repair. So for its replacement, we asked advice, and everyone said “get a Mondeo”. So we did – a diesel estate, 2002 (first car we’ve ever owned with a new-fangled numberplate), automatic, and Ghia, so bells and whistles. 140k on the clock. And Just In Case, I purchased a six month warranty for £100 from the dealer. For various and complicated reasons, we didn’t pick up this car till mid May, so I thought I might be safe until November.

The last couple of times we’ve been out in it, the speedo and odometer stopped displaying, but pulling in and rebooting <g> fixed it. And we thought “must get that looked at”, and would then forget about it. And the car only goes out about once a fortnight.

On Saturday we went and put some diesel in at the Great Satan, Tesco. We don’t shop at Tesco, but a friend gave us a voucher for 5p a litre off, and it seemed rude not to avail ourselves of the opportunity to cost them a few pennies. As we drove away from there, along Hall Road, the speedo went again, so Pete pulled in to restart it. And … nothing. Silence. Not even a click. He unplugged and replugged the battery. Still nothing. We called the RAC.

They turned up pretty quickly, and diagnosed a dead alternator. So he charged up the battery, and followed us back to the garage to ensure we got there safely. Nice Greg the Garage was there, and quoted us £230 to fix it. Given we’ve just paid a huge vet bill for Lilith, this was not in any way good news. And then I remember The Warranty!

So,, phone call to the insurance company on Monday. Could I please get the garage to phone them with details? I could. They did. Could I please get the dealer who sold it to me to fax proof of service? I could. They did. I rang them again on Tuesday – they’re paying the claim! Which means, for the first time in my almost sixty years, I am making no loss on an insurance claim, and am actually £130 ahead! A small yay!, I think. But I don’t have the money yet …

correspondence with my MP

Sorry – not much to relate here, apart from the very sad saga of Lilith being hit by a car and losing a leg :( Full details at the cats’ site, if you care to read.

However, I did have cause to use the excellent Write to Them site recently, to contact the illustrious Diana Johnson MP, Labour Member of Parliament for Hull North. I was somewhat vexed with the plan to increase MPs’ salaries, and wanted to know if she would be accepting the pay rise.

me:

I would be most interested to hear your views on IPSA’s recommendation that MPs’ pay should be increased., and whether you will be accepting this rise.

You may be unsurprised to find that I personally, like the vast majority of voters, think it is outrageous.

Yours sincerely

her:

Waffle, waffle, waffle, IPSA set up by parliament, up to them not us, blah blah blah.

me:

With the greatest respect, you have not answered my questions.
a) Do you think a rise for MPs is justified in the current climate?
b) Will you be accepting this rise?
Neither of these have anything at all to do with IPSA. A pay rise does not have to be accepted if offered, or it could be donated to a suitable charity. How about Hull Food Bank, for instance?
her:

The whole point of giving the independent body IPSA the role of setting pay levels, was that MPs no longer set their own pay and should not seek to interfere with, exert pressure on or undermine the independence of IPSA’s work. That is why I will not make comments in the media and have not taken part in IPSA’s consultation on the matter. Of course I hope that IPSA take full account of the likely economic backdrop for 2015, when their pay recommendation is due to take effect. I am sure that members of the public will make these views clear to IPSA in the consultation that IPSA have started on their proposals.

Regarding your comments about donations to local charities, I already donate to many local charities in Hull. I’m actually the patron of a number of them. Indeed, I took a donation to the Endike Food Bank in Hull North only this morning. Whatever IPSA’s final decision about pay for post-2015, and we’ll see the final figures when they report, I will continue to support local charities.

I guess she’ll be taking the rise, then. I’d have been much happier if she’d just said “yes”, instead of giving me all the flannel.

 

 

at the sign of the Broken Drum

Mediaeval Drum

 

We found ourselves in the vicinity of Shipley on 16 May, and it’s only down the road from Saltaire, the home of the Early Music Shop, a highly dangerous emporium. I only went in for a look, honest, but I wanted a drum to bang with the Morris side and …

We had a small bash of pretty much every drum in the place, and this seemed the best – nice tone, manageable size. I bought a case, and the chap threw in a pair of small drumsticks, as he said the ones supplied with it would be too big, and away we went.

It went to two practices, and one dance out (in Doncaster, last Saturday), and on what was probably its eleventh tune, the hide split. I wasn’t playing it at the time, someone else was, so perhaps it hadn’t been treated with the respect that I had; but anyway, broken it was, and it seemed to me that it should have lasted slightly longer than two weeks’ worth of very light use.

So yesterday Pete and I hopped on a train to Saltaire, via Leeds (at £45 I reckon it was cheaper than paying diesel and parking, and it’s also far nicer to sit on a train then swelter in a car). I took the drum into EMS, and they went “crikey” (yes, really – I didn’t think anyone said things like that, except in a post modern, ironic way), and said that they could replace the skin, but “not today”. And I said that would be fine, take as long as they like, but I want another drum to take away, given that I’d come 70-odd miles with it. So they quite happily gave me another, and apologised a lot, and it was all good.

We then went and had lunch in Don’t Tell Titus (what sort of poncey name is that, FFS? – one, presumably, that might just possibly justify the price of *£4.30* for a bottle of locally brewed beer. And there was artisan bread too). Still the food was nice.

We had about 90 minutes to kill before the train from Leeds, and I really didn’t fancy walking along the main road to Shipley, but we discovered a really nice walk along the canal, part of the Airedale Way, so we ambled down that to Shipley station, and got on a Leeds train. We had about half an hour to kill there, and we foolishly bought – and ate – a large bag of Minstrels. Horrible sweet stuff, don’t know why we did it. And then we got the train back to Hull, and walked home. I clocked up 16.5k steps through the course of the day. Lovely weather too – sunny, but not too hot.

And now I have a new drum; lets see how long this one survives :)