For newcomers

At the bottom of each post there is the word "comments". If you click on it you will see comments made by followers, and if you follow the instructions you may also comment and I always welcome that. I have found many people overlook this part of the blog which is often more interesting than the original post!

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Saturday, 28 October 2017

A knee to kneel on

On Tuesday 17th October I saw Mr. Patel, the surgeon who did my Knee-One replacement in May 2012.

With the various checkups and a proposed operation on Knee-Two last year which I aborted I have had quite a few meetings with Mr. P. and he is now like an old friend. He agreed straightaway that a replacement would be available for Knee-Two, but it would mean 3 to 6 months on the waiting list.

Then on Thursday this week I had a call from the waiting list people saying Mr. P. had needed to reschedule his list and would have a number of NHS slots at the BMI private hospital in Lancaster during November, and would I be interested. Would I!

I am now awaiting a call for a date for the pre-op examination and hopefully a date for the op. in November.

Fingers crossed.

My main worry now is the possibility of being stranded on the deck when  I get down there. When I stand up from lying on the floor (or getting out of the bath et al) I use one knee to aid that manoeuvre, and except for one occasion I have never kneeled on the operated knee, even though I have been told I could if I wanted, but I am very apprehensive about that. So with two dodgy knees I will have to work out a strategy.

I have had a few scrapes in my time when serious injury or worse could have been the outcome, but my nearest death event was the one time I used Knee-One to kneel on in September last year on the ascent of Lord's Seat in the Lake District - here is an extract from my post at the time - if you want to read the whole post got to:

http://conradwalks.blogspot.co.uk/search?q=Lord%27s+Seat


"Then I saw a rock band ahead blocking the way, fortunately with a rake going diagonally left, but even that had a small rock outcrop halfway up, but I had no option. I had two attempts at that rock pitch, and got into a desperate situation and came very close to coming off. After instructing myself to suppress the fear I managed by kneeling on my replacement knee which is something I do not do, but now that really was the difference between achievement and what would have been a potentially fatal fall, and it had to be done. That was  serious."

Saturday, 21 October 2017

Ikea


Yesterday I was sandbagged into a trip to Ikea but at least it was a chance to give my new car a good run. I swapped the Kia Soul (35 mpg only) for a Kia Ceed 1.6 CDi Sportage GT Line Automatic - how's that for a mouthful? The car was registered in January this year with only 3000 plus miles. It is very lively and so far doing about 50mpg against its claims for circa 60mpg, but whatever, that is a huge improvement on its predecessor and it is early days yet.

It seems granddaughter Katie is in need of a new bunk bed and various related accessories, so off we went along with daughter High Horse.

I have always pretended to hate Ikea, but in truth it is not a bad experience, and Katie was in her element. She was in and out and up and down amongst all the room layouts, and sampling all the cuddly toys with glee, but not demanding purchases, and not a single strop all the jolly day; Ikea is better than one of those new soft-play attractions designed for children.


CLICK TO ENLARGE






Just to finish there is a short video - click the YouTube link below. 

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Internet reviews (follow-up)

This morning I received the following which at least demonstrates some motivation to sort things.

I have always said it is easy to provide good service - I think I used to do it as manager of three different branches of Yorkshire Bank Finance Ltd. BUT, the test comes when there is a problem. Any good manager should welcome such as an opportunity to demonstrate to the customer how good they can be WHEN IT MATTERS, rather than aggravating the customer's problem, and at worst humiliating them.

Dear Mr Robinson
Thank you for your email regarding your recent parcel.
I am sorry that your parcel was not delivered on the expected day, we work hard to provide our customer with high standard services. We appreciate the feedback you have provided us, this will help us to improve where we need to improve. 
I have checked your account and i see that the item was returned and refunded back to your account. Once again please accept my sincere apologies for the inconvenience that has been caused to you and your son.
If there will be anything you wish to be assisted with, please feel free to contact me.
Yours sincerely
Sammy Kamulo
Customer Service Team

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

What value Internet reviews?

In a recent post I mentioned my son losing his best friend. 

Cookie was found with head injuries having come off his bike, but it turned out cause of death was a heart attack. My son had elected to speak at the funeral and he needed a dark jacket, and as he is much oversize we sourced one at Jacamo on the Internet who specialise in o/s garments and boast of their next day delivery.

The order did not come next day despite confirmation email saying it would,  and a telephone call was met with complete intransigence and unwillingness to help in any way. The jacket eventually arrived too late and has been sent back, and the only thing I can say about Jacamo is that they made the refund promptly.

I then received an invitation to write a review. The exact wording has now vanished in the ether but was very similar to my account above. Here is their reply. You will note I had not mentioned the price or their competitors, only their poor service. 


Thanks Robinson,

We appreciate you writing a review for Flintoff By Jacamo Tweed Blazer.

Unfortunately your review did not meet our guidelines. We cannot accept reviews that mention the specific price you paid for the product, that refer to competitors or talk about customer service including delivery of the product. If you have a specific query about your order or Jacamo account, contact Customer Service drectly.

Please will you re-write your review?

Kind regards

Jacamo

J D Williams & Company Limited trading as Jacamo
Registered office: Griffin House, 40 Lever Street, Manchester, M60 6ES. Registered in England.
 
Registered in England Number: 00178367 
VAT registration number: 148 8796 03 

Monday, 16 October 2017

How many miles on a new knee?


Tomorrow I have my appointment with the surgeon who did my left knee replacement in 2012 with a view to now doing the same with my right knee.

I thought he may be interested to know how much his first effort has stood up to the rigours of walking. I don't keep very accurate records of mileages walked so the summary below is based more on days walking, and the mileage calculation at the bottom is an estimate. The table only includes continuous backpacking walks, daily walks from the caravan and completion of long distance paths on separate day walks. In addition to that I must have walked many hundreds of other miles on day walks from home. 

4th May       2012 - Knee operation

April            2013 -    10 days climbing hills in south of England (Marilyns)

June             2013 -    8 days walking -Lowestoft to Clacton, south east coast

June             2013 -    8 days walking - Cheshire Ring Canal and Sandstone Trail  
                    
July             2013 -     6 days walking - Kennet and Avon Canal

July             2013 -     12 days walking - Severn Way and Brecon Canal
2013 -  50  days
February      2014 -    7 days with caravan climbing hills in Wales (Marilyns)

April            2014 -    6 days walking - Arnside to Wetherby

Jun/July       2014 -    15 days walking - Wetherby to Rutland.                                                     

July/Aug.    2014 -    12 days caravan climbing hills in Northumberland

Sept.            2014 -    17 days walking - SW Coast Path and Two Moors Way
2014 - 57 days
January.      2015  -     3 days walking - Cheshire Ring Canal

April           2015  -   11 days climbing hills in northumberland - caravan

May/June    2015 -    20 days walking - Macmillan Way - Boston/Abbotsbury.                                     

August        2015 -    14 days walking - Canal du Midi, FRANCE

Sept.           2015 -     20 days walking - Macmillan Way - Boston/Barmouth
2015 - 58 days. 
Jan/April    2016 -     Many day walks climbing all Wainwrith’s Outyling Fells in Lake District

March         2016  -   7 days walking - climbing hills near Ledbury - caravan - (Marilyns)

June            2016    -  5 x day walks Lancashire Witches Walk - 51 miles

July            2016 -    21 days walking - South West Coast Path

August.      2016 -    10 days walking climbing hills in Torridon - SCOTLAND - caravan.         

Sept.           2016 -   7 days walking - Northumberland Coast Path

Nov/Dec.    2016 -   7 day walks -Wyre Way

Jan/F/M.     2016 -    7 day walks - Cumbria coastal Way
2016 - 64 days
April           2017 -   7 days walking - Berwick to Weardale (broken arm 12th April)

August        2017 -     6 days walking - Weardale to Hellifield (right knee packed up).                 

2017 - 13 days
Total 242 days @ say 15 miles = 3630 miles

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Katie update

Granddaughter Katie will be 6 years old later this month - wow!

A couple of days ago I am driving with daughter, High Horse, and Katie in my car.

Katie is looking out of the window from her rear seat chattering away and giggling at her own jokes, but then quite seriosly she excalimes "those pylons look like the Awful Tower."




Wednesday, 11 October 2017

The news










Big Brother (RR, who comments, usually critically, here) abhors Huw Edwards the presenter of BBC News at Ten. Whilst I am no fan of Huw I do find his manner boring, BBC superior, and a touch pompous, but that does not put me in RR’s camp of almost obsessional denigration. I have asked RR on several occasions to explain his dislike, a technique he invariably inflicts on others when they just say something is “good” or “bad.” He then demands that they should give detailed reasons. My questioning has resulted in uncharacteristic vagueness from RR that has not encouraged any empathy from me. 

Well, I invariably watch BBC News at Six usually avoiding HW, and often with the bonus of Fiona Bruce. For a long time I have also habitually tuned into BBC News at Ten, albeit spasmodically .

I was only about ten when TV first arrived in our house, then only with BBC. Being brought up in an intellectual family I remember personalities like Bronowski, Huw Wheldon,  A.J. Ayer, and Malcolm Muggeridge, and then I remember the kerfuffle when ITV and adverts were introduced. I inherited the impression that ITV was intellectually inferior, especially tainted with those adverts, and on the whole something to be avoided, and like the acute, and now irrational parsimony instilled in me during and after the War it is something I have never properly shaken off.

A few months ago I wandered over onto ITV News at Ten and found the news presented by Tom Bradby - what a revelation. This guy talks to you on a comfortable sort of one to one basis with little asides and personal hints of amusement and no condescension, and with a varied vocabulary uncluttered with stock phrases, but he also handles grave news with genuine feeling. The news coverage generally is more wide ranging than BBC and more inclined to report on a bit of speculation or rumour. For example, when some criminal has been apprehended the BBC will stick to the format of “a twenty four year old man was arrested” and nothing else, but ITV often seems to have unearthed more detail - some may say that could be undermining  prosecution or a fair trial, but what the hell!.

I now never watch BBC News at Ten, and have the advantage of comparing BBC’s News at Six with ITV’s presentation at ten.

Saturday, 7 October 2017

Walking (sort of), NHS, reading, DIY

Pete was away in Anglesey this Thursday gone. We did walk the Thursday before down the prom at Grange-over-Sands on a blustery but sunny day.

For newcomers I am awaiting an appointment for replacement knee surgery ( the other one was done in May 2012.) I am making a note of progress towards that event.

8.9.17.   Appointment with GP who said he would refer me to consultant (Mr. Patel who did the last one), and sent me to Kendal hospital so that an x-ray is on the record.

15.9.17.  Phoned hospital to check if referral received. NO! Phoned GP's surgery and discovered it was only sent on 14.9.17.

22.9.17.  Phoned hospital. Referral received. Appointment with consultant predicted for 8 to 10 weeks (i.e approx. end of November.) I asked if there were any cancellations could I be considered. They were friendly but said they were rare but I was welcome to ring, say weekly to see.

27.9.17    Phoned hospital again and, joy of joys, was given an appointment to see Mr. Patel on 17.10.17. so I am now a month and a half ahead of schedule.

As I have learned over the years a bit of polite making your voice heard with the NHS can work wonders.

In the meantime my knee is giving serious pain, but mainly at night in bed and I have been seeing every hour on the clock through the night. I can walk reasonably well with a stiff leg but there is no pleasure in it and I have been confining myself to DIY projects at home and reading. I have ripped out a 30 foot dying hedge in my front garden and erected a paling fence in its place which I hope to camouflage with rambling roses. I am no gardener and am always amused with the tv programmes when they get excited at the end of a garden makeover with the cliché phrase "the planting is the best part." Well for me none of gardening is the best part, but on this occasion, after all the hard work the planting may well be.

Reading has included A Kind of Blue - Ken Clarke's autobigraphy - a bit boring, and curently halfway through Structures by J E Gordon. This is a serious, but half entertainingly written account of the surprisingly fairly recent application of science to  stresses and strains and the like in materials including biological as well as man made constructions. The sub-title reads "...or why things don't fall down."
PLEASE CLICK TO ENLARGE
Walking down the prom at Grange-over-Sands with Morecambe Bay on the left and a huge variety of shrubs and flowers in beds on the right - these stretch for a good kilometre making an attractive and colourful display at all times of the year
Despite blustery wind causing flora to sway and twitch I managed some reasonably sharp photos







Back across Morecambe Bay to Arnside. My house is behind the fold of hill indicated by the red arrow


Harvest Moon
 I took this on Thursday night, hand held, sitting in my armchair, through the window and was astonished at the result. If you click to enlarge you can see several shooting stars and millions of other stars I could not see normally - it is on ten times zoom