Friday, 31 October 2014

Spooky Walk Remembered

All the ghoulish Halloween Tales reminded me of a Ghost Walk night out my colleagues and I had in Edinburgh one dark night some years ago. The plan was a ghost walk, dinner then the dancing I insisted on.

The ghost walk was a hoot, or at least I reckoned it was! My colleagues of a more nervous disposition were less convinced. We followed our guide round while listening to his tales of gore and yore and both of the team who had broken ankles tried to out do each other by proving how fast they could walk! They are both very competitive people and nearly knackered the rest of us with two functional legs who were trying to keep up.

It was a really good dark and atmospheric night and the guide was full of scary tales of the city's ghoulish past. I had to hold two of my colleagues hands on the way through the creepy, windy closes as the were both 'feart' and kept threatening to get a taxi to the restaurant to wait for the rest of us. The underground vaults at the end were very atmospheric but we didn't experience any phenomena which I was partly disappointed by and partly relieved about. However, I made sure I kept a close eye on the colleague who'd arranged the spooky tour as he was the very one I trusted least not to pull some stunt, broken ankle or not. I thought the tour was actually quite tame and tried to drum up some interest in us doing the Mary King's Close tour next but was met by pale faces and outright refusal by most of the group.

After a refreshing drink we headed off for dinner in a lovely Italian restaurant where I had to resurrect some schoolgirl language skills to explain to our lovely waiter who spoke virtually no English that I'd been given the wrong prawns. Replete after a great meal we headed off to go dancing but found the place was mobbed. A drunken girl, whose make up had melted and was not clinging to the original features she'd applied it to, staggered by the stairs and exclaiming it "was too hot and all the men were ugly". Trip Advisor she wasn't but after we managed to wangle ourselves into the place we realised she was bang on the money! Worse was the dance floor was the same size as a piece of plastic cheese. Four of us who are vertically challenged managed to weave our way to the bar then had to be extricated by one of our chaps before we got a drink as the rest of the group had decided to decamp somewhere quieter. I never did get to boogie that night.

After an incredibly circuitous journey home the cherry on the pie as I crept in the door at 4.30am was finding the results of my dissertation were waiting for me and I'd passed!

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Novel Shopping Experience

There are some family members that I love dearly and there are others that take more effort. What I didn't realise was that there was a place where they wouldn't go to waste and I could still feel I was doing something good for the environment. 

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Fast Food Dining Emergency

Who says fast food is bad for you? I was ravenous one day and decided to get a drive through Happy Meal as my prospects of getting home anytime soon for some proper lunch were pretty slim.
When I saw this I wondered if the stuff was as bad as people say and needed a paramedic and an ambulance response but no, it seems the only emergency here was their need for an afternoon break too.

Monday, 27 October 2014

Foodie Goodies

I was having a conversation a couple of weeks ago and we somehow got onto the difference between Scottish, Irish and Northern Irish foods. One colleague shared the info that one of the large Tesco's in the East End carries a range of Irish foods including Tayto cheese and onion crisps. Obviously I just had to have a little Irish fix, and sure enough they had a reasonable sized World Foods section. It wasn't huge but it had some favourites I've not tasted in ages. This was my Irish haul:
I've had to position the Tayto crisps carefully as there appears to have been some kind of pilferage that went on before they made it home.... *looking away shiftily*. All I need now is a Bewley's Cherry Bun and I'd have been happy.

They didn't have any white cheese popcorn but I've found an even better white cheese popcorn in the form of Popangles from ASDA. These are tortilla chip shaped popcorn which have the added benefit of not having the irritating bit of husk that gets stuck between your tooth and your gum. They are gorgeous with salsa dip. No pics as they didn't last long enough.

The section also carried some American foods that I've heard of but not tried so they also fell into my basket.
The Butterfinger was odd but quite nice, sort of like a peanut cracknel. However, the Milk Duds were absolute duds and after a few chews I realised they were foul and I ejected them into a hankie. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised as there were few ingredients I recognised on the label which is probably why they tasted so 'chemical-y'.

This Jamaican one is from a different supermarket. An old comfort food favourite used to be Knorr Chicken Noodle Soup which I would add a pile of pasta to along with chopped onion, leftover chicken, spring onions or whatever else was to hand or took my fancy. It was a great cupboard stand-by until they proudly announced on their packet that they were now meeting some reduced salt target and sadly it appears that all the flavour went with it. I tried adding salt to it but no, the actual chicken flavour is irretrievable gone. So I decided to give this one a whirl and found it was very good as a base for pasta/noodle soup. I just don't know if I'll be brave enough to take the packet through the till again!
Life doesn't seem to be easing up the pressure so I decided to take to the bottle with dinner tonight.
Sorry, it was only the juice option that came with my M&S meal deal. It was actually really nice and I'd probably buy it again.
Hope your week is going well and you are not being blown about by gales like we are right now. Take care.

Sunday, 19 October 2014

No Rest for the Wicked

It always feels a bit odd writing a blog post after a little bit of a gap. I can't decide whether to try write up everything, which leaves me feeling overwhelmed or just to write a little trickle which seems to misrepresent the chaos that seems to keep following me. However, here's what's been going on. No pics as I've mislaid my camera cable!

My Mum took very unwell this week and is in hospital for the second time in a couple of weeks. I decided to eschew the local hospital on account of their incredibly poor standards and carelessness. Last time she was referred there by the GP but this time I chose to scoot her through the Clyde Tunnel and take her directly in through A&E at another hospital where her care has been superior in the past. She is still on IV antibiotics; there is a staged approach to her immediate treatment priorities then to regroup and look at the other co-morbidities which might be implicated. I have Power of Attorney for my Mum and the staff have fully engaged me in her care and approach me with questions or answer me openly when I speak with them. Her behaviour can be quite difficult at times and I do not wish her sedated unless necessary so twice the staff have called me for assistance and both times I've been able to intervene to calm her. I cannot tell you how much of a relief it is to have confidence in knowing she is being well cared for and that I am still able to share her care.

I rarely get out much as I have to pace things with my gammy knee but have been making efforts to move things on. Sod's Law my Mum twice needed admitted to hospital on two of my three outings! I did manage to get to see La Cenerentola by Scottish Opera which was lovely even if I did get a call from the hospital, which I could deal with by phone. Scottish Opera are a fabulous company and the only complaint I could have is that the scenery is always done in black or gray with only the very odd bit of colour. It really makes me pine for the gloriously extravagantly coloured operas in Italy.

The gammy knee was looking hopeful as there was a little bit of improvement which has now been destroyed with the extra walking necessary from adding hospital trips. This has been quite revelatory as I thought I was coping and improving but it kind of shows me how just a tiny extra distance is enough to cause serious pain in my knee and bad numbness in my hand from taking so much weight on the crutch. On the upside it saved the physio hurting me when I had my appointment as my knee was actually too sore to do anything with...! I also had a couple of episodes of a strange facial numbness which could have been related to the medication I am on but has been ruled out as that. Thankfully, it seems to be going and hopefully wont come back.

The week before last I had a couple of visits from the Fire Brigade to replace my smoke alarm which were quite funny so I'll write them up as a post.

Magic remains as stubborn as Margaret Thatcher and is refusing to allow her insulin to have much of an effect. As so often happens this will entail more expensive testing and treatment and as her insulin doses are getting ever higher both her vet and I have developed a nervous tic. Her blood sugars are 18-24mmols on 8units of human glargine insulin which is deeply frustrating especially as she was doing really well. We are anxiously awaiting the results of her IGF1 acromegaly test which should be back in the next week or so. Both cats are as perceptive as usual and with all the stress with my Mum I've been waking up roasting hot and sweaty because one or other is wound round my head like a Davy Crockett hat and the other is acting as a foot warmer. It is most lovely of them but my default temp is superhot so the last thing I need is a pair of toastie cats trapping me under my quilt and boiling me to death.

On the crafting front I have lots of WIP's and ideas for things that need or would be lovely to do but finding the time is part of the issue. The dining room, where I usually do my crafty stuff, is also wreathed in damp washing as the weather is utterly foul and the rain torrential. It should be in the spare room which is still too full of boxes and miscellaneous items to get the washing in. Although I don't generally feel the cold I had to switch the heating on last week for a little while which surprised me as it had got really cold. Usually it is mid-Nov before I crack but who knows with our crazy weather.

The garden is a complete lost cause and the wind keeps blowing all my big plastic plant pots over. The buddleia and roses are down yet again but I'm not going out to stand them up again till it stops raining and blowing a hoolie, which might be nearer May next year! My theory was that the plastic would be easier for me to lift and manage. However, I didn't realise you need to weight them down! I'd hoped I might be better by now and could have cut the grass myself but that's not happened so I need to call the gardener and ask him to cut the grass and break the news to him that it hasn't been cut since he last did it in June....! I had to stop having it cut as the vet bills were my priority and cat wins over grass. This time though I may need to employ Indiana Jones to hack his way through it.

So that is you probably up to date. I'll try to post more often and wish you all a week filled with happiness and time to do what you would like.