Archives For Holiday

The 6th of June. 

Today has been pretty lame, ranked in terms of holiday fun time. The weather was not terrible, so it was felt we should go out. I was woken up by a child playing basketball outside my window which was not ideal, but I refrained from putting a passive-aggressive note through the door of the owners of said basketball hoop. If it happens again tomorrow, I will be less accommodating.

Daddy and Christine wanted to go to a castle, which did not sound appealing, so they dropped Mommy and I off in Torquay so we could do a bit of shopping while they looked at the ruins. We spent about an hour and a half in a nice coffee shop, having a tasty lunch and beverages. I had a mozzarella, tomato and pesto bagel with a carrot and orange juice, although I took the tomatoes out. Don’t want those. Then I had a coffee and we shared some vegan chocolate banana bread which was excellent, but it was demolished before I had a chance to take a photo. We were thinking about going, but then an old man sat down and started talking to us, starting with the premise of the election but he actually ended up telling us about how he is having to move because his landlady’s husband is a weed addict and he wants to start a singing group in which they sing old French songs in a Black Country accent because he thinks it would be fun. All this while eating two croissants with butter and jam. He was a curious fellow. We did have to leave as we had a jigsaw to buy, so we went in search of that. It turns out Torquay is quite shit in terms of shopping. We tried several places, and finally found one in WHSmith, where I also found a Father’s Day card. Not got Daddy a birthday card yet but nevermind.

My eyes started being problematic, and we had nowhere else left to go, so we started trawling places in desperation, waiting to be picked up. We even went round Wilko’s, where they were selling my facewipes for more expensive than in Superdrug, shockingly.

I was very happy to see the car arrive so I could shelter from all the bright light. Honestly, if it gets even vaguely sunny, I am essentially blind. Really hoping it is kind of dull on Thursday when we go to Michael Caines’ restaurant.

Back at the house, I made my contribution to the jigsaw by finding all the bits of the two windows in the picture. That was enough for my back, so I then returned to the sofa where I have been curled up ever since.

The 7th of June. 

One day out in the wheelchair/car and I am fucked for the next one. Been hobbling all day. Nevermind the fact that Mommy fried some meat last night and I obviously can’t cope with being in the vicinity of that either because my sats are only just getting back to normal. People are only allowed to bake, roast, boil or steam things near me, thank you.

I was not woken by basketball today, thankfully. Instead, it has been a very quiet day – Daddy and Christine went to the tiny zoo this morning, while Mommy and I stayed in. She cross-stitched, I crocheted! Actually was able to focus on it. I had to unravel the doily I had been working on, because I can’t remember what size hook I was using, but I’ve started a new one and I’ve made a note of the hook, so if I have to stop again, I won’t have the same problem.

When Christine and Daddy got back, we ate lunch while watching today’s Pretty Little Liars (FINALLY things actually progressed) and I had a very tasty crab sandwich from one of the nearby coffee shops. I was then left alone while everyone went shopping to buy dinner, so I watched an episode of Scream and before I knew it, they were back again! Time for iZombie. (Yes it seems on holiday I behave exactly as I do in hospital.)

It is the last day of election campaigning. Tomorrow, the people vote. Obviously, I have already sent off my postal vote. Part of me is hopeful. The other part is terrified. I am so afraid of what I might wake up to on Friday morning.

The 2nd of June. 

Such a long day of driving. We got up, packed the car and set off to pick up Taid from New Street. Unfortunately, the assistance people at Llandudno forgot about him so they didn’t put him on his train, and they had to put him on the next one. That meant he had to change at Shrewsbury, not Crewe, and he got to us forty minutes later than he should have. Not very impressive.

Once we’d got him in the car, we then drove to the excellent service station in Gloucester, the one where they have a farm shop. We had some food, then I went to wander round the farm shop. I got a cinnamon swirl from the Richard Bertinet bakery, and two chocolate brownies – one classic chocolate for me, and one salted peanut brittle for Christine.

Back in the car! I spent my whole journey listening to the Do You Like Scary Podcasts? podcast about Scream (the tv series), trying to catch up to where I’ve watched. I had to stop when we got near Taid’s hotel, because then I had to start looking at Google maps to work out where we needed to go. It was very stressful because poor signal meant I couldn’t accurately see where we were, so we made a couple of wrong turns and it took a bit longer than it should have. Still, we got there in the end! Then we had to pick up Christine from the station here and get to the Tesco in Newton Abbot by 6 to pick up our order from the click and collect. We got there with two minutes to spare! Phew.

Then all we had to do was get to the house. Thankfully, that did not take very long, just the roads at the end were a bit narrow and windy. Great fun in a people carrier. Now we have had fish and chips for dinner, as is traditional, and will be doing our best to get a good sleep before tomorrow’s wedding festivities!

The 3rd of June. 

I highly recommend being ill directly before a wedding. Everyone is so much more delighted to see you! Well done me for attending.

I had a pretty reasonable sleep, only woken by the bright morning light about 5 but I was able to ignore it. I got up and dressed into my wedding outfit straight away – it’s hard enough to get dressed once, I’m not going to put one set of clothes on to get changed a few hours later. I had some breakfast and Mommy went get me a coffee (thankfully there is a shop that sells a decent flat white nearby), then I had to put make up on for the first time in about a month. Thankfully, it was not too uncomfortable for my eyes, although they were not loving it. So many eye drops.

We arrived at the church about half an hour early and it was entertaining trying to get the wheelchair in. The hardest bit was the gravel outside – the wheels did not cope well. I had to be pushed for a while. Actually inside the church, it was fine, I just drove it down the aisle and parked it, then sat in a pew with Mommy and Christine, and Daddy sat behind.

The ceremony was very traditional, and it involved the Eucharist in which I obviously did not partake. We sung some songs, including a curious rendition of One More Step Along The Way I Go – the organist didn’t seem to know the rhythm, so the end of every verse was unknown territory. When we came out, a guard of honour had been created with oars (John’s family row, Maddie’s sail) so we all waited for them to come out so they could be covered in confetti (which blended into my hair very well), then we all got in our cars to go to Exeter Castle for the reception.

There was much milling about at this point, the way people do at weddings while waiting for the food to start. I decided against having any Pimms, I thought it would be wise to stick with one type of alcohol if I was going to drink. Just wine for me. We had a brief rain shower, and the Red Arrows did a fly past (not for us but a nice surprise all the same), then it was time to go and eat! It was past 3 o’clock by this point, so we were all quite hungry. Christine and I were on a table with two of John’s cousins, a family friend of Maddie’s, another friend of Maddie’s, and three of John’s friends from medical school/university. It was a good group! There were two short speeches before we ate, from Maddie’s stepdad and her mum, then it was time for deep-fried camembert. So good, but so viscous. I felt like my mouth was stuck together, but for delicious reasons so who cares? The main course was brought out on boards – chicken with stuffing, plus bowls of vegetables, so we had to serve ourselves. Our method involved getting someone to stab you a bit of chicken, and the vegetables got passed around. The parsnips were excellent. The dessert was wedding cake, and very good it was too. Then John did his speech and it was very sweet – I nearly did a cry, but managed to hold them in. Giles, the best man’s speech followed, which was very funny, although not long enough (we had a sweepstake running on our table and my guess was way off).

After that, we all congregated outside for more photos before the evening festivities. There was a room for dancing, the bar, and a chill out room, plus an outside terrace. I started out in the dancing room, although purely as an observer – I can barely walk, so dancing is very much out of the question. There was a big old Ceilidh which was very entertaining but looked knackering, then John and Maddie had their first dance. Once other people started joining in, I went outside and sat in the remaining sun with Sophie and we mainly talked about cats and babies until it got cold, and I went back inside to find the dancing room empty and most people in the bar. I found a chair at the side and texted Mommy to find out how much longer we were going to stay because I was pooped. Thankfully, they agreed that it was time we ought to head off, particularly as we had to take Taid back to his hotel, so I said my goodbyes to the happy couple and went back to the car for some oxygen. We made the right choice, because by the time we got back to the house, I was ready to sleep. Well, eat some toast, then have sleep.

The 28th of August. 

No vomit sounds this morning and that’s the way I like it. I had a slow start, bimbling about in my pyjamas, and had just gone upstairs to get dressed when Becky texted to see if it was alright to come round. I asked for fifteen minutes, then put some clothes on sharpish. Ready with moments to spare!

She’d brought us a lovely cake stand to say thanks for looking after their kittens, and we caught up on life. I haven’t seen her for ages because she was poorly before they went away, so there was much to discuss. My pain and painkillers, their bathroom (it’s nearly finished and soon they will be able to shower at home!), Nadia’s reluctance to leave, and their holiday which was slightly marred by the noisy neighbours. 

This afternoon, Rachel (the lady I spoke to yesterday about Nola) came with her mother and daughters to see the kittens. I think had they not already decide on Nola, they would’ve gone for Nova because she was showing off. Nola was a bit shy at first, but she soon came out of her shell and let them stroke and play with her. They actually wanted to take her today, but that’s not allowed so they’re coming back for her on Friday. 

Rest of the day has been taken up by crocheting. I have finished the sheep and now I’m working on the cat. I’ve done the head and ears already, so I don’t think it’ll take long. 

The 29th of August. 

Bank holidays mean nothing to me; they are no different to most days of my life apart from sometimes there is a good film on. Tonight, Thor: The Dark World is on and it doesn’t seem two minutes since I saw it in the cinema. I remember looking at Asgard and thinking that if there was a heaven, I would like it to be like that. Or Rivendell. It hadn’t been long since the doctors had said I couldn’t have another transplant and I’d probably die soon, so you can understand why it was on my mind. Yet here I am, nearly three years later, hanging on by the skin of my teeth. 

The most exciting thing to happen today was that a man from down the road came to borrow some sand because Daddy had offered him some for his drive. When I answered the door he said something about my husband and I very quickly said “Oh you’re the sand man, I’ll just go and ask my DAD where it is!” because seriously what the fuck was he thinking? Shut that shit down. 

I just finished crocheting all the parts of the cat; now it just needs assembling. 

The 9th of July. 

Home. Holiday is lovely but home is just better. My bed, my shower (I and more importantly my hair is super clean), my armchair. I cannot wait to go to sleep tonight.

We had an early start and I’m glad I got up when I did, because while I was having breakfast, the builders next door started using what I can only assume was a power saw? A continuous, high-pitched whining noise, just delightful. 

Packed up all our belongings, did a sweep of the house to check we hadn’t missed anything, and we were out of the door by ten to ten. The Dorset Seafood Festival started today, so after getting coffee, Mommy and I had a look at all the stalls but it was mainly street food to eat there and then which we had no intention of doing, and none of the interesting demonstrations were on until much later, so by eleven, we were on the road home!

We stopped for lunch and to visit the Gloucester services, but the traffic was all pretty good and we got home just after four. Unpacked all the things, then I thought I would shower right away; my hair was so full of product and my skin all covered in suncream which leaves a residue that I am not a fan of. 

Tonight I must update my blog. I have been somewhat neglectful while away. 

The 10th of July. 

Well, Britain has done some good sport today. Now we just need to win the mixed doubles and we’ll be three for three! And it would be preferable if Portugal lost at the football but I am not really invested in that. 

Sleeping in my bed was just delicious, oh how I love a mattress that I don’t sink into and having a plug socket in a sensible place. I got up to watch Katherine and Joe on Sunday Brunch, and I relished the ability to make my own coffee and have it taste good. Then my friend Dan who is home for the weekend came round for a brew, a catchup and many bear hugs. We have been friends for ten years and can fall back into our rhythm so easily, there are never any awkward silences. 

After he’d gone back home to help his dad build his website, I watched Hamilton win the Grand Prix with Daddy while I crocheted a little kitty in a teacup, although I had to stop at three for lunch. Grandma came as obviously we haven’t seen her all week so I was showing her my sunburn over the table. 

Tennis, more crocheting. Had to stop to watch the last few points. I did some involuntary screams at stressful moments. I finished the kitty while I caught up on Limitless, and now I really need to finish my Anthony Nolan speech before I talk to the chap about it tomorrow!

The 7th of July. 

Finally got to have my pancakes! Balcony mapley goodness. Mommy, Daddy and Christine came with me, but they just had smoothies and coffee because they are boring/had already had breakfast. When we came out, it was trying to rain so we darted into M&S so Christine could pick up some lunch to eat on the train as she went home today. We then returned home with a stop for coffee because I hadn’t had any yet, and that has been my only trip out today. 

I figured I should capitalise on the less-than-ideal weather and work out what I am going to say at my next Anthony Nolan talk. Not the parliament one; I don’t need to give any speeches there, just chat to people, but on Thursday I’m talking to 250 Anthony Nolan staff about my transplant “journey” and patient outcomes. What I’ve said before won’t quite work so I need to rejig it slightly. 

Mommy went back out to buy presents for people, but also came back with a milkshake for me made from chocolate and espresso gelato. It tasted like it was made by gods. So, so good. 

And that is all. Outside my bubble, everything is terrible. Black men are being murdered by police officers in the US, and our next Prime Minister will be Theresa May or Andrea Leadsom, both equally dreadful human beings who will do nothing to improve the lives of vulnerable people. 

The 8th of July. 

Last full day here. This time tomorrow I will be nearly back in my own house (or even already there, depending on how long we spend at the Dorset Seafood Festival before we leave).

Really bad sleep last night, because next door were having some sort of loud musical shindig which kept me awake. I am so glad we don’t live in a terraced house; the noise from neighbours is constant during the day. It would drive me insane. 

I spent the morning in the house, typing up a blog post which I have yet to add the photos to because the WiFi here will take forever to upload them all. Then I had to wait for my parents to return from a bimble so someone could apply suncream to my back before I could go out to get my lunch. Very warm (when not windy) today and I didn’t want to get caught out again. 

I went to Coffee#1 first, but they didn’t have any sandwiches that looked appealing. However, I’d already kind of settled in and didn’t really feel like I could just leave, so I had a flat white and read a chapter of my book. After what I deemed an acceptable amount of time, I left and thought I’d just go to McDonald’s, so I had McNuggets and fries because I am a child. 

When I finished, I went to have a last trundle down the seafront, but getting there was such a slog, I seemed to choose the most inaccessible route possible. When I finally got there, I got to see some donkeys and an enormous amount of puffy dogs, which were most fun, but I had grown tired of the wind, so returned to the house where I must now pack. 

The 5th of July. 

You know it’s been too long since you used your camera when it’s being uncooperative and you can’t remember how to fix it. It might actually be the lens. I don’t know! 

It has been a beautiful day. I was supposed to have a chat with Cassie from Anthony Nolan about the parliamentary reception next week, but then I got a message saying she was poorly so would have to reschedule. The place I was planning on having brunch at was closed to have air con installed, so I had breakfast at home and we watched last night’s Sewing Bee final, which we were delighted with the winner of. 

Mommy, Daddy and Christine went on a trip to some sort of abbey/castle in which I had no interest, so they left and I went out on my own. First stop was Coffee#1 for lunch, where I had a reuben toastie and a St. Clements while I read Animal. I also made friends with a baby who was very squidgy. 

Last night, on the way back from dinner, we went past a gelato shop which I decided to go and investigate today. I purchased a tub of two scoops; one salted caramel gelato, one chocolate orange sorbet. I took it down to the harbour where I watched people and their dogs while I ate. I ended up having a chat with two ladies who wanted to compare paleness with me, and we concluded that we were the same. 

I then went on a bimble up to the beach so I could see the sand and the sea, where I took some photos and saw a lot of small dogs. Then I went to Boots where I was finally able to get my Lacrilube, and now I am home again, watching tennis and wanting to have a nap. 

The 6th of July. 

Not so warm today. Probably a good thing because it became apparent yesterday evening that I had burnt my right arm and the top of my left shoulder. This is incredibly rare. I have not changed colour in years. I assumed from all the UV in my blood, I could now repel it from within. 

I couldn’t go for my brunch today because we had lunch plans, so this morning I stayed in and Christine and I watched the new episode of Pretty Little Liars. More insanity in Rosewood. 

Lunch was at The Crab House Café in Wyke Regis. Pretty much all the seafood you could want. Service was excellent – super speedy. I started with fish fritters which were secretly spicy so I only got through half before having to swap the rest for some crab from other people’s plates. Then I had ling with salt beef and sea purslane cream which was delicious and not spicy so I could eat it all. Ling is an excellent fish because you can spear it with a fork and it doesn’t fall apart which is most pleasing. 

We decided not to have dessert because I had recommended the gelato place, so we had coffee then went on our merry way. Today I had pink lemonade and chocolate orange sorbets and we ate at the harbour again, watching all the boats and dogs. By this time, everybody without a cardigan was getting chilly from the wind, so we returned to our abode where we’re watching Murray vs. Tsonga and I do not like it at all. 

The 3rd of July. 

I have had better first nights but worse too. My mattress is a tad soft in the middle and I woke up a lot from 5am onwards but I could have not slept at all so I am not complaining. 

I got up once it was a socially acceptable time, and came downstairs to have my Bertinet Bakery pain au chocolat (purchased at Gloucester services) for breakfast, faintly warmed by the microwave that we can’t quite figure out. I wrote about yesterday while watching Sunday Brunch, and Mommy went out in search of coffee. She came back with one from Coffee#1 which was of acceptable quality, but I might see if I can find a better one, just on the off chance. 

We had a family trip to Sainsbury’s to get some basics in, plus food for dinner. Exciting stuff. Once home, we had lunch, then Mommy and I set off for the station where we were meeting Christine. It was not a delightful journey in the wheelchair, very few smooth surfaces so very bouncy for me. Daddy caught up with us, and we got to the station just in time for Christine’s arrival. We went to make our way home, but got split up when Mommy and I went into Boots in search of eye ointment. Long story short, they’re getting some Lacrilube in tomorrow, yay! We also went past Coffee#1 so I went in to get a milkshake and a rainbow cookie. The milkshake took ages, and when I asked about it, the woman was very rude and I will not forget that. Not impressed with her at all. 

When we got back, I watched Tsonga beat Isner and ate my cookie, then everybody else went out on another jaunt while I stayed here and crocheted a mouse. Relaxing and productive!

The 4th of July.

It’s been a weird day, weather-wise. Grey yet bright, damp air, very low cloud, now evening sunshine. Oh and very chilly wind. 

Same sort of night; I’m obviously sleeping with my mouth slightly open because I keep waking up with a tongue that feels like sandpaper. I had French toast for breakfast, made with brioche from Gloucester services, coffee from Coffee#1, then we went to investigate a town called Poundbury. 

It’s all built on land owned by Prince Charles, and according to his principles. It is bizarre, let me tell you. We drove around for ages past loads of houses which all looked the same before we saw any people, and that was just a man looking at us through the window. It was like he was about to call up the rest of the pod people in this movie set town and shout OUTSIDERS! BURN THEM!

Even the children on the swings were creepy. We did speak to one of the pod people, a lady in a wheelchair who wanted to talk about mine, and we discussed disability assessments. She seemed quite normal but that could all just be part of the plan, lull us into a false sense of security. It reminded me a bit of the radio sitcom, Welcome to our Village, Please Invade Carefully, where a village is taken over by an alien and he’s put a force field around it to stop anyone leaving and making the rest of the world forget about them. 

We went to a small café for lunch which happened to be cheffed by Mat Follas from Masterchef, and I had to a very tasty crab sandwich with a green apple and pear smoothie. Then we decided we’d pretty much seen it all, so returned home. 

This afternoon, we went to pick up the Lacrilube which had not arrived yet, then had coffee, tea and cake while watching all the small dogs go by.