Monday 31 January 2011

Hopeful sunrise

Shame it didn't set the tone for the weather or the rest of the day!

Sunday 30 January 2011


This weekend was the RSPB's Garden Birdwatch. I filled up the food and water and was ready to watch for an hour. I decided to do my watching from the bedroom window where I'd disturb the birds less... of course the kittens had to be locked out otherwise they'd probably have tried tightrope walking on the window cill or other acrobatics!

There were quite a lot of birds about... especially the pigeon families and the tit families. Sadly for the watch (although not our pond) didn't see the heron. Didn't see the fleeting green parakeet once spotted either.

To be honest, a nice sunny afternoon (like today) would have been better for it - it just really didn't seem to be the weather for it. Grey and rather cold. I think maybe the birds were all tucked up in their nests!

Some lovely photos to finish with though - Tinker (left) and Casper (right) posing (as usual) for the camera!

Saturday 29 January 2011

Chemical compound

I love weekends right now. Friday night is time for the weekly dose of Avonex. This is my 'disease modifying drug' that I take for my MS.

The selling point is that it gives you 33% less relapses or the relapses you do have are 33% less severe. Of course, there is no way of testing this without stopping taking it.

A few years back my Neuro decided that it wasn't strong enough and I should take Betaferon instead. Betaferon is taken every other day subcutaneously (which means a smaller needle) unfortunately my skin was extremely intolerant to this so back to Avonex it was. Avonex is given intramuscularly so I don't get the same skin reactions; sadly the needles is about 150% longer and it usually hurts quite a bit - sometime it bleeds too and I end up with a lovely bruise for a week. Lucky it is on my thigh and I no longer wear skirts that short! DMDs are famous for their flu-like side effects. I distinctly remember the first time I took Avonex. It was the same night as BBC's Children in Need, which I don't normally watch. I remember on this occasion lying in bed aching and shivering and feeling generally rotten and dosing on paracetamol as often as the box would permit. Happily I've never had it that bad again, and I think that the every other day Betaferon helped build an immunity. I still have occasional bad nights but they are rare.

Right now the evenings aren't the only problem. My MS Nurse suggested a five day course of steroids were in order. Those are the blue tablets on the left. They taste vile. The only thing that helps is Robinsons Fruit and Barley Peach flavour, strangely it must be peach. They should put that in the advisory leaflet. Fail in this and the horrid taste will hang around all day no matter what you eat and drink. The yellow tablet is Omeprazole which protects your stomach from any effects of the steriods - a fifteen day tapering course they'd add Calcium as well. The little white tablet is anti-histamine which I take for random pruritus (that's the medical term for itching) - they also help my hayfever in the summer.

Not shown here is the night-time tablet Clonazepam which is a muscle relaxant and cures my legs of stiffness and crampiness - bonus side effect it sends me to sleep.

So that's me - a chemical compound. No wonder I don't feel quite myself... hopefully soime will start doing some good soon!

Thursday 27 January 2011

Green fingers

Still managing (despite the odds being stacked against them) to keep last year's poinsettias alive. Alive and growing new shoots. At some point I suppose they will have to come home and be repotted.

Wednesday 26 January 2011

Random kitten moments

Casper is counting his pocket money. What he is going to spend it on I couldn't say as he has a food and litter provided for him and boxes of toys!  £1.20 won't go far... that's for sure!

Tinker meanwhile has taken very literally the fact that the cushion on the chair says 'cat' (and the grey blanket out of shot says 'Miaow') and taken this as a sign that this is to be his chair.

Tuesday 25 January 2011

Another wet London day

Although it had stopped raining, everyone was still in a big hurry to get home!

I enjoy the effects of rain on London... as long as I'm not getting wet!

Monday 24 January 2011

Feline mischief

Here's all kinds of trouble waiting to happen. The marks on the carpet are where we've just finished playing with soap bubbles. The aim of this exercise was to distract the kittens whilst my nearly-mother-in-law attempts to prepare her dinner in the adjacent kitchen without feline help.

Sunday 23 January 2011

Strange things cats do

Casper likes to sit in the bath tub if he gets the chance... we know that. Not usually when the water has just finished disappearing down the plug-hole! I had to fish a rather soggy moggy out of the bath tub and suggest that he might find somewhere warmer and drier to sit.

Saturday 22 January 2011

Afternoon at the Valley

Valley Sunset
Charlton Legend Chris Powell was appointed as manager at the club and today was his first game in charge. In honour of the occasion I made my once a season pilgrimage to the Valley. One upon a time I was a season ticket holder at Charlton... in fact I was introduced to my better-half in a pub after a game.

As time passed though I got busier and busier at work and worked longer and longer hours I had less time free in the week. I began to resent having to go to games on the weekend, and I had to go because with a season ticket I'd already paid for the games. 

After nearly a decade I gave up my season ticket, and generally manage a game once a season. The return of the legend that is Chris Powell seemed as good a reason as any. Charlton beat Plymouth by two goals to nil; and the second goal was worth the whole match. The football wasn't great, but like most sporting events the afternoon is about more than just the game - it's the whole experience... and it was nice to be back at the Valley again after so long.

Friday 21 January 2011

New Change

I spent some time in Islington this afternoon and opted for a bus back to Waterloo. I was rather taken by this image of St Paul's Cathedral reflected in the glass fa├žade of the New Change shopping centre.

My time in Islington itself was centred around the part just outside the City - Old Street and environs. I rather like their habit of painting their telephone exchange boxes!

Thursday 20 January 2011

Lunchtime at Tiffany's

"...the only thing that does any good is to jump in a cab and go to Tiffany's. Calms me down right away.The quietness and the proud look of it; nothing very bad could happen to you there."

Of course Holly Golightly was in New York and not Old Bond Street - but I echo her sentiment. I was having a rather stressful day at work but even looking through the window of Tiffany's did make me feel calmer.

Wednesday 19 January 2011

Unexpected Visitors

Arrived home this evening to find my in-laws and my niece were visiting. They were on the way back from a hospital appointment where apparently the doctor had offered my niece a balloon (left). 
Aged just over a year she is just learning to walk now... a burbling a bit which will soon lead to talking - the quiet life is over for my in-laws!

Tuesday 18 January 2011

Sunshine after the storm

After the torrential downpours of Monday the glorious sunshine of today was a pleasant surprise!

Monday 17 January 2011

Resting in Peace

The graveyard was there first but I always think that it is a little macabre having a cemetery on the opposite side of the road. I had a lovely watery walk past on my way to the hospital this morning.

Sunday 16 January 2011

All change

The New
The Old
I've given the site a major overhaul both in terms of design and address.

The new address is
the old Blogger address will continue to forward to this page.

Note that the email address has also changed:

Saturday 15 January 2011

The sofa

Although our sofa still has a lot of life in it we decided it was time for a new one. So having selected a likely candidate online we took a trip to our local DFS (advertising works!) to sit on it. It passed the test - and now we just have to wait up to twelve weeks whilst it is manufactured for us.

Even though our current sofa is a two seater the new three seater isn't that much bigger - just makes better use of its dimensions it would seem.

Thursday 13 January 2011

So long, farewell

Lunch today at our favourite pizza haunt to say goodbye to one of my colleagues who is leaving after six years.

It will be quite strange as he started at the company only a few months after I did so he's nearly always been there.

I wish him all the best in his new job.

Wednesday 12 January 2011

A little light


To cheer up the dark days of January the fairy lights have been left to decorate the bedroom window. Their  sparkle brightens dark evenings and mornings. The stars provide an irresistible temptation for kittens and can be found abandoned all over the house!

Tuesday 11 January 2011

New Shoots

This year in our office instead of putting up a Christmas tree we purchased a number of poinsettias. I was worried what would happen to them over Christmas... and indeed one of the smallest seemed to have perished. However, although I'm not gifted with house-plants I seem to be nursing this poor plant back to health.

Monday 10 January 2011

Sunday 9 January 2011

Wildcard Weekend

Only one of the NFL teams followed by this household has made it through the regular season to the post-season. The New York Jets are taking on the Indianapolis Colts.

Smart money is with the Colts, but I'm still backing my Jets.

Saturday 8 January 2011

I'm a Spoonie

Although I usually keep my MS related posts on my MS Blog these days I had to share this here as well too as it is so brilliant.

Jodi shared this on her blog ages ago and I starred it in Google Reader to pass on and then forgot about it (as I'm inclined to do unless I write myself a note!). It explains what it is like to live with a chronic and debilitating disease, but most importantly also one that is often invisible.

The Spoon Theory written by Christine Miserandino

Thursday 6 January 2011

Look familiar?

These are the numbers drawn in the Mega Millions lottery draw in the US on Tuesday. Some of these look familiar?

Even though it has been a year since Lost last graced our screens apparently a lot of people still choose the famous numbers on their lottery tickets. Over 25,000 people won a prize on 3+1 (the Lost numbers). Looking over previous draws this figure usually seems to average around 4,000! Two people even shared the jackpot.

Just remember, when Hurley won the jackpot in Lost with these numbers it didn't bring him any happiness!

Wednesday 5 January 2011

Kitten surfing

As long as he doesn't learn how to use eBay! He has nearly managed to figure out the touch pad... then he will be able to amuse himself making the cursor move so he can chase it!

Tuesday 4 January 2011

Happy New Year from TfL

Fares go up but poor service remains the same.

Stalled train at Stratford. Jubilee Line suspended from North Greenwich to Stratford, severe (and they were severe) delays to the rest of the line.

Thanks TfL for making my day.

Monday 3 January 2011

Bank Holiday blues

As the song goes "the weather outside is frightful" grey and miserable and just about thinking of snowing when I got in from my brief trip out. Not that this had dettered the rest of South East London. There were crowds arriving (very) early for the first home game at the Valley in 2011 and an awful lot of people making a trip to the various shopping areas on the Peninsula. I was lucky only to be making one stop and lucky (?!) to be disabled which meant I found somewhere to park.

Clearly the January Sales combined with the imminent VAT rise is just enough to encourage another bout of gross consumerism. So soon after Christmas!

Nothing quite so sad to see as the remains of a party. Bits of streamer are all over our front path - a remnant from New Year's Eve.

It feels a bit like the weekend today. Even though the better-half has gone to the football there is still a Sunday-what-shall-I-do feeling... coupled with an end of holidays can't-really-be-bothered feeling.

In the end I got out my guitar... much to the delight of Cass and Tink who are very musical cats. Tink came and laid down as close as he could to me and the guitar and Cass got the next best spot. Maybe it is the vibrations from the strings that draws them... it certainly can't be the guitar playing. Let's not be under any illusions - singing, yes - I can do that... piano, reasonably proficient... violin, banned in this house... guitar, well I don't really play - I just strum chords. Still more than enough for my poor fingers which hadn't played in nearly a month and before that time measured in years!

Fret marks in my fingers!

Tink being musical

Sunday 2 January 2011

First Sunday

As Douglas Adam's wrote in Life, the Universe and Everything (the third book in the Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy series): 
"In the end, it was the Sunday afternoons he couldn't cope with, and that terrible listlessness that starts to set in about 2:55, when you know you’ve taken all the baths that you can usefully take that day, that however hard you stare at any given paragraph in the newspaper you will never actually read it, or use the revolutionary new pruning technique it describes, and that as you stare at the clock the hands will move relentlessly on to four o’clock, and you will enter the long dark teatime of the soul."

That is a common problem often enough in this house. Not this week though. My day started excellently watching the Gators win in the Outback Bowl.

Why does someone for London support the Florida Gators? Well that is illustrated by the photo on the left. Back in the day there was a college football game on NASN and one team was the Gators and I took to their bold blue and orange and the Gator on the helmets. Never looked back... helped by mighty quarter-backs Chris Leak and Tim Tebow and legendary coach Urban Meyer.

After that Rich settled down to the New Year's Day Old Firm Derby. He was happy as Celtic triumphed over Rangers.

At this point I decided that the thing I really ought to do was go through a stack of magazines that had been stacking up since June. That accompanied by the gentle strains of Handel's Water Music and two sleeping kittens proved a very peaceful way to finish the afternoon.

I'm now sitting watching the final week of the regular NFL season. Happily there is still the post season and the Superbowl to go... before that unfortunate gap until the baseball season starts again!

Saturday 1 January 2011

Happy New Year!

Saw the New Year in last night with the better-half, nearly-mother-in-law and the cats. There were party poppers (of course) and bubbles (which amused people and cats alike) and of course champagne!

So here's to 2011 - personally hoping for an improvement over 2010 which is mostly best forgotten... other than the arrival of Casper and Tinker into our lives.