Good grief, this appears to be my first blog entry since April. In my defence, I’ve had a few things to deal with.
As you may know if you’ve been following me on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, there have been yet more shenanigans with my stupid spine. Some problems I’d been having with my neck turned out to be more serious than they first appeared, and I ended up having urgent surgery to free my squished spinal cord.
Of course, given that the NHS is underfunded to the point of collapse, ‘urgent’ doesn’t necessarily mean next week, next month or even this year. When I spoke to the surgeon in April, he said, “this should be done before the end of the summer”; I immediately asked, “which summer?”. Thankfully things did move quickly, and I had the surgery in July.
I won’t go into detail (although I’m very happy to chat to anyone who is interested or going through something similar) but I ended up having a multi-level laminoplasty and foraminotomy, which was… not fun. In fact, it was spectacularly painful and I was stuck in a neck brace until my ‘six week’ post op appointment at the hospital, which actually happened after seven weeks just for the sheer fun of it. I am now sporting a new neck-length Frankenstein’s monster scar right on time for Halloween. Should have just gone all out and given me bolts.
Yes, I was properly grumpy but look at the actual state of me:
On the bright side, I’m glad it’s over and everybody at the RJAH in Oswestry was lovely as usual. Recovering from this one has been tough and frustratingly slow, but I can confirm that I am now able to put on my own socks, drink coffee (or, let’s be honest, wine) without a straw and sit at my desk long enough to type a few paragraphs at a time. Sketching comfortably is a little way off, but I’m confident I’ll get there soon.
Obviously, I haven’t been having many other adventures lately. Before my neck intervened, Luce and I had been hard at work on our somewhat neglected garden. We managed to sort out the weed covered patio, clear the paths and flower beds nearest the house and do some replanting, which was quite the achievement! My mum bought me a small greenhouse for my birthday last year, so I was able to grow (or attempt to grow) pretty much everything from seed this spring. Some experiments were more successful than others, but I really enjoyed myself and I’m already planning for next year.
As a joint birthday present/reward, we decided to upgrade our outdoor drinking experience a little…
Yep, that’s me on my birthday in June sipping rum cocktails at our ACTUAL TIKI BAR! What could possibly go wrong? We’ve acquired solar disco lights and several flamingos since then, which has rendered the whole thing approximately 35% more hilarious. And that’s two photos of me, which is more selfies than I’ve shared in ages (February 2020. I checked).
Speaking of hilarity, we finally had to have our ancient gas boiler replaced in June. We’d been putting it off for ages, mostly because of the expense but also the upheaval. Our crumbling Victorian house never makes anything like this straightforward. Sure enough, leaks sprung up all over the ancient pipework and it became obvious that we were also going to have to replace most of the ancient radiators, so the upheaval extended through the whole place, and we now have an efficient new central heating system with six-inch sections of peeling 1970s wallpaper above several of the radiators because the new ones were a different size. Goodness only knows when I’ll be able to get up a ladder to hang wallpaper. I might just have to style it out for now and call it a feature. Old wallpaper is ‘retro chic’, right? Maybe I’ll start a trend. Also, although we now have a working thermostat for the first time in twenty-odd years, we still feel the dog’s ears to decide whether it’s cold enough to turn the heating on. Because nobody wants cold ears, especially not this dog:
Now you know why I’m skint, perhaps you’d like to have a look at all the lovely t-shirts, posters, mugs etc. in my shiny new online shop? After the customary amount of coffee and swearing, I’ve added a spooky seasonal section and everything. Please order soon if you need stuff in time for Halloween, as everything is made to order and delivered direct by the printer, not the ‘weasel.
I will try and be a more regular correspondent from now on. I know I’ve said that before but this is the first time since 2015 I’m not on a surgeon’s waiting list, which is encouraging. Fingers crossed, eh?
Bonus Music Video
Ok, I admit the title of this blog entry is a bit tenuous. Is it because I talked a bit about gardening? Am I a flower trying to turn towards the sun? Or was it just a flimsy excuse to share this beautiful song at the end?
Yeah… it’s the last one, obviously. But you’ll thank me once you listen to it.