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I went to the cardiology department this morning to have a portable tape machine fitted which measures my heart rate over a period of 24 hours; I have to go back tomorrow to have it taken off. Unfortunately I haven't had a very active day, so my heart rate hasn't gone really high. Still, it did last time and he didn't seem to think that a rate of 163 was too much out of the way!

Just as I'd given up hope of getting it this side of the postal strike, my parcel from Amazon came today. I ordered the new Terry Pratchett and the 2008 diary (Lu Tze's Yearbook of Enlightenment 2008), plus a CD of an old record my Pa had which I always loved. It's just been re-released this year. It's Music for Tired Lovers with Woody Herman and Erroll Garner; it was first issued in 1954. I find it as smooth and romantic as I ever did; I'm so glad I managed to find it.. I have to say that, digitally remastered, it sounds so much better than the original recording did, which by the time I heard it had been traipsed about Nigeria for quite a few years, and got scratched and dusty.

Now, I wonder if I can remember the name of that wonderful St. Louis Jazz band he had a recording of.........
I seem to remember that it featured Lizzie Miles.  I've googled a bit for it, but so far have had no luck.  Still, it took me a long time to find another record of folk-songs from the 60s which I desperately wanted.

Yesterday I took Morgan to the vet for his follow-up inoculation and had him chipped while I was at it.  The surgery nurse told me that I would be eligible for 6 weeks free insurance for him, and it looks better than the insurance I already have for the other two, being slightly cheaper and in that whatever happens to him, they won't refuse to insure him throughout his life, providing I don't let the policy lapse.  It's for up to £4000, so I just have to hope he doesn't get anything major wrong with him, considering that poor Phoebe's little tooth extraction and saliva gland surgery alone came to over £360 last year.

It's so cute to see him and Bramble together.  They've become virtually inseparable, except when snoozing, and even then they sometimes curl up in the same chair, Bramble in the chair and Morgan on the chair arm.  Of course, if I see them like that and go to fetch the camera, they've stopped by the time I get back.  They spend an inordinate amount of time chasing about play-fighting, and if they don't break something soon, it will be a miracle.

Now that we've finally put the heating on, it's too hot and I have to keep turning it off.

It was a lovely day today and this afternoon John managed to track down a second-hand Lucida wheel to be Lucy's spare wheel.  Neither of us likes the idea of being at the mercy of the stupid pretend spare wheel which comes with the car and is only good for 200 k.  We have no idea how much it's been used before, or even if it's still OK. 

We went out for a sunny little ride in the glorious Autumn countryside to somewhere near Seaton Delavel where there was a breaker's yard which had a Lucida wheel available.  So now we have a full size wheel plus a rather good tyre for £15.  John had them check it thoroughly before he bought it.

I'm feeling really happy today, even though I'm so broke!
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Today was the first day of the new Diltiazem dosage, although I did actually take the smaller pill when I got home yesterday afternoon.

I've felt fine all day till just a little while ago, when I started getting breathless coming up the stairs. Yesterday when I took the extra pill later, I noticed that I wasn't getting breathless coming upstairs in the evening. My Lovely Lady Doctor told me to take it all at once in the morning unless it made me feel woozy, in which case I should take the smaller dose later in the day. I think I shall have to experiment. I will take both pills in the morning for a week and keep a diary about how it affects me and then I shall take the smaller dose about 5-ish for a week and again keep notes about how it affects me........ If I remember!

Having said all that, this evening's breathlessness was nowhere near as debilitating as it has been recently.

It was a nice afternoon, after rain in the morning, so after John and Charles had cleared all the rubbish out of the yard and taken it to the tip, Charles and I spent some time pottering in the yard. We broached our 2-year-old compost bin and I was so thrilled to see that the magic has worked and we have lovely friable compost. There are a few things which haven't composted completely; most we can't recognise, but, strangely, the avocado pear skins are completely untouched apart from having become black and slimy. I wonder why that should be?

Considering how long it's taken to produce that compost, it's a bit disappointing to think that I've already used about a quarter of it on three large pots. One is to grow my mint plant much bigger. The original pot it was in just didn't let it grow profusely enough, so I've put it in a huge pot which I hope will encourage it to get really big. The other two smaller ones were for planting out my new sage bushes, one purple and one green/gold.  I had to do a fair bit of deadheading as well.  The verbena has only half the number of flowers now that it started with.

The beans are growing really fast, but I see that the slugs have been at one plant and done their best to destroy it. I've moved the tub further away from the wall, because I think they must climb the wall and make a bridge of their bodies to the succulent leaves. Charles put grit round each plant as well. We put grit on the pots of mint and sage, too. It does make them look very nice.

Where the rubbish had been moved, we found an absolutely enormous yellow slug........ugh! and a tiny grey one.  I salted them and just managed to stop Charles disposing of them in the compost bin.  I don't want their eggs in my compost, thank you very much.  I also found a couple of massive snails, which went over the back wall, and John managed to tread on a very large one. Eeek!

Yesterday, when the window cleaner came, we found some keys by the back gate, which appeared to be for a Daihatsu; Adrian-next-door drives one, so I assumed they were his and I left a message on his voice-mail about them. He hadn't phoned back, so when John told me he was at home I went round and they were indeed his keys. He was very glad to get them back, because not only was there his spare car key on the ring, but his only key to the luggage box which lives on the car roof.

Poor Caramel his lovely tortoiseshell cat has had to be put down. She was only 10, but she developed a cancer on her chin which was inoperable and which made life too difficult for her.

Still, he did have some good news as well. He and Sandra have got engaged, the sweet old-fashioned things, and are planning to marry next year. I was so afraid that when this happened he would move away, but apparently she's coming to live next-door. Hurrah!  I must make them a really nice engagement card.  I'm sooo thrilled!

This morning the hat I bought from the eBay shop on Tuesday arrived by post.  It came in a huge box which weighed hardly anything at all, and the postman asked if it was a balloon!

It's not quite as dark a pink as I hoped, but it's still a very pretty shade, what I would call shell-pink, it fits me and it suits me, so I'm delighted with it.  I just wish everything else would come now!

Oh Good Grief!  I see it's Friday again tomorrow, so I shall have to go shopping again if I don't want to go at the week-end.  I get so fed up with shopping.

Maybe I shall go to the garden centre again on Saturday as a reward for the other boring shopping.  The only shopping I like is shopping for books, for CDs and DVDs and shopping in garden centres, which are the only places I ever do any of that browsing "window" shopping.
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I got a letter from the cardiologist which was a copy of the one he's sent to my GP; he said he can't find anything wrong other than poor control of the atrial fibrillation and suggested increasing some of the medication I take. I've made an appointment to see my GP next week, when I shall discuss it with her, but I don't know whether I'm relieved or disappointed. Something must have made it deteriorate so suddenly. It happened on the 1st. December and it was so rare an occurrence that I noted it in my diary. I'd really like to know what made it deteriorate so suddenly. However, if yet further pills can help, I suppose that's better than nothing. After all, I only take 15 every morning, 1 after lunch time, 5 after dinner and another 5 at night!!

In the hope that it might help with the AF, would certainly help with the arthritis and probably with the dire beaties too, I've decided that much as I disapprove of diets I must try to lose some weight. I lost quite a lot when I had chemotherapy, but I've put it all back on again in the last six months when I've been hardly able even to walk. I remember that my Sis did wonders with WeightWatchers a few years ago and I'm wondering whether to join their online programme. It's a bit expensive though, what with the joining fee and everything. I wish they would let you have a look at the diet to see if you can put up with it before you sign up.

On Wednesday John and I went to Stoke on Trent to stay overnight and for me to attend a Community Transport Board Strategy meeting yesterday. After the first 20 minutes or so, Lucy boiled over.  Fortunately we were right by the Angel of the North Services, so we pulled in there and spent 30 to 40 minutes gradually pouring water into the cooling system while running the engine.  It took almost three litres!!  We had to top it up again after a couple of hours driving.

The weather on the way down was the worst I've travelled in for over 30 years. It was terrifying. And when the weather wasn't making the journey frightening, the traffic jams were making it incredibly tedious.

The North Stafford Hotel was OK, although a little past its prime, but the evening meal was dire! There was no chance of going out and eating somewhere else because the rain was streaming down all evening. It didn't really matter, because we were so tired all we wanted to do was go to bed and watch TV.  Fortunately the room was comfortable and the bathroom was clean and huge.  The telephone didn't work though, and when I twice wanted to contact reception, I had to do so using my mobile phone to their external line.  The problem was that the room was insufferably hot, but eventually we got a fan to cool us down a bit.

The meeting was pretty interesting, although one particular member drove us all mad because he didn't agree with something all the rest of us agreed with and he just would not shut up about it, even though we'd already minuted our approval. Not only that but he wouldn't wait for the Chairman to acknowledge him before he spoke and behaved generally like a pillock. He upset people who had spent months putting proposals together and irritated me almost beyond endurance. I was at the point of being extremely rude when the Chairman noticed some of us were about to lose it and called for a break. That's not like me at all. What really annoys me is that this particular man only comes to meetings occasionally and then whines about not being consulted!

Surprisingly, in view of the awful dinner and very average breakfast we'd had, the hotel provided a very nice hot buffet, so we all calmed down. The hotel was pretty good at providing tea and coffee, iced water and soft drinks throughout the meeting, too.

By 4.00 p.m. some of the staff who had been responsible for the proposals said that they felt totally demoralised and demotivated by what they saw as almost completely negative views expressed by the Board. This was all due to that one pillock who would not shut up his constant carping which had overshadowed all the nice things some of the rest of us had said. We managed to sort things out, but I could have screamed by the end of the afternoon, particularly as the chairs were so uncomfortable.

I always find this. Hotels spend a lot of money on their conference facilities and go to lots of trouble to help organisations with everything they need, but they always buy beautiful-looking conference chairs which are agonising after a couple of hours.

While we were suffering all this agony, John was exploring the various military museums in the area.

The AA estimates that the journey home should take about three and a half hours.  We left at 4.20pm and drove home through weather equally as bad as on the way down.  Only the traffic jams were slightly shorter, but we had to stop a couple of times to top up Lucy's radiator and we still didn't get home until 8.50pm, where we found a distinct lack of things to eat and NO BREAD!  We weren't pleased.

It's rained all day again today, so I've been unable to do anything in the yard.  I simply haven't dared look at all my poor plants on the garden table, they've probably been dashed to pieces, but I see, through the kitchen window, that the runner beans seem to have liked the weather and are growing like billy-oh, twining their way up the sticks.  Hurrah!

I was supposed to take the cats to the vet for their booster shots and their annual MOT this afternoon, but I phoned the vet and changed it to next Tuesday because I felt too woozy to round up the cats, wrestle them into a submission, box them up and drive to the vet.

I was rather alarmed to see on the TV news many of the places we had been near yesterday under feet of water today.

I've spent a lot of time today trying to find a hat for the wedding;  there are simply thousands upon thousands on ebay.  I can't decide between an apple green organza confection and a raspberry pink straw.  Decisions!  Decisions!

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