Books, life the universe

Sunday, 30 January 2011

Totally fed up

We are currently having our central heating boiler replaced and it's a nightmare from start to finish - except that it isn't finished yet. It was supposed to have been done last November but the weather intervened. It was supposed to start on Monday 24 January and be finished by Thursday. We have our new oil tank -with oil from the old one in it - but no connection to the new boiler which is partly installed.

Unfortunately - I am using very temperate language here - draining the system and refilling has affected our backup electric heating system which now doesn't work. We had expected to be able to use it over the weekend as the new boiler will not be commissioned until Monday when the electrician turns up to do the wiring.

This is not our usual man doing the work for longwinded reasons which I won't bore you with except to say it's being done under a government energy saving scheme and we're not paying for it. That's an advantage but it reduces our level of influence on the work . So we have a fan heater and the offer of loans of other fan heaters to keep us warm and no hot water except a kettle. I am not a happy bunny and I wish we'd never decided to go ahead with it. Sometimes free is not the best option.

Saturday, 22 January 2011

My madeleine moment . . .

I bought a Marks & Spencer's coffee Swiss roll the other day and I decided a few minutes ago to have a piece of it - together with a cup of coffee. When I took the first bite I was immediately transported to evenings in the early 1970s. Once again I was sitting talking to my fellow blogger - Norn - and drinking coffee and eating coffee Swiss roll. I was also reminded of watching the BBC's adaptation of Anthony Trollope's Palliser novels with Susan Hampshire as Glencora Palliser and Philip Latham as Plantagenet Palliser. Of such moments are memories made.


Several Patricia Wentworth crime novels - The Watersplash, Grey Mask, Vanishing Point all featuring the inimitable Miss Maud Silver.

Gone Away by Hazel Holt - the first of her Mrs Malory crime series

A Paramedic's Diary by Stuart Grey - his experiences on the streets of London among the drunks the drug addicts, the genuinely ill and the time wasters. Fascinating reading if you like that sort of thing.

The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande - how he helped to introduce checklists to the medical world and how they are used in other professions. A fascinating look at how simple things can simplify the most complex processes and help prevent mistakes happening.

Cruise Ship SOS by Ben Macfarlane - about his experiences as a doctor on a cruise ship. The book should come with a health - or wealth - warning - as I now quite fancy going on a cruise - something I've never really considered before.

Currently reading

Patricia Wentworth - Lonesome Road - I've only just started this so can't really say much about it yet.

M C Beaton - Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death - the first in the Agatha Raisin series. I've read it before but enjoy re-reading these stories.

John Galsworthy - I'm still reading The Forsyte Saga - nearly at the end of the third volume - To Let - with everyone trying to keep the details of the Irene/Soames scandal from the ears of his daughter, Fleur.

I'm also dipping into Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice for the umpteenth time.

Friday, 14 January 2011

Would you employ this person?

Advertisement seen on hospital noticeboard:

Sectarial Services Offered

The advertisement went on to make clear it was telephone answering and typing which were being offered.

Good start to the New Year - I don't think!

My other half - MJR - has been in hospital for the last four days though he is home now thanks to a break down in communication between the hospital, the consultant and our health insurance company. He would have been out today or tomorrow anyway. He is on Warfarin and his INR - the clotting factor in his blood - went way too high because he's been on too high a dose for too long.

Fortunately the antidote - Vitamin K - works almost straightaway but has to be administered in hospital in case the INR goes too far the other way. He has to go to our GP today to have his INR tested and it depends on the results (obtained instantly like blood glucose machines) of that as to what dosage he's on. Clearly for someone who has had two previous pulmonary embolisms it is essential that his blood does not clot too easily. But on the other hand you don't want to imitate someone with haemophilia.

So - not a good start to the New Year. He has a consultant's appointment on Monday which may lead to another operation so it looks as though this year is going to feature hospitals prominently.

The good thing about the last few days is that it has shown me I'm getting more things done than I thought I did because trying to fit everything in that I normally do has proved impossible.

I have never seen our local hospital as busy as it has been the last few days with everyone rushing around all the time and ambulances queuing to unload patients four or five deep at times. Clearly winter is taking its toll on people round here.


I took my Kindle with me when I went visiting and when MJR fell asleep one day I decided to buy a book - just for the hell of it! That's the first time I've used it outside the house and it worked! Funny how little things amuse me. I downloaded a book called The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande - which is about making sure the right things are done at the right time in hospital - which I thought quite appropriate.

I am still reading John Galsworthy's Forsyte Saga - on the third book at the moment - To Let. I'm also still reading my way through Patricia Wentworth's crime novels.

Sunday, 2 January 2011

Happy New Year

A Happy New Year to everyone who reads Jillysheep regularly and of course to those who just happen to stumble upon it.

Read recently:

Patricia Wentworth - The Key - murder of a scientist in World War II in a small English village church. Suicide or murder? Miss Silver needs to find out. The war time background in interesting - especially telephones which are connected to party lines. Does anyone under 50 remember these? I wonder how younger readers think of them?

Patricia Wentworth - The Clock Strikes Twelve - did he fall or was he pushed? James Paradine is found dead on New Year's Day after a somewhat fraught family party. Can Miss Silver work out who did it?

Currently reading:

John Galsworthy - The Forsyte Saga - I'm on volume two - In Chancery. Soames after twelve years of separation from Irene has decided he wants a divorce.

Christina Hopkinson - The Pile of Stuff at the Bottom of the Stairs - the heroine is fed up of doing everything around the house and starts to keep a list of all the ways her husband annoys her - the reverse of the star chart she keeps for her small sons.