Thursday, 21 December 2017

Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree

Once upon a time, time there was a lady who really loved Christmas.




She started buying her Christmas presents in September and was usually done by November, this way, she could thoroughly enjoy the whole of December.

In December she would put the Christmas music on and write her Christmas cards.

In December she would put the Christmas music on and wrap her presents.

In December she would put the Christmas music on a drink mulled wine.

In December she would put the Christmas music on a drink more mulled wine.

Any way you get the picture.

Now, this particular year the lady didn't want to go to the posh garden centre to get a Christmas tree, instead, she wanted to go to a Christmas tree farm.

Surely, a Christmas tree farm would be better and more Christmassy.

So she did, with her daughters. And they bought what they thought was an excellent Christmas tree.

It was a live Christmas tree in a pot because the lady didn't want pines everywhere, she liked a neat and tidy Christmas.

When they got the tree home they decorated it, but thought it was a bit more spiky than previous Christmas trees they had, had. The youngest daughter complained that she didn't like the spikes as they hurt her. The lady couldn't help but agree.

But once they had finished decorating it, they thought it looked very nice.

After a day or two, the lady noticed the pine needles of the Christmas tree were beginning to fall.

By day three, any time someone touched the tree, there would be a mini downpour of pine needles, by day five if you touched the tree, an avalanche of pine needles would come down.

The lady had watered the tree from day one, but this didn't seem to make a difference - there were pine needles everywhere.

The pine needles got into the lady's slippers,

The pine needles got into the children's hair.

The pine needles were all over the cat.

The lady didn't like her Christmas tree. The lady had bad thoughts about her Christmas tree, and said bad words her children had never heard before. The lady started to look forward to when she could get rid of it.

Eventually, there were just too many pine needles everywhere.

The lady decided that there was nothing for it but to bin the rubbish Christmas tree and get the old artificial one out of the loft.

And when the family put that tree up, it looked very nice too.

However, the lady couldn't see that and in a mulled wine induced speech the lady declared 'This tree has ruined Christmas', which was a little over dramatic, but hey, she was tired and emotional....

                                                                The End


The moral of this story is, don't go to some random farm to buy your Christmas tree, go to the posh garden centre and get a decent one. I am hugely disappointed with the current tree I have, and although I haven't gone to the loft for the artificial one I am seriously considering it, as the battle with pines is relentless and to be frank, I have had enough.

I will, of course recycle what's left of this stupid tree, using the treecycling project (which I would recommend) where you pay an amount to a charity and they pick up your tree. Just google treecycling and your local area and you should find your local one.

Any hoo, Merry Christmas and don't let those pine needles get you down.

Much Love

Me xxx


Tuesday, 19 December 2017

Can you get an appointment with your GP?

Today I sent this to my member of parliament - Have a read, have you got any suggestions?

Dear Jess Phillips,

Today, I tried to get an appointment at my GP, I was unsuccessful.

My GP's appointment procedure is to call at 8am and if you are lucky you will get one of the appointments.

I started calling at 8am, it was engaged, eventually about 8.15 I got to the hold message, by 8.30 there was a ring tone for a couple of minutes and then I spoke to a receptionist, who told me all the appointments were gone.

I asked how best to get an appointment, as I need one. She suggested the following:

Come to the surgery at 8am in person and get an appointment then - This isn't feasible for me as I am on the school run (In fairness, phoning at this time, isn't ideal as I am having to concentrate on my child whilst phoning the GP, repeatedly)

Go online, I tried that, there were no appointments available.

Call again tomorrow.

I need to see the doctor for a medicines review, I have a repeat prescription as I have a long term condition, so it's not urgent, but as time goes on it becomes so, as my current supply of medicines will run out.

I know the NHS is underfunded, that there is a shortage of GP's and at my GP's not enough resources to answer phones, but I don't know what the answer is. I thought of complaining to my GP's but realistically I don't think they have the resources to make a change.

So I have come to you as my local member of parliament to ask, what can we do to improve this.

The NHS is brilliant, and I am proud that I live in a country where this exists. My long term condition is Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia and the NHS have helped me tremendously with this, I have lived with this condition for over 7 years and hope to continue living with it for a good few more, but GPs are struggling, people are living longer as medicines have improved (20 years ago my condition would have killed me in the first year), but I can see no increase in GP's or resources to allow for this?

Do we need to offer incentives to people to become GP's? Could you get nurses to do medicines reviews and some of the more basic GP tasks, (Having said that I know we are struggling with nurses as well). Are there administrative tasks that the GPs do that could be outsourced so the GP's can concentrate on patient care?

I don't know what the answer is but a change is vital as this is only going to get worse if nothing is done.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely,

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Sunday, 17 December 2017

Potato Shaped and Proud...?

I have always been stout.
This is me at my freshers week ball in 1986, I used to hate this photo as I thought I looked enormous, now I think I look gorgeous and realise I had just made friends with small boobed tall skinny women (who were all lovely)

When I was younger, I was relatively slim, but being 5 ft 2 and a fag end, it's tough to look long and lean.

During my 20's I ranged from a size 10 to a size 14, if I felt I was getting a bit portly I would just stop eating fry up's so regularly and the weight would drop off me.

I hate 20's me a little bit.

Why? Well for one, if you read my diaries I went on and on about how fat I was, when I really wasn't, and also because of the whole 'weight would just drop off me' thing. Gah.

Now I am 50 and I have been a size 18 (on a good day with a following wind, and depending where I buy my clothes from - which is a whole other debate) since I was about 39.

Now, weight doesn't just 'drop off' me. I don't think I even have a metabolic rate any more.

The weight went up, primarily when I gave up smoking 12 years ago, that, and having my second baby.

With my first baby everything snapped back into place fairly well, even though I was 34 when I had her. I think the breast feeding really helped that.

Me in 2002 with a very new first baby


With my second baby, I had already put on weight because of the smoking thing, and then she wouldn't stop breast feeding, and for those of you who have done it, you will agree that it doesn't half make you hungry all the time, so I ate, and ate and ate and voila I was a size 18.

Since then I have maintained my size 18, regardless of additional exercise.

The trouble is I don't really do diets, the minute you say diet, my tummy rumbles and I get hungry.

And, on the whole I eat quite healthily, I like vegetables. I am not a fan of cake, biscuits or chocolate. I do like cheese, but I have cut back on that, my biggest issue is red wine and snacking in the evenings, usually when I am drinking wine.

The thing is, I am not that motivated to lose weight, as I am mostly quite happy as I am. I am keen to be fitter, which I am taking steps to make happen, but body wise, I don't hate how I look (most of the time).

I am careful to buy clothes that fit me, that don't feel tight, or that I might slim into, because that's never going to happen. I know my body type and what suits me.

My tummy is wobbly, so are my thighs and my upper arms, but they aren't hideous (even though women's magazines would imply otherwise), they are just me. They are who I am.

My boobs are a little bit ginormous but, hey ho, they have always been bigger than average, and as long as you pay the exorbitant prices for good bra's they look OK.

These days, I spend as little time as possible thinking I'm fat, because yes, I'm overweight, but life is good and my shape really isn't the be all and end all of anything.

I would be lying if I said I feel this positive all the time, there are days, usually premenstrual days, when I am very unhappy with me, the potato.  But most of the time, it's the last thing on my mind.

Me dancing at my 50th birthday in the purple dress

So yes, I am potato shaped, and proud...

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Friday, 15 December 2017

I dream of running

I don't know about you, but I am one of those annoying people who remembers their dreams.

I try not to tell people my dreams all the time because most people find it really uninteresting.

However, on this occasion I am going to talk to you about this dream, because it relates to my aspirations, my hopes (and dreams...obvs), and it's not the details of the dream I want to talk about.

I dream I am running, regularly, usually with different scenario's leading up to the running, but the thing in common in my dream is that I am running because I want to, I have a feeling of freedom and joy from running.

Gratuitous picture of my kids, when they were small, running with that feeling of freedom and joy.

In real life, I can't run.

I get breathless when I walk because of my CML (Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia) drugs, and my ankle is messed up after breaking it a couple of years ago - these are all things you know if you read this blog, but for those of you here for the first time, and you want to know more about either of these things, just have a little rummage in my back catalogue (euphemism intended...)

For the purpose of this, I did have a look to see if those dream interpreters had anything to say about running. I don't hold much stock in what they say and they didn't let me down, apparently they only see the dark miserable stuff, and assume you are running away from something in your dream (and real life), this is definitely not the case for me.

In real life, I was never really the running type, except once at school, being 11th in the county for long distance running, but I am not sure that counts.

Now, my knees hurt, I make a noise when I get up from the sofa and am the shape of a potato, I don't even own a pair of trainers, so hardly running material, but my dreams make me want to do it.

Again, if you have read this, I have recently started tap dancing again, and it has given me a new lease of life, I am now looking at starting a Pilates class, to build up my core strength and hopefully help my ankle.

So could all this lead to running. I don't know, I don't think it will be like my dream. Nothing hurts when I'm running in my dream, it's just the countryside and me (I live in Birmingham), and there is no noise, just wind blowing my hair gently. It really is a nice dream.

Could next year be the year it becomes more than a dream, and becomes a painful jog where I am struggling to breath, who knows, but I can dream........

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