Heart attack

My Heart Attack

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Monday, October 31, 2016

A Foggy Autumn Day

Autumn is well and truly here. It is quite mild, on the temperature side, but there is a fog hanging over Milton Keynes this morning. Not particularly thick, but enough to mean we have to have the car lights on as we drive over to the Academy this morning. Carol has teacher training today. She tells me it is generally very boring. I can't believe that they can make training so miserable and boring. Well, perhaps, on second thoughts, I can, because I've had to endure some fairly boring days sitting in a room, usually with no natural light, listening to someone droning on ad nauseam about something or other.

Today it's hallowe'en. We don't indulge in this infatuation with witches, warlocks and things that go 'bump in the night.' I'm afraid it's just an excuse for commercial exploitation. When I was a child Guy Fawkes Night on November 5th was the 'big night.' Building bonfires and fireworks, baked potatoes 'In Their Jackets' and hot chocolate, Catherine Wheels, sparklers, rockets and so on. Hallow'een has been built up, no doubt by being imported mainly from America. Our dogs hate the noise and commotion outside the house. People letting of fireworks. So we'll have the the next two weeks or so of misery for the poor dogs. Every time there is a loud 'bang' outside as someone lets of a firework, he starts barking. Poppy, meanwhile, hides under the nearest piece of furniture.

Actually, poor Poppy is aging rapidly. She has really slowed down. Her eyesight is going very slowly.   Both dogs sleep on our bed at night. Alfie is no problem, as he can jump up easily and snuggles down beneath the duvet. But Poppy has a problem jumping up. We had put a stool at the side of the bed so she can jump up on that and then onto the bed. But, because her sight is failing, she never manages this. She spends the night laying on the floor, but doesn't always settle. She tip-taps around the room and just will not settle. If she needs to go outside she now has the rather annoying habit of coming round to my side of the bed and barking at me. It good that she does this, so I have to go downstairs and let her out through the sliding patio door from the kitchen into the garden. But this happens several times in the night. She goes downstairs, very gingerly and slowly. She sometimes stops half way down and needs encouraging. Once she's been out in the garden she comes back inside the house and I slide the door closed. Last night, at about 10.30, she insisted on being let out. She came round and barked at me. I was nodding off. We had the radio on, as we usually do. BBC Radio 4 Extra, which is a digital channel. I was reluctant to take her down and was half asleep. I'm afraid I wasn't in the best of moods. Poppy managed to get down the stairs and eventually I let her out through the sliding patio doors from the kitchen. She did what she had to, but she found something which took her attention away from going back into the house. I had to get a closer look. It was a hedgehog, rolled up into an extremely tight ball. I think we have hedgehogs as regular visitors and some while ago both dogs were fascinated by them. The poor thing did the natural thing to protect itself by rolling into the defensive ball as all hedgehogs do. But it wasn't budging and I was eager to get Poppy back into the house as I was, by now, really tired and barely able to stand up. Poppy refused to respond to my insisitance that she come back into the house. I had to find a method to get her inside, so I rUshed back into the kitchen and took the garden broom which leans agains the fridge and used it to coerce the stubborn dog back inside. It worked. She had no alternative, being pushed along by a broom. Somewhat unconventional as a form of dog-management, but it worked a treat!


As I mentioned in the blog post about our trip to Stratford-Upon-Avon last Saturday for my birthday, where I described how, when we got to the park-and-ride and I wanted to use my bus pass and then discovered that it had expired- on the same day- and we had to pay for my bus ride instead of having to not pay, I went to Milton Keynes Civic Centre yesterday (Monday) to get it renewed. I was attempting to avoid having to return with any form of identity they were likely to ask me for (which seems a commonplace demand from most businesses nowadays.) so I had a bank statement and several other items with my name and address on it. On arriving at the Council office I had to queue for a while but soon reached someone on the reception desk. I was given a form to fill in (which I completed sitting at a table to one side in the reception area.) and when it was completed I was given a numbered slip and told to wait. I sat in the main waiting area (where you have to go if you have to apply for any sort of benefit, be it housing, rent etc.) You have to then wait until your number comes up on a digital screen (another piece of technology common with so many places nowadays, whether it's the Post Office, Job Centre or even Argos, the catalogue shopping service.) It was frankly quite complicated, because my number came up on the screen and then got confusing as I wasn't sure when I was expected to go to whichever numbered desk it was and, indeed, where. The number kept appearing and disappearing, but eventually I got called. My concern would be, it's all very well and good having this system, and it makes it fair, but what if someone had a sight problem and couldn't see their number appear on the screen? Does someone come and tell you? Does it speak? Who knows. Anyway, I eventually went to Desk Number 22 and it was all very efficient. I could have a new photo on my bus card, and I had some which I had kept from another card (I think it was probably for my Driving Licence, which has to have a photograph on it, and had to be renewed a few months ago at the Post Office.) but, if I wanted to have a new photograph on the new card I would have to pay £10 for the privilge.  I decided that it was unnecessary as the one already on the old card was sufficient. I don't think I have changed enough in the time since that one was taken to warrant a replacement. The lady had to have some sort of identity (odd, when my picture on the original card was presumably in front of her on the computer screen.) so I used my Driving Licence, which she took away to have photocopied, and the form I had filled in was handed over and signed and that was that done. The new card should be with me within a week or so.
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