Getting better and it’s a boy!

More than just one family member is having a scan in the hospital, one of Sarah’s regular check-ups not only confirmed that her baby will be a boy but also produced an amazing set of photos. Isn’t today’s technology wonderful?

Jamie’s current batch of scans and x-rays show that he is beginning to heal, and plans are being made for when he will eventually leave the hospital. An operation is not yet off the cards, but he is feeling positive with the encouraging comments from the doctors and physio. He has settled well into a routine, but with six beds in the ward, there will always be disturbances. One unfortunate soul is there because of a bleed to the brain and is very confused and regularly attempts to escape adding to the excitement of what is quite a boring day. On one occasion when Charlotte was visiting, he attempted to leave with her, but thankfully security caught him.

On Wednesday the 9th of November Sue and I were off on different rambles, Sue to a forest near Peterborough with her U3A group and I with Sean and John to Wymondham. I picked Sean up from home in Harborough before the fifty-minute drive to meet John in the carpark of the Berkley Arms. On the way we passed the spot in Church Langton where Jamie had his accident exactly a week before, there was now little evidence of the crash other than scuffed turf on the verge.

It was a perfect day for a nine-mile walk, a slight cooling breeze and a sky that promised no chance of rain. However,  heavy and frequent showers of the past few days had made our chosen path quite treacherous in parts, sections of well-trodden sludge seemed to have super viscosity causing us to slip and slide uncontrollably with the terrain, so it wasn’t surprising that fifteen minutes into our hike, Sean, who already had a weakened knee from a previous hike, slipped and hit the deck hard whilst navigating a very muddy stile set on a steep slope. In obvious pain, he insisted on carrying on and we did so. Our route took us across a variety of surfaces; forest and field paths, rough farm tracks, and hard-tarmacked country lanes. This rural part of the Leicestershire, Rutland border is very pretty, revealing truly inspiring vistas on nearly every turn of the path:

What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.
No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows.
No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.
No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night.
No time to turn at Beauty’s glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance.
No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began.
A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

William Henry Davis

Tired and aching we returned to the Berkely Arms to enjoy thirst-quenching refreshments, washing down a very acceptable homemade steak and ale pie with trimmings. It’s the only satisfying way to complete such a hard-earned hike.

On arriving home, Sue informed me that Jamie would be discharged from the hospital after 6 pm today! It was quickly decided that we would collect him from the ward and bring him to Willow Bank, where Ruth would then take him home to Waltham on the Wolds. It was around 7 pm before the doctor signed his discharge forms.  Sue and I found him ready and eager to leave the confinement of his NHS bed and was uncharacteristically jovial with a huge grin across his face.

Ruth and Joey were ready and waiting on our driveway when we arrived home. They stayed long enough for Jamie to have a cup of coffee and a family chat before the Audi was stuffed with a clothes bag, walking frame, medication and poorly patient, then drove north.

Over the next few days, Jamie continued to improve and after only just a couple of days, he was able to accompany Ruth for an Indian meal in Melton Mowbray. Sitting upright for any length of time causes discomfort and he still has to wear a back brace and occasionally resort to painkillers, but he is happier now that he is home. He has the company of Nala and Rocky during the day while Ruth is at work and though it will be some time before he returns to work, he can cope with attending to his online business, Fx Learning.

On the 12th of November, along with five friends I travelled to Twickenham to watch England take on Japan. It was a very long day, starting at 7.25 am catching a bus to Northampton, where after a very disappointing breakfast in the station we caught the first of four trains to our destination. It was 11.30 am by the time we were striding down Twickenham High Street along with several thousand other rugby supporters towards our favoured watering hole the White Swan, situated on the banks of the Thames. Eventually refreshed with several beers we made our way to a small Bistro in the old part of Twickenham for lunch and more refreshments before making our way through a rapidly growing crowd to the stadium, to take our seats a few minutes before kick-off.

England disappointingly won the game quite easily at 50:13, I had been hoping for a much better contest, but it seems that the Japan team had an uncharacteristic off day and didn’t play with their usual Banzai energy. I had also been hoping for a large and enthusiastic Japanese contingent in the crowd, but they were very thin on the ground and though colourful, their natural reserve made their presence almost invisible. I guess the score line didn’t help.

With the game over, we joined the masses for a slow shuffle back into Twickenham town centre. Many were heading to the train station, but we wove our way to a busy Italian restaurant we had frequented in the past. They were turning away a line of hopeful diners at the door, but we swept past these more honest souls and falsely claimed a reserved table for six, after a little panic from the waiters, a table for six was hurriedly put together. Well satisfied with stomachs full of good wine and pasta we made our way back to the station in time to catch the first of our return transportation to Harborough.

Over the past few weeks, there has been much disruption to the UK’s rail system, indeed, our eventual route was much changed and though our outward journey went to plan, the return did not. Our second change of trains should have been an eight-minute wait, but on arrival on the platform that had changed to an hour! We amused ourselves by chatting with other disappointed travellers and at one point we were joined by one of the now-famous London urban foxes. Unafraid of those around I guess he was in London commuter mode and ignoring all and sundry. One delayed train had a knock-on effect for the rest of our travel, eventually culminating with a one-and-a-half-hour wait in Northampton for our booked taxi. We eventually arrived tired and travel weary in Harborough town centre at 12.30 am.

For me, Remembrance Sunday was a day of rest, a chance for my poor foot to recover from the previous day’s exertions, but Sue was up bright and early and out with the U3A nature group, tracking down more autumn fungi in the woods near Peterborough. Charlotte and her family attended Ellis’s first Air Cadets’ parade and Sarah and her family went to church with the WI.

Monday began very foggy and depressingly stayed that way all day. Sue and I travelled up to Waltham on the Wolds to visit Jamie and the dogs and take him out for lunch at the local pub. He seemed much improved, but unable to cut up a large pile of wood for the wood burner, I spent most of my time sawing it down into pieces that would fit into the wood burner whilst he and Sue chatted in the warmth of the lounge. With the wood basket full and after a substantial lunch, in a descending gloom, I took the dogs for a walk around the village before Sue and I headed back to Willow Bank, satisfied that our son was (fingers crossed) going to be alright.

Over the past couple of weeks, I have been busy beavering away, editing the hundreds of photos and videos taken during our recent Greenland jaunt and it is surprising that the memory of it seems to be in the far and distant past, seeing the images again triggered nearly forgotten memories. I have completed constructing a video of our adventure and posted it on YouTube: GREENLAND.



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