317/365

I am blooming tired but currently grump free, which is nice.  I saw the sun rise over Rugby this morning and it was the most impressive I can ever remember. The clouds were crimson and purple and the sun a deep red. Driving into it wasn’t much fun though as the traffic was getting heavy and some people always seem in a rush and angry. Others really don’t care too much for safety to pull off a killer move on the inside of the traffic, confident in their lightning fast reactions and trusting in everyone else to be as great at driving.  It is easy to understand how serious accidents occur. Most were slowing down due to the visibility, which was annoying others causing them to take risks to overtake, sort of defeating the object of applying caution really.

Anyway I arrived in MFK in good time and was soon loaded with felt and roof like stuff and I was soon on my way back. The journey was very unremarkable and only the peculiarities of the new sat nave software provided any entertainment. I am new to android and new to google navigation but it appears that there is a major flaw. It doesn’t understand roundabouts or the concept of taking the third exit. Take the second exit can and often does mean the third or fourth exit. This is ok if you know where you are going but that defeats the purpose of using a sat nav and from the reviews of the navigation software  available, it is about as good as it gets. This is a shame as it already doesn’t work with my stereo and now it is useless getting me from A to C . It is quite possibly the best phone ever and I love it but having to buy new everything else to match is a little annoying.

So having returned home via a new and interesting route I thought I would make final preparations on the workshop roof ready for the big day of felt tomorrow. It was at that point I discovered I hadn’t actually finished the roof at all. The gable end at the fence side was unfinished and covered in the plastic that Linda and Tracy had stuck on it back in March after my accident. They do say that you become blind to the things you see everyday but to actually be shocked at the sight of the blue plastic was amazing. So with a less than positive attitude I fastened the finally final board in place  and then moved onto the next task. This involved hot water, sugar soap and a Home Bargains’ bucket. I half filled the bucket with the other ingredients and lifted it free of the sink. At this point, the mention the bargain nature of the bucket comes to the fore.  Before I could say “Oh Shit”, two gallons of fluid and a handle-less were on Linda’s nicely clean floor and window, and door and cupboards and well, frankly, everywhere. Two gallons is a lot but the accident was taken in good nature and I examined the flimsy 0.5mm plastic handle recesses and the remains of the rim of the bucket. I wondered if there was a chance of a no win, no fee claim.

A lot of apologising later I was back out on the roof with the broken bucket cleaning the crap off the roof. I may have mentioned that two gallons goes a long way. I can convey that it has the same effect on a hopelessly leaky roof as it does on a kitchen floor and all my tools got a bonus soaking, not like they haven’t had enough this week already. Finally I had to attach two laths to the roof to provide ridges at the end. It’s a roof thing really. I had some super special stick anything to anything mastic in gun bought from Home Bargains, you know where this is going don’t you? I had managed all of three blobs of incredibly sticky stuff when the gun broke. However they were so cheap that I had bought two guns but rather than use the second one I grabbed my favourite well used and decent screwfix quality one to do the job and five squirts later that one broke too. So I was forced into using the last remaining gun very very carefully. I was fortunate that it held out to the end of the job. Otherwise I could have been a little peeved.

With a little time left I modified my archery finger tab in readiness for a spot of freezing to death whilst trying to practise archery tomorrow morning. At least the Milliput seems to have behaved so far. So the plan is to go shooting in the morning, whilst the blazing sunshine dries up the roof so that I can prime it and get some felt on before the promised snow, rain, pestilence and plague arrive on Sunday. Here’s hoping.

316/365

I have an self imposed early start in the morning as I am travelling over to MFK  to collect some roofing felt. A fair distance for something readily available at most DIY stores, however building my workshop from recycled plastic boards poses unique problems and I need to use adhesive felt. Using heat or nails are a non starter and after working out the cost of using paint on adhesive for 20 msq and then felting comes out at far more than travelling to see the concrete cows to collect some damaged rolls at £2.50 a metre.

Anyway that is news for tomorrow, today the focus was on an appointment to see a real psychiatric consultant. This had been arranged by my solicitors as part of the assessment for damages. I feel I have turned the corner on the black days of April and May but a relatively light scraping of the surface with some very good questions showed that the demons are still there, waiting another opportunity to create havoc with my mental health. Without cutting to the cheeseboard and missing out the main course of my blog, it became very apparent that I do need help and that this help won’t come cheap but can I afford another session of how I was, with the thoughts I was having? Maybe in five or ten years when the dust and the insurance settles I could afford to get the treatment, in the meantime I’d best keep calm and keep taking the tablets.

The medical started with a look at how I was before the accident, then moved onto the accident and then how I am now.  The Doctor was very thorough and had researched my history first, it was a totally different approach to anything previously.  However it also revealed things I had forgotten , things I had hidden away, things too painful to consider. When the accident occurred it allowed an old wound to open. I haven’t had nightmares about the cycle accident but I have had plenty about the other matter, barely a week goes by and the nightmare has evolved, almost into a video of the incident. This nightmare was  misinterpreted,  a dreamlike euphemism , rather than being taken at face value. It wasn’t dealt with properly at the time, just buried away waiting for the moment to come back. Delving through old stuff and having it explained was interesting and yet a little soul destroying. I was asked a question that I answered without thought, it provoked a gasp from Linda and a raised eyebrow from  the Doctor. He said he would come back to the question. Since that moment I have been considering my response to that question and questioning it. And the validity of my belief is also in question. It is almost as if something has been put on hold in my head and my dreams.

The medical lasted over 90 minutes and arrived at the findings that I had every reason to be depressed  at the time and that it is right to treat my depression with the correct medication and that the medical drive to remove me from that medication wouldn’t have been called for had I suffered with diabetes or a heart condition.  You always hear of mental illness, you often hear of a heart condition.  You cure illness and treat conditions, this conception stigmatises mental health in my opinion. It was also confirmed that I do have Post Traumatic Stress, which was almost a relief to me, for it at least explained why I feel like I do. This also vindicated our belief which was rejected by others less qualified in the field.

So I have a lot of thinking to do and a bed to go to. I guess I had better publish this and climb the wooden hill.

 

 

315/365

I’m not supposed to have frustrating days when on annual leave but alas it wasn’t to be.  It started off with a trip to the Archery club where the wind blowing strongly from right to left took the arrow off the rest frequently, usually taking me three attempts to execute each shot. Frustrating and tiring. However the practise was needed and once again I was seeing improvement in consistency. I have to make a couple of alterations to the equipment that have become apparent and cannot be explained away by bad technique. No matter what the resolution is to be found in the workshop and I was all set to go in for an hour but the wave of despondency at the thought of the carnage in there prevented me from going in. I will have to face it but for the sake of my mood, not today.

Straight from the club I went to the union branch meeting, which bore the trademark sign of stagnation. I can remember fighting to get on committees and to get the big council meetings. These days the vacant room cries out for volunteers to go. In a way I am not complaining as it allows me to pick up my Trade Union connections at the level I left them back in 2000. With a branch membership of 600 to have a finger less than a handful care about how it is run is terrible. I feel that at some point, quite soon, even normal people are going to be looking for help and reassurance. At some point reasonable people, confused by the one party system in force at present, they may realise that there is an alternative bargaining point and we need to be ready. We need to be barging the Jehovah Witnesses off the doorstep to point out we have work to do on this planet for others, rather than priming the afterlife for our own needs. Anyway enough soap boxing for one blog.

I recently decided to upgrade my phone to one of those Android thingy’s. For very little reason other than Apple aren’t pleasing me with stupid Ios updates that don’t work and by removing perfectly serviceable and used apps because they don’t fit the corporate identity. Opting out of these upgrades isn’t really an option. And that the Iphone 5 isn’t very pretty or fresh looking. I am pleased with my decision, the phone is a joy to use and the big screen means I can read things without reaching for my glasses. However, I prefer a genre of music that isn’t readily catered for on mainstream radio. Because of this my collection of music stored on my phone is a refuge from “nice” when driving my car. There is nothing as relaxing as a blast of Soulfly when tackling the rush hour traffic or the upbeat melodies of Meshuggah for a long motorway drive. Here lies the problem. My car radiogram is Iphone ready. It isn’t quite so Android ready and refuses to play or power it. For some this would be nothing more than a minor irritation, not so for me, it is almost a declaration of war. I spent the rest of a fading afternoon trying different connections, looking for setting, checking suggestions on the internet and finally, after slamming the radio back into the dash, I was googling for a replacement system. No doubt, the purchase of new ICE will provoke the car into breaking expensively to teach me a lesson.

Finally I offered to cook tea as Linda had been working all day. In the style of Ready Steady Cook, some meat was presented and I worked out what to make that would be quick and appealing. Normally I would consider myself a competent cooker of food, but this wasn’t a normal day. I mixed up some spices and veggies added them to the meat and gram flour to make some kebab like offerings. Right from the off, it didn’t come together and no amount of coaxing would salvage the meal. It isn’t often I have a total kitchen disaster but after an hour of making things worse I binned in and hit the chip shop.  After the frustrations and failures, I decided to wipe this day off the register and start again tomorrow.

 

314/365

This morning I baled a further 14 litres of water from the workshop. It is almost as if the building is giving up trying to be watertight and is giving a visual cry for help. I rang back the company that was quoting me for self adhesive roofing felt as they had failed to ring me back yesterday. I wasn’t surprised that the same chap who answered the phone said he would get someone to phone me back, neither was I surprised that no one did. If you live in Staffordshire and expect a service from CJ Hughes of Newcastle I would save yourself the disappointment and go elsewhere, they don’t need your money and prefer the stock to remain on their shelves. Ironically their online Fleabay shop is called “Ifyouarehappywearehappy”. Well CJ, I’m not happy at all, I hope you feel the same. I will be approaching another vendor of afore-mentioned self adhesive roofing felt in the morning. Time is running out as I have pre-booked Jafro boy to help out at the weekend.

The morning came and went doing nothing in particular, I wanted to research an idea for the bike design and You Tube can be very time consuming.  The highlight of the day was an afternoon visit to a secret location, somewhere in Walsall to harvest some willow with the Reremouse and Linda. It is secret mostly because I haven’t a clue where we went. We spent an hour or so and came back with a bushel of willow. I am looking forward to reacquainting myself with basketry as my next course was cancelled at short notice due to a poor uptake. This was a real shame as framed baskets appear more complex and uses. I am sure I can teach myself, or at least skill share with someone who has tried it before. I’m not quite sure what skill I can bring to the party, my experience is mostly falling off bikes and spending time in hospital. I dare say there is some information on YouTube to help me along and I’ll have a scan through Amazon for any books on the subject. Anyway, the fun was soon over and many many thanks to our guide for allowing us to come along. We now have the willow safely stored and I will knock up a water bath for them so that we can get started on a few products.

The remainder of the afternoon was dedicated to getting better signal coverage from our new hub. It appears to have worked as the internet has been lightning fast and reliable all night, even with four of us viable for its’ attention.  I will attempt to get up early and get some work done in my boathouse. I am worried that everything will go bang when I turn the power on but I need to spend some time down there sorting out the workspace before attending a union meeting at dinnertime.

313/365

BUPA is a strange organisation. Well the BUPA I  get to meet is. My company pays what is quite possibly a considerable sum of money for them to make recommendations for them to ignore. Somewhere a box has been ticked to prove that things have been done right and absolutely nothing has altered. What makes me arrive at this conclusion is that once again I went to an Occupational Health medical in deepest Solihull where I was seen by a doctor, a humourless miserable doctor, deeply miserable and unfulfilled in her role and undoubtedly jilted at the aisle forty years ago. To this day she wears the bridal dress as a reminder of how cruel and grey life is.

Anyway I digress, easy to do as I sat in silence for five minutes whilst she squinted at her screen, glasses would make it all too easy. She finally broke the silence.

“You have seen me before”

I was unsure if this was a question or a statement made in the style of a Bond villain. I looked around for a cat: no cat, they provide comfort on the long lonely evenings.

“Yes” very non committal and perfect for this situation. I could play her at this game.

“You broke your elbow”

Amazing powers of deduction, perhaps she was a ghoul with supernatural powers. I was no match after all.

“Yes”, my voice faltering slightly, perhaps she had eaten the cat having run out of babies.

“You had depression and anxiety issues”

“You can talk” I thought.

“Yes” I replied.

I then realised she wasn’t a seer, she was merely reading out my report. I relaxed and crossed my legs. The look I got informed me to be less familiar. I uncrossed them quickly.

The silence descended again as she returned to the screen for a minute or two.

“So how is the arm now?”

“Not bad, it will need another operation” I would have continued but the look cut me short.

“How is the depression?”

“Better, I am feeling less anxious”, present situation excepted.

“Has your medication changed?”

“Yes”

This was clearly not the answer she wanted. Had she been wearing the glasses she needed, she would have looked over them at me.

“Why?”

“I have sciatica”

“Is it affecting your work?”

I looked for an indication of any sympathy or feigned sadness at my latest set back. None was forthcoming.

A further period of silence fell upon us, I felt cold but my palms were sweaty. Had I made the fatal error that would see me thrown out of the job and into a cardboard box on Gough Street?

She checked the medication against the big black book of spells and closed it carefully, setting it down with a reverence normally reserved for The Prince by Machiavelli, her favourite bed time read.

“Your elbow is getting better but you will need a further operation, your depression is lifting and you have sciatica which does not affect your work.”

Had I not already told her this minute’s before, this would have been amazing, but I had and it wasn’t.

“You are fit for work and I need not see you again”

I felt like the executioner’s axe head had fallen off mid swing. I grabbed my hat and fled from the building expecting a hoard of Brigands to follow me. I didn’t stop limping quickly until I got to the safety of my Vauxhall Jalopy DTI, which, sensing my desperation deemed to burst into life first turn of the key.

So in effect I went to listen to my statement of health read back to me, this will now be sent to an employer who has paid handsomely to put a tick in a box and a piece of paper in the bin and the whole thing has been a waste of time and money. I received no help from either my employer or BUPA as a result of the 6 medicals, no expertise was displayed or advise given. I believe that BUPA occupational health is nothing more than a scare tactic used to frighten people back to work from their fake illnesses and when the P45 is handed out they can demonstrate they did everything in their remit to be fair and supportive. When someone with genuine injuries or illness goes into this system the whole process becomes a sham. I hate to think how much money was wasted and how it could have been put to good use contributing to decent care, physiotherapy and counselling.