I’ve been over visiting my mum in hospital – she had a stroke at the weekend, but is recovering slightly. As usual, the trip there and back the same day on the wretched Hitachi 800 trains has left me almost unable to walk – the seats seem specifically designed to wreak havoc on the spines of anyone over 5’9″ tall !

Blood test for me tomorrow morning, to try to find out why I’m still having shaking spells.

Not one of the better patches, really – still, it’s my annual holiday on the Broads next week, which will be much-needed break and relaxation. And tonight I struggled up the garden to pick the first home-grown lettuce (rather late, but I’ve had shop-bought to use up), to have with ciabatta rolls and salami. There was a quick munch on the first half-dozen raspberries while I was passing.


I’ve agreed to print and fold 63,000 A5 double-sided “blue letters” for Carla Denyer in Bristol. She’s our best hope for a / an additional Green MP, so I’m pleased to help. 7,000 were done at the start of last weeks, and an additional 2,000 were collected on Friday. Slightly different artwork for the batch I’ve just finished – below is what 20,000 blue letters looks like! Only 34,000 to go. Still massive problems with te folding machine – it only does about 1-2,000 folds before giving up and needing the temporary fix of a wire through where the defective roller pin should go replaced.

Also, sadly, Mum was unresponsive when Sharon tried to wake her on Saturday, and was taken to JR. An MRI revealed a bleed on the brain – a stroke, in short. On Sunday she was apparently unresponsive while being washed, but – to the surprise of the medical team – came to when she heard Jane’s voice talking to the nurses. She’s apparently eating and drinking OK, and can speak in short sentences, very slowly. Per her advance directions, no major intervention is to take place: she’s on supportive care only. I’m going over tomorrow- rather earlier than usual, as I hope to be there when the doctor does their rounds.

I’m still very shaky on the least exertion. Feels like a massive adrenaline buzz, or like far too much caffeine. Blood test on Wednesday morning (12th).

recovery time needed

Thursday evening (16th) was the first Election Strategy meeting. I got home about 10:30, given a lift by Clare. I got increasing wired, for some reason – didn’t go to bed until nearly 3, slept for 1/2 hour and was then awake until 6. Several days shaking, tremors, and feeling as though I was shivering internally, though no muscle movement evident, and a total inability to focus or concentrate. I’m still not over it, and today is Tuesday, though I feel I’ve turned the corner. Yesterday saw me able to realise that I’d done nothing at all about tomorrow’s Green Party Business Meeting, so forced myself to send an abject but brief email to relevant people.

I was over at Green Mount from late Saturday to yesterday teatime. I did almost nothing – a couple of walks. Sharon (Mum’s live-in carer) cooking the evening meals was a help, as I do still stress a bit when faced with the Aga.

The back fiekd was ablaze with yellow. My immediate reaction was “oilseed rape”, but realised that it couldn’t be – in fact, the horses have been moved off, it’s clearly being put down for hay, and the yellow was buttercups!

3D Strawberry tower

I’ve had a 3D printer for a few months now, but been too busy to really get into it. Now elections are over, I can start to get stuck in! 3D printing is pretty much where document printing was at in the mid-1980s – lots of incompatible control codes, different file formats, different consumables, different interfaces – even several different competing technologies -and not quite ready for domestic / SME use. The memory of tractor-fed multi-part continuous stationery and envelopes and RS232 vs Centronics fills me with horror!

Anyway, a fairly steep learning curve (which I’m still on) to get the best from the machine. And my limited 3D CAD design experience is 3 decades out of date (and incompatible with current programs…), so currently I’m working with other people’s projects they’ve shared, and modifying only slightly if needed.  This strawberry tower is the first serious big print I’ve done … at well over four hours for each of the five sections in a tower it’s taken a couple of days! And I’m going to need three towers – I thought I’d ordered a dozen, as 4 of each variety of strawberry, but seem to have received 6 each of 3 varieties (early / mid-season / late). So instead of one 3-module tower (discarding one plant of each variety) I’m now going for three two-module towers (ie 2x 3-slot modules, base, spacer, top for each tower).

The plants arrived today, in a package that Yodel had clearly been chucking about. The plants themselves were in pretty poor condition – very dried out – so they’ve been soaking in a big bowl of water. The tower of “early” is now planted out, and more modules are being printed.

Cost-wise, it’s going to come in at about a tenner a tower, so broadly compatible with buying ready-made ones. I’m printing in PLA (poly-lactic acid), which is a bio-polymer, biodegradable in commercial composting (and rather slowly in the environment), and pretty much safe … it’s used in medical implants and suchlike. Now I think I’m over the point in the learning curve where there’s lots of failed prints and general waste, I don’t feel that my Green credentials are unduly imperilled.

tie decision …

I’ve just posted on Facebook:

Sartorial advice needed! Being a gentleman of advancing years and a retiring disposition, I’d normally choose the dark green tie. But the lighter green is an almost perfect match for the Green Party rosette that I’ll be wearing (tomorrow, standing outside a polling station as a Green candidate, and on Friday at the counting of votes), though I’m not a fan of skinny ties.
To go with- tomorrow: navy cord trousers and casual jacket, Friday: charcoal suit with almost imperceptible pinstripe, shirt almost identical to tomorrow’s one (but with French cuffs).


It’s been a very pleasant and peaceful day. Clare Wratten invited me round for lunch (with an unexpected birthday cake), which was followed by sitting in my garden in the sunshine, with an occasional nap.

I did manage to make a blueberry flan for tonight – the sinfulness of the centimente-thick layer of whipped cream being partly mitigated as the flan base was a fatless sponge. Of course, that doesn’t keep well, so the whole thing will have to be eaten within 48 hours … I’ve made a start! It’s a “sod-the-diet” days, so steak, chips and salad will feature as a first course.

phone woes

Drat! My phone has been refusing to charge for the last couple of days – now down to 57% battery. I’ve tried on 3 different leads, 3 different USB power plugs, so it’s definitely the phone. Inexpensive replacement phone ordered for delivery tomorrow – yet another Motorola, this time a G23. A couple of hours boring transfer of data will have to be scheduled …

Getting ready for live-in carer

I was over at Green Mount Friday 20th to Tuesday 24th making a start on things for a live-in carer for Mum. The Friday and Monday both had show-rounds and interviews with potential carers. Monday have furniture movers … the sofa-bed from the spare room (soon to be carer’s room) went down to the dining room easily enough once the mattress was off and the action strapped shut, and was reassembled all in ten minutes. moving Jane’s former bed base to the spare room took nearly 45 minutes, as it had to be completely dismantled. an old mattress to the garage, and the kit-form of Jane’s new bed base to her bedroom completed their work.

Other bits and bobs included taking the TV off the wall bracket and fitting feet to it; finding a new home for the Christmas decorations (my back eves cupboard), clearing unwanted boxes etc from the wardrobe cupboard ready for the carer, and so on.

Sim was over there from Thurs 26th, moving everything out of the drawers in the bureau and tallboy to crates. I went over on Saturday to give him a hand carrying these down to the dining room – they will definitely need sorted at some point, but in the meantime are under the hospital bed there! Also carried down the two crates of Mum’s financial filing, left on the dining table so that Jane can easily access them – placed over the table legs, as I was worried about bowing the table if they were put in the middle!

The final job was levelling the bed base for the carer. The floor in that room slopes outrageously! The two legs at the head end rested on the floor, with the other legs requiring amounts of packing ranging from 37mm to nearly 70mm. Much measuring of thicknesses of bits of wood, sawing from Simon, and application of elderly wood glue eventually did the job OK.

Sim then took a video of the room in its “fit for carer” state … I kinda wish we’d taken one before any work happened! It was great to see this room looking good again (it’s the nicest room in the house), though it still needs a deep clean.