Monday, 26 December 2011


Needless to say I was still suffering from the strained shoulder. Since I first wrote about it had gotten worse and by Friday 23rd, I decided I'd go to Casualty (A&E) to get it checked out. By the end of Thursday I'd called an en to me driving because I just  didn't feel safe. I load the van up with donated food, then went and bought some cat food and that was that. Before Susan drove me to Casualty, she'd phoned a physiotherapy number which was part of the NHS and got me to tell them my problem and arranged a formal phone interview next morning. Then off to Casualty while Susan continued on with the cat food to Carole's.

And after a preliminary interview they told me to sling my hook. I had to either go back to the Walk-in Centre (see Pain post) or see my GP. I rang my GP and got an appointment for 11 in a couple of hours time. I tried calling Susan to tell her but no answer so I slung my hook and got two buses back home. Pay for a taxi? You must be joking! Besides the hospital and my house are on two of the busiest bus routes and I hardly had to wait a couple of minutes at either stage.

Dr Mackrell, my doctor, checked me out thoroughly and put me on a different combination of pain killers. with one of them -cocodamol- I should have avoided alcohol but I didn't and it didn't seem to make much difference. The other was a once a day anti-inflammatory. And they did seem to have a stronger effect, though they didn't make any difference when it came to waking up in the early house with severe pain when I moved my arm and a painful ache even when I didn't.

On Saturday morning I did the telephone  physiotherapy interview and got an appointment early on the 4th January. God bless the socialised medical service of the NHS.
And suddenly-

Having 8 adults to feed, an injured shoulder and with Susan not feeling all that great, we decided to get as much prepared as possible. So later that day I peeled and cooked the potatoes which Susan then mashed as my shoulder wouldn't allow it. I'd prepared the breadcrumbs for the sage and onion using the food processor and did the same for the onions which, again, Susan had to mix up with the sage, eggs and seasoning and then went into the oven.

Later that evening, just as I was settling down to watch a DVD on my pc, there came a knock at the door. Turned out to be our next door neighbour who'd taken in two parcels earlier that day when we'd popped out. One was something Susan had bought as a present, the other was the massive 1200 page DC: The New 52 (see a couple of previous posts) arriving in only 9 days from the States at standard postage rates and during the Xmas rush and at least two weeks earlier than I expected. Hurrah! Of course the damn thing was so fucking heavy that I couldn't hold it with both arms to read it. It does, however, fit snugly on this computer desk where I'm typing. And that was Xmas Eve.

Christmas Day. Up early to peel and trim the potatoes which will be roasted later. Peel and wash sprouts. Prepare the two turkey crowns. We weren't sure if one would be enough so we got two. One, it turned out, was enough but only just. Susan started tidying the house up with some help from me. Periodically taking a break to rest my shoulder, it seemed to be holding up okay.  Eleven o'clock and the turkey crowns went in the oven. An hour later I started on the vegetables which was about the same time as Susan brought her mother from Rowlandson House where she lives.

I'm not going to go into much detail about our guests as this isn't that sort of a blog, but just a little. Susan's mother has always been difficult and this has been worsened by her dementia and the virtual disappearance of her short term memory so it wasn't long before she started causing problems. Ironically, when the other guests started to arrive she became completely confused about who people were. They being Nick, Susan's brother and her son, Viv her daughter in law (who live down the street from us). Her grandchildren Alex, a mechanical engineering student at Hull whose 21st birthday is fast approaching, and Sarah, 24 and happily ensconced in Edinburgh where she works for a big finance company. Lastly there was Viv's elderly aunt Joan. She became completely confused about Nick, Viv, Sarah, and Alex and constantly had to be told over and over who they were and what they were doing. At least that meant she wasn't causing trouble by being obnoxious. Strangely she didn't seem to get confused over Susan and I.

So everybody arrived and started handing out presents. Me, I dashing between the living room being co-host and the kitchen as cook where I had a can of lager to help get me in the mood. Seeing as this was the celebration of the founding of a patriarchal sexist religion, I summoned Nick and Alex briefly into the kitchen for a glass of Jim Beam bourbon to toast Christmas and continuation of patriarchal structures. Okay, I was just being perverse.

Meanwhile I realised the turkey should have been in a little earlier which meant delaying lunch a little which meant turning the roasting potatoes down. The mashed potato was heating slowly in the microwave and the sage and onion re-heating in the oven. Carrots and sprouts were coming along nicely and Susan told me I'd forgotten the roast parsnips which I had but there wasn't room in the over for them anyway so tough. I'd also forgotten the mini pigs in a blanket which went in just as we began serving the food and were cooked by the time we'd almost finished the serving. Susan and I sat down by the time the others were halfway through the meal. The wine, a Banrock Station Chardonnay with a funny Spanish name tacked on, was acceptable. I thought the turkey could have been cooked a little more but it just about passed. The roast potatoes should have been removed from the goose fat when they were cooked but they weren't and tasted a little greasy.

While Susan was preparing the Christmas pudding, I managed to break the back of the washing up, then went upstairs to the loo. When I got back down, Susan told me there wasn't enough Christmas pud for everyone which fine by me. I went  upstairs to lie down and when I woke it was teatime.

Tea was down and Nick and Viv's and it was very nice but there was too much and it didn't seem like five minutes since I eating my Xmas lunch. Afterwards we had a nice family time and when Susan decided to take her mother back to the home, I took the opportunity to retire to mine and see to the cats. Susan didn't get back for over an hour as she'd taken Auntie Joan to where she lived near Durham. We watched Eastenders together while I finished off the lunchtime wine and then went to bed.

I have to say, despite my reservations about some of the dinner (with no-one to blame but me), my shoulder held up and it was one of the less stressful family Christmases and really quite nice overall.

Today, Susan and I have been completely exhausted and done as little as possible in between naps. This is the most positive thing I've done today and in a few minutes time I'll be cooking the leftovers for our tea prior to watching a new version of The Borrowers at 7.30pm.

Happy Xmas everybody.

Post Script.
I almost used this image in the main body of the text.

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