Archive for the ‘Health’ Category

On the 12 May 2018 at approx 2.30pm, I received what can only be the best news any mother of a grown up daughter could hope for!! I was to become a Granny πŸ™‚ To say that I went ballistic would be a complete understatement…I did the whole Greek Mama shrieky thing LOL

Getting the news πŸ™‚

I was quite simply over the moon. This was not something I was expecting (sorry for the pun), and had made my peace with the idea that I may not ever have grandchildren. I guess I should have known better! The planets had aligned; my daughter was in a really good place in her life, she had met a wonderful man, they were engaged to be married, she was settled in her home, her business was doing well and life was good. The universe knew that the time was right.

becoming a granny, first time parents, first pregnancy

I’m going to be a Granny πŸ™‚

The months both dragged and flew by with visits to a clinic for an ultrasound that showed the wee bub sitting comfortably in the position he was to pretty much maintain for the full 40 weeks right up until he was born.

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isn’t that just extraordinary….so tiny and yet so very real

first baby, second trimester, ultrasound, listening to babys heartbeat, granny in waiting, first grandchild, ovia app, knitting for babies

Ultrasound ❀

Each week was marked with images of his progress off the ovia app,

ovia app baby progress

one the day I received the news, this is the size of the bub; a poppy seed

photographs of Mummy’s slowly expanding belly,

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Lots of clothes shopping (we ended up with wayyy too much), various excursions as nursery equipment was collated and frequent trips for treats LOL I’m surprised he doesn’t look like a treat…oh Wait!! He does!!

After a relatively problem-free pregnancy, he didn’t after all make it easy for Mama and stuck to his guns, resulting in a breech birth.

Finally the big day arrived and exactly 40 weeks to the day (according to their calculations, not the NHS’s) without any further ado, my tiny, beautiful, cute, gorgeous, exceptionally intelligent (of course), delightful little grandson arrived. Albeit very traumatic for Mummy, his birth went fairly smoothly and I had the privilege of being able to support her right through from beginning to end. We, Simon (her husband), Maisie (her Doula), myself and of course the beautiful Mama, were all in shell-shock and I’m still bemused by the fact that I actually managed to get through her labour without going to pieces.

Jamie, just 10 minutes old cuddled on Mummy’s chest, Maisie, me and Daddy

In fact she had, a few weeks before, asked me to knit her a birthing blanket. The idea was for me to knit this blanket whilst she was in labour, to focus my mind and keep me calm and occupied….it didn’t quite work out that way, and 4 months later the blanket is still under construction. Mostly because I’m forever holding the baby or taking photos of him rather than knitting….oh and working. I have 2 other cardigans 95% completed that I have never yet found the time to complete.

So Jamie, my precious little boy, here you are….just hours old

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and now you’re fast-growing, gorgeous, funny almost 4 month old with a mega-watt smile that lights up the room and my heart.

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I loved the idea of being a Granny, but I love actually being a Granny even more that I ever thought possible.

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He’s now 16 weeks old and I can hardly believe that the weeks have flown by so quickly.

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What a charming little boy he is, and we are so blessed to have him in our lives.




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I’m going to have to start getting up earlier in the morning if I want to catch the sunrise πŸŒ… Got to the promenade at just before 8am but the sun was already above the horizon albeit behind the clouds.

The weather is amazing once again, its so mild out. And we’re still waiting to say #Peanutisontheway❣️ πŸ‘ΆπŸ» πŸ’™ This lad is surely taking his own sweet time…. although actually it’s exactly 40 weeks tomorrow, so perhaps will arrive he is ready and not when the NHS say he should arrive.

I went to see the film ‘Wildlife’ last night. Its an incredibly weird film and the jury is out on whether or not I actually enjoyed it… I didn’t. πŸ€”πŸ™„

It was such a mild evening I decided to take a short walk along the beach… What a blessing to live so near to the sea.

I could hear the crashing of the waves behind the harbour wall so walked over to see what I could ‘sea’… Which wasn’t much, but I could hear it and that sound is like music to my ears.

Afterwards my daughter (the very pregnant soon to be Mummy), her hubby and I took a slow midnight stroll along the promenade in the hope it might encourage baby to start his journey…

The evening air, albeit only 2 degrees out, was perfectly still with a 3/4 moon and a canopy of ✨ crispy clear and really mild.

This morning, although I was tempted to stay in bed, I made the effort to get out to capture the sunrise. I really want to be sure to have a photo for Peanut’s book…on the day that he is born. I hope that’s soon πŸ˜€πŸ‘ΆπŸ»πŸ’™β£οΈ

Meanwhile I’ve started reading Simon Reeve’s book Step by Step. He’s my favourite travel presenter and I’ve watched all his travel documentaries which are a real eye-opener. By page 33 I’ve concluded he was a naughty little shit πŸ˜‚ πŸ˜‚ πŸ˜‚Β whichΒ explains the ever present twinkle in his eye and the quirky smile.Β  I also discovered quite weirdly that his Dad’s name was Alan which is my middle name. His Mum’s name is Cindy πŸ€”πŸ€” and his brothers’s name is James (my grandson’s name). Totally weird.

Meanwhile I shall get back to the book I’m compiling for said grandson and hold thumbs that soon I can say with absolute certainty that Peanut is on the way πŸ˜€πŸ˜€πŸ˜€πŸ‘ΆπŸ»πŸ’™β£οΈ

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Looking gorgeous and very pregnant my gorgeous daughter looks like a a tousled wood-nymph. And here we are, still waiting with bated breath for Peanut to arrive. Although the caption reads 41 weeks, that is by the NHS calculations which reluctantly they’ve agreed are probably incorrect as they measured baby later than usual. So, instead we’re going on insider knowledge, in which case baby is not due till the 19th.

Atm Mummy is still not 100% well with a horrible cough and extremely painful ribs from the coughing. So lots of Olbas baths and rest with lots of yummy food are on the menu and hopefully she’ll be well and baby will be here soon.

We had a very traumatic and bloody useless visit with one of (the MANY) consultants at the hospital on Tuesday. It was a completely unnecessary appointment anyway and the person we were meant to see wasn’t available…the ONLY registrar who actually made any sense and who actually LISTENED to my daughter and her questions, wishes and fears, was not available for an appointment she suggested and set up. We were really disappointed that she wasn’t available. Oh well.

As for the rest, their determination to deliver this baby by caesarean section is astounding and frankly subtly bullying. They are very pushy and use statistics and trauma descriptions to push the mothers into having an induction if baby is cephalic or caesarean if breech. We all left the appointment feeling traumatised by that man’s attitude and frankly I was ready to end the ‘consultation’ after 10 minutes of listening to him. My daughter said afterwards that she wished I had because the meeting left her sobbing with grief afterwards, and she should be happy and excited at this time and not upset to the point of grief.

I have great respect for the NHS and I’m sure the consultants are very medically experienced, but 90% of the time their ‘bedside’ manner is completely shit. The many midwives, with only 1 exception, have been superb. So luckily, before we left the hospital after the evening’s appointment with the caesarean team my daughter managed to secure a meeting with the Head midwife and after a very long discussion we now have an agreement that my daughter CAN have a water birth, can deliver naturally albeit in the labour ward and not the MLU and her birthing will be led by the midwives. NO consultants or registrars will be admitted. The only change to that will be if its absolutely medically necessary.

Sadly the whole birthing experience has become very medicalised and is seldom viewed as a ‘natural’ process, but rather as a medical process. In the last few decades women have been subtly moved from birthing at home to being admitted to hospital as a patient. Yes, of course there are instances where its necessary, but not in every case. I remember in the 80’s there was a a term coined for this… ‘golf babies’ The gynaecologists or consultants etc would book mothers in for elective caesareans so as to be able to go on their golfing holidays. Its shocking.

I realise that money is an issue and that the training of nurses changed in 2001 and that the NHS is horribly understaffed and they need mothers to rather be in the hospital than home, but in that case they have to make it a pleasant if not wonderful experience. The MLU unit is amazing with massive rooms, big birthing pools, a state of the art bed, soft lighting, place to hook up music….and on the night we had our tour, the labour ward was packed and the MLU unit had one room out of 6 being used. The rooms in the labour ward bar one are bloody horrible and look like they should be in a lock up facility for offenders rather than a place where mothers are expected to birth their babies.

Meanwhile, the room my daughter would like to birth in is Room 8. So atm we are focussing on the Number 8 and willing the Universe to ensure it’s free on ‘the day’ πŸ™‚

having a baby, positive birthing movement

trusting in the Universe

My daughter has been reading the Positive Birthing book which is a relatively new movement geared towards bringing mothers back into the equation as humans rather than statistics. To helping them realise they have options and can say no. Encouraging the to take back control and do what is best for them and not to suit the doctors schedules. To encourage them to decide what kind of birth they want and using hypno birthing to relieve pain and be present at the same time. In other words to have a POSITIVE experience for the mother and their partner rather than focussing on ensuring the doctors have a good day. Which is pretty much what the consultant told us on Tuesday….”I like to go home and tell my wife I had an uneventful day”.

I won’t go into this too much here, but if you’re interested https://thepositivebirthcompany.co.uk/

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Absolutely gorgeous sunrise πŸŒ… again today but oh my gosh the wind is freezing. The tide was well out, albeit on its way back in.Β  Due to various maternity appointments we had today, and since I’m the nominated chauffeur, I didn’t get to walk all the way to Ramsgate and instead stopped at Dumpton Gap and then back.

sunrise on the isle of thanet, flood warnings for kent, amy johnson story herne bay

gorgeous sunrise. the calmness of the sea belies the stormy weather we had later that day

sunrise on the isle of thanet, flood warnings for kent, amy johnson story herne bay

Dumpton Gap

Apparently there was a flood warning with very high tides for the east coast from Whitstable to Margate.

Unfortunately we didn’t get to actually see the tide coz we were bouncing between hospitals and other appointments and only got home at 7.55pm after leaving at 10.20am πŸ™„πŸ™„πŸ˜‰

But we did see some of the effects while in Herne Bay where we saw very rough seas whipped up by a freezing wind. We were there for a meeting with the La Leche League lady who was advising my daughter on breastfeeding and various other related issues. So very interesting. I wish I had known about all of this when I had my baby back in 1980. They are so much more progressive and so much has changed and yet the simple basics remain the same. The young lady that we met with is an absolute delight and incredibly knowledgeable. I came away with loads of literature.

We decided to stop off there for lunch and I spotted a fab little statue of Amy Johnson. I was totally surprised to see the statue there since I had not seen it on a previous visit a couple of years ago. It seems there is in fact a conspiracy theory attached – read more about the death of Amy Johnson off Herne Bay

sunrise on the isle of thanet, flood warnings for kent, amy johnson story herne bay

Amy Johnson bronze statue in Herne Bay – unfortunately the sun was behind so her face is in shadow

Amy Johnson bronze statue in Herne Bay

The Amy Johnson bronze in Herne Bay

You wouldn’t believe just how cold it was walking along that promenade; a frenzied wind whipped my hair about and froze my bones!!

After lunch we drove to Deal where my daughter had an ’emergency’ scan. We’re still not quite sure what the ’emergency’ was or why the scan had been ordered and apparently neither did anyone in the labour ward, which is where we drove to next and spent another couple of hours. I guess someone thought it was a good idea!!

I am ever so grateful that I took this time off to spend with my daughter. As it turns out she has been really ill with a nasty cold and subsequent hacking cough and would not have been able to drive herself to all these appointments, and since her husband doesn’t have a drivers license, he wouldn’t have been able to drive her either. I actually came under a lot of flak from my sister about wanting to spend this time with my daughter and was given a very sharp, irritated and frankly aggressive retort of “Why? She can cope!” when I made the mistake of mentioning to her back in May of 2018 that I was planning on taking 3 months off over January, February and March to help out with the new baby.

As it turns out, baby hasn’t yet arrived but my daughter is ill and I’ve been on hand to help out…cooking, loading the dishwasher, cleaning house, keeping the laundry up to date, shopping for odds and ends, frequent trips to the pharmacy for medication, and driving her to appointments. Isn’t that what Mothers are for? To help out!! I’ve no doubt they would have made alternative arrangements if I hadn’t been here, but how much more stressful it would have been having to rely on other people to drive them around.

Today’s walk : 5.94 kms / 9.352 steps

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Viking Bay to Dumpton Gap

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Well nothing boring about life in our household. Besides the fact that we are waiting with bated breath for the baby to arrive, we had waters break last night, but they were not Mummy’s. LOL

My daughter and I were in her bedroom folding laundry and my son-in-law was in the bath. Suddenly we heard him yell something intelligible, ran to the bathroom to find out what was going on and heard the gushing of water (fortunately he was dressed by then). Initially we were like “oh it’s raining” but on opening the bathroom window we realised …nope not rain, the sound was coming from inside the bathroom. My son-in-law turned the basin tap on and the sound disappeared, turned it off again and the water gushed…but from where?

We all traipsed downstairs and to our horror water was gushing through the ceiling and into the kitchen. At that point we realised a pipe had clearly burst under the bath and as we started to look for where to turn the water off the lights blew LOL Darkness descended.

Pitch black and the 3 of us running around looking for our phones for a torch. After much confusion phones were found, a neighbour’s help secured, the electrics turned off, towels galore lined the cupboard edges, buckets under the water spouts and finally we located the stop-cock which was ironically just outside the garden gate. We also with the neighbours help located the interior tap and turned the water off. It turns out the tap is in my bedroom in the basement and I went to bed with visions of the water gushing out during the night all over my bed!!! Horrors!

Once the water flow had been stemmed to a trickle I set about mopping the pool of water in the kitchen and my daughter remarked that when she said she wanted a ‘water-birth’ this is not quite what she had in mind. I retorted that “yes, your waters broke, but not the ones you wanted”… more hilarity followed and before the ink had dried on her facebook update people were replicating the ‘waters broke’ theme.

Meanwhile once the excitement died down, the estate agent contacted and an emergency plumber sent out to determine the source of the damage and check the water was truly turned off, we settled down with bottles and jugs and kettle filled to see us through till the morrow….just in case. My daughter and I took a midnight stroll to the local hotel to use the loo LOL

Once life had settled down we watched a bit of TV and then we all retired to bed. Still no Peanut but a LOT of water. The Universe sure has a sense of humour.

On a side note, it was surprisingly warm outside when we walked to the hotel and I didn’t even need my jacket. This winter has been really weird, far too mild and a tad worrying. However I have been reliably informed that there is an Arctic Blast heading our way. I must dig out those gloves…..pronto.

We all survived the night, the floors have dried out, the water has stopped gushing, the plumber has been and replaced the culprit, the water supply is back on and the towels are being washed as I type, the waterboard folk have been to check why the valve on the stopcock is not working properly and the lino in the kitchen and the cupboards have survived the onslaught. The bathroom lino hasn’t fared so well. And my nerves are fraught.

It’s stressful enough that my daughter is so ill right on her term dates without the palaver of a burst water pipe. We had already spent a few hours at the Maternity Ward late yesterday afternoon to check that baby was ok as he wasn’t moving as much as normal and with all the coughing my daughter’s belly was very painful and her whole body aching from the strain. They hooked her up to the heart monitor and thankfully Peanut’s heart is beating strong and loud and in other good news, it appears he may well have turned from the breech position and be head down. They’ve ordered a scan for later this week to check.

If he has turned and is head down, then that means she may well be able to insist on having the water birth she wants…only it will not be from a burst water pipe on the floor of the kitchen.

Oh and we still don’t have lights as the electrics in the kitchen are still wet but thankfully we do have the electric sockets, so after 17 years in the UK we are now using side lamps for light…. just like the Brits hahahaha.Β  The electrician is expected at 3pm.




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Today marks one of Peanut’s ‘due dates’…..and nope, he has not arrived. Not sure how I feel about that! On one hand I’m pleased because he will arrive when he is good and ready and not because the NHS are still working on calculations that were first established in 1744 (?) I mean seriously…..we’re now in the 21st century, we’ve put a man on the moon (apparently), we’ve sent rockets into space countless times, we sent astronauts into space to live on a space station; the International Space Station that circumnavigates the planet on a daily basis, we have invented phones that can do just about anything you want it to except eat for you, and yet the NHS are still working on a calculation made by a Dutch doctor in 1744. If you could see me now, I’d be rolling my eyes!! LOL

On the other hand I am impatient….after 34 weeks of excitement at the thought of becoming a Granny, I am now waiting impatiently. However, either way and whichever day, by at least the 19th he should be here. πŸ™‚

Meanwhile I am making the most of every day to get out and walk. I want to be sure to have a photo of the sunrise on the day he is born…I hope it’s a spectacular one and not grey like today!! I’m making a book; The Incredible Journey of James Alexander aka Jamie aka Peanut and would really love the photo to be of a stunning sunrise!! πŸ™‚

I left rather late just after 9.15, opting to linger a bit longer in bed with a cup of tea after peeking out the window and seeing the grey clouds. It is definitely getting colder and today my hands were red by the time I got back. I also didn’t venture very far since I am the nominated driver for when my daughter does go into labour and I do not want to panic about getting back from a walk if I’m miles away. I’ll get back to the long walks once baby is here.

Grey and grizzly as it may be, the view from the clifftop across Viking Bay is still beautiful.

walk 1000 miles, walks along the coastal path england, walks on the isle of thanet, map my walk

tis a grey day on the Isle of Thanet

I didn’t get to walk along the beach since the tide was well and truly in by the time I got going so I walked along the promenade to Louisa Bay and walked down to the concrete path along the sea wall and made my way to Dumpton Gap again.

walk 1000 miles, walks along the coastal path england, walks on the isle of thanet, map my walk

the tide is in – looking back towards Viking Bay

walk 1000 miles, walks along the coastal path england, walks on the isle of thanet, map my walk

the tide is in – Dumpton Gap : looking south along the coast towards Ramsgate

There were a couple of labrador dogs running about and investigating; they are such happy animals with their wagging tails. I should have taken a photo, they were that cute. But instead I just photographed the seas and then headed back home.

walk 1000 miles, walks along the coastal path england, walks on the isle of thanet, map my walk

the tide is in at Dumpton Gap, no chance of getting through there today

walk 1000 miles, walks along the coastal path england, walks on the isle of thanet, map my walk

the tide is in at Dumpton Gap and soon my footprints will be washed away

It was a bit windy today too and the seas were rough and wild. I had planned to head down to the harbour later on to photograph the waves, but with one thing and another, I never quite made it that far.

After a breakfast of croissants from the Old Bake House

the old bake house broadstairs, walk 1000 miles, walking the isle of thanet

The Old Bake House on the corner of Serene Place and the High Street is where I buy our croissants; the most delicious you can imagine, always fresh, never burned with a delicious spongy interior. My favourite are the almond fillings. Bradstow House, the building on the corner of Serene Place and the High Street, is early 18th century and was originally constructed as a single house but is now a house and the Old Bake House and cafe. The shop front that you can see was constructed in the 19th century.

and a cup of hot steaming tea, I strolled along to Toffs and Tarts Hairdresser in Albion Road and had my hair cut. I finally found a hairdresser who knows how to feather cut hair using a razor! Hoorah. It feels so much lighter now and he did a really good job.

Day 5/365 and today I walked 3.79 kms and 5713 steps and we are 5 days closer to Peanut’s arrival πŸ™‚ Soon I hope to be taking him on my daily perambulations to Ramsgate!

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Viking bay to Dumpton Gap


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Had a fantastic walk this morning. I set off much earlier than usual today….even before the sun rose above the horizon!!

walk 1000 miles, coastal walks of england, walks on the isle of thanet, broadstairs to ramsgate, walking for health

Viking Bay at 07:46 on the 4th January 2019

There’s a distinct difference in temperature between yesterday and today… I almost needed gloves 🧀

The tide was still out but on it’s way in, so I walked down to the harbour and set off across the beach at Viking Bay and chased the incoming tide to Ramsgate.

The colours of the clouds and the sea were absolutely stunning as always and I stopped often to take photos….when do I not?

walk 1000 miles, coastal walks of england, walks on the isle of thanet, broadstairs to ramsgate, walking for health

Viking Bay at 07:53 on the 4th January 2019 – a different perspective from the clifftop to the beach

And occasionally I get photo-bombed LOL

walk 1000 miles, coastal walks of england, walks on the isle of thanet, broadstairs to ramsgate, walking for health

photo-bombed by a mad dog

When I got to Dumpton Gap, I realised that the tide had made considerable progress and if I was to reach the Ramsgate walkway which I could see in the distance I needed to get a move on. The sun was now peeping through the clouds and in the distance across the waves I could see one of the Coast Guard boats that regularly patrol this section of the channel

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sunrise on the Isle of Thanet and the Coast Guard patrol

It’s a fair distance from Dumpton Gap to Ramsgate and IΒ  covered it very quickly without stopping to take any photos!! It’s quite exhilarating to race the tide…. lapping at my feet and making me take detours across the rocks to avoid the waves that were rushing closer and closer, and getting my feet wet. LOL

walk 1000 miles, coastal walks of england, walks on the isle of thanet, broadstairs to ramsgate, walking for health

reaching Ramsgate before the tide came in: Dumpton Gap in the distance

Once on the concrete walkway at Ramsgate, I again stopped briefly to look more closely at the chalk cliffs which I find totally fascinating. In particular the layers of flint stones are so amazing. I popped across to wikipedia to find out more: “Certain types of flint, such as that from the south coast of England, contain trapped fossilised marine flora. Pieces of coral and vegetation have been found preserved likeΒ amberΒ inside the flint. Thin slices of the stone often reveal this effect.”

chalk cliffs in ramsgate, walk 1000 miles, coastal walks of england, walks on the isle of thanet, broadstairs to ramsgate, walking for health

the chalk cliffs interspersed with flint stones

Besides history, geography and geology are two of my favourite interests. Flint is commonly used in buildings along the coast and Broadstairs can boast a great number of houses, chapels, walls and this seaside pub; The Tartar Frigate, built with flint.

chalk cliffs kent, the tartar frigate pub broadstairs, walks of england, coastal walks of england

The historic Tartar Frigate is one of the only 18th century flint restaurants in Kent.

It’s incredible to think that they mostly contain fossils of sea creatures, insects and vegetation that is millions of years old.

viking bay broadstairs, walk 1000 miles, coastal walks of england, walks on the isle of thanet, broadstairs to ramsgate, walking for health

back to Broadstairs just before 9am and still the sun lingers behind the clouds

And of course the section where I’m standing for this amazing view, is right on top of the chalk cliffs…now tamed by man, and hollowed out with a network of smugglers tunnels!!

chalk cliffs kent, the tartar frigate pub broadstairs, walks of england, coastal walks of england

a network of smugglers tunnels wind their way below ground in Broadstairs

Day 4/365 In total I got in a decent 6.32kms & 9554 steps from Broadstairs to Ramsgate

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it’s a lovely stretch of coastline


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