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Sunday
Jul302017

Less borked but still

I promised a picture of my really skinny arm, didn't I?

Naked

Pretty, huh?

I got out of the cast and the wires were pulled out on Wednesday. And let's just say that having things that look like tent pegs made out of coat hangers pulled out of your arm is just as lovely as it sounds. I kept my eyes shut! The dressings are hiding the holes.

I'm still wearing a splint most of the time, but taking it off to acclimatise because I'm supposed to stop wearing it this week. There's definitely physio in my future - I can barely move the wrist after 7.5 weeks in plaster. But I can do some really exciting things already, like tie my shoelaces, and this morning I even managed to cut my own fingernails! 

My left-handed writing has improved to the point where I can make spelling mistakes - initially it needed so much concentration that every word was spelt perfectly! But it's still a little wobbly and inconsistent. Lots better than it was though. Definitely legible. I might even keep using it - the extra concentration seems to help with thinking ideas through. We'll see.

The cast is gone, but there's a way to go yet. I'm still pleased to have it back!

Friday
Jun302017

Borked

So, about 3.5 weeks ago, this happened.

I have experienced a few unwanted firsts today. #ilikered #broken

I broke my arm. I was at Taekwondo practising chop (or axe) kicks, which are a high forward kick where you come down onto your target from above. I'm pretty flexible, so I can get pretty high, but I tried for one that was higher than I could comfortably do and my standing leg left the ground at full extension. Sadly, it came forwards, I went backwards, and landed with my arm underneath me.

Completely my own stupidity, and even then a really flukey bit of bad luck.

So I currently have a 'closed distal radius fracture' of my right arm - my radius bone is snapped clean through at the wrist end but nothing broke the skin (the thought of that makes me want to puke).

Now, the NHS is a wonderful thing, and I'm grateful for the free treatment, but due to a distinct lack of beds it took 2.5 weeks to get me an operation to wire it straight (I'll gloss over the attempt to manually straighten it without giving me any pain relief - I didn't scream, faint or vomit but I don't want to do it again). That's 2.5 extra weeks in a cast, just to go back to square 1 - in fact, they almost had to plate it instead because it had been so long. Still, a straight arm is probably for the best.

All this means that I've been down to one arm for a while now, and will be for a while yet. Oh, and I'm right-handed. Very right-handed. This means no knitting, sewing, sax playing, cycling, running (I've tripped a couple of times recently - not risking that thanks!), taekwondo... I can't even drink a cup of coffee whilst scrolling my twitter feed. I'm learning a staggering number of workarounds - how to put on socks, how to get toothpaste on my toothbrush, how to tear off toilet paper, all sorts of exciting stuff - but some things are just really hard. Like I am not going to be grating cheese for the foreseeable future (if this were permanent I'd be buying a new grater). Shoelaces - just, really? And thank goodness I don't really need to wear bras!

All this learning is deeply exhausting, frankly. Interesting as it all is. Still, not like I can choose to stop the experiment. The pain is manageable, I'm mostly sleeping ok, and Clarkie is doing an amazing job of looking after me. Could have been plenty worse.

Look forward to a picture of just how skinny my already-thin arm is post-cast!

Broken but unbowed

Wednesday
Apr122017

Lock bag prototype

Last year I hit a pothole so hard on my 15 year old Trek 1000 that I put a dent in the back wheel. Rather than just replace the wheel (gears have changed in 15 years, hard to find compatible old stuff), I ended up buying a whole new bike. 

Genesis Equilibrium 10

It's lovely. I like it a lot. But. I sometimes have to leave a bike somewhere that I'm not 100% sure of - like the station - for longish periods of time - like a working day, or overnight. And both of my bikes were now a bit good for me to be comfortable with that. So, I've rebuilt my Trek in a new configuration. 

Trek on a train

Yep, I finally did a singlespeed conversion. Those wheels and tyres were £70 for both, so the quality isn't great. But I love the red! And they are not quick-release. So this bike has a lot of the original components off the Trek, with the saddle that came with the new bike, some really cheap platform pedals with loose bearings, and hacked off handlebars. It is perfect for leaving at the station, and the red wheels make it really easy to find when I get back to it. 

But! I still need to lock it. Which means carrying my heavy abus chain lock. I tried wrapping it round parts of the bike, but the rattling was immense, plus I could never get it tight enough. It's filthy, so I'm not putting it round me anymore (and it's too big for my hips anyway). I have a Carridice saddlebag that I use for it on my other bags, but those aren't cheap and the purpose of this bike was to be left in dubious situations. I had a really quick look for something cheap that could work, and drew a blank. 

To the sewing machine!

Bike lock bag

Bike lock bag

I knocked this up from some old pieces of canvas from an army bag I used to carry my cricket kit in and a load of velcro. Sits nicely out of the way, doesn't rattle, takes the lock, and it's ugly enough that I doubt it'll be nicked, and if it is I'd just be irritated. 

Unfortunately, the roads of Oxfordshire are full of potholes and other nastiness, and it turns out that the velcro isn't quite strong enough to hold the bag shut when you hit a lot of bumps. It developed an alarming tendency to eject the lock at really inconvenient moments. Further work required, but for now? 

Room for improvement

The bandana is doing the trick. 

Monday
Apr102017

95

95 not out. #grandad #jack #trifle

Grandad made another birthday. 95 of them now. He's still looking pretty fit and well, all things considered. Pretty spry for an old guy (no apologies to Offspring there). He certainly polished off that trifle quickly enough! Which disappointed my Dad, who'd been looking forward to finishing it for him.

It's just over 6 years since Grandma died. He built a routine around caring for her and playing golf over the last eight years of her life, and he just seems to have carried on. More power to him!

 

Friday
Apr072017

Pavement jewellery

I was walking down Cowley Road in Oxford the other day (as I do pretty frequently these days - I work just off it) and happened to look down as I was about to tread on this:

Pavement 'jewellery' #cowleyroad #feminist #hellyeah

Turns out that this is something called 'pavement jewellery', and was part of a redevelopment of the area in 2005. It was an art installation by Fusion Arts highlighting the history of the area. Originally there were 58 of these bronze ingots - I'm not sure how many are left now. I found an entire album of them on Flickr. They come in pairs, with a shared connection. This one apparently relates to a women's centre that used to be near the plain.