Sunday, 9 October 2011

Breakdown and disease

Peaceful grass and trees in Leamington Spa
In between all this decorating stuff I've had some other challenges to face. I got in the car to go to badminton on Monday, and it promptly started to beep furiously about its alternator. "Ow, ow, ow, my alternator hurts! You're hurting my alternator! Stop it! Beep beep beep beep!" I bravely continued to drive, thinking that I was only going a couple of miles, I really wanted to play badminton, and if the worst happened I could abandon it, walk home, and sort it out tomorrow. The stupid car shouted and beeped at me all the way home again, and further desultory research on the Interwebs suggested either a replacement alternator (expensive) or that a tensioner or belt needs tightening (not quite as expensive).

Off it went to the garage on Wednesday, and they phoned to say that a) the alternator does need replacing and b) they wanted to keep it overnight, which gave me palpitations in terms of labour charges but turned out to be because the supplier sent the wrong part. Anyway, that complicated life a little more because Wednesday night was when I wanted to go to my first local Diabetes UK group meeting. Mr A was kind enough to make my neglected bicycle more roadworthy and lent me some lights for it, but after a day's painting I was not really looking forward to cycling, and took up the neighbours' offer to use their car. I'm glad I did, because it absolutely chucked it down with rain. We have very nice neighbours.

The Diabetes UK meeting featured a podiatrist talking about foot care, and as seems traditional in all the diabetic foot care lectures I've been to (quite a few) the pictures they use to illustrate the various perils of neglecting your feet are second in their gruesome nature only to images of patients with burns. This is probably because diabetic foot ulcers and their consequences are the second greatest cause of amputation, I learned, nudged from top spot by trauma (car accidents and the like). So it's a serious topic. I learned two other interesting things: what Charcot Foot is, and that there is no effective treatment for verrucas - you just wait until your body deals with the virus that causes them.

After the meeting I chatted to a couple of people, and there was a cup of tea and the sort of raffle where there were almost more prizes than tickets, including such treasures as a bottle of bubble bath, a pair of rubber gloves, a tray of four pears and a scented geranium. Having me attending the meeting probably reduced the average age of the attendees by quite a few years. I would like to go again, though - next month there's a speaker talking about the very latest advances in treatments for diabetes. And it's great fodder for job interviews.

Then there has been the failure of the TV, which has never been quite right since the switchover from analogue to digital. We put it down to the antiquated nature of the digibox, which I am sure was a contributing factor, but then all signal was lost altogether and we think it's probably because of the aerial. It wasn't a big deal except we do like to watch the news now and again, so after a modicum of research I was dispatched to Argos where I picked up the cheapest Freesat box that exists. Miraculously, the satellite dish left by the previous house owners ten years ago still works, so we now have 175 channels to choose from, and we'll still only watch the news and QI.

Lola II has been visiting, and accompanied me on a mammoth trip round town visiting charity shops in order to upgrade my interview outfit as per the advice previously received. Leamington really has some high quality charity shops, and there are an awful lot of them. For just £8 I now have an extremely smart tailored jacket and a shirt to go with it, so I'm not sure how they will be able to resist giving me the job.

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