Prior preparation…

Watching the news today when a predicted storm hit the UK and has deprived large areas of electricity supply, I reviewed our emergency preparations.

We are lucky. Parked beside our house (unluckily so a few years ago when a shed fire caught the caravan which was destroyed and caught the house) is our caravan. We keep two batteries charged and at least one full gas bottle. In extremis we also have a portable petrol 240v generator which can be connected.

So in the event of an extended power cut we can decamp to a cosy, heated environment with built in radio.

If all else fails, we also have a portable wood burning stove, a charcoal brazier and plenty of firewood and charcoal, with a large enough canvas tent to accommodate both, complete with beds, blankets, hot water bottles and cooking equipment.

Sometimes the hobby of travelling around the country and dressing up in historical clothes to live in the past for a weekend can have modern world benefits.

Nostalgia strikes

Yesterday my good wife and I, as a delayed wedding anniversary treat, enjoyed a day trip to Cardiff on a preserved steam train excursion. We travelled behind this beauty.

Many of the other folk aboard were steam railway enthusiasts, as was clear when trying to take photographs.

All the way along the route (we travelled the Reading to Cardiff section) other folks lined the track to photograph or film our passing. For example:

We came to understand that gentlemen of a certain age regularly take these trips. In the more expensive classes of travel, wives accompany them to enjoy being pampered. As well as the ambience of travelling in coaches from a former age the service on board was excellent, as evidenced by the outward and return dining menus.

Yes – my first Turkey Dinner and Christmas Pud of the season. Both meals were served at table by a team of staff, one element at a time, rather than simply plated in the kitchen and served. My only criticisms are that the slice of paté served exceeded the size of the bread provided on which to spread it, and that when serving a table of four it is not clever to leave six packs of crackers and five butter pats. Service high, counting ability low!

At Cardiff we had three hours to spend. We chose to browse the Christmas Market and the several arcades, feeling that we could not fit in enough time to visit Cardiff Castle properly. I have managed to complete about half my Christmas gift shopping.

And so home by about 9:30 pm, tired but satisfied.

Why I can’t make progress

This afternoon I have an appointment at #Southampton_Hospital_Eye_Unit to review my last operation. The current situation is that my left eye irritates as if were full of fine gravel, but is giving the sort of vision where I can make out individual vehicles parked in our road, but only as coloured vehicles. I can’t really make out a 4×4 from a delivery van.

Unfortunately the combination of one good eye and one bad eye results in a confused interpretation of my environment. As an example I have to be very careful descending stairs.

I have loads of wargame models to paint, but with effectively no binocular vision I cannot accurately put a paintbrush into a paint pot, let alone doing any detail painting.

Looking forward to having the oil bubble (keeping my retina in place) removed and getting back to a somewhat normal life. I have had to rely on my wife to drive me about, mainly to and from the hospital which is 40 miles away.

Meanwhile, in an effort to environmentally compensate for the increased use of our two cars for hospital journeys I have bought two bicycles and a dog trailer for local use.