So here I am sitting in front of my newly improved computer that is now working faster than I have ever known it to! It was second-hand when Colin bought it for me four years ago, and it’s never let me down until recently, when it started inadvertently shutting down and running so slowly that I began to worry I may lose everything I have stored in it! I found a local company with the catchy title I-Crackedit.com, who collected it and within two days restored it all so that it’s like new. And reading this back it’s a pretty good analogy for the way I’ve been feeling over the last month and most definitely the last week, and I currently have everything crossed that I will be ‘fixed’ just as quickly.
Before I fill you in, let me thank you for your lovely comments as always and also for your support with the Story Time feature that runs every Saturday on Facebook and Instagram. Over 2.5k of you listened to last week’s story, and I’m hoping that as everyone is sharing them it may become even more of a regular thing. Of course it began as part of QVC’s Always With You campaign, and it’s lovely to know that sitting and listening to great story from a talented author brings so many of you pleasure and a chance to escape from the world, even if only for a short while. I have to admit to thoroughly enjoying the reading of them too although I am desperately seeking a new source of material having pretty much exhausted my Maeve Binchy and JoJo Moyes collections.
I had more good news last week when the government announced the Support Bubble scheme that would include single parents with children under 18. Finally I would have a chance to do what so many of us have been longing to do – actually spend some quality time with my daughter and my granddaughter Honey and be able to cuddle them finally. I was all set and ready to see them at the weekend before work, but on Thursday after my regular walk I passed out. The first time for me in my entire 60 years and not something I want to repeat! Colin was home and it happened just as I got back, not while I was out in the fields thank Heavens. I banged my elbow pretty hard, but managed to avoid banging my face on the concrete and spent the remainder of the day resting. I slept relatively well, although my hot flushes kept me awake for a large part of it. In the morning I loaded the car and set off to see my girls, chatting to my friend Roz on the journey. Unfortunately while I was driving I had the same sensation of racing heart and lightheadedness, and began to panic thinking I was going to pass out again. Roz kept talking to me to keep me calm and suggested I get off the motorway as soon as I could. Unfortunately the M4 currently has no hard shoulder and so I had to keep going (very slowly) until I found an exit onto a business park and on Roz’s advice I headed for somewhere with people and then rang 111. If she hadn’t have suggested that I think I may well have stayed in my car which would not have been sensible. She was a nurse for years, moving into palliative care for the latter years of her career, and has an incredible knack of knowing exactly what to do in any given circumstance. I am forever in her debt for her kindness and calmness 🙂 111 got a clinician to call me and she sent for an ambulance. It didn’t take long to come, but I was feeling far worse and by the time it arrived and was in some sort of shock with a racing heart and blue hands and feet! Colin arrived at much the same time, but obviously was not allowed into the ambulance and had to wave me off through the doors. That was hard… The paramedics Tom and Alan could not have been kinder, as were all the staff at the Royal Berkshire Hospital. They ran various kinds of tests including a chest X ray and CT scan of my brain, but there was nothing conclusive.
Being in A & E really brought home to me how incredibly upsetting it must be for everyone and anyone who has had a relative or someone they love taken into hospital without being able to accompany them. Worse still if that person is kept in and they are unable to visit – such a worry. All the staff at the hospital were incredibly kind and thorough, and everyone was wearing PPE so I didn’t feel at risk, although I would be lying if I said I wasn’t worried. I was able to text Lucy and Honey, but was heartbroken that I couldn’t see them and that our long awaited reunion would have to wait. As I was having chest pains and felt lightheaded I was advised to rest completely over the next few days and to contact my GP on the Monday so I did as I was told. Colin picked me up from the hospital and it was such a relief to see him and to be able to go back home together.
When I spoke to my GP I was still struggling with chest pains and fatigue and he advised me to find a Cardiologist asap and arrange a consultation. Some of you may know that I lost my dad when he was just 54 to a massive heart attack, and I think this, coupled with my cancer history meant they were more concerned. Thankfully our local hospital opened its doors on Monday and so by Wednesday morning I was having another ECG and an echocardiogram. I was also fitted with a heart monitor that has to stay in place for a week. I thought naively it was something you wore on your wrist but I was wrong!
Maybe I should decorate it with tinsel or a pendant? It’s a very clever device and will continually monitor my heart rate and highlight any unusual activity. I have a diary to fill in too. The cardiologist went through the results with me that afternoon and although he said he didn’t feel there was anything too worrying there, because I still had discomfort and fatigue, he would need to carry out a CT angiogram so he can make sure that none of the arteries are furred up.
Hopefully the discomfort will pass, and I’ll be given a clean bill of health and can go back to business as usual, but I will be away from work for a while, although keeping in touch with you here and on social media.
I missed my regular Diamonique show on Tuesday and sadly I won’t be able to join Ruth Langsford this Friday with her Today’s Special Value for the day – a beautiful midi dress with a belt. It’s already available to pre-order in an orange spot print and a mono spot print, but also in four block colours – black, magenta, cobalt and sand. Better yet it’s available in three different lengths – petite, regular and tall. Jackie Kabler will be launching it on Thursday night at 9pm and she will be wearing the tall option because of her fabulously long legs! I’m sure it’s going to do really well! I have to admit to being very glad of my Lucca Vanucci linen dress from last year’s collection – there’s a similar style on clearance at the moment that is equally lovely in electric blue, hot coral or pistachio. I’ve had great results from my Gatineau Golden Glow Gradual Tanning Milk which I’ve been liberally applying since the sun packed its bags and I’ve also been using the Jane Scrivner brand of beauty products as they really seem to suit my skin.
I would highly recommend the Overnight Recharge Balm and the Rose Gold Ultimate Facial Serum which is closer to a facial oil. I’ve always shied away from anything with rose in it as I’m none to keen on the fragrance, but my skin really appreciates it. My Richard Jackson fragranced lilies are taking their time to flower but I was very late planting them, and so I thought you may like to see my Calla lilies instead?
This is the fourth year I’ve had them and they never fail to impress. They pick really well too. I’ve also been delighted with the way my Hayloft Clematis are growing! You may remember they were a Today’s Special Value back in May and I planted them in the new trug Colin built for me and I planted them out in Richard Jackson‘s compost and have been feeding them regularly with his Flower Power – a winning combination!
I also treated myself and my mum’s partner Joe to some more of Forman’s Smoked Salmon – just delicious and seriously the best I’ve tasted. And talking of food, following my rather scary end to last week, Roz and Chris very kindly sent me this fabulous food parcel to cheer me up! My favourite cheeses (including Godminster’s Chedder special chutney, crackers and an apple brandy! It was such a lovely surprise, and will be so very much enjoyed 🙂
And for my final bit of news – and the very best news – I had a surprise visit from Lucy and Honey on Sunday, and although I was still feeling pretty ropey, my hug with Honey did my heart no end of good.
I spent most of them day watching her on the trampoline and rushing around the garden… Just having them both here was an absolute tonic and Lucy made the tastiest spaghetti Bolognese for lunch. I realise how lucky I am and that you may still be waiting to get your arms around your loved ones, but I am praying for you that the wait will soon be over.
It’s Colin’s and my fifth wedding anniversary next Friday and so we’re planning a day in the garden with a special meal to celebrate – so very many things to be grateful for.
I hope you can join me this Saturday when I will have another short story for you (hopefully) and you can hear it on my Facebook page or on Instagram. I have the entire collection of stories on YouTube too if you missed any – Ali’s Story Time QVC. Do feel free to share and comment – it will be lovely to hear from you.
Take care, stay safe and please do stay in touch.
With my love,