June 2008


Uh-oh.  My health is looking likely to take over my life again.  It’s all connected to last time, when I was pregnant with G and had high blood pressure problems.  I had loads of tests and lots of monitoring.  It wasn’t anything major, one or two visits to hospital or the doctors’ every fortnight (apart from the memorable week where I was at the doctors’ or hospital every day), but after five months I found it wearing and frustrating.

The doctor has now discovered something through a blood test which may be connected.  There are a few conditions or syndromes that I might have – now I’m going to see a specialist and have lots and lots of tests done to find out exactly which syndrome.  It doesn’t seem to be anything immediately threatening; I don’t want to worry any of my readers!

Anyway, that wasn’t what I was thinking of at all when I wrote the title above.  I had to get a prescription made out today, but realised that I don’t have my certificate that entitles me to free prescriptions with me.  I’m staying in three different homes this summer (with some exceptionally kind, patient and accommodating people who’ve agreed to put us up and put up with us), but I’m leaving a trail of belongings with me as I go!

And I felt the disadvantage of having no permanent base this morning.  I have managed to reacquire a GP (having signed myself off my old one when we moved because there was such a pressure for places there), who is down the road from the base where all our post is delivered.  [Hard writing an anonymous blog sometimes – get into a very convoluted sentence and not sure how to get to the end and if it’ll make sense when read later by someone else!]  In the same town as our UK postal address: that’s another way of saying it!  I could only get on her books by saying I’d be around for at least six months.  Well, I suppose it is true – that’ll be my postal address for a while yet and I’ll be back again at Christmas to prove my continued residence!

Anyway, this morning I phoned the out-of-hours doctor service, only to be told, “Sorry, we can’t take any information from you as you aren’t calling from a phone in our area.”  Who else has this sort of thing to contend with?  Well, no-one I know, because how many people don’t live at their permanent address?  Fortunately I’m staying fairly close, so I bundled the children in the car, drove to Base 2 and phoned from there…  Fortunate too that someone was at home to let me into what I call my “home”!

I’m not meaning a word against the people who actually do live there permanently, who are kind enough to sort through our post and let us stay for long chunks of the summer.  I’m also not complaining about moving around while I’m here.  I’m very grateful to be put up and it gives us plenty of opportunity to see people.  It is a strange effect of this new lifestyle, though.

Well, I got the prescription, so all’s well that ends well.  And now nothing till Monday, when I return to the GP and find a bit more about what’s going to happen next.

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I was only away for nine months, but since returning I have noticed a few changes…

Petrol prices are now enormous!  They hadn’t broken through the pound barrier when I left.  Now they’ve left it well behind!

Re-usable shopping bags are much more visible than they were this time last year, I’m sure.  Fantastic!  Except I’ve not yet got into the habit of taking one with me (or at least, I do, but it’s already full of nappies, snacks and miscellaneous child-junk).

Christians around me seem to be interested in finding out about Islam.  (It’s been a current issue for a while now, we were bound to catch on sooner or later…)  This is very useful for me:  I may have lived in a Muslim area but I’ve had very little contact with Muslims and learnt very little about their religion – just what is observable at a distance: when Ramadan is, which is the busiest mosque on a Friday and so on.

And there’s one more I thought of earlier and have now forgotten.  So I’ll have to add it here when I remember it!

M’s travel plans have had to change as a result of the recent disaster in our home city, which has made the news here in the UK.  (The disaster, I mean, not the change in his travel plans!)  He was stuck in the airport, along with a few planeloads of other people, for six hours before they cancelled his flight and he returned home to start looking into what to do next.  Of course, reworking travel arrangements wasn’t really what he wanted to spend today doing…

He tells me the weather has been bad recently.  Strong dusty winds (a haboob) and rain at the same time the other day, apparently.  Glad not to be there myself.  As you may already have gathered, I’m enjoying the weather here whether it’s warm and sunny or dull and drizzly.  The smell of the flowers after the rain today was heady…  I’m picturing my African home as it is in the winter (similar to the warm and sunny days here) – and thinking quite fondly of the place…

In case it wasn’t clear from my last post (which was briefer than my usual style, I’ll admit!), I’m back home for the summer.  Actually, I’ve been thinking about this: is my home over there now?  Or is this more familiar country, home to so many of my friends and family, still home despite my absence?  My conclusion is that both countries are now home.  So then, I’m back home for the summer, but in August I return to my African home…

It’s wonderful catching up with family and friends.  And I love the small, simple things, like driving with the window open, feeling the cool air coming into the car, as I was today.  And such variety of food!  And people who understand me, no matter how convoluted the sentence I’ve just finished!  (Well, there’s a greater chance of that here, at least…)

Oh, and the constant availability of the Internet is something I’m only now, after three weeks here, starting to take advantage of.  And during this evening’s surfing, I discovered two posts from January that never made it onto the blogsite!  I’ve published them now, but since you’re unlikely to discover them by accident, I’ll tell you that they’re dated January 30th and 31st.  If you’re still interested.  You don’t have to be.  🙂