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Following on from my previous post about my mum’s fading memory – https://saturdaywalks.wordpress.com/2017/05/04/memory-test/ today was the day we visited the specialist doctor.

Sharon and I accompanied her to the same place as before.

Mum’s memory function has deteriorated quite a bit since the first visit almost two months ago; not so much that she has no awareness of things around her, but nevertheless, there has been a significant decline. E.g. she introduced me to the doctor as her brother.

So, we were not expecting any ‘good’ news.

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The CT scan she’d had showed nothing more than age-related deterioration, her pulse is perfect (72) and the only ‘bad’ (inasmuch as it’s not a worry for this memory process, but it’s not ‘good’) is that her eGFR1 (estimated glomerular filtration rate2) was only 35. This could be another issue to watch, given that it shows moderate to severe loss of kidney function, but for now I’ll stick to the issue of memory.

The doctor mentioned dementia, but then avoided it suggesting that she didn’t like the word (neither do I) and towards the end of our interview suggested that this was Alzheimer’s, without actually dwelling on that. I suspect that once the paperwork all comes through – that’s what will be the diagnosis.

As part of this process, mum had also had to have an ECG, the result of which is that she has to visit the hospital again on July 31st, to see a cardiologist. Today’s doctor knew nothing about that – but promised to follow it up, especially as the drug she was prescribing for my mum depended on heart rate to a certain extent. She phoned me about an hour later to say that the G.P. was out right now, but that she would be in touch again next week. The medication aims to slow down the memory loss process.

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We were then introduced to the local Making Space representative. Making Space provide specialist dementia care alongside support for sufferers that enables them to stay in their own home for as long as possible. At this early stage, we only required information, advice and guidance. Sharon, the lady we met, was superb and was able to put my mum’s mind at rest and to answer the questions we had brought. She is sending me leaflets to read and more information about the services available to my parents. My job will be convincing my dad to take some, if not all of these up.

Some of the support I will be aiming for over the next few weeks will be to find an Admiral Nurse5 to pick up on my mum; to get my dad to reconsider applying for a Power of Attorney over my mum’s health and finances and to apply for Attendance Allowance on behalf of my mum.

Sharon, at Making Space has promised help with all of those.

References

Photo Credits:

https://pixabay.com/p-544403/?no_redirect

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As I said in a previous post, this is my birthday month.

Sharon’s ‘surprise’ gift to me was a Food, wine and history walking tour of Malaga (seeing as we’re down here for Christmas anyway). It was a surprise inasmuch as I only knew that on a particular day we had to catch a particular train from Torreblanca, to be able to present ourselves in the Plaza de la Constitución at 10:30am prompt.  31467462750_82c0fe75d0_n

We were met by Susanne, our guide and were joined by Mike from Manchester.

So just the three of us on the tour – which made it so much better than it might have been with lots more people. Sharon had booked with a company called Devour Spain – they also do tours of Madrid, Seville and Barcelona.

The trip starts with a short history of Malaga’s varying population from the ancient Phoenicians through Romans, Moors and the current Christian occupation. This was then used to pin the different dishes and tastes we went through during our 3½ – 4-hour tour.

We started with (slightly late for me) breakfast at Café Central, just on the corner of the square.

coffee-cupWe were told about the owner’s history and how he came to serve 10 (ten!) different sizes and styles of coffee. We had Pitufo con tomate and churros with our coffee. I had largo. All the coffees come in cups or glasses marked with a percentage – to show that you have been served exactly what you ordered.

Following breakfast we took a stroll to Malaga’s main market: Mercado de Atarazanas where we visited two stalls for extended tastings and more history. Our first tasting stop was the Cristóbal Rios olive stall (stand 241-248).  We tasted three types of olive (but I cannot remember their names – sorry), all varying in strength and taste, along with fried  marcona almonds and locally dried moscatel raisins. These were all delicious.

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Our next stop was at El Niño, still inside the market (stand 187-189). Here we were given a taste of sweet Malaga muscatel wine and a plate of cold cutsJ  There was a tasty, hard goats cheese, Iberian ham, Serrano ham, chorizo and salchichón. It was great to actually have both hams on the same plate, so I could see and taste the difference – and THERE IS a difference! Serrano ham is a much milder flavour and has much less fat than the prized Iberian product. Iberian ham is much fattier, tastier and deeper in flavour – as it should be given the way the pigs are bred. Often known as pata negra, these hams can be seen as different from serrano simply by having black feet. The two sausages were ok, but tend to be much nicer  when cooked.

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Having had our fill of market produce we took a fairly good stroll to the other side of town to Mainake, a specialist wine merchant. Here we tasted three local Andalusian wines that were unusually dry (rather than the more normal sweet Malaga wines). One white was to Sharon’s taste but too Retsina-ish for me, and then two very young red wines which were, once again, not to my taste.

Lunch was taken at Mesón Mariano in the city centre. We were presented with an amuse bouche of sorts, which was then followed by four entirely different tapas and a single sweet. The restaurant specialises in artichoke dishes and so we started with an artichoke dish: Alcachofas en salsa (it actually had a different name, but looked like this), then we had Boquerones simply coated in seasoned flour and fried. Boquerones are a small white anchovy local to Malaga. Someone from Malaga might be known as a Boquerón.

We then had a tuna dish that was delicious, but what it was called and what the sauce was made of is now beyond me as I was too engrossed with the previous two dishes. Our final tapa was a plate of Albondigas in a local almond sauce.  I like the sauce, but the meatballs were too big and the texture too doughy for my taste.  Our postres (dessert) was a local speciality: Leche frito. This is condensed milk that is friend and topped with a nougat (turrón) ice cream. That was DIFFERENT.

That was it – our tour was over, but it had been a delight. Excellently led by Susanne.

We stayed over in Malaga and had breakfast once again at Café Central. This time we were able to order our own food and coffee (and agua del grifo – tap water J)

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I hate this time of year.

The clocks have now gone back one hour and the days seem much shorter, darker and so very much colder. It has been the same every year, for all of my life; but now I don’t have to be up early and off to work. Now, I can do the work I get, online, so I don’t have to leave the house.

Perhaps in those ‘leave the house’ days I appreciated the slightly lighter mornings in November, but never the very much darker drive home – THAT was ALWAYS horrendous, no matter where I was working.

I understand the reasons behind the original implementation; we had considerably more rural areas back then and there was a war to fight (the Germans implemented daylight saving time in 1916 – so we did too!). I guess the long hours worked by factory/mill workers during the Industrial Revolution meant that it didn’t affect them much (no matter what time the sun came up in November-January, they wouldn’t see it), so only over time, as working hours were reduced, did it ‘matter’.

I can see why those living in more northerly climes would want an extra hour of daylight in the morning as it could stay dark for an awful long time – but there really is just an exact amount of daylight available, there’s nothing we can do about that. So if it’s lighter in the morning, it’s depressingly darker in the early evening.

For those of us who hate winter, and who have the chance to ‘see’ some the day, it is very depressing to be pulling on the curtains at 4:30pm and closing down for the day. Especially when, as usual, the day has been overcast and (often) damp.

As I say …. I hate this time of year.

 

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Come what may

Come what may; within 36-40 hours we will know whether or not the United Kingdom has taken a giant leap into the unknown or voted to stay in the European Union. As I said in my previous post, I will be voting to ‘REMAIN’ – but that last poll I saw showed the vote at 44% to leave and 44% to remain.

It will be (have been?) tight then.

Either way, I’m sure that life will go on – although at what cost remains to be seen.  Neither result will be seen as a good thing and the wrangling will go on for months, or even years. I’ve even read this week (something I vaguely remember from when we first referendum’d in 1975) that the government is not obliged to ratify the decision and could, if it so wished, go on as if nothing had happened.

Well – WHY THEN have the bloody referendum in the first place!

It will not silence the Tory ‘Euro-haters’, it will not lead to a general election (oh if all general elections could generate this much interest….) and it will not be good for the country – or Europe as a whole.

I despair of it all now and just hope for the best. Whatever that might be.

 

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Work

The last few days have been frustrating. For our training we are housed in a tiny room with intermittent internet connection, aging computers and a break out room (even smaller) that we cannot use if the ‘Director’ decides to come in to work. Even so, had the website we were here to train the folks on, have worked properly, even those “Indian” problems would have been easy enough to overcome. So frustrating.

Our team

Still, we managed: Just.

Sadly tonight is our last night with the delegates. Tomorrow (after 24 hours) we have some mopping up work to do and some shopping will be required before we get to that. We leave the hotel at 4:00am Wednesday morning.

Food

Our hotel provides a good selection of dishes from around the world. I wrote about the breakfasts in an earlier post but the lunches and evening meals are no less extensive. Like breakfast, the lunch menu has a wide array of buffet dishes from (mainly) across India. There are also special menu meals, only one of which we had because – quite simply – there is TOO MUCH to eat. Mostly, when we’ve eaten in the hotel of an evening, we have just had snacks, because the main dishes are huge.

Restaurant food

Lunch at the Biere Club

That doesn’t mean that the hotel is the only place to eat. We’ve eaten in several other places, sometimes more than once because a) the food is OK and b) the portions are not too large (and if they are the food is cheap enough to not worry about leaving any). Neither of us have overdone the Indian food, but what we have had has been delicious. However, many of our meals have been non-Indian (with maybe just a touch of Indian influence) 🙂

We’re frequented a place called The Biere Club  several times. They make a tasty really crispy based pizza and their ‘assorted’ fries are gorgeous. We must have sampled about a third of their menu on his trip and can honestly say that if you want a non-Indian snack or meal – this is the place to come. They even brew their own beer, which at lunchtimes, we’ve avoided (we have to work you know).

Another place I would never have a) found or b) gone into without Alison’s recommendation was The Only Place. Here, I had what was the best steak I’ve eaten in many a year. I can’t honestly remember one as nice in the last twenty years, unless it was one I had in Australia in 1996. It was simply delicious. It had real flavour, something we don’t often get back home, and was cooked to perfection. The restaurant itself is BYO (as long as it’s wine the can serve you with disguised as coke, or tonic) and very Indian. Hat’s off to you guys – keep up the good work.

Last night we went to a place we’d never been before. The Glasshouse looks  a bit posh and to be fair they did their best to provide a friendly, open air, Mediterranean atmosphere. The food was really good: We both had Caramelized Goat’s Cheese as a delicious starter and followed that up with chicken dishes which were perfectly cooked but nothing to write home about.

Street food

Fruit sales

I really wish I dared to try the street food that we see everywhere. There are folks selling coconuts; they cut the copra away and allow the purchaser to drink the water inside (straws are optional) and then, the cut it open properly and scoop out the inside with a leaf. There are folks selling cut fruit: my problem is the amount of flies we often see around such stalls and the water the fruit may have been ashed in. There are folks selling, peanuts (freshly cooked and de-husked), folks selling sweet tea, folks selling all types of meals to eat standing on the corner of the road (which is invariably bedlam) and all kinds of other folks selling – stuff 🙂

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Jigsaws

Under_way_WasgijSome of you may know that I like to solve jigsaw puzzles. Some of you may not. However, I do enjoy the concentration they demand.

I started doing jigsaws again about three years ago. We’d been away for the weekend with Karen and Dave, at Ipstones and Karen had had one on the go. I was surprised how relaxing it was to just sit and make the pieces fit (actually, to consider which piece fitted where, NOT ‘make the pieces fit’)! Another friend, Carol, was already hooked and many is the time we’d go to her house and find a partially completed jigsaw open in the living room.

Discussion and research told me that jigsaws were good for the mind, especially as people age. So, as a nod in that direction (the avoidance or deterrence of dementia/Alzheimer’s) I began to solve jigsaw puzzles.

Sharon bought me my first [see it here] and that took an age to build. There were lots of dark corners and an uncertainty of which piece fitted where. Then Carol gave me more, often passed on from her mum and/or her friend Jennifer. I also began to buy my own from charity shops. Locally, they were 50p a time and up and down the country they could cost as much as £2.00 and generally speaking, they were all OK. Nevertheless, some had pieces missing, which is frustrating and this is one of the reasons I will not pay the £2.50 – £4.00 that some national charities now want to charge for their jigsaws. Why would I pay that much for something that is incomplete – because there’s nothing more challenging than looking for a piece (or pieces) that are just not there. PLEASEif you know there’s a piece missing, say so when you leave the box with the charityorthrow it away.

Different manufacturers use different qualities of board. One popular brand; King, is one of the more ubiquitous makes but often their pieces fit in more than one place, which is unhelpful. However, they do have a fabulous range of pictures to work with. The best so far, for me has been Ravensburger, a German company. The board they use is thicker and the pieces fit with a satisfying click (ish). A new one to me, of similar quality to Ravensburger is Wasgij, recently to be found in Aldi stores. They have the same satisfying click when pieces fit and there is no doubt about the quality. The one featured on this page is a children’s ‘what did the goldfish see’ puzzle, where you don’t know what is contained on the finished picture.

At home I tend to work with 1,000 piece puzzles but on holiday (I’m in Spain now) a 500 piece puzzle is enough. I have to like the finished picture and one of the best has been Clarke Gable and Vivien Leigh in a poster from Gone With The Wind.

See my Flicker jigsaw album to see all the ones I’ve solved. These are now mostly passed onto friends or relatives.

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The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 3,300 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 55 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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