future was somewhat uncertain, my more aware and steadfast wife decided we
should have a post office and shop. After much searching, one became available
The Post Office and General Store, Stansfield,
It had a conglomeration of goods and it amazed passing tourists who asked ‘Can you tell me where I can get a link for my broken cycle chain?’ when we said ‘Yes, how many do you want?’
As the new postmistress my wife’s clerical training was invaluable and she was a natural with the rustic type locals. On the very rare occasion we went away, I paid a retired postmaster to take charge but our regular customers would not come to the shop while we were away because they did not want ‘strangers’ knowing their business.
I came under the care of the famous
had a brother living in
some consultancy work for the Bedfordshire County Council leading a team
involved in the major road works on the M1 Motorway. We had CCTV cameras
filming the movement of vehicles, which were having to
manoeuvre through complicated chicane movements, 24 hours a day for a number of
months. At the end of the contract I had to submit a report to the Road
Research Authority at
this I was asked to be a lecturer on behalf of a
played some golf on the very flat Bedfordshire golf course and were reasonably
well, but the small garden was becoming irksome. My wife had both hips
replaced, one of which was not done very well. Our early lives had been near
the sea, and with
views of Old Harry Rocks to the left, Durlston Downs
to the right and the
order not to lose the property, I had to take out a bridging loan in May 1996.
After which, there were the usual transaction difficulties in selling the
We did eventually take up proper residence in the December of 1996 and I was made welcome as a senior member of the local golf club, where I achieved my 3rd hole in one! My wife did a lot of voluntary work at Oxfam and Sue Ryder.
is a quaint town with a marvellous carnival, which includes having the Red
Arrows, the lifeboat week, a folk festival period and a blues and jazz music
weekend. The beach is marvellous for children and has a blue flag
accreditation. The weather is sublime, to see snow was an event, and it never
stayed very long because of the salt air. There is a theatre/cinema in the
Mowlem Centre and with everything within walking distance; there was little
need to go anywhere else. The Health Centre and Cottage Hospital catered for
our medical needs with a major hospital at
It was a pleasant time in our twilight years until 2007 when tragically my wife was diagnosed with having cancer and died. She passed peacefully away in the Cottage Hospital on pain-killing medication, listening to her favourite music, which the Sister allowed me to bring in.
We had her cremated and her ashes scattered to the wind and waves off her beloved pier, of which she would spend many hours gazing with unfocused eyes in her later months.
OMENS AGAIN. One day I awoke with my lips all swollen. On ringing my GP for an appointment, he rang me back and diagnosed me over the phone ending by saying ‘Stop taking the aspirin’. A week later, my tongue was swollen and again on ringing my GP he replies ‘Stop taking the statins’.
following week, I had a number of blood blisters in my mouth. My GP was away
and so I was seen by his locum. He
looked at my blisters, examined my legs and arranged for a blood sample. Three
hours later I was in
The medical term is Thrombocytopenia. The cause is unknown and there is no cure It causes bleeding, bruising, cataracts, muscle weakness and bone density loss and can be somewhat alleviated with high doses of steroids. I did have to go to hospital for a week with abdominal bleeding, my spleen was removed and I had both eyes treated for cataracts. My platelet count was very erratic and golf was out of the question.
After 4 years, I am now being tried on a newly-approved NICE drug that has reduced the bruising.
I have been told that even if I had a nose bleed, I would not be able to stop it and to call an ambulance immediately, so I have to keep a hospital bag always available. With a restricted lifestyle and a ‘bleeding Sword of Damocles’ hanging over me, it is a bit like ‘Waiting for Godot’.