Tag Archives: Woman in a White Coat

SURVIVORS OF GASTRIC CANCER

Jane aged 6

Our younger daughter, 53-year old Jane, is about to start treatment for Stage 4 Stomach Cancer – chemo then surgery.  She lives in Switzerland and would very much like to hear from someone of around her age who has come through similar treatment for the disease.

Please leave a message on abby@abbyjw.com or in the comments if you are such a person. Jane would contact you by WhatsApp or by phone.

Thank you for your kind wishes.

Her elder brother Simon, who took and printed this photo, is five years older than her. He and his brother Bernard were the guitar players. Jane later learned to play the flute while her older sister, Louise, played the clarinet.

WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO STOCK UP ON??

My favourite bay in Tesco’s

We shouldn’t go crazy and be selfish but it’s only sensible to check that we have enough of the essentials for when the dreaded Coronavirus rears its ugly head again. There are spikes all over the world, though we have to hope that the race between a deadly pandemic and the vaccine is won in our favour.

I have to admit that I was worried enough to pay a silly price on eBay for a giant pack of toilet paper when toilet paper completely vanished from the shops. We still have some left now, when the supermarket shelves are full.

The commodity I missed most was bread flour. We hate stodgy supermarket highly processed bread and, except for an occasional artisan loaf, I bake all my own. As an aged and vulnerable couple, we were able to book supermarket delivery slots, but week after week there would be bread flour on their product list, but my grocery would arrive with a ‘flour out of stock’ notice. Same for yeast and baking powder. I was able to buy bread flour from a baker in 2.5kg packages but being a 5 foot nothing lady I found it quite a thing shlepping 10 kg of flour. So, I’ll make sure I have a reasonable amount of flour in stock. I am only just finishing the 500gm pack of Fermipan dried yeast I found online and have a spare ready for the next few months.

I was delighted to read in Martynoga’ s excellent book ‘The Virus’ that soap is as good or better at killing the virus than sanitisers because it dissolves their essential outer membrane. I bought a packet of antiseptic wipes as well as a little bottle of sanitizer but prefer to use the antiseptic wipes to wipe down surfaces I must touch.

Our older son got us some pretty masks, but the elastic pulls out my hearing aids – apparently a common problem. I bought some extenders, but the elastic still caught.  I ordered a mask that goes over the back of your head, rather than over your ears. Silly me!! I then realised that I could alter mine by cutting the elastic that fits over your ears in half and re-joining it so that it slips over your head. Easy/ peasy!!

When we come home from our short outings, I wash my masks in hot soapy water and as an extra precaution use them in turn and I don’t have to stock up on disposable masks.

Read more of Abby’s previous posts in her book Abby’s Tales of then and Now. It is £2.99 for the Kindle version and £12.99 for the 7” x 9” paperback. Both are illustrated in colour. You can Look Inside on the Amazon site to get a taster  for free.

 

 

 

 

 

Or read her memoir

Woman in a White Coat

O

OUR UNSUNG HEROES

My oral hygienist’s chair

We all clapped and cheered for our NHS and other heroes who risked their lives to save ours – and quite right. But what about our Unsung Heroes, who now are coming into the line of fire – workers whose professions bring them into potentially dangerous close contact with us, like our dentists and oral hygienists.

My oral hygienist, who has been helping me keep my remaining teeth for the last 14 years, assures me that the fact that I collect lots of calculus around my teeth, so that they need scaling every 3 or 4 months, is not to do with Central London’s hard water, but the constituents of my saliva. Whatever the cause of my heavy accumulation, a visit to the Oral Hygienist was long overdue.

She has worn a mask and gloves since I first went to her, but she does not, of course, wear full PPE and so is at some risk from patients stupid and uncaring enough not to self-isolate when knowingly exposed to Coronavirus infection. I was interested to see that, when I rinsed my mouth, my washings were disposed of safely, not tipped into the bowl attached to the dental chair as in the past.

Especially now that the number of cases of Coronavirus in the UK is worryingly high, we should appreciate these less popular members of the caring professions even more.

I qualified in medicine after training as a dentist and was always amused by the fact that at the end of a course of treatment, when I had taken great care to cause my patient as little pain and discomfort as possible, my dental patient would shake my hand and say

‘I’m glad I won’t be seeing you again.’

In contrast, as a doctor, I might have had difficulty getting a needle into a vein, making several painful attempts, but my patient would still thank me profusely and say they looked forward to their next visit and discussing their diagnosis and treatment.

I was the same person but the patient’s view of my two professions was so different!!

Read more of Abby’s previous posts in her book Abby’s Tales of then and Now. It is £2.99 for the Kindle version and £12.99 for the 7” x 9” paperback. Both are illustrated in colour. You can Look Inside on the Amazon site to get a taster for free.

TOUCHY-FEELY -REFLECTIONS WHILST SHIELDING

Take care and keep safe

I’m not one of those people who are always touching you as you stand talking to them – poking you in the ribs, touching you on the arm – but I find I miss the human touch. I’m lucky, I have Josh to give me a quick kiss and a cuddle, but I miss the casual kisses and hugs that have come to be part of normal greeting.

We didn’t kiss or cuddle in our family and I remember being surprised and delighted when Josh’s rather reserved parents kissed me when I arrived for a meal and when I left. I soon got used to kissing our friends hullo and goodbye, though I think Josh always had some reservations about greeting our male friends that way. Soon, a kiss and a hug was how we greeted everyone.

However, I certainly wasn’t happy about being given a quick cuddle by my much taller male colleagues when I was working as a senior pathology consultant. That’s the trouble with being five foot nothing – they felt it was fine to give me a cuddle as they passed me in the corridor, even when I absolutely didn’t fancy them.

It was worse when I had my one and only perm. My dark hair frizzed up like the back of a curly haired sheep and my colleagues couldn’t resist patting me on the head. Once was enough. It was back to my nearly straight hair and a French pleat as soon as it grew out.

For years I’ve had my hair cut really short but after five months of shielding it’s long enough for a little bun and soon I shall have a French pleat again –white now, not the deep black it was when I last wore my hair up.

Read more of Abby’s previous posts in her book Abby’s Tales of then and Now. It is £2.99 for the Kindle version and £12.99 for the 7” x 9” paperback. Both are illustrated in colour. You can Look Inside on the Amazon site to get a taster

HEARING AID LADY

My neat little charger and my hearing aids

I had my first hearing test when we were still living in Marylebone. A flyer came through the door stating that the big chemist on Wigmore Street, John Bell and Croydon, was offering free hearing tests. Being retired and with nothing better to do, I made an appointment for the following afternoon.

Not surprisingly, the test showed the usual high frequency loss associated with being well over 60. I wasn’t conscious of not hearing well and did nothing further until I got new glasses at Specsavers and saw that they were now also doing hearing aids.

A pleasant young woman tested my ears and prescribed hearing aids. They were OK, but I tended to wear them only when I remembered. I was discussing this with the Music Lecturer at CityLit and telling her that the hearing aids ruined the sound when I played the piano. She recommended Harley Street Hearing. The audiologist there was the first to adjust her aids so she heard music as it should sound.

That was two years ago. Now I need to wear them all the time and I have a variety of programs including one for when I play the piano and one for TV.

I opted for rechargeable hearing aids. Mine has a small recharging box connected to power via a C type USB lead. There is no messing about with those wretched little round batteries I had for the previous models. I just position my hearing aids in the charger every night.

There is, however, an extra problem in this Coronavirus Time. When I went out and looped my mask over my ears, I often dislodged my hearing aids. I bought a pack of toothed extenders from Amazon and hook my mask onto one of those. The mask then stretches across the back of my head instead of behind my ears. Problem solved!!

Read more of Abby’s previous posts in her book Abby’s Tales of then and Now is£2.99 for the Kindle version and £12.99 for the 7” x 9” paperback. Both are illustrated in colour. You can Look Inside on the Amazon site to get a taster for free.

https://amzn.to/3hX6z2D

 

A SEQUEL TO THE MEMOIR OF AN EAST END GIRL

 

After I published my memoir Woman in a White Coat, I started on a sequel to be called 25 Houses, dredging up those memories I had left out. But after writing some 28k words, I lost interest. I then tried my hand at sci-fi – parallel universe stuff – and joined a writing class at our local library for a couple of terms to develop it, but soon I ran out of steam.

Our writers’ circle has been meeting every fortnight for 10 years now. At first, we met over coffee and homemade muffins in my flat and then, since lockdown, on Zoom.

Our agreement is that we have to bring some writing, large or small, to each meeting and I hadn’t written anything for the following Tuesday. I’d started posting regularly again on my blog and on social media, so I brought those pieces to our circle, by now some 72 illustrated blogs and posts.

Our children had seen and commented on some of them, but some they had missed. I decided to publish them on Amazon as an eBook on Kindle and as a paperback, with the title Abby’s Tales of Then and Now. You can Look Inside on the Amazon site to get a free taster.

At age 88, it was time to think about leaving something behind

The price is determined by Kindle Direct Publishing and is £2.99 for the Kindle version and £12.99 for the 7” x 9” paperback. Both are illustrated in colour. You can Look Inside on the Amazon site to get a taster for free.

https://amzn.to/3hX6z2D

 

DOWN IN THE DUMP IN WANDSWORTH

Looking like Masked Bandits as we dump our Waste and Recycling.

Who would have thought our treat of the week would be a trip to the Smugglers Way Household Waste and Recycling Centre in Wandsworth? We still haven’t ventured into any shops or Art Galleries and this week we gave Tate Britain a miss. We went to Smugglers Way to dump our broken paper shredder, batteries and electrical bits and pieces instead.

We did, however, take our car to be serviced on Thursday. The garage always gives it a good clean so it’s looking pristine – until some flying vandal decides to use it as a toilet!!

We both miss shopping. Of course, it’s great being able to get groceries delivered, but we like choosing. The fruit is often not what we would have liked – too large or too small – and only now are our deliveries starting to arrive with everything on the list.

Our favourite shops for wandering around are John Lewis and Ikea with Flying Tiger on my list though not on Josh’s. Even if nothing takes our fancy it’s good to see something different and we always end up with tea and scones in John Lewis or start with a cooked breakfast in Ikea.

Happy days!! Well – maybe soon.

Lots more stories like this in my memoir ‘Woman in White Coat’. Buy it on Kindle at £2.99 or as a paperback on Amazon at £9.99

http://bit.ly/Woman_in_a_White_Coat

Woman in a White Coat paperback

 

NEW PANASONIC BREADMAKER – YES! BECAUSE I’M WORTH IT

Anadama bread

 

 

 

 

 

The centre groove is where the machine paddle rests

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No, I didn’t really need a new breadmaker. There was nothing wrong with my old one, but I fancied a newer model. Because of the coronavirus buying frenzy, and so many of us deciding to bake our own bread, Panasonic breadmakers vanished from Amazon and Panasonic UK, only for a few to appear on eBay at profiteering prices.

Our daughter Louise, who lives in the Basque Country, found one on Panasonic (Spain). She’d had her old one for at least 15 years and it had begun to leak around the spindle. She tried putting in a washer but it didn’t help. As in the UK, the local electrical stores and Amazon es were empty of Panasonic breadmakers. However, before any re-appeared in the UK at list price, she found one on Spanish Panasonic.

Of course, I had to have the same model but none was available except at a silly price. Finally, my search for a breadmaker resulted in a pop-up note from Amazon offering one at a sensible price from Belgium. I ordered one at once, but when I looked at the site again, to check that my order had gone through, they were once again unavailable. Luckily, my motto is carpe diem and I had seized the moment!!

But it was some sort of con!! After 2 weeks, I contacted the seller who said it had been despatched and then that he had asked UPS to send me a tracking number. I heard nothing more and contacted him again only to be told it hadn’t been sent and did I want a refund!! Fortunately, I had ordered via Amazon who are excellent about refunds and I have already had the money refunded.

I put the code for the breadmaker into Google and was delighted to find that John Lewis had online stock. It arrived today. It bakes beautifully and has the advantage of a window that lets you see at what stage your bread is.

Anadama bread is a traditional New England bread whose yellow colour comes from the addition of molasses and cornmeal. I used polenta, which is a cornmeal made from otto file corn.

It is said to have got its name from a hungry fisherman saying ‘Anna, damn her’ after being served by his wife nothing but cornmeal and molasses for supper, day in day out. In desperation, he (or maybe she) threw in some flour and yeast and so made Anadama bread.

Lots more stories like this in my memoir ‘Woman in White Coat’. Buy it on Kindle at £2.99 or as a paperback on Amazon at £9.99

http://bit.ly/Woman_in_a_White_Coat

Woman in a White Coat

Recipe for Anadama Machine Made Loaf

Basic bread program

360gm white bread flour                                                                    

75gm wholemeal bread flour

65 gm polenta

Continue reading NEW PANASONIC BREADMAKER – YES! BECAUSE I’M WORTH IT

RACKETEERING AND BAKING POWDER

As soon as it became clear that the coronavirus pandemic was here to stay, staple items vanished from supermarket shelves. Wherever you went, there were long shelves empty of toilet paper and sanitisers and bacterial hand-washes. The two back-to-back produce stands in the local Tesco were empty except for one watermelon. I bought in in desperation, but it lasted forever. I don’t think I ever want to eat watermelon again.

On eBay, someone was selling a £10 pack of 24 rolls of toilet paper for £49.99 + postage and you could buy a £3 sanitiser for £30.

When the vulnerable were finally allowed to meet one other person outside, we met with our elder son in our courtyard. He had asked for my recipe for Rock Cakes previously but had unfortunately used bicarbonate of soda instead of baking powder. They tasted so awful he had to put them on the compost heap.

I thought I would make him some Fruit Scones using the same recipe I’d been using for years. It calls for soaking the raisins in orange juice for at least 30 minutes beforehand and I used some juice from some rather sour oranges delivered by the supermarket a few days before. I left one of the scones out for my husband Josh to have with his coffee and caught him spitting it out.

‘It’s vile,’ he said. ‘Tastes of bicarbonate of soda.’

I tasted one. He was right. It was awful but I thought it was the sour orange juice the raisins had been soaked in. I binned the scones and made another batch. They were just as bad. Then I realised that when I reprinted the recipe, I doubled the amount of baking powder to be added to the self-raising flour.

I wasn’t going to risk another batch, so I made some Rock Cakes instead. Josh likes them because they don’t contain sugar, just have a little demerara sugar sprinkled on top.

By now, of course, I had run out of self-raising flour and neither of the supermarkets we can get slots for had any. I looked on eBay. A 1kg bag of self-raising flour costing £1.50 in supermarkets was listed at £11.99 + postage!! Finally, Tesco listed it but every time I put in on my order, when our grocery arrived it was UNAVAILABLE.

I still have some baking powder left but I thought it possible it had ‘gone off’ and put it on my order. Needless to say,  when our order was delivered it was UNAVAILABLE.

I so wish we weren’t elderly and vulnerable, and could go shopping for ourselves. I know we should be grateful we can get supermarket delivery slots but like everyone else, I wish it was all over!!

Roll on the Covid-19 vaccine!!

At least this batch of Rock Cakes worked

Lots more stories like this in my memoir ‘Woman in White Coat’. Buy it on Kindle at £2.99 or as a paperback on Amazon at £9.99

http://bit.ly/Woman_in_a_White_Coat

Woman in a White Coat

Recipe for Rock Cakes

Makes 24

Bake at 200°C 15-20 mins Continue reading RACKETEERING AND BAKING POWDER

VERA LYNN PROMISED THAT WE’D MEET AGAIN -– AND WE DID

March 17th 2020 was the last time we were out and about and the last person we saw up close was an AA mechanic. We had gone to the local Waitrose and, when we came back to our car, it wouldn’t start. We called the AA and the mechanic told us that, after several good years, the battery had given up and we needed a new one. Fortunately, he carried a replacement in his vehicle.

Since then, the only other people Josh and I have seen in person are the concierges of our flats and the supermarket delivery people– one very jolly woman driver and the rest rather dour men.

Now that there has been some relaxation of lockdown, the Sunday before last we met with our younger son, Bernie, outside Tate Britain and last Thursday we met with our older son, Simon, in the courtyard of our flats – both at the required 2 metres.

We’re not a great family for kissing and cuddling but I really missed not being able to give them a hug and getting a hug back.

Louise, who lives in the Basque Country is hoping to come to the UK in the summer, even if she has to stay in a YMCA hostel and meet us in our courtyard, and we hope that Jane, who lives in Switzerland, will be able to pop over too.

Happy Days!!

The boys had a lot more hair then!! Simon is now almost 60 and Bernard is getting on for 58. Neither of them became an architect or a builder.

Lots more stories like this in my memoir ‘‘Woman in White Coat’. Buy it on Kindle at £2.99 or as a paperback on Amazon at £9.99

http://bit.ly/Woman_in_a_White_Coat

Woman in a White Coat