Body IQU

June 20, 2009

I Feel Like I Have A New Back!

As I’ve mentioned here before, I have tennis elbow. It’s been gradually improving, the improvement brought about by my not using the arm, by the use of Voltarol (the anti-inflammatory diclofenac) patches and tablets and by ultrasound and elbow massage from an NHS physiotherapist. Although it is improving, six months on it is still a problem. It also means that that there are some Pilates and many Yoga moves that I can’t do because I am reluctant to put weight on my elbow. This bothers me.

I think I’ve also mentioned that I’ve been enjoying Gore’s Pilates and relaxercise classes. He’s an interesting guy and very serious about nutrition and exercise for healthy bodies with a particular emphasis on mobility and flexibility. He’s spent half his life studying this stuff and believes that “no pain, no gain” was the mantra of the lunatic or ill-informed. You can read more about him, his methods and his classes on his website at Body Iqu

He suggested that he might be able to help with my arm and I had an appointment with him today. While he took all my details and medical history for his records he had me lay on a strange tube type thing, like a fatter version of the foam noodles you can use in a swimming pool. On this, your spine is supported and your shoulders drop back further than they would if you were just lying on the floor or a couch. When you get off the roll and lay on the mat again it feels as though you are lying on a hollow. Really weird but felt very good.

He had me alternately flatten and overarch my back on the floor. We do in class but the difference was that he was watching to see how I do it and if one side of my body responded differently from the other.

Then it was up onto the massage couch where he had me do some arm extensions on the ‘good’ arm and then the arm with the problem so he could see the difference. Not surprisingly, there was evidence of overcompensation on ‘the good side’.

Then massaged what he called ‘trigger points’ on my upper arm, my back and neck. Some of the massage was very deep and uncomfortable – he said it would be and that I should let him know if it was too much – but it really loosened things up. By the end I felt fantstic. I really felt as though my back was 25 years younger.

Has it made my arm better? Well he isn’t promising any overnight cures – I’d be reluctant to believe in him if he was, but so far it’s feeling a lot better than it was. I can still feel the difference between the arms, but after six months of using the left arm much less than the right that’s not surprising.

He also told me about a natural anti-inflammatory called serrapeptase which I am going to try.


And now the countdown begins – 19 weeks and so much to do

May 31, 2009

I’m not going to believe we are actually going till we’ve booked the flights.

I don’t feel comfortable booking the flights till the house and our affairs are in a state where we can go (or nearly at that state anyway).

We are both untidy people (both had/have very tidy parents – I wonder if there is a connection?) and have way too many things.  Consequently, the house is a tip and full of stuff we don’t need (so we can’t actually see, get to, or find the stuff we do need).  We are not taking the junk with us to New Zealand.

Add to the mess the various projects that got started and never finished plus the damage caused by a leaking roof in last year’s torrential rain and I’m trying not to panic.

Yesterday I sat and made a list of the weeks left to go (we want to leave early to mid October so that’s about 19) and then put ‘things to do this week’ under each one. I’ve not put too much in for each week so that the goals are (should be) achievable and if I get ahead of myself, so much the better.

Some things can’t be done till others are done. I want to rent the house rather than sell. I can’t have valuers in for that till the work has been done. There’s no point having shippers in to quote till I get rid of the stuff we are not taking.

So, 19 weeks and I need to

* clear out a three bedroom (used as one bedroom and two studies) house (with messy garage and loft).
* decorate the kitchen and replace the cupboard doors and the flooring
* have the shower attached to the electrical/pipework that’s waiting for it, fit a decent bath panel and put down decent flooring
* fix the low front garden wall that local taxis keep reversing into and knocking down
* have the leak/flood damage to the bedroom wall (a hole!) and the hall ceiling fixed
* probably need to decorate (or at least paint) the lounge
* sell or give away two very large houseplants
* launder the duvets
* put a door on my study (because the tenants will want one) and a decent door on the bedroom
* get valuations and deal with all the stuff ongoing from that
* get shipping quotes
* reserach flights and the stuff we are going to do on our holiday on the way to NZ
* organise a leaving do weekend for friends and family

then, closer to when we actually go

* have carpets cleaned
* have the oven professionally cleaned (for letting)
* sell the car
* cancel all sorts of things
* spend my Nectar points, Boots points, Tesco vouchers, M&S vouchers
* organise accomodation for when we first get to NZ
* organise where to stay between container going and us leaving
* pack the cases for taking with us (remembering to keep paperwork, CVs etc out to take)
* get prescriptions

We are also taking a 1968 Beetle and a Yamaha Thunderace so need to deal with the paperwork for that.

okay, what have I forgotten?

Approved for a New Zealand Residence Visa!

May 16, 2009

We had the interview on Tuesday.
Our Case Officer said we should know by the end of the week and that she might email.
Yesterday, still no news and I’d decided not to hope for a letter today.
The postman was nice and early and Rik brought the letter up to bed, together with cups of tea. We opened the envelope with trembling fingers.
We had been told we were unlikely to be declined, but would the decision be a two year Work to Residence Visa or a full, unrestricted Residence Visa?


I had to read, reread and reread again reading each individual word to be sure it really said that. I even asked RIk to pinch me – after all, I was still in bed, I might have been dreaming. He pinched, it hurt, I reread. It’s true. We’re emigrating!

Renaming the Blog – and a new project

April 10, 2009

As I have now passed my fiftieth birthday ‘Countdown to Fifty’ was no longer an appropriate title.

In my first post I stated my goals as
By my fiftieth birthday I want to be:

* slimmer,
* have completed my degree,
* living in a different house,
* more organised

While I’m not as slim as I would like, I have lost over a stone since I started the blog. So I am slimmer.

I completed my degree (with honours).

I’m not (yet) living in a different house. But that’s because we are waiting for a decision by the New Zealand Immigration Service about our application to emigrate.

I don’t think I’m more organised. I’m certainly not less so, though. So that is a goal to carry over to the next phase.

I’ve just discovered a flickr group called 101 things in 1001 days. I’ll be posting my list in the next few days.

Progress …. and then a delay

March 19, 2009

Yay! we have a Case Officer. Is it just me or does ‘case officer’ sound like we’re on probabtion or something?
She emailed at the end of February to introduce herself and to ask for some further information. She wanted four things.

1. Somehow we’d managed to miss the bit where I have to state if I have lived outside the UK in the last ten years.
Easily answered: no, I haven’t.

2. She needs a certified copy of my name change document as I only provided a photocopy.
I had been warned, when I submitted the application, that I would need this. It was only the day before, when I was putting all the documents together, that I realised I didn’t have the original. It would have been sent to the passport office years ago and never returned. So I will have to get another done. Of course, I will need to reword it to read that I changed my name 15 years ago.

3 & 4 Either further evidence of SOs work experience (we submitted everything we had) OR proof that my brother is my brother and is living in NZ and has the right so to do. For this she needs certified copies of his birth certificate, NZ passport, and a utility bill.
I emailed my brother and he went right out and got the certified copies.

5. From me, she required ‘fasting blood sugar and fasting blood lipids tests’. I am so angry. Not with the case officer, but with the panel doctor who had hundreds of pounds of our money last November. I discussed this with them in advance. I said I would be borderline on the BMI and or waist mesurement and should I fast so they could take the extra blood tests if needed. They didn’t ask for it. Of course, I have put on a few pounds since then because we had Christmas, winter and a week-long all inclusive holiday in Egypt.

I’ve spend the last 11 days eating below 1100 calories per day. Ihad the blood test at my GPS surgery this morning. It will be ‘about a week’ till I get the results. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I have ‘blood lite’ and not the ‘full fat, high sugar’ type.

When we submit everything my medical info will be passed to the Medical Assessor. The CO tells me that even without the weight problem I would be referred to the MA ‘because of my previous history’. I asked if this meant the cancer I was cured of 22 years ago. She said it was (but, curiously, like so many other people, seemed unable to use the word ‘cancer’). In response to my query about who the MA contacts about this, does s/he want to see me, the liklihood of us being refused PR because of something I was cured of over twenty years ago, she said she couldn’t say what the outcome would be but agreed that it was a long time ago.

Fingers crossed!

Health Woes

March 1, 2009

Well, not really woes. I’ve had serious illnesses before so this is nothing really. But it has been bothering me.

Since before Christmas I’ve had a pain in my arm that has been getting worse. A few weeks ago a doctor told me it was carpal tunnel syndrome and I would need an operation. This really took me by surprise as I had expected her to tell me I’d pulled something and would get better soon. She told me to come back in a few weeks. She didn’t say why and I was too surprised to ask. I also forgot to ask what she would do to make sure that was what was wrong before taking such a drastic step. I forgot to ask if there were any exercises I could do to help. Or anything I should avoid doing.

It started to get worse and I was having problems with my hand – I couldn’t cross my fingers. went back last week and she arranged for an appointment with a hospital 20+ miles away to check her diagnosis. Without seeing me, just from what the doctor had written in her letter to the hospital, they told me that it was not carpal tunnel syndrome and that was all they could test for. They said I should go back to the doctor.

I also got a call from the physiotherapy unit (the doctor did say she would contact them). They said that the doctor’s letter was very vague and was I expecting to have phisiotherapy or just a splint? Amazingly, they were able to see me the same day, to fit a splint, and they have made an appointment for me to see a physiotherapist in a couple of weeks time.

I went back to the surgery but made sure I saw a diferent doctor. He agreed that it is not carpal tunnel. He thinks it is an inflamed tendon at the elbow and probably a pinched nerve at the wrist.

He offered me ‘ a quick fix or a slow fix’. I asked what the difference was and he replied that one was quick and one was slower. I explained that my question was really whether there was a difference in the results. Would a ‘quick fix’ not last as long? He said they’d be as sucessful as each other and that the quick fix was a painful injection to the elbow which would fix it straight away. The slower fix was five days of anti-inflamatory (voltarol) patches. This is for the elbow.

for the wrist he felt the best thing was an injection. I could have it the next day (Wednesday) or Friday. I have mixed feelings about this. I am glad it’s getting sorted out and I will soon be better. I am really scared of the injection. So I opted for the next day.

Amazingly, after an afternoon with the splint and one night with the voltarol the wrist is much better and I have greater movement in the hand. The doctor has agreed not to inject and see how it goes.

I can cross my fingers now. Cross yours for me for a proper recovery!

That includes us!

February 24, 2009

From the Immigration New Zealand London Branch website:

for the week ending 20 February 2009 we are allocating files lodged up to and including 19 November 2008.

We submitted on 17th November. So we are in the lot about to be looked at! The waiting may soon be over!

Once we have our visas we have twelve months in which to activate them. So if we want to have spring and summer in the UK, to finish up what needs doing here, followed by spring and summer in New Zealand in which to settle in – we can. Assuming, of course, that we are granted visas.

Swarm of birds over Loughton, Bucks

February 24, 2009

Swarm of birds over Loughton, Bucks

Originally uploaded by Jacqi B

I spotted these birds over Loughton in Milton Keynes when I was walking from my office (near MK Central Rail Station) to Rik’s office in Knowlhill.

I was mesmerised. I just couldn’t walk away and kept taking more and more pictures and video, fully expecting none of them to come out very well.

The movement was beautiful but I did get almost seasick watching them.
A passerby told me “they do that every night”. Two cards pulled up and parked, seemingly just to watch them.

40 Things

January 30, 2009

I’ve just found this on facebook. One of my flickr contacts/facebook friends posted his and I liked the idea. I like these things because I feel it’s a snapshot of who and where you are at the time you complete it. Often, when you look back at it  much later the answers surprise you (well me).

It’s not as easy as you might think! Copy and change the answers to suit you in a note on your profile. It’s really hard to only use one word answers. Be sure to tag the person you received it from!

1. Where is your cell phone? hall

2. Your significant other? Rik

3. Your hair? grey

4. Your mother? dead

5. Your father? dead

6. Your favorite thing? camera

7. Your dream last night? busy

8. Your favorite drink? wine

9. Your dream/goal? NZ

10. What room you are in? lounge

11. Your hobby? photography

12. Your fear? loneliness

13. Where do you want to be in 6 years? NZ

14. Where were you last night? home

16. Muffins? cooking

17. Wish list item? health

18. Where you grew up? London

19. Last thing you did? flickred

20. What are you wearing? jumper

21. Your TV? on

22. Your pets? none

23. Friends? far

24. Your life? stalled

25. Your mood? hopeful

26. Missing some one? yes

27. Car? no

28. Something you’re not wearing? bra

29. Your favorite store? M&S

30. Your favorite color? red

33. When is the last time you laughed? yesterday

34. Last time you cried? birthday

35. Who will resend this? Kerry

36. One place that you go to over and over? Kew

37. One person who emails me regularly? Kerry

38. My favorite place to eat? Taipan

39. Why you participated in this survey? snapshot

40. What are you doing tonight? splashy

I’ll elaborate on a few of the replies or I won’t understand them when I come to review it.

3. Hair, grey: no Ihaven’t grown it out again but my roots need doing and, as I am not working at the moment I am short of money and cannot justify the expense of the hairdresser. I have an appointment booked for 7th February as I am going to a party that day.

12. I’m not afraid of being on my own. I like my own company. But I am afraid of loneliness which is a different thing and can happen even when you are with other people.

16. Muffins? Cooking. No there are none int eh oven at the moment. But I enjoy cooking (and eating) muffins andhave lots of recipes from a book loaned to me by a bus friend.

17. Wish list item? Health. Well I’m relatively okay right now. There are many things that could be on a wish list, but most can’t be done (or done well) without health. Currently I have pains in my arm which the doctor thinks is carpal tunnel syndrome; I had my first mammogram last week (having turned fifty) and am waiting for the results. I have no reason to think they will not be good but, having had cancer (not breast) 21 years ago and having both parents die of cancers, it remains a worry in the back of my mind.  But I had a medical and chest x-ray for emigration purposes back in November and passed that.

20. Wearing? Jumper. It’s cold in the house. It’s cheaper to put a jumper on than leave the heating on all day. But I notice a draft from somewhere and can’t track it down, It’s irritating.

23. Friends? far. I have only one local friend. Priya is a young mum and so often too busy for socialising. Others are in London, where I lived for 43 years, or in other parts of the UK or ont he other side of the world. Emails and phone calls are not the same as seeing people in person. Occasion weekends or meals and shows are not the same as the ‘popping in’ that I was used to for most of my life.

24. Your life? Stalled. We are waiting for the New Zealand Immigration Service to decide if we can emigrate. We wont know for at least two months, maybe four. Once they decide, and assuming we are granted visas, we have twelve months to activate the visas (ie, actually arrive in NZ). We might go as soon as is possible or we might stay in the UK till the later this year when it is late autumn in the UK and spring in NZ. Otherwise we would have two consecutive winters without a summer. I quit my job last August and looking for a new one is difficult with such uncertainty about how long I am available for, not to mention the lack of suitable jobs here in Milton Keynes. It’s not like London!

26. Missing someone? Yes. My daughter, Barbara who stopped speaking to me without explanation and will not reply to contact I have tried to make.

27, Car? No. Well we have a car, a Renault Clio called Sapphie Nicole (SAP in her number plate, Nicole from the TV ads for Clios). I bought it when I sold my London flat and then took driving lessons. But I can’t ‘do’ roundabouts. The traffic here in Milton Keynes is very fast and stays fast around the zillions of roundabouts. I’m okay if I don’t have to stop. If I have to stop and wait for a gap I’m stuck. If a gap appears by the time I have convinced myself that it really is a gap – it’s gone.

Updated! – Getting Closer

January 28, 2009

for the week ending 23 January 2009 we are allocating files lodged up to and including 27 October 2008.

So they are now processing applications that were submitted three weeks before ours.
So maybe ours will be looked at in three weeks time?
We might possibly have an answer in 7 weeks time?

Okay that’s an optimistic view. They say one to three months for a decision once a case officer is appointed. I don’t think they need anything extra from us (except maybe a new change of name deed for me, and maybe evidence that Rik’s broken ribs are healed and not a problem).

We’ve had calls this week from the shippers to whom my SO gave our details at the emigration Exppo back in October. He suggested that they call us again in the middle of next month.

I’ve got six bags of stuff to take to teh charity shop and a couple of biggish items for them as well. That will make more space in the house so I can see what’s left and do what needs doing.