Wednesday 29 May 2024

A quick update

Despite the fact that is was very cold in the conservatory (which is where I am currently living 24/7), I managed to get some work done on both the Third Portable Wargame Compendium and my next YouTube video.

I also applied to my local Adult Social Service Department for reablement. This can be defined as being free short-term support that helps people to regain their skills, abilities, and confidence to manage everyday tasks and to live as independently as possible. This support in delivered at home by a team of professionals, usually led by an occupational therapist and can include rehabilitation, the provision and use of specialist equipment and technological devices, and physical changes to the home environment (e.g. stairlifts, grab handles, slopes).

I am hoping that if my application is successful, I'll begin to regain some of my mobility over the next six to eight weeks. Once I can walk (even with crutches or other walking aids) and can climb stairs, I will no longer need my carers and can begin to live a much more normal life.

Monday 27 May 2024

One hundred YouTube subscribers!

I was quite amazed to see that my YouTube channel has already attracted one hundred subscribers!

This and the very supporting and useful comments I have received has convinced me that my decision to set up the channel as an adjunct to my blog was a good one. I am already working on the next installment of the Franco-Prussian War of 1810, and hope to cover the twin Battles of the Northern Frontier.

Sunday 26 May 2024

Cast off!

After two days of blog posts about ship modelling, it was rather appropriate that today's should have a nautical title, even if the topic isn't ship-related. I wrote Friday's and the first of Saturday's blog posts in advance as I suspected that I would be rather busy on one or both of those two days ... and I wasn't wrong!

I had an appointment at the Fracture Clinic at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Woolwich, at 3.10pm on Friday. I was collected by HATS, the patient transport provider, at just before 2.00pm, and by 2.30pm I had been booked in to the clinic and was having my cast removed. The break was examined by the consultant and he proclaimed it to be healed. However, after some discussion with him, he advised me to contact my GP as soon as I could as he felt that until the problem with my left leg is sorted out and I can put weight on it, I should avoid trying to walk on the newly-healed leg, even with the aid of crutches.

It looks as if I'm going to be slightly less immobile but until I have had reablement and can walk again, my life is going to remain somewhat restricted.

Saturday 25 May 2024

My second YouTube video has been uploaded

I found myself with a couple of hours on my hands this afternoon, so I decide to see if I could create a video of a 3 x 3 Portable Wargame battle report.

I chose the first battle of the Franco-Prussian War of 1810, and despite a few mistakes that I made along the way, I learned a lot and this will hopefully help me to make more and better videos in the future.

The video can be seen using this link.

Three simple ship model designs

Further to my recent blog post about the article in the May issue of Model Boats magazine that was written by Ashley Needham about his very simple model boat based on the RMS Titanic, I sat down with MS Paint and designed an escort carrier, freighter and tanker that shared a common hull. The results looked like this:

Escort Carrier



Obviously, the finished models would have masts, cargo hatches, ventilators, armament where appropriate, ship's boat and life rafts, etc. In the case of the freighter, the additional of scramble nets and some landing craft would turn the model into an amphibious assault ship/attack transport. The tanker model could also be used to represent a freighter which had its engines located near the stern or even one of the Maracaibo tankers that were converted into Landing Ships, Tank Mk.1 (e.g. HMS Misoa).

I give permission to my regular blog readers to download and use the above designs free of copyright. My only request is that if they do build models using my designs as a basis or share them with a third party that I am acknowledged as the origniator of the designs and there is a link to this blog.

Friday 24 May 2024

Model Boats Magazine (May 2024): A versatile model boat for wargaming?

I subscribe to Readly, and this gives me access to a wide range of magazines and newspapers. Amongst these is Model Boats magazine, and earlier this week I was reading the May issue in which I read an article that particularly interested me.

The article was by Ashley Needham and explained how he had built a very simple model boat whose design was based on the RMS Titanic. He named it the Mintanic, and in outline it certainly resembled the Titanic.

He built his model so that the main superstructure was removeable. This is normal and allows the ship modeller to access a model's motor or motors, its radio-control receiver, and any batteries that it might require. In this case, Mr Needham turned this necessity to his advantage and modelled three other superstructures so that his model boat could be used to represent four ships rather than one. He chose to base his alternate superstructures on prototypes with three, two, and one funnels, and the end results were very different in outline.

I'm not sure if this concept is applicable to model ships that wargamers might wish to use on their tabletops (or lawns!) ... although I can remember some wonderful 20mm model warships being used in RAPID FIRE games many years ago.

Doing something like this is not as far-fetched as it might at first appear. The escort carriers used by the Allies during the Second World War were built using converted or adapted merchant ship hulls, therefore it might be possible to build a simple hull that could have a removeable escort carrier superstructure that could be replaced with that of a freighter, tanker, or amphibious assault ship/attack transport.

Thursday 23 May 2024

Charles Esdaile’s Wargaming Waterloo

I suspect that amongst most wargamers in the United Kingdom – and possibly beyond its shores – the Battle of Waterloo is a battle that they may have hankered to refight at some time. Like Hastings, Agincourt, and Trafalgar, the battle marks one of those points in our country’s history which somehow seem to define us as a nation. (There are other more recent ones that I could have added but I did not want this to be a list of battles lost and won.)

There are so many different wargames out there that seek to recreate the Waterloo campaign or the final climatic battle that by studying them, one is inevitably going to examine the almost endless variety of methods and mechanisms that wargame designers have used to create their wargames of the battle. Professor Charles Esdaile has done this in his recent book WARGAMING WATERLOO … and it is – in my humble opinion – a tour de force that should be essential reading for anyone who likes to think of themselves as a wargame designer. Its analysis may be based on the way wargame designers have designed their wargames about this one specific battle but it applies an analytical approach that could – and possible should – be applied to other wargame designs.

If wargaming wants to be treated as a serious academic pursuit, this book points the way in which this can be achieved. It is therefore of no great surprise that Professor Esdaile’s book has been published by the US Marine Corps, an organisation that takes its wargaming very seriously. (The publisher is actually the Marine Corps University Press.)

The book is divided into the following parts:

  • Foreword (by Tony Pollard, Professor of Conflict History and Archaeology, University of Glasgow, field director of Waterloo Uncovered, and prime organiser of the huge refight of the battle in Glasgow in June 2019.)
  • Preface
  • Chronology of Events, February – July 1815
  • Chapter 1: The History and Development of Wargames
  • Chapter 2: The Waterloo Campaign and the Battle
  • Chapter 3: The March of the Miniatures: Fighting Waterloo with Model Soldiers
  • Chapter 4: How Many Hexes to Hougoumont? Waterloo by Board Game
  • Chapter 5: Historical Hexagons (1): Grand Tactics
  • Chapter 6: Historical Hexagons (2): Operations
  • Chapter 7: Historical Hexagons (3): Strategy
  • Chapter 8: Historical Hexagons:(4): Fantasy
  • Conclusion: Some Thoughts on the Wargame as a Research Tool
  • Appendix A: Suggested Amendments for Napoleon at Waterloo
  • Appendix B: A Ludography of Waterloo
  • Bibliography
  • Index
  • About the Author

The first chapter contains an excellent summary and is – in my humble opinion – in itself worth the cost of the book. It does have a bias towards the ways in which this particular battle has been wargamed over the years, but this in no way detracts from its excellent examination of the history of wargaming.

The following chapter gives a first-rate description of the battlefield and includes short history of the events leading up to the battle as well as a blow-by-blow account of the fighting, and the third chapter examines the pitfalls inherent in the use of miniatures for such a refight and is reminiscent in places of the case against toy soldiers propounded by the late, great Dr Paddy Griffith.

The remaining five chapters look at the ways in which the battle – and the campaign leading up to it – have been modelled using gridded board wargames.

The concluding chapter puts forward a very convincing argument as to why properly designed wargames can be a valuable research tool. Towards the end of the chapter Professor Esdaile quotes from Robert M Citino's contribution to ZONES OF CONTROL: PERSPECTIVES ON WARGAMING, which was published in 2016 by MIT Press. In it, Citino suggests that a military historian who seeks to better understand a war, a campaign, or a battle should fight a wargame about it. To this I would add that getting them to design the wargame would be an even better route to achieving that understanding!

As I stated above, in my opinion this book is a tour de force and I thoroughly recommend it to anyone who considers themselves to be a wargame designer.

WARGAMING WATERLOO was written by Professor Charles J Esdaile and published by the Marine Corps University Press (ISBN 979 8 9865 2944 4). It is available as a free download via

Wednesday 22 May 2024

I've started work on the Third Portable Wargame Compendium

As I remain immobile and am not likely to be able to walk unaided for some time, I decided to begin the preliminary work on the next (and third) Portable Wargame Compendium.

I have several promises of articles and I have started writing one of my onw in which I look at some of the scenarios included in the earlier wargame books (e.g. The Battle of Hook's Farm) and 'convert' them so that thy can be used with the PORTABLE WARGAME rules.

So far I have drawn maps for three such scenarios:

  • The Battle of Hooks Farm from H G Well's LITTLE WARS.
  • The Action at Blasthof Bridge from Brigadier Peter Young and Lieutenant Colonel James Lawford's CHARGE! OR HOW TO PLAY WAR GAMES
  • The Battle of Sittangbad which is also from CHARGE! OR HOW TO PLAY WAR GAMES

Drawing the maps takes some time but it is keeping me entertained during my enforced immobility. I also plan to add the three battles from Donald Featherstone's WAR GAMES, giving a total of five scenarios and ten maps that readers might find useful, especially those who like well-tried and tested scenarios.

To whet the appetites of potential purchasers, here are the two maps I have drawn for THE BATTLE OF HOOK'S FARM.

Monday 20 May 2024

Warship 2024

This year's issue of WARSHIP was delivered just over a week ago and since then I have spent several very happy hours reading it.

This issue was edited by John Jordan, and contains the following article:

  • Editorial
  • Nagato and Mutsu: The 16in-gun battleships that Survived the Washington Treaty by Hans Lengerer
  • The beginnings of Soviet naval power: The flotilla leader Tashkent and her would-be successors by Przemyslaw Bubzbon
  • Action off the Bosphorous, 10 May 1915 by Toby Ewin
  • SuffrenDuquesne: France's first modern carrier escorts by Jean Moulin
  • The escort destroyers of the Matsu and Tachibana classes by Kathrin Milanovich
  • The making of an armed merchant cruise: SMS Seeadler by Dirk Nottelmann
  • The battleship Bouvet, martyr of the Dardanelles by Philippe Caresse
  • Mussolini's caprices: the Italian midget submarines and elektroboote of 1934-1943 by Enrico Cernuschi
  • Fit for purpose? The Royal Navy's Fishery Protection Squadron, 1883-2023 by Jon Wise
  • From Orel to Iwami by Stephen McLaughlin
  • Warship Notes
    • From Graf Zeppelin to Aquila: The Italian Navy's assessment of the German carrier, 1941-1942 by Enrico Cernusschi
    • The Niger, Le Mage and Faidherbe: A tale of river gunboats by Ian Sturton
    • HMS Cossack and Mr Rapley: A cautionary tale by John Roberts
    • An outsider's view of the Marine Nationale's naval construction organisation by Conrad Waters
    • 'Zombies' in warship history: A few more of the 'zombie facts' that continue to stalk the history of the world's warships by Aidan Dodson
  • A's and A's
  • Naval Books of the Year
  • Warship Gallery
    • The Soviet Navy 1960-1990 by John Jordan

Yet again, there is a lot of very interesting stuff in this year's annual. In fact, every single contribution was top notch, and I will certainly be re-reading it and consulting it again and again. Of particular interest to me was Toby Ewin's article, Action off the Bosphorous, 10 May 1915. Not only do I have an interest in the fighting that took place between the Ottoman and Imperial Russian Navies during the Great War but I also know Toby quite well and have had long and interesting discussions with him, particularly about naval wargaming during the period from 1880 to 1920.

The short article about the French river gunboats Niger, Le Mage, and Faidherbe includes some interesting plans and illustrations of these vessels, and will be of great assistance to any Colonial wargamers who are looking to model some small non-British river gunboats.

My one regret is that the second part of the The German Flak Ships series of articles that was originally going to be included in this volume has had to be postponed until 2025 ... but it gives me an excuse to buy next year's publication ... not that I needed much of an excuse!

WARSHIP 2024 was edited by John Jordan, assisted by Stephen Dent, and published in 2024 by Osprey Publishing (ISBN 978 1 4728 6330 0).

Sunday 19 May 2024

A Victor Meldrew moment

Yesterday I had what I can best describe as a Victor Meldrew moment.

I was reading the Naval Wargaming Facebook page when I saw that someone had bought my GRIDDED NAVAL WARGAMES book from Walmart Online! Now, this was news to me, so I investigated further … and discovered the Walmart Online actually has ALL my books on sale!

This is amazing! I cannot get my books stocked by any of the UK High Street booksellers but an American multinational retail corporation will sell them online.

As Victor Meldrew would have said, 'I don't believe it!'

Friday 17 May 2024

At last, I have managed to create my first Wargaming Miscellany YouTube video!

I intended to publish this just before I went into hospital in early April, but never got around to uploading the video or this blog post.

After many false starts, failed attempts, and procrastination on my part, I have finally managed to create my first Wargaming Miscellany YouTube video!

It is a very simple explanation about my wargaming background and why I have created the Wargaming Miscellany YouTube channel. Art it isn't ... but everyone has to start somewhere so that they can learn from their mistakes and gradually improve.

(I started out trying to film myself but just could not get it right. In the end I decided that the quickest way to get started was to produce a PowerPoint presentation with a commentary and then to record it as in mp4 format. It seems to have worked, and has given me the confidence to think about making further videos.)

I have no idea what the next video will be about, but it will appear sometime soon ... I hope!

The video can be seen using this link.

Thursday 16 May 2024

I'm now able to use my laptop!

Thanks to a recent visit by my brother, I am now able to use my laptop ... which is incredibly liberating!

Although I have been able to blog and email using my iPad and iPhone, I am always much happier using a proper keyboard and a larger screen ... and now I can! My brother copied all the files that were on my PC - which I could not access as it was two floors away - onto an external hard drive that I can now connect to my laptop.

This small improvement to my current siltation has considerably boosted my morale, and with luck I'll be able to start doing some serious writing again very soon.

Wednesday 15 May 2024

Archduke Piccolo’s huge ShamBattle game

Before my recent accident and subsequent immobility, I had been looking at whether it might be possible to meld my PORTABLE WARGAME rules with elements drawn from SHAMBATTLE. I even managed to fight a wargame to test the concept … and was so pleased with the result that I hoped to develop this project further.

To date I’ve been unable to do so, but Archduke Piccolo has, and the results are even better than I could have envisaged.

His work has firmly convinced me that if and when I regain my mobility, this will be a project that I will definitely want to pursue further.

Please note that photographs featured above are © Archduke Piccolo.

Monday 13 May 2024

There’s a few book reviews in the offing …

Thanks to my current situation (i.e. being stuck in bed or in an orthopaedic chair all the time) I’ve been doing a lot of reading and my regular blog readers can expect to see quite a few book reviews appearing on my blog in the immediate future. I usually have two or three books on the go at any time (usually a fiction one and at least one non-fiction book) so that I don’t get bored with what I am reading. I don’t know if other people read like this, but over the years it’s become something that I regard as normal.

Sunday 12 May 2024

Guy Debord’s wargame

Guy-Ernest Debord (28th December 1931 to 30th November 1994) was a French Marxist theorist, philosopher, filmmaker, critic, member of the Letterist International, founder of a Letterist faction, and founding member of the Situationist International. He was also the designer of a gridded wargame.

I first became aware of Debord’s wargame in 2014 as a result of reading Richard Barbrook’s CLASS WARGAMES: LUDIC SUBVERSION AGAINST SPECTACULAR CAPITALISM. He and others in his London-based situationist ludic-science group had recreated Debord's Le Jeu de la Guerre and taken it on a tour around parts of Europe, Asia and South America.

As I have a great interest in any wargame design that uses a gridded playing surface, I sought out more information about the game’s mechanisms. The internet proved to be very useful in this quest and I was able to see several still photographs of a game in progress. I also found a page on the Class Wargames website that not only showed the various components required to play the game but also several very useful links that included translations of the rules into English and French as well as Radical Software Group's Kriegspiel computerised version of the game.

I downloaded the latter onto my iPad, and it has proven to be a great way to fill the wargaming void I am currently in whilst I am immobile, The rules are simple to learn and the online version has a variety of solo scenarios one can use. In solo mode the role of one’s opponent is taken on by the games built-in AI, which I have found to be less predictable than I would have expected. The program also includes the option to play a remote opponent.

The one thing that I particularly like about the rules is the need for players to maintain viable supply lines. If units are not able to do so, they cannot move although they can defend themselves against enemy attacks. This is certainly something that I may well use and/or adapt in any future strategic gridded wargames that I design.

On the screenshot shown above, the fixed supply depots are shown as tents …

… and the mobile supply depots are indicated by icons that combine a flag and wheel.

Lines of supply are indicated by dotted lines.

Friday 10 May 2024

Nicholas Monsarrat’s ‘The Master Mariner’

After having read his book THE CRUEL SEA, I decided to read Nicholas Monsarrat’s last (and unfinished) two-volume work, THE MASTER MARINER.

The books tell the story of Matthew Lawe, an Elizabethan sailor who, as a result of cowardice in the face of the enemy, is condemned to live until ‘all the seas run dry’.

The first book is entitled THE MASTER MARINER: RUNNING PROUD, and begins with Matthew serving as Sir Francis Drake’s coxswain at the time of the Spanish Armada. Our hero serves on Drake’s flagship and is given command of the leading fire ship sent into the midst of the anchored Spanish fleet. He jumps overboard too early, and is cursed by one of injured sailors who remains aboard the fire ship.

Matthew is picked up by one of the Spanish galleons that escapes the attack by the fire ships, and he is subjected to ill treatment by the crew and the ship’s priest. He eventually escapes, just before the galleon explodes and sinks just outside Tobermory. 

Matthew next serves aboard Henry Hudson’s Discovery during its voyage to find the Northwest Passage. He is involved in the mutiny that ended with Hudson and the loyal members of the crew being put into an open boat and set adrift to die. The mutineers return to England where they are arrested and put on trial … but left unpunished.

The action then moves to the Caribbean, where Matthew serves as a pirate under Henry Morgan and the French privateer, Simon Montbarre. Sickened by the barbarity he sees, Matthew final escapes and is advised to get as far away as possible. He takes passage on a small trading vessel that is returning to England and arrives in Portsmouth in time to witness the launch of a new yacht for King Charles II. As a result, he meets Samuel Pepys, and eventually becomes an Admiralty clerk during Pepys time as Chief Secretary to theAdmiralty.

Matthew loses his post after the Glorious Revolution in 1688 and then his hard-earned savings as a result of the speculation boom that arose on the back of the South Sea Bubble. After a period in the Fleet Prison for debt, he manages to get released in exchange for agreeing to serve for five years aboard a Portuguese fishing vessel that operates off Newfoundland’s Grand Banks.

At the end of the fishing season Matthew and several other crew members are left behind at St John’s Newfoundland, where they exist by trading with the local natives. One of his fellow sailors is viciously killed and when a new and tyrannical ‘Fishing Admiral’ takes control of St John’s, Matthew allows himself to be impressed by the Royal Navy to serve aboard HMS Pembroke.

As a result, he meets and eventually works for James Cook and takes part in the run up to the Battle of Quebec before accompanying Cook on his voyages of exploration. By the time of Cook’s death, Matthew had attained the rank of lieutenant in the Royal Navy, and after the return to the United Kingdom of Cook’s expedition, he is ‘put on the beach’.

After a period of inactivity, Matthew next serves as a general factotum for another beached officer, Horatio Nelson. Nelson was living in his family’s home in Norfolk, and Matthew fulfils all sorts of duties around the small estate. When Nelson is recalled to service, Matthew goes with him and takes part in all of Nelson’s victories as well as being a witness to Nelson’s obsession with Emma Hamilton. However, just before Nelson is shot on the deck of HMS Victory, Matthew sees the danger and hides … reinforcing his damnation for cowardice in the face of the enemy.

The second book - THE MASTER MARINER: DARKEN SHIP - was never finished, but certain parts were completed in draft and others in outline.

The first part deals with Matthew’s service as captain of a slave ship taking trade goods to West Africa, then a cargo of slaves to Barbados, and ending with bringing back to the United Kingdom the products of the Caribbean and the United States. This ends when the War of 1812 breaks out between the US and Britain, causing disruption of the cross-Atlantic trade.

1813 sees the unemployed Matthew being impressed into the Royal Navy as a gunner and taking part in the battle between the frigates Chesapeake and Shannon. This is followed by his service as a common sailor alongside Herman Melville on a clipper engaged in the China tea trade.

When that ends, Matthew joins the expedition to find out what happened to Sir John Franklin’s last expedition to discover the North-West Passage.

After this he becomes seaman and later a ‘supercargo’ on some of the earliest steam merchant ships. During his service he meets Samuel Plimsoll of Plimsoll Line fame, the merchant navy officer and later novelist Joseph Conrad, the leading Victorian novelist John Galsworthy, and the first solo round-the-world sailor Joshua Slocum.

The next part covers Matthew’s service during the First World War, during which he takes part in the Gallipoli Landings and the Battle of Jutland, serves aboard a Q-ship during the anti-submarine campaign in the Western Approaches, and takes part in the Zeebrugge Raid.

In the inter-war period Matthew takes part in a disastrous voyage to the West Indies after which he works as a shopkeeper, looking after a number of laid up merchant ships. When the Second World War breaks out, Matthew goes back to sea and takes part in the Malta convoys and the D-Day landings in Normandy.

Matthew finally finds salvation in the late 1970s when he is serving as a steward aboard the brand new liner Queen Elizabeth 2 - where he triggers serious industrial dispute - and then on a bulk oil carrier traversing the new St Lawrence Seaway.  During a run ashore he meets a young woman who sings the words of Burn’s A RED RED ROSE, which includes the words ‘all the seas run dry’. On returning to his ship, he finds that during de-oiling a hose has leaked and the oil has spread across the deck and caught fire. To stop this fire spreading, a door has to be closed, and Matthew dashes through the flames and shuts it. He is badly burned, and dies … but his aging dead body suddenly regains the look of a twenty-two or twenty-three-year-old, the age he was when he committed the act of cowardice that had originally condemned him to a semi-eternal life.

It is a pity that Monsarrat never finished the second book but had he, this pair of novels would have been an excellent telling of Britain’s naval history from the Elizabeth I to Elizabeth II.

Wednesday 8 May 2024

The Land of Counterpane by Robert Louis Stephenson

I know that this poem has been quoted by other wargamers in similar circumstances, but I felt that I wanted to share it today as re-reading it helped to lift my spirits after having to return to hospital again three times in six days for a series of scans.

When I was sick and lay a-bed
I had two pillows at my head,
And all my toys beside me lay
To keep me happy all the day.

And sometimes for an hour or so
I watched my leaden soldiers go,
With different uniforms and drills,
Among the bed-clothes, through the hills;

And sometimes sent my ships in fleets
All up and down among the sheets;
Or brought my trees and houses out,
And planted cities all about.

I was the giant great and still
That sits upon the pillow-hill,
And sees before him, dale and plain,
The pleasant land of counterpane.

In the time since I left hospital last week, I’ve had to go back twice for an MRI scan and a CT scan, and yesterday morning I went back again for a whole body bone scan. Each time I have had to be transported in both directions by member of the HATS patient transport service in specially adapted ambulances. They have done a wonderful job and I cannot praise them too highly.

Tuesday 7 May 2024

Being back home

I’ve now been home from hospital for a week and I’m beginning to get into the routine of living in our conservatory. Each day my two carers visit four times to make sure that I’m given a bed bath and dressed, my bed is made, that I’ve eaten, that I’ve taken my medications, and I’m hoisted out of bed so the I can sit in my orthopaedic chair. They also check on my stoma bag and empty my urine bottle.

Now, they are supposed to come at approximately the same times every day BUT to date this has not happened. The supervisor (whose name is Mike) is very punctual, but his assistant (whose name is Abdul) is always late … sometimes by as much as thirty minutes. On one occasion he was even later, but this was because the previous person he had done a care visit to had fallen over and Abdul had had to wait for an emergency ambulance to arrive to take the unlucky person to hospital.

My normal day should be as follows:

  • By 10.00am: Wake up, eat breakfast, and take my medications.
  • 10.00am to 10.45am: Bed bath, change of clothes, and hoisted into my chair.
  • 10.45am to 1.30pm: Rest in my chair, read books and my Kindle, watch TV, use my iPad and iPhone, and eat lunch at about 12.30pm.
  • 1.30pm to 2.00pm: Quick check that everything is alright before being hoisted back into bed to rest my legs.
  • 2.00pm to 4.30pm: Sleep and/or carry on with what I had been doing all morning.
  • 4.30pm to 5.00pm: Quick check that everything is alright before being hoisted back into my orthopaedic chair.
  • 5.00pm to 9.00pm: As for 10.45am to 1.30pm except that I eat dinner … usually at about 7.30pm.
  • 9.00pm to 9.30pm: Quick check that everything is alright before being hoisted back into bed for the night.
  • 9.30pm onwards: Read books and my Kindle, watch TV, and use my iPad and iPhone until it’s time to go to sleep.

This is the pattern I should have been following since I left hospital BUT several things (besides Abdul’s erratic timekeeping) have disrupted this.

On Thursday 2nd May I had to return to hospital at 6.15pm for CT scan on my left knee and on Friday 3rd May I had to go back for an MRI scan of my chest, abdomen, and pelvic area. Luckily, the HATS transport team (they are called Lee and Pete) that was sent to take me in on both occasions was the same one that had brought me home from hospital. They knew exactly how to get me in and out of bed and into the ambulance without any difficulties, and they even arranged to bring me back home after my treatment on Friday. Unfortunately, I missed being brought home by them on Thursday and the replacement crew had all sorts of problems getting me out of the ambulance (they parked too far away and had to bump me up the curb rather than using the sloped crossover) and into the conservatory (they used the standard wheelchair which would not fit through our kitchen doorway and not the smaller one that will).

I have a further visit to hospital today for a full body bone scan and on Friday 10th May I go back to the Fracture Clinic so that they can check on my progress. After that, I should be remaining bed-bound for at least another fortnight and possibly even longer.

Thursday 2 May 2024

Another big thank you … and taking a bit of a rest

I’d like to reiterate my thanks to everyone who made supportive, helpful, and humbling comments on my recent blog posts about my time in hospital. Now that I’m home, I’m having to adjust to the new norm, which is living in our conservatory with carers coming in four times each day to make sure that I’m clean, comfortable, and have been taking my medications. They’ve also hoisted me out of bed in the morning so that I can sit in my orthopaedic chair for approximately six hours each day.

Sue has been marvellous - as usual - and been coping with the almost daily changes to her routine. She loves to make clothes and cut out a garment the day after I went into hospital … but has yet to begin sewing it together. She is obviously physically and mentally drained and - like me - she needs to have some rest.

As a result, I’m probably going to give blogging a rest for a couple of days so that both of us can recharge our batteries. I have several things that I want to write about, but none of them are urgent and those blog posts can wait.

Bye for now … and I’ll be back soon!

Wednesday 1 May 2024

Side Room 1, Ward 24 (Part 3) … and home at last!

I fell asleep by midnight and if there hadn’t been a disturbance in one of the nearby rooms at 3.00am  (it sounded like one of the other patients was experiencing mental issues during the night), I would have had an uninterrupted sleep until I was woken at 5,45am to have my blood pressure, oxygen level, and temperature checks done. This was followed by a very refreshing bed bath and change of bedclothes, during which I had a chat with the nurses about finally going home.

By 8.00pm I had eaten breakfast and had dressed to go home. Then the wait started. At 10.00am the transport coordinator came to see me, and after asking some questions about access to my house, announced that they would need a double team (i.e. four people) to move me … and that this was unlikely to happen until after midday! Apparently, the transport request should have been made on the previous day … BEFORE the decision that I could go home had been made!

It was therefore something of a surprise when two members of the HATS patient transportation team arrived and began preparing to take me home. They did a magnificent job, and by 1.00pm I was home and in bed.

At this point, everything seemed to be getting better … but within an hour the mechanism that controlled the air mattress began to sound alarm bells and the mattress slowly deflated! It actually became too painful to lay down in the bed, and I was lucky that the carers arrived at that point so that they could hoist me out of the bed and into my orthopaedic chair.

After a hurried lunch, Sue contacted the contractor who supplied the air mattress and they agree to send someone to fix it … by 8.00pm! As this was after the time that the carers were supposed to hoist me back onto the bed, it looked as if I might end up sleeping in my chair, sleeping on a deflated mattress, or even returning to hospital … none of which was an ideal solution to the problem.

Luckily, the technician arrived within a couple of hours and knew exactly what was wrong: the emergency CPR valve on the mattress had not been shut. This is in place so that if the patient requires CPR, the mattress can be instantly deflated, thus rendering the CPR more effective. The mattress appear to inflate if the valve is not shut but as soon as anyone gets on it, it deflates.

Thanks to the carers, I was able to spend until 8.30pm in my orthopaedic chair (which is far more comfortable than sitting up in bed) before getting back into bed, and Sue and I were able to spend the evening eating and chatting until it was time for us to go to sleep. Being home must have agreed with me as I slept from just after 11.00pm until 7.15am this morning with only a short break at 3.00am when I needed to have a pee!

A quick view of my ‘new’ bedroom.

At least I now have daylight and something to see other than four hospital walls.

Tuesday 30 April 2024

Side Room 1, Ward 24 (Part 2)

Despite putting everything (e.g. iPad, iPhone, and Kindle) down onto my bedside table and having my room’s light switched off before midnight, I just could not get to sleep. The pain in my left leg caused by the special tight sock that had been put on it was so great that I just could not get comfortable … and seemed to get worse as the night went on. In the end, I removed it at 3.30am, but only after a struggle to do so.

During those dark and painful hours, I felt my old enemy - the Black Dog - sniffing around and it was difficult to clear my mind of very negative thoughts … which did not help me to sleep. I remember looking at my watch at 3.45am … and I must have gone to sleep soon afterwards as the next thing I can remember was being woken up for my early morning blood pressure, oxygen level, and temperature checks at 5.00am.

I feel asleep again, only to be woken up at 6.30am for my morning medications to be given to me. This was followed by another hour or so of sleep … and then it was time for breakfast! I could barely stay awake enough to eat … and then it was time for my bed bath and change of bedclothes. This was followed by yet another blood pressure etc., check, and it wasn’t until 9.30am that I felt able to relax and recover.

I spent the rest of the morning reading, resting, and listening to military music ... and waiting for news about my hoist … although as it was Sunday, I didn’t expect to hear any! Lunch arrived just after midday, along with my midday meds.

Once lunch was over, I spent the time until Sue arrived watching a number of YouTube videos about the WATERLOO UNCOVERED archaeological digs that have take place on the site of the battlefield as well as binge watching some videos made by BUDGET MODEL RAILWAYS.

Sue came in to see me at 4.15pm and stayed for ninety minutes. We spent most of the time discussing the practicalities of my going home, assuming that I was finally discharged on Monday or - as increasingly looked likely - Tuesday. We were very lucky in that the sister on duty was able to answer a lot of our questions. Apparently, once the hoist is delivered, I will be prepared for discharge. This will involve moving me to the discharge area of the hospital to await transport home. On average this takes between two to eight hours as it depends upon whether the appropriate transport and trained personnel are available.

As had become the norm during my past few days in hospital, I spent the rest of the evening reading and watching TV programmes and YouTube videos. I settled down to sleep at about midnight, hoping that overnight I’d get a message that the hoist would be delivered on Monday.

Surprisingly, I slept quite well for a change, and didn’t wake up until my usual 6,30am blood pressure, oxygen level and temperature checks. I then dozed until 8.00am, by which time any message about the hoist being delivered that day should have arrived … but it hadn’t. I ate breakfast, which was an interesting experience as the ward had had no spoons delivered with the food that was being served and I had to ‘learn’ how to eat Weetabix and milk using a wooden disposable fork!

By 9.00am I had been given my daily medications and I began to mentally prepare myself to face my nineteenth day (and possibly twentieth night!) in hospital. According to a parliamentary reply in Hansard back in early 2023, it costs the average hospital £903 per day to house a non-surgery patient, which means - to date - I’ve cost the NHS just over £16,250, not including the cost of my medications, treatment, X-rays etc. When you look at this from the point of view of getting value for money, had the hoist had been delivered to my home at the same time as the bed was (i.e. a week ago!), the hospital would not have had to have spent just over £6,300 looking after me when I could have been at home … and someone else could have been using the bed I am in.

Sue called me at 11.30am with some very welcome news … I was going home! After some discussion it had been decided that rather me stay in bed in hospital waiting for the hoist to be delivered, I might as well do my waiting in bed at home.

As soon as this decision had been made, the complex process of discharging me from hospital began. The necessary medications were ordered from the pharmacy, checked, and delivered to the ward. At the same time the specialist transport team was booked and my care package finalised … and then things began to unravel!

Apparently, the council - who were providing the carers - needed more notice and would not have anyone available until the next day … so I could not be discharged! Emotionally, this felt like the equivalent of being in a motor vehicle that was moving at very high speed and had then done an emergency stop. I quite literally felt as if all the air in my lungs had been expelled in an instant, and that I was struggling to breath normally again,

I didn’t think that things could get any more stressful … and then they did.

Sue got a phone call just after 2.00pm to the effect that they were going to deliver the much-needed hoist later that day. At approximately the same time, I had a visit for one of the council’s care coordinators who informed me that the ‘free’ carer support was actually means tested, and that only the first three days were free! After that, we were expected to pay a contribution based on an assessment of our income and assets. If you have more than £23,250 in savings and assets, you are expected to pay the full cost. This was a bit of a shock as I thought that all reablement care was free. This was something that I would need to investigate further.

Sue didn’t visit me as she had to wait at home for the hoist to be delivered … which it was at just before 6.00pm. It was finally assembled by 6.20pm … and it is huge!

Now that all the equipment was in place, I finally felt as if the end of my time in hospital was in sight. So far I had spent nineteen night sleeping in a hospital bed and hoped that the twentieth would be the last.

Sunday 28 April 2024

Side Room 1, Ward 24 (Part 1)

Before I managed to get to sleep on the previous evening, my sudden change of hospital ward was explained to me. Apparently, the number of people requiring Accident & Emergency care has increased dramatically that evening, with the result that ambulances were stacking up at the entrance to the A&E Department. As the hospital ward I was in - Ward 22 - was part of the urgent care section of the hospital, I was ‘bumped’ out to a non-urgent care ward so that my bed space could be given to someone who was in the CDU (Clinical Decision Unit). This, in turn, meant that someone in A&E could be moved to the CDU. It appears that this had been planned to take place earlier in the day but that the bed space in Ward 24 wasn’t vacated until late in the evening.

I must admit that I was not happy about the sudden change of hospital ward, but at least I wasn’t the poor soul who was discharged from hospital late on what was a very cold April night!

I slept from 1.00am until 6.00pm with a single short break at about 4.00pm. My day started with the obligatory blood pressure, oxygen level, and temperature check, after which I was left alone until 6.30am. I was then informed that my bed bath would be delayed until later in the day as the ward was understaffed.

I had breakfast at 8.00am, followed by my daily medication. It was then a case of waiting to see what would happen, I finished reading 1864 and moved on to a collection of shorts stories that featured the French detective, Maigret. I had my bed bath and change of bedclothes just after 10.15am, and then waited - increasingly impatiently - for news of the hoist. By 11.00am Sue had been advised by the hospital not to go out as the contractor might deliver the hoist without any prior notice. This was extremely inconvenient for her but she did as requested.

I saw the consultant on duty in Ward 24 at 11.30am, and he confirmed that I’d be going home as soon as the hoist was delivered. He also prescribed statins to reduce my cholesterol and explained that they were in the process of scheduling some neurological tests on my left leg that will take place at King’s College Hospital.

Lunch was served at 12,30pm, and after checking in with Sue as to whether or not she had heard any news about the hoist being delivered (she hadn’t), I settled down to read some Maigret stories and to do one of the crosswords in the free newspaper that had been handed out to patients before lunch.

After lunch I read and dozed until 3.15pm when two porters arrived to take me down to the Fracture Clinic. I joined the queue there … and was then sent to the X-Ray Department so that the clinic had images that would help them decide what to do with my cast. The X-ray showed that the break needed a small amount of manipulation, and as a result the old cast was taken off, the break was gently realigned, and a new red cast put on.

I was then sent back to have the whole thing X-rayed again to make sure that everything was alright. This took almost three hours in total and I arrived back in Ward 24 just as dinner was being served at 6.30pm.

Because it was so late, I FaceTimed Sue and listened to her recount her conversations with the Occupational Therapist. The latter had now ordered two hoists, one order being marked as ‘Urgent’ … but the contractor hadn’t even acknowledged the orders and had not answered any of the emails they’d been sent. This meant that I’m was unlikely to be discharged before Monday evening … and that it may even be later that week!

After such a relatively stressful day, I felt very tired and spent the evening resting, reading, and watching TV programmes and YouTube videos on my iPad.

I slept from midnight to 3.00am and again from 4.00am to 6.00am when my blood pressure, oxygen level, and temperature were taken. I then dozen on and off until 8.00am when it was time to order breakfast. Whilst breakfast was being served, I was given my daily medications and checked up on my emails. It was then time for my bed bath and change of bedclothes, after which my seventeenth day in hospital began to unfold.

I spent until lunchtime reading some more of George Simenon’s Maigret short stories, writing up my blog, reading their people’s blogs, and watching YouTube videos. I also managed to have a short chat with the Nepali nursing sister who is charge of the ward.

Lunch was served at 12.30pm, after which I spent some time reading and dozing until Sue arrived at 4.15pm. We had a long chat about the hoist situation, and Sue informed me that the care plan was due to come into effect on Monday evening in the expectation that the hoist will be delivered by then and I would have been discharged from hospital. We shared a coffee and a sausage roll during her visit, which lasted about ninety minutes. She sent me a WhatsApp message when she got home to tell me that she’d got back safely and that the hospital car park charges had gone up by 10% from £1.50 to £1.65 per hour!

Dinner was served at 6,15pm, and after I’d taken my evening medications, I settled down to write up my blog, read a number of other blogs, and watch some TV programmes and YouTube videos on my iPad. This kept me occupied for most of the evening, and I was ready to go to sleep not long after 11.30pm.

Saturday 27 April 2024

Thank God for the iPhone, iPad, and Kindle!

Looking back over the past weeks I have spent in hospital, I doubt that I would have coped without my iPhone, iPad, and Kindle. Modern hospitals no longer seem to be fitted with TVs or radios, nor do volunteers bring round a library trolly with books and magazines on. Patients are very much thrown back onto their own resources to keep themselves amused during their incarceration. (I can now see why my father always referred to other people in his care home as ‘fellow inmates’!)

Visiting hours are 3.00pm to 8.00pm, which are reasonable compared to when I was younger, when they were often for an hour or possibly two each day. However, not all visitors can stay that length of time (your life may be 'on hold' whilst you are in hospital, but their’s isn’t!), and unless they come in relays, the chance is that the best one can hope for is a couple of hours of time each day with one’s visitors.

The iPhone and iPad have enabled me to have access to the internet and, in particular, my emails, my WhatsApp groups, BBC iPlayer, and YouTube videos. My Kindle has many hundreds of books on it and I can add to my reading list at the press of a button. Without these I would have had to rely on Sue bringing in books and magazines for me to read … which is not something that is always easy to do when your confined to bed.

So, thank God for the iPhone, iPad, and Kindle. They’ve probably saved me from going doolally!

Doolally is the shortened version of the British Army slang noun 'the doolally tap', which loosely meant 'camp fever' and alluded to the apparent madness suffered by bored soldiers waiting to be repatriated to Britain after finishing their tour of duty in India. (Deolali/Doolally was the site of a large British Army transit camp, military prison, and fever hospital.) By the 1940s this had been widely shortened to just 'doolally', and was used as an adjective meaning mad or insane.

Friday 26 April 2024

Bed B, Side Room 4, Ward 22 (Part 4)

My sleep was yet again rather spasmodic. I fell asleep just after midnight, but was woken up at around 2.30am by flashing yellow lights that were outside the window. This was accompanied by the sounds of heavy machinery being used. I have no idea what was going on, but it sounded like the sort of machinery that is used to repair the roads … and the one that runs next to the hospital certainly needed repairing!

This went on for over an hour and once it had stopped I was able to get back to sleep … only to be woken up at 5.30am for a bed bath and change of bedclothes. I then slept until 6.45am, when I was again woken up, this time for blood pressure, oxygen level, and temperature checks. After that I dozed until 7.30am, when the person who takes the lunch orders arrived in the room!

At this point I gave up the pretence of trying to sleep as I knew that breakfast, the distribution of morning medications, and further tests were going to take place.

By 10.00am everything seemed to calm down in the ward. I understood that the previous day - Tuesday 23rd April - had been a very bust day in the A&E Department and that as a result, the CDU (Clinical Decision Unit) was jammed full. I don’t know if hospitals have a term for when their capacity is pushed to the limit and beyond, but on the Indian railways this is referred to as being ‘super dense crush load’!

Lunch arrived just after midday, and once I had eaten I spent an hour sending and answering various WhatsApp messages. I then watched the lunchtime news on BBC One. One of the main items covered concerned five Household Cavalry mounts that had been spooked by the noise of building work, thrown their riders, and galloped away. They had all been recaptured, but two made it to Limehouse, which is five miles from the initial incident.

Something similar happened in our area of London back in January 2021 when some horses from the Royal Horse Artillery were spooked by what I remember as being an impatient car driver, and escaped. Luckily, they were also recaptured fairly quickly and suffered only minor injuries … unlike their riders, six of whom ended up in hospital.

After the news I read some more chapters from 1864 and listened to some music. Sue arrived at 3.50pm and stayed for a couple of hours. Thankfully she brought me in an iced cafe latter as I was getting a bit fed up drinking nothing but water and builder’s tea! We discussed how things were progressing - which was nowhere at present - and what we would do once I was back home. It looked increasingly likely this would not be until after the next weekend, which would have made my hospital stay nearly three weeks long!

Dinner was served soon after Sue left, and as I had done on the previous evenings, I then read, watched BBC TV programmes on iPlayer (including THE REPAIR SHOP), and YouTube videos on my iPad until about midnight.

I will never understand the logic of waking a patient up during the night to find out how they are and to take their blood pressure, oxygen level, and temperature. It happened to me twice last night (at 12.30am and 5.30am) and interrupted what would otherwise have been a six-hour-long sleep. I did manage to doze off again after I was given my morning bed bath at 6.30am, but by 7.20am I was fully awake and ready to order my breakfast.

This arrived at 8.30am, and was followed soon afterwards by a visit from a somewhat confused patient from another part of the ward. Besides asking what I thought of ‘this flea pit hotel’, he meandered somewhat unsteadily to the window and remarked that he could see the cemetery across the road. The staff gently persuaded him to return to his own room, although he was reluctant to do so. Excitement over, things returned to normal on the ward.

At 10.15am I was seen by the medical consultant, who was happy with my progress and that I’ve not picked up any secondary infections. (Apparently - according to the doctor - hospitals are often full of people with all sorts of illnesses that can be passed on to the unsuspecting. I think that this was by way of joking banter … or at least, I hoped that it was!) We had a chat about when I was likely to go home, and it looks as if Monday 30th April is the earliest day that this will happen.

One of the staff had brought in a pile of free daily papers, and I spent some of the time before lunch reading the news and doing the crossword puzzles. Funnily enough, I found the cryptic one easier than the quick one to complete, which no doubt says something about my mind.

Lunch arrived at 12.30pm, and when my tray was collected the senior nurse informed me that they were preparing the discharge package I would need in the expectation that I would be leaving either later that day or on Friday 26th April. This was news to me, but it appeared that the hospital had put pressure on the equipment supply contractor to get a hoist delivered to my home as soon as possible. I informed Sue of this conversation and she prepared a bag of clothes for me to change into should the need arise, (I’ve been in hospital gowns since I was admitted and they are not suitable wear for me to be transported home in.)

Sue came to see me at just after 4.00am and stayed until 5.40pm. Apparently, she had now spoken to the Head of Occupational Therapy so often that they were now first name terms! A hoist has been ordered for a second time and the hospital expected it to be delivered tomorrow.

Dinner was served at 6.00pm and soon afterwards my roommate had his numerous dressings replaced and he was discharged into the care of his niece. His bed space did not remain vacant for very long as a new roommate was installed just after 9.00pm.

During the course of the evening I watched a series of TV programmes by Lucy Worsley about Sir Arthur Conan Doyle as well as a YouTube video by Professor Phil Sabin about his FIGHTER DUEL LIGHT wargame. By 10.45pm I was beginning to feel rather tired, and after reading a couple more chapters of 1864, I went to sleep … or at least tried to.

In fact, I fell asleep very quickly because at 11.25pm I was woken up and told that I was going to be moved to another ward! By 11.30pm everything had been cleared from my locker and ten minutes later I was in Ward 24, Side Room 1!

Wednesday 24 April 2024

Bed B, Side Room 4, Ward 22 (Part 3)

I slept from midnight until 3.30am and again from 4.00am until 6.30am … which is a distinct improvement. Perhaps - after many years - I was finally getting used to sleeping on my back rather than my left side!

I was given a bed bath and my bedclothes were changed at 6.30am, after which I dozed until my morning blood pressure, oxygen level, and temperature checks were done at 7.15am. I dozed again until 8.00am, when my breakfast order was taken, and whilst I waited for it to arrive, I caught up with my overnight messages and emails. One of the former informed me that the equipment I would need when I went home was to be delivered that morning, so I contacted Sue to let her know. We are assuming that once it has been delivered and assembled, a care plan will be put in place, after which I should be discharged.

The delivery did not go as planned … again! The bed and air mattress were delivered and assembled, but the hoist was ‘out of stock’. Because this was needed to get me in and out of bed, I couldn’t go home until it was. Sue reported this to the Operational Therapist and I informed the doctor who came to see me at 11.30am to check up on my progress.

The doctor told me that the Neurology Department wanted me to undertake a number of tests, but did not require me to remain in hospital whilst they took place. The hospital had hoped to discharge me as soon as possible, but until the hoist and the associated carers were in place, this was going to be impossible. The doctor then informed me that this would be reviewed later in the day and that it was hoped that a solution could be found.

I ate lunch at 12.30pm and then read for a time, hoping for positive news. I heard nothing, and when Sue arrived at just after 4.00pm we discussed what options were available to us. Other than hiring our own hoist - which would enable me to go home - we could not come up with a workable solution, and doing that might affect any NHS or local government funding of any care I needed after I was discharged. In the end we had to resign ourselves to me staying in hospital until a hoist can be provided … which might not be for some time.

I ate dinner soon after so Sue left to go home, and spent the rest of the evening reading, answering emails and messages, and watching videos and TV programmes (particularly the excellent BLUE LIGHTS on BBC One) on my iPad.

I slept very badly on Monday night. For some reason my stoma was playing up and I didn’t get to sleep until after 2.30am … only to be woken up at 5.30am for a bed bath and change of bedclothes. I’d only just dozed off again when it was time for my first blood pressure, oxygen level, and temperature check of the day. I did manage a short sleep from 6.15am until 7.15am when I had to give my lunch order. By this time I was awake and feeling cold, only to discover that my roommate had opened the window for some fresh air and then gone back to sleep!

Breakfast was served at 8.30am and followed by the daily issue of medications. Other than a brief visit from a doctor who wanted to check up on me, I only saw a couple of nurses between breakfast time and lunchtime. I used the time to catch up on my sleep and to read a chunk of 1864, a book by Tom Buk-Swienty about the 2nd Schleswig-Holstein War.

I’d read it before (and seen the film) and I enjoyed it the second time around.

After lunch I was left very much to my own devices until Sue arrived at 3.45pm. She stayed for a couple of hours and left just before dinner arrived. Once that was eaten, I had a quiet evening reading, watching programmes on BBC’s iPlayer, and some YouTube videos made by Jago Hazzard. I finally put my iPad and Kindle down just after midnight and went to sleep.

Tuesday 23 April 2024

A big thanks to everybody

I’d like to thank everyone who has written a ‘Get Well’ comment on my blog and my Facebook page or sent me a message or email. I’ve not been able to answer them all as I am relying on my iPad and a somewhat flaky free NHS internet connection.

It’s great to know just how many nice people there are out there who want me to get better. In those dark hours in the morning when I cannot sleep and I can feel the breath of my Black Dog on my neck, I read the comments and messages and it helps me more than I can express in mere works.

I have no idea how much longer I’m going to be in hospital but I hope that it won’t be for too many more days. When I get out I’m going to be immobile for at least six weeks and possibly longer. Furthermore, my mobility might be impaired long-time or even permanently.

The Neurologists are trying to trace the underlying cause of the profound weakness in my left leg that caused the right one to break. This may take time and the problem may never be 100% cured, especially if the cause is a trapped or compressed nerve in the spine. At my age they are loath to operate on the spine and would rather treat the symptoms as best they can.

Whatever the outcome, I am determined to live the rest of my life to the full … and your continued support will help me to do that.

Monday 22 April 2024

Bed B, Side Room 4, Ward 22 (Part 2)

It took a bit of time to get used to the air mattress, but once I did, it certainly gave me a better night’s sleep than the traditional one.

I was awake by 5.30am, and by 6.00pm I had been given a bed bath and my bed sheets had been changed. I then dozed until just before 8.00pm when it was time to have my blood pressure, temperature, and oxygen levels taken. I then ate breakfast (corn flakes with cold milk, apple juice, and a cup of builders-strength tea) … and then a problem arose.

My morning drugs were brought to me, but the apalutamide - which is the daily chemotherapy drug I have to take - was missing. When I questioned this, I was told that it hadn’t been prescribed for me. Now, it was shown on the computer records used by Guy’s Hospital that patients and other hospitals can access BUT NOT on the Queen Elizabeth Hospital’s computer records, which only show prescriptions they and my GP have issued. The stupid thing is the the prescription was written by my oncologist, who is based at Guy’s but who works at the QE’s Oncology Department for several days each month.

I managed to access my prescription records using MyChart, and after some deliberation on the part of the doctor currently on duty on the ward I am in, I was allowed to take my apalutamide and my hospital record was amended to show that it was on my list of prescribed drugs,

Just after 10.15am I had a visit by a 5th-year medical student who is currently working in the Orthopaedic Department. He spent over twenty minutes asking me questions about what had happened, what had led up to me breaking my leg, and about my general medical history. It seems that my case will form some part of his academic studies, and I was glad to be of assistance to him in those studies.

At just before 11.00am I received a text to tell me that the technician who was supposed to deliver and instal a hospital bed (with an air mattress) and a hoist had arrived at my home, not found anyone in, and gone away again! This was hardly surprising as I am in hospital and Sue was expecting the technician to arrive between 12.30pm and 2.30pm and had gone shopping! Until this bed and hoist are installed, there is no possibility of me going home, so it looks as if my stay in hospital will be even longer than expected.

At midday one of the doctors appeared to tell me that my MRI scan had been booked to take place at 1.00pm. I pointed out that I was booked to go to the Fracture Clinic at 1.40pm, but they assured me that this would not be a problem as the scan would only take 20 minutes. I therefore chose to eat the cold lunch option, and at just before 1.00pm I was ready to be taken down for my scan … and then things began to unravel.

No porters appeared until 1.40pm, at which point I was taken straight to the Fracture Clinic … who immediately sent me to the X-ray Department to have the break X-rayed. There was a long queue there … and the doctor who had spoken to me earlier saw me and whisked me away to the Imaging Department for my MRI scan. Apparently they were running late and my ‘slot’ had just become open … so I was scanned! I was then returned to the X-ray Department where I rejoined the queue where I had left it. Once that was done, I returned to the Fracture Clinic where my cast was tidied up and a review appointment set for a week’s time.

I finally got back to the ward at 4.30pm, just in time to meet my brother and sister-in-law as they arrived to see me. They stayed until 6.00pm, after which my rather hectic day started to calm down. I managed to FaceTime Sue about the day’s events before spending the rest of the evening reading and watching YouTube videos.

I slept quite well from 11.00pm until 3.00am when something woke me up. I had a devil of a job getting back to sleep, but I was woken up by one of the nurses at 5.30am for a blood pressure, temperature, and oxygen-level test. I drifted off again afterwards, only to be woken up again at 7.45am to take my daily medications. This was followed by breakfast, after which I had loads of time to read, watch YouTube videos, and catch up on what my fellow bloggers had been writing.

It being Saturday, things were very quiet. There were no doctors around as far as I could see, and other than a few visitors, the only people I saw other than Sue - who came for two hours late in the afternoon - were staff.

Sue brought me in a power pack so that I could charge my iPhone and iPad if a power socket wasn’t available for my charger. The room had a number of standard power sockets, but most had equipment plugged into them and I could not rely on one being free for me to use. We tried it out, and it certainly seemed to work very well.

Sue left just after dinner had been served, and I decided to spend the evening watching a film on my iPad. After some deliberation, I chose GETTYSBURG, and I watched it until it was time to go to sleep just after 11.00pm.

Sunday morning was a bit different from any other morning … and not just because it was Sunday. The Queen Elizabeth Hospital lies just outside the London Marathon route with the result that all the local roads - including one end of the only road by which one can access the hospital - began to be shut for access from 7.00am onwards. This meant that staff changeover had to take place at a time when those leaving and those arriving were able to do so before finding their route closed.

The course runs along Charlton Park Lane, which was just visible from my hospital room.

The London Marathon had a staggered start. The Elite Wheelchair races began at 9.05am, followed by the Elite Women's Race at 9:25am, and then the Elite Men's Race and the Mass Start taking place at 10.00am. I should have been able to see the runners from my hospital room but my bed was facing the wrong way and I could not see out of the room’s window. Instead, I watched the start of the races on BBC’s iPlayer until the elite runners had finished their races.

After lunch I read for a while and - thanks to Feedly - caught up with the output from the many blogs that I follow. Despite the road closures messing up the bus routes in the area, Sue managed to visit me for a couple of hours during the later afternoon. We were able to discuss the possibility of me leaving hospital soon, once the necessary equipment was delivered and fitted to our house.

After Sue left I ate my evening meal and then binge-watched a YouTube channel about building a model railway. It had been recommended to my by one of my regular blog readers - 'Lee - and kept me entertained until it was time to go to sleep.