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Mogs Travels: April 2008

Mogs Travels

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Thoughts on mortality

A few weeks ago a friend of ours described symptoms that were suggestive of angina. We advised him to see his doctor. A couple of weeks later when we met up again, he'd done nothing about it so, having a bit of medical knowledge, we took it on ourselves to give him a stern lecture on the need for investigation and possible outcomes if he didn't. Fortunately he listened to us and after several tests he's been found to have narrowing of his coronary arteries, has been started on medication and is awaiting angioplasty.

This has got me thinking about how we view ourselves and also the nature of friendship. Although the circumstances were a little different Mr Mogs and I went through the same thing a few years back when he was diagnosed with heart disease. Nothing prepares you for it. We live our lives expecting, indeed knowing that our bodies will do all we ask of them ( apart perhaps during the odd hangover!) , after all my body is ME, not something separate. To find its been quietly deteriorating without giving any warning is a huge shock that takes a long time to come to terms with. Although Mr Mogs had physical symptoms to accommodate, the overwhelming disability the diagnosis brought was psychological. It took over a year to acknowledge that although he'd had this diagnosis he was well on treatment and could start to look forward to the rest of his life instead of fearing he was going to drop dead any moment or become an invalid. As this blog shows life is very satisfying with many new horizons to explore. BUT how to help people going through this, or to prepare you beforehand? I don't know the answer, everyone just has to muddle through on their own. I just hope our experience will help our friend.

Which brings me on to the nature of friendship. Although a friend, we have not known him long and hence not all that well. He's more than an aquaintance but we couldn't have been considerd close before. That's changed now. We may have saved his life, possibly averted a heart attack and certainly got him proper medical care quicker than if he'd been left to his own devices. In a way it's a nice feeling but also it isn't. I don't want him to feel in our debt. It's nice that he's grateful now but in a situation like this how do you stop being grateful? You can't just say thanks and that's the end of it. Whatever we do in future it's going to be in the background. I suppose in films something dreadful would happen to us and he'd rescue us and the debt would be repaid. Real life's not like that. It'll be interesting how things pan out. Nonetheless I'm going to enjoy a closer friendship with him and his family



Chilling in a wet Pembrokeshire

Have actually had a few nice days here but normal weather resumed this afternoon. We're having a few days rest and exercise at our caravan to recuperate from the tiring business of retirement! Have spent a pleasant afternoon reading, browsing the net and relaxing while the rain hammers on the roof. It's a most satisfying sound, while being snug and dry inside and something you don't experience in a house. A tent can be similar but you're never quite as cosy and you need the contrast to feel sufficiently smug!

Actually we have set aside this week for some serious exercise with our friend TB who is a fitness trainer. He's had us running or walking up hill, down dale, across the beach, up steps, only avoiding anywhere near cliffs as he's scared of heights. My legs have been throbbing and I was quite relieved when todays session turned out to be stretching and flexibility in the cramped confines of the caravan. This is all part of the planning for our summer trip which is only 5 weeks away now.

TB has been an important part of our lives for several years. When Mr Mogs developed heart disease a few years back his guidance was invaluable and we owe our present happy state of fitness to him. Neither of us are the sort to get addicted to exercise, in fact it's a bit of a struggle to push ourselves to do any so having someone to both encourage us to train regularly and enable us to get the maximal benefit for the least effort is great. We're not athletes but are fit for our age and able to enjoy whatever we want to do with sufficient energy, strength and stamina


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Thursday, April 24, 2008

As Elvie has pointed out, only a few weeks to go before the big trip, and time for a little bling on my BMW, aka the Pickfords Truck ( because of all the stuff it carries) For some time I've wanted some additional lights so as to be more visible to other road users. We went up to Cheshire to have it done, and I'm very happy with the results. These are pictures of the extra spotlights as being fitted. I might look as though I know what I'm doing in the picture above, but in reality it was more relief as it all started to go back together correctly. I'm going to get the bike out in the dark tonight just to see what it looks like. Elvie has also had her headlights converted to HIDs

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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Tempus fugit!

This is ridiculous. We're only managing to post about once a week. I'd not imagined I would be able to keep up daily blogs but I'd anticipated posting every two or three days. It's not as if there's nothing happening in the Mogs' household, and even though we're busy there's time for both of us to spend on the computer.

Preparations for our summer trip are well underway, mostly in getting the bikes ready, particularly mine. Had a major row with the dealer today as various accessories and the spare key have not materialised when they should. When we ring they don't know what's happening or are full of excuses and the one item that has arrived, they've not informed us of. Rang another nearby dealer today and they have the handguards in stock that our dealer has found impossible to find, even though I ordered them in November. Mr Mogs is going shopping for me tomorrow to collect them and my tankbag. Once the final item of a Scottoiler ( for automatically oiling the chain) has been fitted I'll not cross their doorstep again but take the bike elsewhere for servicing and accessories. This particular dealer had been recommended to us but I understand there have been some staff changes, for the worse!

Otherwise we have been busy getting our radio communications unit fitted and some ultra bright HID headlights, with accessory lights also for Mr Mogs. Photos to follow!



Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Retirement has arrived, but it appears to have had an effect on Elvie's sanity. She's been very good at getting us in to recycling. We have 2 extra bins in the kitchen for recyclable bits and pieces, but today she had a momentary lapse. In the photo you can see her getting as much into the wheelie bin as possible. Unfortunately I missed the best moment when she almost disappeared into the bin! Still, I hope you get the idea. Despite my tongue in cheek comments, it's good to have her around more. LB


Monday, April 14, 2008

Retirement Meal

After just over a week of retirement ( and being too busy to post my blog! ) I went out for a meal with my erstwhile colleagues. Had a very pleasant time with excellent food and good company. Received some very nice leaving prezzies and cards and managed to say thank you without having to make a speech. I enjoyed it and will certainly keep in touch with at least some of the people there. However, despite a thoroughly wonderful evening I am thrilled to be walking away from them to live my life unconstrained by the routine and restrictions that work brings.

The Department of Work and Pensions published a survey on attitudes to retirement last week.(here) I seem to be very much in the minority in relishing the opportunities I now have.......

"New research by Ipsos MORI shows a mixed bag of emotions for those waking up on day one of retirement with under a third saying they felt relaxed and under a quarter feeling free. A surprising one in ten felt anxious, sad or lost."

What's wrong with these people??? OK if you have to retire and you're penniless you're not going to be overjoyed but 10% said they'd miss the journey to work! An unspecified number thought work was a reason to get out of the house, how sad is that? I know I'm lucky in that I have a good pension which increases my choices but where is their imagination?

Anyway, rant over and this is the last mention of retirement. I have said my good byes and henceforth will be looking forward.


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Sunday, April 6, 2008

Retirement Day + 4

When retired, people often say they don't know how they used to find time to work, well I haven't found time to post on here! The big day itself was particularly busy. My last morning in work wasn't as bad as expected. I did shed a few tears saying good-bye to people but walked out for the last time with no regrets and much anticipation for the future. The significance of the event was on a par with getting married or having my first child i.e. life changing although the day itself was rather more mundane. After work it was home to find the security firm completing the installation of our new burglar alarm, a quick lesson on how to use it, lunch, then off on the bike to meet my friend Glow. A ride over the Brecon Beacons for a mug of tea in Llandovery was just what I needed to pick me up after all the good-byes. In the evening MrMogs & I finally celebrated the day with a meal out with our two sons at a local restaurant.

So how does it feel to be retired? I suppose to soon to tell. I've only effectively had a long weekend of it so far. I am already enjoying the luxury of not having to juggle work with other day time events. For example next week I can help my sons by awaiting delivery of their new sofa, while they're in work, and last week I could take my Dad shopping. We have two days advanced training on the bikes booked in the next 3 weeks. It was great to pick two weekdays, when we wanted, without having to worry about using up annual leave. I also want to try new things so have booked my first riding lesson - horses not bikes this time! Of course the novelty of all this may wear off and I may start missing work but I doubt it. There's a whole world and a myriad different activities and experiences to explore. Bring it on!!!


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