I’m Ready For My Close-Up…


My phone rang this evening and it was the hospital cardio-respiratory dept (thought I was finished with all the heart stuff until next April). Basically, they have regular reviews and new quality control measures, that have recently been put in place, which means that they must now produce log books of important clinical results and findings.

Apparently, my heart scan was “so beautiful” and “such a fantastic example” (of two faulty valves to the left chamber) they would very much like me to go back up there for another scan next month, and use my images (anonymously) for their departmental logbook! They’ll pay for my transport and will also provide me with whatever I need on the day. Who knew I had such a photogenic insides?! It’ll be entertaining if they want topless shots showing the scanning process – ooo errrr!!


No Longer a Luddite…


After many years of shying away from hi-tec mobiles, preferring my trusty Nokia 1208 for all of my calls and texting needs, I’ve dragged myself kicking and screaming into the twenty first century and have now purchased my very first smartphone. For most people this is no big deal, however, anyone who knows me will be able to confirm that this is totally out of my comfort zone. I can write HTML code but when it comes to running my finger across a small, shiny screen I’m flummoxed.

Opening the box to my new toy I was a little thrown by the array of additional gadgetry and paperwork, but I took a deep breath and just kept on telling myself that ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’, and that I’ll simply have to take things one step at a time (or one app at a time!) Who’d have thought it – little old me now all caught up with the rest of the world. How exciting…!


screamIn order to earn some ‘pocket money’ I’ve been undertaking paid experiments at my local University for their psychology students. When I first started doing this I simply wanted to make some easy cash-in-hand, but I have to say that there’s far more to be gained than a few extra quid in your purse; you meet a truly eclectic mixture of oddballs and you get to do some bizarre (and often fascinating) things.

So far I’ve watched and reviewed video clips, worn a swimming cap with wires sticking out to track my brain-waves, been involved in the initial stages of creating a brand new video game, tried to count coloured spots on a screen whilst wearing 3D glasses, and much more.

Some tasks have been a little tedious, admittedly, but most have been enjoyable and a few have been absolutely hilarious. My reward for being introduced to these ‘mad young scientists’, and being part of their weird and wonderful experiments; along with a very favourable exchange rate; is that I now have a nice big wad of euros to take to Lanzarote. Carry On Professor…!

Coach Trip…


Now… all of my friends and family members know full well that I never, ever consider holidaying in the UK. It’s entirely a personal preference, but I’d much rather spend my time, money and effort on flying somewhere fabulous with long beaches, guaranteed sunshine and plenty of palm trees, instead of wasting an entire day held hostage on a bus at the back end of some horrendous traffic jam, only to face cold, wet weather at the other end.

However… my old school chum has very kindly invited me to stay with her family over 200 miles away, and as this get-together is seriously overdue (by several decades!) I’ve decided to bite the bullet, pack a cagoule, get on a coach and head for the hills in order to spend a few fabulous days re-living my mis-spent youth.

We’ve both been trying to schedule some quality girlie time together for the past few years, but work commitments, ill health and life in general has always got in the way. I’m now happy to announce I’ve just purchased my return coach tickets and we WILL be having that long awaited reunion.

Sometimes you simply HAVE to make things happen – iechyd da…!

New Neighbours…

EST art #06_ Affordable HousingIt’s always a concern when neighbours who you’ve grown very fond of over the years move away to pastures new, leaving you with a fear of the unknown regarding who you’ll end up sharing a wall with, however, I needn’t have worried. Six months down the line all is well and slowly but surely we’re all getting to know each other.

Although they appear to have rather complicated living arrangements, with two ‘mummies‘ and numerous small children, it’s actually quite amusing to have an ‘alternative‘ family next door. With so many little ones playing in their back garden it’s inevitable that the odd meerkat (toy!) or ball ends up on my side of the fence, but they really are no trouble at all. Phew…!

Garden Party…

garden partyWhen you have a day off work, it’s really nice if you can spend your precious spare time with your mates. It’s even more fabulous if there’s copious amounts of lemonade, yummy cream cakes and delicious home-made scones involved; along with general chit-chat and some decent laughs thrown in for good measure.

As the weather was warm and sunny it meant we had the luxury of being outdoors in the garden all afternoon, which is always a welcome bonus. Pretty flowers, glorious sunshine, a hilarious pet rabbit, stunningly beautiful doves and great company is, in my opinion, the recipe for an absolutely perfect Thursday afternoon. I’m very lucky to have such lovely friends…

A Sunday Constitutional…


When the weather’s warm and dry, what better way to spend a Sunday afternoon than to take a friend for a stroll around your local outdoor spaces. A seemingly mundane route, that you’ve taken a thousand times before, suddenly becomes a guided tour of all the flora and fauna you’d long since taken for granted. By showing others all of the wonderful and interesting aspects of the area it can really open your own eyes, letting you see your previously familiar world in a whole new light.

This can be an appropriate metaphor for life, and a valuable lesson to take on board. Try to look at the things around you as if you’re seeing them for the very first time, and truly appreciate their wonder. Life is short, and precious, and today I think that the penny finally dropped for me. As the late, great Nina Simone once sang; “It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day, it’s a new life for me, and I’m feelin’ good. …

karen at salary brook_bw