In early spring, I was deserted by my little beaked pals. Then a couple of weeks ago, I noticed young blue tits returning to have a go at the fat balls, but they wouldn't use the bird table.
The only visitors I had been getting were quite unwelcome, the flying gypo pigeons. They've trampled the wildflower tub and the Petunias and for a while, I thought they'd devised a way of getting at the fat balls which are hanging in a holder. They've managed to clear every tiny scrap of seed off the bird table.
Then yesterday, I spotted a small gathering of about eight starlings, so it is they who've been going through the fat balls like there's no tomorrow.
It's nice to see them back, beaked villains that thet are.
So today is curry day. Not a big curry you understand, in case that Brownhills Bob, Stevie Wilcox and Kate G are reading, as they are all on the list to be fed like hungry piglets.
I'm doing some for Wally the Welder and Pat, to sheer them up because their doggie Roger died last week and it has really upset them.
Prepped all my fresh ingredients, ginger, garlic and coriander leaf, then went for a firk through the freezer to see what is left of my special Baltimore stock sent me by Molly Goatwax.
She's quite the expert in growing exotic varieties and this morning I pulled out a chocolate Congo Habanero, it really is chocolate brown and smells a bit like chocolate too. Also I chopped a Trinidad Habaero. As always, I tried just the tiniest piece ot the Congo on my tongue. That was half an hour ago and my vocal chords have just about recovered, but my lips are still numb.
Deceptive little bastards they are, looking so cute with their lovely shapes and colours.
Here's the little piece of paper that was in the bag.
These days, I have such a waiting list of poor unfed piglets, I have a good idea how Jesus felt with his five loaves and a box of fish fingers.
If you aren't on today's list, your turn will come !
My sister gave me some birthday money. Did I go out and frot it up with a prossie ? No. Did I buy a new Dalek ? No.
I went down to Wilko and bought mealworms and blue tit mix. Then I went to Poundland and bought bog cleaner then I went to Tesco and bought ice cream (for me).
The sixth floor diner now has more choice of food than I have. I have eggs, bread and baked beans. Everything else has gone off with my not having the appetite this last couple of weeks.
They have: Mealworms, peanuts, blue tit mix, fat balls, wild bird mix, niger seeds and sunflower seeds.
Have to say I am pissed of with the pigeons. They eat all the seed that's on trays, scare the smaller birds and are generally obnoxious. In fact they remind me so much of someone I once worked with, the very thought of even now makes my top lip curl.
Like the pigeons, he took everything that was going, didn't give a fuck about anyone else and was of no use to man nor beast.
Like these pigeons, he was (still is) stupid (but possessed natural cunning). Chase one off the balcony and it will be back five minutes later. I reckon when he jumps the twig, he'll come back as a pigeon and shit all over people like he does now.
So whilst my guests gorge themselves silly, the highlight of my day is putting a bit of toilet duck down.
Actually, I had two of them nosing around mid-week, but I didn't know what they were.
This morning, one alighted on the balcony rail a large bird, dark chocolate brown, flicked its tail like blackbirds do. Beautiful creature and less timid than a lot of the little villains coming by on a daily basis.
I bounced it (naturally) off Twitter and Brownhills Bob said from the description, it was a Mistle Thrush.
All I can say is, they are very welcome, as are all the other little varmints coming for a feed.
Trevor, one of OBC's Coffin Dodgers (shootlers) sent me a 4 kilo bag of seed and some other stuff I've not unpacked yet AND another feeder.
I'm going to have a bloody stacking pattern of little winged buggers over the balcony but do you know, I don't mind a bit.
I will try to photograph the mad voyeuristic blut tit and one of these thrushes, but it's not that easy.
Even if I go by the window to pick something up and scare one away, I get the guilts. Enough already !
Mistle Thrushes are something else though - see if I can find a picture on the interweb.
Couldn't find one like my little visitors - will have to get busy with the Fuji
Firstly, it took about forty minutes for them to find the stone. The session began and immediately, despite the morphine based painkiller they put in my arm, I was in some pain.
As the intensity of the pulses was increased it became worse and the consultant (remember the one who looks like Matt Lucas) came out to see me and explained it wasn't kidney pain I was experiencing. The stone is so placed that it is close to my bottom rib on that side. The strong soundwaves were hitting the rib and that was the main cause of the pain.
He was very concerned for the distress it was causing, he authorised a second arm full of loopy and told me that despite it not being the optimum course of treatment, he wasn't going to turn up the power any more.
Longest 45 minutes I ever experienced.
I can't say today whether I feel any better because I am having to stay on painkillers. I'm not passing any blood and I don't appear to be passing any grit which I did last time.
Mr. Grimsley told me they couldn't guarantee success in breaking up all or part of the remaining piece of stone, but considering its position and the pain I had gone through, he wouldn't put me through that again.
As ever, I felt I was in the hands of a team who knew what they were doing. Jess, the staff nurse I have known since my cancer surgery was there playing me up as usual.
Actually, she is a credit to her profession as are they all.
I complained that there was no lollipop for being such a brave little soldier, Jess thought a moment and then said "you couldn't have one anyway, you're diabetic". She did offer me a cup of tea and a biscuit but I declined.
Had a rough night after the painkillers wore off, so got up at 3am and took another. It took two attempts to get up this morning though.
I think this last piece of stone is going to be a bit of a drama, grrr.
Darlo gave me a bird feeder with fat balls in for Christmas. I hung it out on the balcony and it took about three weeks before I even saw a bird.
Since then, I've been given a couple of other feeders, one which has been totally emptied mostly by starlings.
Each day now, I have a range of little visitors. Most amusing is a blue tit which alights on the door handle and peeks in and this is every day. Never fails to crack me up, even when I was in pain with my kidney stone last week.
I have two beautiful thrushes coming by on a regular basis, loads of blue tits most of which just feed, they are less voyeuristic. I even saw a robin the other day.
Not seen my duck pals down the park in a week. Wonder if they'll have a Warburtons party to welcome me back ?
Writing today after a long and unpleasant week of kidney pain.
At first I didn't even know that it was my kidney stone, as I've had it in one form or another for three or more years and never had a twinge from it.
It was first discussed with me by the specialist as a 2cm stone in my left kidney, the opposite one to the one that had the cancer. I had some Lithotripsy on it last year which broke it up and X rays showed nothing left.
Mr. Grimsley a consultant specialist who looks like one of Matt Lucas' characters is a pretty switched on cookie and was not convinced it had all gone after just one session, so he ordered up a CT scan which revealed a 14mm piece in the lower pole of the kidney which another specialist told me was too deep to respond to lithotripsy. Also, the reason it didn't show on X ray was because it had become softened.
Last Tuesday, I had a bit of an upset stomach, the runs and such, so I thought the mild dull ache was just guts.
An hour later the mild ache was now throbbing and a lot stronger. By lunchtime, I was vomiting.
I phoned my local surgery for advice and they put me on to a really helpful doctor on call, who gave good avice and arranged for a prescription of strong painkillers to be delivered to me.
Part of the advice was if I kept on vomiting, call an ambulance. I was a bit worried.
I also called the secretary of the "boss" specialist (not Mr. Grimsley) just to alert them to the fact I am now having pain from the stone. I agreed if it continued I should call them back to arrange something.
Not a day has passed until yesterday, when I havent at some point in the day had this throbbing dull sometimes sharp pain in my kidney especially Sunday night when I made the decision I must call the QE hospital and try push for an appointment with the specialist sooner or later.
Imagine my suprise to hear from the specialist's secretary who told me Mr. Grimsley wanted me to come in for another session of lithotripsy having reviewed my notes and CT scan.
It appears unrelated to any communication I've made and of course is welcome. Despite this treatment feeling like someone poking around in your kidney with an old screwdriver as you lay there with your bum in a bath of warm water whilst wearing plastic knickers !
This will be prefereable to what I've gone through this past week and hopefully, seeing how this stone appears to have moved, it should be accessable and can be destroyed once and for all.
One thing which worried me, was the day before I was subject to all this, I had an interview for a job which had I got it would have changed my life and I didn't want to have to queer my pitch with stories of hospital treatment sessions.
Well, as that sentence gives away, I didn't get it. I heard from the girl at the agency who set me up for it yesterday. She was a little vexed as they'd not provided any feedback on any of the candidates her company had sent.
I too came away from the interview having sensed not one buying signal from the interviewer, leaving me feeling that either he felt I was utterly crap or, he was a very good poker player.
I also had mixed emotions. The salary was good, I could have gotten into the stride of this job pretty quickly and done the job well. The travelling would have been a little bit of a problem.
Something that twitched me a little: The interview was at 5pm (not a good time to be interviewing). He left me sitting out in reception til 5:30. The company makes a big deal of its reputation for quality, image and getting things right yet their website looks like it had been done by an enthusastic but inexperienced student. "We go the extra mile so you don't have to".
There's a photo of someone modelling one of their products on the front page which is a bloody embarrassment and no, I did not mention any of this at my interview.
So, I remain one of the evil curtains closed brood that Cameron's band of dementors continue to deride as filthy unwashed scroungers.
I did get a call on Friday from another agency regards a job closer to home, which they thought I was perfect for and was advised they would put me forward to the employer. No calls yet suggesting the employer doesn't share our enthusiasm.
As for the stae of things, I never thought I would actually find myself saying that I'm looking forward to lithotripsy. What a strange world we live in.