Well, it has been an interesting few months. Pat left Trinidad on August 10th expecting to return October 19th, giving Mike plenty of time to do his major projects. As mentioned, when she went for her check up at her local GP she found that she had severely high blood pressure (190/105 - stroke territory!), also her cholesterol was high and her thyroid under-active. There was a slight heart murmur so the doc recommended she went to the hospital for a series of tests to make sure her heart and lungs were OK. So then started a series of visits to heart and lung specialists at the local hospital, where she performed all manner of tests. None of the resultant scans and x-rays and examinations showed anything too sinister but she will not find out for sure until she goes back in April next year for an outpatients appointment. She has returned to the Caribbean laden with tablets and she does feel a lot better than she did. Her blood pressure and cholesterol are now normal, although the thyroid gland is still not right. She is going back to the Community hospital here for a blood test next month and if necessary will speak to her GP to see if he recommends upping her dose of Thyroxin. Maybe when her normal metabolism kicks in again she will lose the weight she has put on (she can always live in hope)!
Anyway, in between all the hospital and GP visits, she did manage to visit a few family and friends. She went with Margaret and John to Beamish Museum in Co Durham and the Alnwick Gardens in Northumberland. Both places are a super day out. Beamish has been open for over 20 years now and Pat is ashamed to say that this was her first visit. All of the buildings have been dismantled from towns and villages in the North East and carefully rebuilt to form a complete picture of life back in the Georgian, Victorian and Edwardian eras. There is a colliery village, a town, a farm, a colliery and railway station, a great hall and a fairground in 300 acres, all connected by a network of transport including buses, trams and trolleys. People even ride past on penny farthing bicycles. All of the staff wear period costume and are very friendly and knowledgeable, answering all questions put to them. There is even a shop serving traditional fish and chips fried in beef dripping, not the healthy vegetable oil we are used to now. They were delicious!
The Gardens at Alnwick Castle are a much newer attraction. Designed by the Duchess of Northumberland 10 years ago to refurbish a derelict walled garden in the grounds of Alnwick Castle, there is now a spectacular garden with different water features. It is an interactive garden with play areas as well as traditional features. Another splendid day out.
She also made a quick visit to Edinburgh to visit with Laurie and Jack from Horizons. Their boat is at present in Antigua and they will be returning to it in the New Year to sail back home to the States but they wanted to carry on cruising in the interim. They decided to rent an apartment in Edinburgh for a month and live as if they were on the boat, discovering local supermarkets as well as the tourist stuff. We had a good couple of days discovering the Edinburgh surrounds and Pat and Mike are looking forward to meeting up with them again next year in the US, hopefully.
Pat also travelled by train to Leeds for the day to catch up with old Police colleagues Anne and Jean. We had a good natter and enjoyed catching up. We visited the Leeds Art Gallery and the beautiful Corn Exchange building.
Other than that she spent time with friends. She went for lunch one day with Carol to the National Glass Centre which is just down the road from the marina in Sunderland. She spent some days with Barbara in Chester Le Street who had just had hip resurfacing surgery and was able to help out a bit with chores. A fortunate result of this was the loan of Barbaraís car for five weeks as she wasnít able to drive after the operation. It was great to have the car Barbara, thanks again. By the way, Pat has got moderate to severe osteoarthritis in her left hip as well as her other ailments. Barbara reckons she is two years behind in symptoms so thereís something else to look forward to! Isnít getting old a bugger?
During all this gallivanting, Mike has been back here slogging away on El Lobo. Sorry there are no photographs to show you but he has written up a full report of his projects on his page here.
There are a few videos and photos from the UK below. We donít know yet if weíre spending Christmas here or not. Wherever we will be we will raise a glass to absent friends and wish you all good health and happiness in the new year.