Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Houses, legs and advanced driving techniques

The recent lack of postings in the past 10 days, for which I apologise, has been largely due to me being very busy with preparations to move house two days from now. That, combined with the removal of the cast from my leg last Friday and the resulting hilarity caused thereby (not), has meant I have had no time to sit down and type even a stream of consciousness (as is my wont sometimes) never mind anything into which any thought has been inserted.

I currently have half an hour of sitting with my swollen left leg up as I take a break from packing, so I will now allow you the benefit of my wisdom (yeah, right!) and banter (ooh, the banter!) via the medium of t'InterWeb.

Unusually for this Blog, two comments were left on my previous post. Gogs, who is a real life friend (yes, I have one or two) but clearly wishes to remain anonymous on his/her comment so I will respect that, has meanly suggested that I don't love structural engineering and that in any case civil engineering is more fun. Well I'm sorry Gogs, but you are way off the mark, despite what I may have suggested in that posting. I do actually really enjoy structural engineering (yes, genuinely) and will happily slob out watching The World's Biggest Whatever, or programmes about steam engines and industrial architecture presented by the late, very great Fred Dibnah, or (a personal favourite) Mark Williams' Industrial Revelations, and all sorts of similar televisual feasts. As for Gogs' comment that civil engineering is more fun, well I can't comment on the fun aspect of it, but I will concede that the world does need civil engineers. Who'd dig the graves otherwise?

The second comment wasn't exactly on the posting itself, just a general comment on this here Blog from Colleen who is a fellow Blogger from Maine in the USA. She apparently has been reading this for a while and for some reason enjoys it and has a link on her Blog to mine. She comments that introducing herself in this way makes her feel less stalkerish, and I have to say it's the first time (to which I'll admit) I've ever been stalked! Hi Colleen, thanks for the comment. I hope my habitual profanity doesn't offend!

So what's been happening I hear you ask.

Call me naive but I suspect I had thought that last Friday I would hobble into the fracture clinic at hospital, have the cast removed, thank the staff, hand back the crutches, and walk out. Aye, right! I am still using the crutches, although I can now put some weight on my emaciated left leg, and it will be another week before I return to work.

I still am not allowed to drive since I can't perform an emergency stop safely. Come to think of it, now that I know I've gone global I should maybe explain that in common with most drivers in the UK I drive a manual car (on the stick as I believe it's known in some places) rather than an automatic, so to perform an emergency stop one needs to be able to depress the clutch with your left foot without stopping to think whether it'll hurt or not.

Or at least medical opinion is that my injury will stop me performing such a stop. Leaving aside the fact that you should almost never have to perform an emergency stop if you are an alert skilled driver (I hardly need say, I am both, ahem!) who pays attention to what's happening on the roads ahead, behind and to the side and anticipates the actions of other road users and pedestrians, in actual fact to perform an effective emergency stop one should not depress the clutch until just before the car stops as then the engine will assist with the braking. The clutch usage is then much more controlled and measured than the brake which should basically just be hammered to the floor as hard and as soon as possible (particularly if you have ABS anyway, otherwise use cadence braking).

But it's medical people who are advising me that I wouldn't be able to perform an emergency stop, not advanced drivers. But even though I know better than the medics the problem is that if I was driving and some fanny drove into me, then my insurance company might not cover me if medical advice had been that I shouldn't be driving, even if the basis for that assessment was partial bollocks. And the police wouldn't be happy either. So I can't drive for the moment. And God knows how long it'll be before I can get on the bike again. It would be fine 99.9% of the time, but the one time at traffic lights when I let it go past the balance point to my left and there would be no way I would have the strength in my leg to stop all 44 stones of bike crashing embarrassingly and expensively to the floor.

The bike has now been taken away to my work by a colleague where it will remain secure until I can ride it again.

I had my first session of physiotherapy yesterday. Oh fuck, it hurt!

Very nice friendly physiotherapist who clearly, patiently and accurately explained to me what she was going to do and why. It still hurt though. But afterwards my ankle felt a lot better. Physiotherapy will take place once a week for the foreseeable future with a suggestion that sometimes 6 months to a year of treatment is necessary. So I'll be paying regular visits to the Western Infirmary for some time to come. The photo shows the swelling on Saturday. Impressive, eh? Hurts too.

So, the flat.

Everything is going fine. I now have the keys and am about to move. A little bit of work has been done in the past three days (new Damp Proof Course) and tomorrow morning I will be taking a break from packing here and spending the morning at the new flat while Virgin Media come to install the telephone, broadband and cable TV, Scottish Gas come to exchange the prepayment Gas meter for one used by people with bank accounts and the ability to pass credit checks (cynical? who me?), and a heating engineer comes to light the gas boiler which I couldn't manage on Sunday, despite having spent almost 13 years of my life selling the bloody things and therefore having some idea of how they work! The boiler is a slight worry as it looks a few years old so I am half expecting it to either be condemned, necessitating an expensive replacement, or to require expensive parts replacing (my guess is that at the very least the piezo ignition isn't working). We'll see what happens anyway, and in fact having just taken possession of the property it may be that the seller has some legal obligation to have such integral facilities repaired/replaced at his expense. Here's hoping it'll be OK anyway. I still have to arrange for Scottish Power to come to exchange the prepayment electrickery meter for one which doesn't need repeated trips to the corner shop to purchase credit using cash.

Anyway, time is getting on and the packing isn't doing itself. I may extend my half hour break and have something to eat first before I get back to the grind.

No comments:

Post a Comment