Chaos to Cosmos
The path from chaos to cosmos was discovered by telling one's life story

Monday, 27 September 2021

An excursion to the dining room

Not my cat

It's been two weeks since we got back from holiday and I've been resting ever since. Last week I had a short-sharp-shock course of Aciclovir - to try to bring my super-susceptibility to recurrent cold sores under some control - and on Thursday, a nurse came to the house to give me my flu jab (to which, I've had no reaction, not even a sore arm). As on previous occasions that I've had courses of the antiviral, I began to feel a bit more clear-headed and compos mentis.

Yes, an improvement after antivirals. Probably not psychological then!

On Friday, I'd had a long chat on the phone to BF in Australia, so for someone with myalgic encephalomyelitis, these were a couple of "busy days". Otherwise, I'd mostly laid in bed and done relatively little either mentally or physically. 

So, on Saturday, I was daft enough to think I could "eat out". By "eat out", I don't infer getting all togged up in my finery and hitting a Michelin star eatery, I mean, leaving the bedroom and going downstairs to eat at the dining table with him indoors, having had the quickest and most cursory shower first.

Ate my meal (all freshly cooked, from non-processed ingredients) and a fruit-only desert, when suddenly, with no warning, I began to overheat (I'm WAY beyond menopause, so it's not that) began to feel unwell and to grey out (Pre-syncope). At first I couldn't move, but felt like I was going to faint and fall off my chair. As soon as I could, I slid myself down and laid on the cool floor. When it passed sufficiently, I crawled back upstairs to bed on hands and knees.

It left me exhausted and feeling like I was shaking all over from extreme exertion, but with no external sign of shaking. I had a terrible night, sleeping lightly, waking up constantly from vivid dreams, feeling like my brain was shaking inside my head and with a pain in my stomach that was like it'd been kicked.

It's like my system is so fatigued that it can't manage sitting up and digesting simultaneously, possibly exacerbated because I'd had carbs (potato) at both lunch and dinner. I already suffer lactose intolerance and I'm wondering if this is some sort of increased carbohydrate intolerance. Funnily enough, many years ago I'd adjusted my diet to not have carbs more than once a day. It's not always easy to achieve, but I wonder if it may help to be more strict on that. 

All day Sunday, I had no alternative but to stay in bed and was even unable to sit up. I couldn't increase my angle of recline beyond two pillows, because it would increase the pain in my stomach to feel like I was constantly doing sit-ups and would bring on horrendous feverish headaches with nausea. It's no better today. As "being confined to wheelchair for much of the day" infers an ability to sit up, we have to conclude that I'm worse than 80% on this scale. That now puts me into 90% and severe. It's very frightening, because, after consistent worsening over 48 years, there really is only one place left to go and, with no care and no treatments, only one way to prevent going there: avoid everything.

Sunday, 12 September 2021

Coming to the end of a holiday with ME

Combe Martin : Combe Martin Beach
cc-by-sa/2.0 - © Lewis Clarke - geograph.org.uk/p/5761569

So our week was coming to an end as Friday was our last full day. The weather that day was horrible, hence I didn't get my own photo and am borrowing this one, but we did walk onto Combe Martin beach. For all of about 30 seconds. We'd really run out of places to go as it's a bit difficult when a) you're trying not to go indoors because of covid and b) trying not to be outdoors because of the rain. 

Whilst I can still remember childhood holidays where I know we visited places, but I never actually saw them, due to being stuck inside the car, with it's steamed up windows, eating our sandwiches, I had no wish to reexperience it.

For lunch, we were luckily able to dodge the showers and sit outside the Tides In and Out Café, in Borough Road, Combe Martin. We'd been there before. May I heartily recommend their fish finger butty: fish fingers - about half a dozen good quality ones - in a big soft bap with salad and tartare sauce. Proper treat. 

We weren't so lucky at dinner time. Remember, I mentioned that our holiday grocery order had Brexit shortages? So, we'd run out of meals. There was the usual problem that nowhere, that looked any good, ever had space; I didn't feel safe to sit inside and the weather wasn't going to let me sit outside. And after the not so great experience with the fish and chips, I didn't want to risk a dodgy takeout, so we went to Tesco and settled on a pseudo-Chinese meal-in-a-box. I didn't check the ingredients, but had survived similar. Now that I have checked them, I can't see anything listed that instantly alerts me to any potential intolerance, but once again, my system was having none of it. My gut immediately bloated, I felt sick and the pain in my stomach hit about a 9 on the Mankoski Pain Scale.

We came home on Saturday, via Tiverton, where we made a short visit to a friend (and sat outside) - this was the first time I'd socialised at all since March 2020 - and I'm pretty sure I did an Oscar-worthy performance of being relatively well.

We also stopped off for lunch at Elsie May's - which we chose, purely because of the outside seating and proximity to parking and were very impressed by their service, friendliness and food. Completely exceeded every expectation.

But a week in Devon and not once did we have a Devon cream tea. We had a takeaway scone, jam and cream in Minehead - which, of course, is in Somerset, where I can put the jam first and not risk extradition - but we had a hankering for a proper afternoon tea on tall cake stand, with sandwiches, scones, cakes, tea ... Everywhere with outside seating and looked any good was always full. 

We'd planned to stop off at the family graveyard on the way home, but new building and road closures meant it couldn't be accessed without going a long way out of our way. By that time I was too fatigued to deal with another delay or extension to the journey, so we gave it a miss, but this meant yet another disappointment in a long line of disappointments. There's a f*cking limit.

To be honest though, I just want to cry. It doesn't feel like I've had a holiday, because I wasn't able to enjoy much of it, firstly because of the stress leading up to it and not being able to rest (not helped that I've never got back to my baseline since getting the first covid vaccine in February); I could only manage to be out for a couple of hours or so a day - I didn't feel well at all with daily headaches, sore throat, Post-exertional malaise (PEM), then I had back / neck / shoulder / hip pain on top (and my ankle still hurts), and had I been at home, I would definitely have stayed in bed, but a) the concentration camp wasn't pleasant enough to want to spend all day in, b) the bed wasn't comfortable enough (nor was the sofa) and c) I really had to 'show willing' so him indoors had some break or at least change of scenery. The result is that I spent most of the time in those odd hours basically in a fog or trance, wanting it over, not really 'being present' (I can bearly remember half of it and none of conversations), only just about holding it together. 

The fact that I was 'below par' (even below my usual baseline) made everything so much more difficult, like being more susceptible to recurrent cold sores; faster and more violent reactions to food intolerances; I cannot stand for more than seconds at any time, but the fact that 'Devon was full', so there was a severe lack of space in restaurants, on park benches, etc., didn't make that any easier to cope with. (We've tried time and time again with wheelchairs, but I can't tolerate them outdoors with all the pain-inducing agitation of uneven surfaces.) It's another layer of difficulty having to try to avoid covid (especially when nobody else is) and once the weather changed, that became even harder still. In the end, I gave up.

We picked the cats up from the cattery on Sunday morning. This time, I remembered to take puppy training pads. One of the cats pooped again, almost the moment the car started, entirely missing the puppy pad, of course. One of them managed to projectile vomit, which was strained out through the mesh 'window' of their crate. When we got them home, the marmalade one was wet and covered in puke, so I washed him down in the shower. He jumped out of the bath, dived into the sh*tty litter tray and emerged covered in stuck-on litter up to his armpits. Back in the shower. Catch cat. Towel dry. Push him out the bathroom door so he couldn't get to the litter again, at which point the other furry idiot with sh*t on his paws also escaped before I could clean him, because by that point and after cleaning up the crate and all the puke in the bath, I was so fatigued I was gripped in pain to my core and collapsed on the floor, unable to move. 

F*ck, I NEED a holiday, but I don't think I could survive another one!

Friday, 10 September 2021

Lynton & Barnstaple Railway

Train on the Lynton & Barnstaple Railway at Woody Bay railway station.



On Thursday, on the way back from Lynmouth, we'd called in to Woody Bay railway station on the promise of a cream tea, but it began to p*ss down and was rather busy and peoply, so we only stayed long enough to see the train pull in. 

Thursday, 9 September 2021

Lynmouth








Moody skies over Lynmouth and I was glad we'd decided to drive down and park in Lynmouth rather than Lynton, (as we'd done last time we were there to have a ride on the cliff railway). The town was crowded, the car parks were very full and there were queues for everything. The queue for the cliff railway was far too much for me to have coped with, being unable to stand and queue anyway, was not socially distanced and wouldn't have been fun in the rain. Done that, so gave it a miss. Oh, we'd have like to have done it, so this was another disappointment and no matter how much I try to accept it and not want to moan about such a first world problem, the more I think, "but I'm entitled to have as much enjoyment as anyone else." Everywhere in Devon is always busy, but this year was busier than we've seen before, obviously as more people are having holidays in the UK. We waited until after the schools went back and think we therefore landed in 'wrinkly week'. :) We spotted one empty table outside The Ancient Mariner (can't miss the torpedo) and grabbed it, which was serendipitous when the sharing platter we ordered arrived with familiar delicacies, such as Iberian ham and Sobrassada

Wednesday, 8 September 2021

Ilfracombe Harbour

Ilfracombe Harbour



The weather may have changed, but Ilfracombe was thronging with tourists, so there were no tables where we wanted to sit outside to eat - that was the case all week actually - so we got a sandwich to take away and sat on some piles of rope at the side of the harbour and watched the people walking or driving across the sand. They would drive to their boats and park up. One assumes they must know when the tide will come in, but you still feel like it's a gamble. Amusingly.

There was a wedding taking place at the church in the middle of town between the harbour and the promenade. Though I seriously doubt the couple will have noticed that their wedding had become a tourist attraction too! :) 

In the afternoon we played Crazy Golf, which is excellent value for the enormous number of hits you get at the ball when (like me) you're absolutely crap at it! 

We had wanted a Devon cream tea, but there were queues again.

In the evening there was karaoke at Maplins, I mean our holiday park and, had I felt well enough, it might have been fun. But, because of the huge cold sore I'd acquired the day before, I didn't dare 'infect' a microphone. 

Tuesday, 7 September 2021

Saunton Sands

Saunton Sands



This was the best day of our week weather-wise and also the best excursion. After lunch at The Worx Braunton - highly recommend their food, service and lovely little courtyard at the back - we had a stroll along Saunton Sands

We'd tried Woolacombe Beach first, but all the car parks were rammed and the place was swarming with crowds. Now having seen Saunton, I'm glad it was.

There was filming at Saunton Sands while we were there - there are some tiny black dots in the far distance of the second image above that is the activity of the film set - with marshals at the entrance and exit to the beach, half the car park cordoned off and many vehicles coming and going. News reports suggest that this was for Aquaman 2. It was too far to walk to hope to spot anyone famous.

Paddling along the water's edge, in the breeze, was invigorating and, I didn't have the usual excruciating pain in my lower legs that night that I would normally have from a much shorter walk. And watching all the happy dogs enjoying themselves in the waves - and even throwing the stick for one - was also therapeutic. If I'd had the ability or the energy, I could have walked along there all day.

But just in case I was stupid enough to think I deserved these few minutes of pleasure, my punishment was a huge cold sore (yes, despite UV protection) that made eating and drinking difficult for the rest of the week; made sure I didn't do half of the things I might have done; made even the simplest of tasks like washing, or cleaning teeth difficult and made me feel even more fatigued and unwell. When I'm already suffering increased ME symptoms (not quite a crash) and / or stressed, this happens every time I go outside in sun / wind. Every. effin. time. 

Monday, 6 September 2021

Minehead

A sea of clouds on the north Devon coast on the way back from Minehead

Unlike previous visits to Minehead the sun was missing and the sea was closed

Even sea mist has it's beauty and I hadn't seen a mar de nubes (sea of clouds) like that since I lived in Tenerife. But if Ilfracombe closes on SundaysMinehead has it's day off on Monday, we discovered. We had to play hunt the lunch, but eventually found an amazing Ploughman's at Café/Bar 21 and sat outside on their flower-filled terrace. It came with tasty bread, a veritable mountain of high quality ham and probably a whole bag of mixed salad each, as well as various pickles and some tiny, sweet, tomatoey things with pointy ends - no idea what they were, but they were lovely. At only £8.20, I don't know how they would make a profit. 

Another favourite café on the harbour, Echo Beach Cafe, is still only doing takeaway served outside, with a limited menu. Don't blame them and applaud their covid precautions, but it meant we were only able to get a scone with jam and cream to take out and not the afternoon tea experience we'd have liked. 

Trains weren't running from Minehead on the West Somerset Railway either. :(

Around 3:30, as the tide began to come in, the sun broke through and the mist began to clear, the tops of the Skyline Pavilion at Butlin's across the bay appeared, almost floating, as if they were the snow-capped peaks of the Himalayas. Well, that's probably poetically stretching things a bit, but you get the idea! 

Sunday, 5 September 2021

Appledore

View across the River Torridge towards Instow from Appledore

After the long day yesterday, we wanted a relatively restful one today. Had lunch sat outside in Combe Martin, then drove west to Appledore, hoping inland was less busy (it wasn't). We were only there for a few minutes and didn't walk far (I couldn't). Into Ilfracombe on the way back, but it seems to close Sundays.

Saturday, 4 September 2021

Ilfracombe

Verity on the pier at the entrance to the harbour in Ilfracombe, Devon

Hillsborough Hill, site of an Iron Age fortified settlement

Ilfracombe Promenade

Verity is not my taste, but I like what it's supposed to stand for, "modern allegory of truth and justice" (we don't see much of those nowadays) and, whatever you think, I'm pretty sure indifferent is not among the common reactions to it.

Anyway, we arrived in Ilfracombe, in not too bad condition, given the stress leading up to the journey. We got the cats to their luxury 'glamping' holiday accommodation; not without incident as one crapped moments after we pulled out of the drive (at least the journey there wasn't too long to survive in a car full of THAT STINK), the other then did a sympathy crap and then one of them puked shortly before we pulled into the lane to the cattery. Can hardly blame him, being stuck in a crate with his brother and all that sh*t! At least the cattery were understanding: just said the cats would soon clean themselves up. :)

We arrived as the Sea Ilfracombe Maritime Festival was in full swing. We had a look at the stalls and the town, but avoided hanging around the vicinity of the crowds for anything other than a fleeting moment. It's a conundrum: on the one hand it was nice to see the world being lively again. On the other, you can't help seriously worrying as they stood close in a crowd in front of the stage, that people seem to think the pandemic is over, when it's clearly worse this year than last. 

Ilfracombe though, from what I've seen, looks like a lovely place to explore.

It would have been nice to have had street food at the festival, but there really wasn't anywhere to sit and I can't stand, so we opted instead to get fish and chips and take it back to our concentration camp - oops, I mean holiday park - BIG MISTAKE. The batter was greasy and the fish was dry: altogether unpleasant and my finicky system DID NOT WANT and made me feel quite illQue será.

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