OLD BAT uses TELECARE

Just as I was moaning about being Shielded until mid August, having already spent five weeks in hospital, then twelve weeks at home. Things got worse. I had a nasty fall when I tumbled into my walking frame. I fell forward and got my legs tangled up with its metal legs. I could not wriggle free. Every movement made my position more painful, so I gave up and pressed the tele care security button that hangs around my neck..A voice answered straight away, even though it was three thirty in the morning, I explained my position, and asked him to telephone my daughter and ask her to bring her husband to my rescue. I needed him because he is very strong and would be able to lift me up from an extremely awkward position. I did not have to wait too long before the rescuers arrived and put me back into bed.This was after we had viewed the damage.I had a nasty gash on my lower leg and a pool of blood on my carpet. I had also managed to preserve a small measure of dignity keeping all my night clothes in the right place rather than around my neck.

Every elderly person should sign up for Telecare protection.. It is a service where you just have to wear a panic button around your neck which you press when you are in trouble.This alerts a person on the other end of a phone who arranges the help to get into action.This help can be family members as in my case, or the police or firemen if necessary. This service is free to elderly people on a low income.I am sure that it is a life saver To join this organisation, just telephone your local Council office and they will arrange everything..

In the morning I telephoned the District Nurses office to ask them to call when they had a free space. One of the nurses came immediately. She did not like what she saw, and said that in normal times she would have sent me to hospital. It is not normal times, as we are still in the middle of a Cofid Virus 19 pandemic, so it was wiser to treat the injury at home, but it would take a long time. I now have a large dressing bandaged on to my left leg between my ankle and my knee. I must take more care as this is the second time this has happened. I might not get away with so little damage next time.

THE OLD BAT IS WORRIED

I cannot remember just how many weeks I have been in lockdown, it could be seven, eight, or even nine.Time has gone by in a sort of mist, the result of living on my own with the help of carers, worrying about my friends and relations. Reality arrived yesterday when I tried to telephone, a very special friend and got no answer. I kept trying all day, with still no answer. so I telephoned a mutual friend who got in touch with her landlord, He said that she had been taken into hospital. All my worries were fast turning into reality. The landlord did not know the reason for her admission, but I know that she fits the profile of many Cofid 19 virus patients, being in the dangerous age bracket. I am extremely worried….

FOUR DAYS LATER

At the start of the lockdown ,I telephoned her regularly, but as time has gone on, the situation has stayed the same, I have phoned less because I have nothing new to talk about. .Now I am feeling guilty because she might have told me if she was feeling unwell. I then made a sensible decision and put a message on her Facebook page. Such is the power of Facebook that her daughter saw my message and telephoned me straight away

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My friend is in hospital suffering from a rare virus, which has caused meningitis.. She is seriously ill, not wih Cofid 19, but with another rare virus that could have connections to it. The prognosis is not good, but I cling to the fact that she has always been strong and healthy for her age.I am having many conversations with her daughter who keeps in touch with the hospital..

ONE WEEK LATER

. Good news, she is on her last bag of anti viral drip.When this is finished, the doctors are thinking of sending her home. A remarkable recovery.

A FEW DAYS LATER

MY friend is home from hospital. Wonderful news. She is still very weak, but is better off in her own home, being looked after by carers four times a day, than being in hospital. I am looking forward to talking to her on the telephone when she feels strong enough. I am so glad that she has come through her dreadful illness. Special friends are impossible to find and she is very special.

TWO DAYS LATER

This morning I had a phone call from my friend who had just spent two nights in her own bed. Apparently, meningitis can strike you at any time. She is well aware how lucky she has been to survive such a dangerous illness. I am just glad to have my friend back.

The OLD BAT sees the NEWS

I am very pleased that Mr DRAKEFORD, our FIRST MINISTER, stuck to his guns, keeping Wales in lockdown for another three weeks, except for a couple of minor adjustments. I am sure that the owners of the garden centres are relieved that they can now sell their plants instead of throwing them away. More exercise is good, but I will have to wait a bit longer to see the rest of my family..

As I live on my own, I am very dependant on the TV to bring me the news both good and bad..I just cannot stop watching the reports from all over the world. I have shed many tears over the deaths of complete strangers.The world seems to have contracted, all the people now being part of one large family, battling against the same disaster, personal to us all. .Such is the power of TV. It helped Captain TOM MOORE raise more than 33 million pounds, walking up and down his garden path. Well done, I wonder what that money will be spent on.

Last Friday we all celebrated Victory in Europe Day. Much praise was heaped on our soldiers, our brave heroes. I know. that those that are still alive are very old and frail. Now many of these brave men are dying in the Care Homes. We should all be ashamed at the way we have neglected them..

I have just heard on the news , that the thousands of deaths in the care homes, was caused by a bad decision. The elderly patients were transferred from the hospitals into the care homes. This was to free beds for the new Confid Virus 19 patients. A very major mistake, which is having terrible consequences. These patients had not been tested to see if they were carrying this dreadful virus .Unfortunately, they were the carriers, who spread this disease all over the country to the weakest,, who are now dying in their thousands. I do not expect that we will ever know the true numbers of those who have died this way. R.I.P.

May 21st

This morning a speaker from the N.H,S.answered the accusation discussed in the article above. According to this speaker, all the elderly patients who were transferred back to the Care homes were moved with the agreement of all parties.The hospitals needed the beds for the Cofid 19 patients, while the Care Homes needed the income as most of them are privately run , This turned out to have been a dreadful decision.What a pity that they not test them for the Virus before the transfer.I hope that all sides have learned a valuable lesson for the future..

 

 

The OLD BAT is HOME ALONE

When I was in hospital, I longed to be in my  comfortable two roomed flat, home for the last 18 years. It occupies the ground floor of a large town house, converted into six flats, where I live on my own/.  I used to know all the other tenants, because they have been in residence  nearly as long as I have. This could  have changed .My windows look out over the Recreational grounds. a large green park marked  out into rugby and football pitches.This park is very popular with families having picnics and barbecues. At this moment, there are people there disobeying the Governments lockdown rules. They are gathering  in groups, which the police are continually chasing away. Having lived here for so long, I know most of the neighbours  Yesterday, as my morning carer left, she found my next door neighbour pumping up a slow puncture in her back tyre. I must remember to thank him the next time he cleans my widows..Another neighbour, was watering my plants in the small garden. We have had a very long spell of dry sunny weather. The sort of weather to go to the beach, or take a picnic to the country. Unfortunately, since the advent of COVID 19 VIRUS, the whole of the British Isles has been in lockdown including me, because of my age and health problems. This means that I cannot leave my flat for12 weeks, only seeing the carers for company,  plus any one delivering supplies.

My close friend and neighbour does my shopping. Every few days, she stands outside my large bay window, makes a telephone call to me and  gives me all the local news. This works quite well, because I can see her as she talks, so I don’t feel quite so lonely, I had a delivery of food this morning. She brought me everything I needed plus some treats,  two Portuguese custard tarts, and a large chocolate croissant for tomorrows breakfast. We also managed a few minutes of chat, quite difficult with face masks on.

Because of  my age and disability, I am extremely lucky to have two carers who come to the flat to help me live on my own .One arrives at 9 oclock to help me wash and get dressed. She is always dressed in  gloves, full mask and apron.The other one comes at 6 to check that I am O.K This is because I have had a fall. Both carers are dressed in fully protective gear. They work for the same company. who employ many trained carers  I just have two out of a big group who look after many elderly people in the area. I look forward to seeing them and hearing about their families, most have children whose schools are closed. Many of them  come from the local district, while others,  originally come from Europe and even Asia. I am disturbed that the fatalities in  this grade of carer is not counted in the Governments figures, These carers look after the patients most likely to catch the disease, Good news this after noon for all carers in Wales.They are to be given  five hundred pounds each, as a bonus for coping with the virus. They certainly deserve it..

I have lived on my own for the last eighteen years, so I am used to my own company. I enjoy reading, watching T.V.,and having my friends around for a chat. I have a few very good friends who I am missing badly. Nowadays, my carers have become my friends, who check on my wellbeing because I had a fall when I was on my own..I will now describe what happened. It was all my own fault. It was 3 o clock in the morning and I had to go to the bathroom. I walk with a zimmer frame made of metal. It was dark, I was not properly awake, and my flat is overcrowded with furniture,. When I started walking, one of the frames legs  got  caught behind a chair. I did not notice it, so when I tried to move the frame, it was stuck and tripped me up, so that I fell on top of it. At first, I thought I could get out of the sticky situation. I wear a panic button around my neck, but I did not think that my situation merited an army of strong men to lift me up. However, the more I struggled, the more I got entangled with the metal legs of the frame,  the more bruising my legs received.. I could not stay on the floor for the rest of the night, even though it was carpeted. Luckily, I  had taken my phone with me, also my diary with all those long mobile numbers. I rang a friend who lives not too far away. It was only ten minutes before she arrived with her husband. My friend tried to pick me up but failed, as I was such a  dead weight. Her husband had no  such problem. He lifted me up and had me back in bed in seconds. I was bruised and a lot wiser, it was a lesson well learned.  I am much more careful now.. I have to accept that I am really elderly, so have to plan all moves carefully if I want to continue living on my own. I certainly do not want to have to move to a care home, I was sent to a  boarding school when I was five years old, where I was quite a little rebel. I don’t think that I have changed that much in all the years between .Living in a care home is the answer for some people who cannot for some reason look after themselves.I have one such friend who has never been so happy/.During lockdown,  the care homes have fared very badly, having large numbers of deaths due to the frailty of the inmates, and  the closeness that they live to each other.Once the virus gets into the home, it runs riot threw the occupants.This includes many carers who had not been able to get the protective clothing they needed. .I am so sorry that this happened, It would take a lot of courage to work in a care home at the present time. We must be very thankful that there are many wonderful people who do this every day.

THE OLD BAT in ISOLATION ,

Having been in hospital for the last five weeks after a hip operation,  I now feel able to get back on the bus, and  try to get in touch with all the friends that I neglected during the last couple of years. I should have only been in hospital for a couple of weeks, because the hip operation was straight forward.  Unfortunately,  I had a bad  fall which dislocated the new hip, which had to be reset.The result of this accident was that the carers who were going to look after me at home had gone elsewhere, so I was stuck in hospital. Meanwhile, the Covid virus had reared its dreadful head and everything changed.. It felt as if the whole world had gone mad, nothing would ever be the same again. I felt as if our beautiful planet was seeking retribution for the way we had been treating it for the last years. No one is safe, at my advanced age, I feel on the front line. .I  am now staying at home in my comfortable two room flat in isolation. My children were allowed to come and look after me for the first week out of hospital.They proved to be excellent carers, for which I am truly grateful. I am now on my own with the help of good  professional carers. One  comes at 9.15 to help me get washed and dressed, and I am expecting another to call at 8 30 to make sure the I am not on the floor. Falling over is my biggest fear as I am very wobbly. My new hip is much better, but I still have  painful knees which makes walking very difficult.  .

Now that I am in isolation for 12 weeks, I have plenty of time to write. I do not ..pretend to be any sort of writer but  I do feel like talking to my friends in the outside world, even though my punctuation is terrible, the spelling probably worse. I think the it is important to talk about my experiences in a truthful way, so that people are not frightened about going into hospital for treatment, or to have operations, mainly older people like myself. Isolation is fine for a little while, specially after the hustle and bustle of a busy hospital ward.There were no serious cases of illness, everyone was in for corrective surgery. It was a  large ward for women. We were mostly there for either knee or hip operations.The knee operations  looked very  painful, as the mostly middle aged women forced themselves to walk up and down the ward exercising their new joint,  many were in tears. I had been given a new left hip joint which was not too bad at all. However, my accident caused a small furore. It happened, because I had fallen asleep leaning on the small table over my chair. Unfortunately, the table had wheels that ran off under my weight, throwing me down in the middle of the ward. I awoke up in the middle of a dream, screaming. The nurses were not allowed to touch me, so about five of them rolled me onto a bed sheet, then lifted me back onto the bed, Many new X-rays followed. I still had a lot of pain, so even more X rays. The end result was that they had  missed my new hip, which was found to be badly dislocated, so had to be reset..  This was the reason that I spent so much longer in hospital, the other being the shortage of home carers.to look after me at home, as I live on my own.

I must now have a word about the nursing staff.. It took me quite a while to work out the different stages of seniority. Those nurses dressed in pink were the students studying for the degree, they all have to have this before they can give out the medicines. The nurses dressed in green were mostly older and experienced. They did much of the work except giving out the drugs. These nurses had worked for years, had families, but could not find the time to go back to college to study for a degree. I found them to be wonderful,  so experienced. The next group were dressed in light blue. this group had more responsibility while the darker blue dressed nurses were the staff nurses who gave out the medication. The nurse dressed in navy blue was the Sister in charge of the ward.  My ward was run by a truly international group of nurses.There were quite a few highly qualified Indian staff nurses who settled here many years ago. They had children in the local schools and husbands, also nurses, doing night shifts.This also applies to a large group of dainty Phillipino nurses whose children filled the classes of the local Catholic school. Most of the young staff nurses were home grown, they had gone straight to University from school. I cannot praise this group enough.There were also exceptions. One morning, when waiting for my strip wash,. I was confronted by a 6ft 4in tattooed male nurse ready with the sponge.There was nothing else to do but to get on with it. He was an exceptionally good nurse who worked on both the male and female wards.

I found all the staff both friendly and helpful, even the kitchen staff, who wheeled those horribly noisy heated trollies with our choice of meals.They seemed to remember exactly what we liked or did not like, very quickly. Mentioning food, ,considering the numbers they had to cater for, the kitchen staff did a very good job. Their porridge in the morning and their rice pudding were exceptional.

I must now talk about the Surgeons whose patients we all were.They were all middle aged men, mostly Indian  and British.They were accompanied by their young registrars, young Indian men and  by a few young British women.There was a doctor on call at all times. Each surgeon had their own group of patients ,either pre or post operational.They did their rounds at about midday, having started operating at 9 o’clock, and would continue in the afternoon.They were all kindly, their registrars made sure that we were all comfortable and not in any pain.

I would like to wish all my friends, and neighbours the best of health during this difficult time, I know that your imagination can play tricks on you. I developed  a very runny. nose and sore throat a few weeks ago. I was worried for a while, until I remembered  that the cherry tree outside my window was in full bloom. I had hay fever, which has now abated, after the wind has blown the blossom away Now I have to come to terms with  life in isolation.After five weeks in a busy hospital ward, it will not be easy,, but I will do my best.

Now that I am home in my flat, I am alone except for the two carers who call in the morning and in the evening.  I am also lucky to have a beautiful view from my living room window. It looks out on a park surrounded by the most wonderful copper beech trees, which at the moment are bare of leaves.This park is now empty of visitors, most people obeying the governments instructions not to congregate, so spreading this dreadful virus.I can watch the solitary runners and walkers as they take their exercise..My mind goes back to the ward, remembering how we passed the time, waiting to go home.Time seemed to drag by, no visitors after the Lockdown.

The ward was run on oiled wheels, everyone knowing exactly what they had to do. There was only one real upset in the five weeks I was there. An elderly lady of 96, was admitted after a bad fall. She had to have surgery straight away. She would have none of it, Nothing would persuade her to sign the consent form. In her confusion, she thought that she was being attacked in her own home. This battle of wills went on for hours, before she gave permission,.In an open ward,  even with the curtains closed, we heard every word. It was so upsetting.

The other large group of important carers that I nearly forgot, were the physiotherapists. They were a major influence in all the patients recovery. As soon as the patient recovered from the operation, the physios arrived with their instructions for exercising the new or improved limb.They were very keen and very firm.I was quite in awe of them,  almost frightened, which was completely unreasonable. I am not good with pain, in fact, except for the fall, the whole operation was pretty painle

Now I am home alone except for the two carers, who are fast becoming friends.

I cannot express enough how much I appreciate them.They both spend half an hour here helping me to wash etc, without them life would be very boring. These carers come from all over the world.I did not realise what a cosmopolitan city Cardiff is. Like everyone else, I cannot wait for the lock down to be lifted, but know that it would be a disaster if it was lifted too early, it would causea a second wave of the virus. We have lost far too many doctors and nurses as well as patients already..We must obey the lock down for the good of everyone.

Tags.    Hospital, operations, doctors, nurses, Covid 19 Virus.  lock down, carers

Indian and British Surgeons, Indian and Philippine nurses Indian Registrars

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The Old Bat visits Rookwood hospital for an elderly care assessment.

via The Old Bat visits Rookwood hospital for an elderly care assessment.

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The Old Bat visits Rookwood hospital for an elderly care assessment.

Yesterday I went by ambulance to a different type of hospital. Rookwood is a place devoted to the care of the elderly. I am elderly and certainly need help to go on living independently. I looked forward to this assessment as I need help badly.

I was taken very gently from the ambulance to a small room where several machines waited  to test me. I was weighed, measured, told to stand up, sit down and do some memory tests. I was particularly interested in the last test as I felt that I had struggled lately remembering  a friends address. I was relieved when I scored full marks. The first person to appear was a physiotherapist, I am very fearful around such people as they all want me  to do exercises that are very painful.   Not this one. Having heard the truly dreadful cracking noises coming from my knees when standing up, he very quickly told me that exercise was out of the question. I was just to keep moving as much as I could without too much pain. This was a great relief,  I had left the surgical hospital with a whole programme of exercises that were painful in the extreme. I just could not do them/ What a relief.The next person to appear was the phlebotomist armed with many needles .I am not afraid of needles, but I know that most practitioners finds it difficult to find a vein. to get blood. Not this on one, she found a vein straight away and filled all the syringes. Next came nurse with the E.C.G. machine, and so it went on until they ran out of tests, and gave me chicken sandwiches, and a glass of milk.

I was most relieved at the result of the memory test, as losing my memory is one of my greatest fears. I will get the results of the other tests later, but I was also enlightened that the reason that I  have so much pain in my feet, when they are either too hot to too cold, is that I have Raynauds disease, lucky old me.

 

Monday March 11th

Another ambulance ride to the Dermatology dept of the local hospital. I have regular appointments looking for skin cancers caused by my life time farming  in all weathers. All seemed well today. Later on in the afternoon I had a phone call from my  Dr.She rang to tell me that she had the result of all those tests on Friday. My blood test showed up to be hugely high in potassium, probably due to my fondness of bananas, So more blood tests.

I would advise all elderly people to have as many health tests as possible.You might also be eating too many bananas or something else. Good luck.

 

 

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The Old Bat has two visits to hospital

I had been looking forward.to this week for some time, because I had two appointments at the orthopaedic hospital where I hoped to get help. I knew that it was going to be a bit difficult because I can only walk with the aid of a frame. I cannot negotiate the steps leading  from my flat to the pavement,  Because of this, I have not left my flat for nearly two years. When I  have appointments, I have be taken by ambulance with its carrying chair. I have traveled this way many times picking up other patients on the way .All the ambulance men  and women are very kind and gentle.

The first appointment was on Tuesday morning. As usual, the ambulance collected me an hour after the appointment time, which is quite normal. As soon as I arrived I was taken to the X—ray Dept where my spine was X–rayed from every angle. This was quite painful because I cannot stand unaided.

I was then taken to see the surgeon who explained that the operation on my spine had healed perfectly. The injured vertebrae had been removed, its place taken by a metal scaffolding, all was well.The improvement in my back will take some time before I will feel  the benefit of it. The metal work has to become part of the back protecting the spinal chord. The second appointment was on Thursday. The same routine,I was whisked off to the X-Ray Dept, where I had many pictures taken of my knees and legs  .After this, I was taken to see the surgeon, who was very pleasant and kind, even though he gave me bad news. In his opinion, as a knee surgeon, my hips are in a worse condition than my knees. He explained that the hips affected the knees, so should be done first..I felt like bursting into tears, but didn’t. I know that there is a very very long wait for hip operations, about six months before you get on the waiting list to  see a surgeon let alone have an operation.This was bad news  for an eighty two year old.  The surgeon then injected my knee with some painkilling fluid he hoped would help. It had no effect the last time that I had something similar.Perhaps,  it has been improved. Apparently, I have to wait three weeks before finding out if it works or not, so I still live in hope of some improvements.

 

To complete the day, I vomited in the ambulance on the way home.Thank goodness, I had the sense to ask for a sick bowl, before this happened. I have never been a good traveler. It just seemed the perfect ending to a disappointing day.

I feel a lot better about everything today, I live very comfortably in my flat  where I am near good friends and family,.  All visit often, making sure that I am O.K. Many elderly  people are not so well treated.  Being house bound, I watch a lot of news programme on T.V. and am daily horrified to see how they have to live in poverty and squalor.

 

HEALTH ALERT

Apparently it is Breast Cancer Awareness Week so please take advantage of all the help you can get about looking after yourself. Start off by examining your own breasts, it might save your life.

THE OLD BAT hates the non stop use of ‘Tablets and Smart Phones’.

I know that I am an old grumpy woman and  have strong views on a wide. array of subjects .The main object of my wrath at the moment is the non stop use of ‘smart phones’ and tablets. I always look forward to visits from my grandchildren when we share all the family news. This no longer happens because they come armed with their phones and tablets. The last visit was such that we did not have a conversation,  they just continued playing the game on their phones that they had started outside.. I did not like it so I was a bit grumpy.

When my Grandson came to stay for two weeks I worried about his overuse of his phone He never seemed to be off it, always talking to some one all day. Many nights he was still chatting away at midnight, even one o’clock. I could not see any evidence of homework being done.This very day, the four chief Medical Officers  of the Government discussed this problem on T.V ..Apparently , when playing these games, the drug dopamine is produced in the brain, as it is in gambling/, which is not to be encouraged in young brains.The Doctors recommended that the phones and tablets should be left outside the bedroom doors and that they should not be taken to the dining table. I heartily agree.The four Doctors are the four main ones in the Government who try to look after the nation health. I wonder how old little baby Frankie will be before she plays online.

Life is quiet at the moment. As many of my friends  are Chinese we had a lovely Chinese meal the evening of the start of Chinese New Year. This was not a ‘.takeaway’ type meal but a genuine home cooked one meal of ‘prawn dumplings Dim Sum,,prawns with snow peas and crayfish,  Ginger Tofu, Korean chicken, Baked Sea Bass and many others which I enjoyed very much. I avoided the red pepper spiced noodles. too hot for me. .We had a lovely evening listening to many of our old records now stored on a. gadget, every record that we wished for at the touch of a button  One good thing to come from the new technology. I had forgotten just how much I had loved some of them. ‘Only the Lonely’ by Roy Orbison for example.

Next week, I am going to see the surgeon about my knee. I hope that he is going to give me a date for the operation. I am getting fed up limping around with my ‘frame’.

I have many flowers on my camellia bush, so Spring is on it’s way. Best wishes to you all.

THE OLD BAT visits hospital again and again, so the story continues.

After seeing my surgeon and getting a definite date for my spinal operation, I thought that it was just a matter of being patient and waiting. How wrong I was. I had to have a blood test to make sure that I was germ free. Unfortunately I was wrong again. A small infection lurked in my waterworks so I had to have a short course of antibiotics to clear it up. It was unlucky that I had never had this particular one before. I had only taken three capsules when I became violently sick and was rushed off to hospital once again. I spent another two weeks being treated for a violent reaction to the new antibiotics.
I am now going to tell you about my experience in this ward. I found that all the nurses were good but the staff nurses were fantastic. They were all young and had not long got their degrees.They arrived on the ward at 7.30am ,perfectly groomed with hair tied into pony tails, not one hair out of place and wearing running shoes. At 7.30 pm they limped from the ward, hair all hair over the place, completely exhausted. Many days not even having had time to have food. They were extremely  efficient and caring. One staff nurse came from Rome, another from Dublin,and  one from Caerphilly. A young man from Bahrein  who trained at Treforest, completed the set.  The other nurses also made my two weeks stay almost a pleasure. Surprise surprise, the food was pretty good as well.
Not long after this, November 30th arrived and I had to go to a different hospital for my back operation.I was a bit concern but not too much. It was all over very quickly and I did not feel a lot of pain. My back just felt a bit sore.I could have gone home in a week but the home carers took longer to be organised. this hospital was so efficient. Enough of hospitals, I am now going to tell you how I have managed to get through the last two years stuck in my flat, unable to get out because of the steps to the pavement. I have only remained reasonably sane with the help of my wonderful friends who have rallied around, and have helped in every way possible.Not only have they cooked delicious meals for themselves but have often included an extra portion for me. These have been delivered hot to my table with theirs, so we eat together which is lovely. I have now tasted all sorts of different cuisine in good company. There is nothing more miserable than continually eating on your own.

My fourteen year old Grandson has been staying with me while his Mum has been on holiday.We usually get on very well but this time his use and over attention to his mobile phone has nearly driven me to distraction.I suppose that I am old fashioned but I do not want his education to be neglected. Otherwise his visit has been a pleasure,