West of Waterlooville Forum Friday 22nd November 2013


If, per their drawings and graphics, they actually create the variety of tasteful properties promised. If the legacy they leave us with is a new residential site with a bit of style, instead of the typically  boring and uniform boxes which has become the norm. Then I for one am for this development.

It’s a shame that the initial West of Waterlooville development by Taylor Wimpey at “Wellington Park” (Dukes Meadow, Old Park Farm) off the Hambledon Road is so awful. My observations, so far, of the Wellington Park  development are that it is overcrowded and is of a mediocre design. Taking the road around the perimeter, towards the new tip, does not give a very good perspective. The site presents a pretty bland face to Joe Public.

And let’s spare a thought for the folks who had a view across Hambledon Road, across open fields and up the back of Portsdown Hill. They certainly have not been presented with a sympathetic replacement for that marvellous view. Rather they have had multistory apartments built directly in front of them. The equivalent of the developers, the planners and the architects presenting the home owners with a corporate middle finger.

I do hope that Phase 2 of Berewood is handled with a bit more sensitivity.

West of Waterlooville

For those who could not attend the forum I’ve attached the presentation given by Redrow Homes for Phase 2 of the Berewood Site

REDR130524 Berewood Forum – Low Res

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Bussleton Jetty


Just a couple of weeks ago, while we were still down under, we visited Bussleton Jetty. Bussleton is around 2.5 hours drive south from Perth where we were staying. The Jetty pushes out to sea, some 1.8 kilometres (1.08 miles) and is said to be the longest timber piled jetty in the southern hemisphere and is second in length only to the UKs Southend Pier which at 2.18 kilometres (1.29 miles) is the worlds longest. Apart from the pleasure of walking the length of jetty and partaking of the fresh sea air there is an added attraction. At the end of the jetty is the Underwater Observatory (UWO) which allows visitors climb down some 8 metres to the sea bed.

Intra Tidal Viewing Window - Underwater Observatory at Bussleton Jetty
Intra Tidal Viewing Window – Underwater Observatory at Bussleton Jetty

We were lucky enough to join the last tour of the day and we were just six including the guide. The photo above is the first landing of the spiral staircase which has a window allowing one to observe the pilings and the creatures that inhabit the intra-tidal areas.

Intra Tidal Window - Underwater Observatory at Bussleton Jetty
Intra Tidal Window – Underwater Observatory at Bussleton Jetty

Further on down there are several other windows giving a unique view of the world below the waves. The lighting is quite subdued inside the observatory allowing for the natural lighting outside to appear very bright. We were lucky to visit when the sun was shining brightly and the sea was very clear. Apparently there had been some churn of the seabed a few days previously due to the winds that blew in. Even so taking pictures through the very thick glass does make photography a challenge.

Red Bait Crab - Underwater Observatory at Bussleton Jetty
Red Bait Crab – Underwater Observatory at Bussleton Jetty

Picture above is of a Red Bait Crab. So called because of its popularity for use as bait by the fishermen. This guy was very busy harvesting food amongst the corals and seaweeds. Apparently they will eat just about anything. A bit like me then.

Apart from the distortion caused by the glass, there is a magnification effect making things appear closer than they really are. Apparently they have the windows cleaned regularly as the sea creatures would very soon take over the surface of the glass just as readily as the remainder of the structure. Imagine that on your CV, “Underwater Window Cleaner”.

Unlike the typical aquarium you would find in a zoo or at some seaside town the UWO is a bit of a lottery. Fish can come and go as they please. I managed to capture some of the species on our visit.

BJ_Fish3
Whitebarred Box Fish – Underwater Observatory @ Bussleton Jetty
BJ_Fish2
Crested Morwong – Underwater Observatory @ Bussleton Jetty
BJ_Fish
Dhufish – Underwater Observatory @ Bussleton Jetty

There were many more species spotted than I have captured or even presented here. Unfortunately not all presented themselves close enough to the glass to for me to grab a snap. Great excitement was generated when an octopus was spotted on the seabed but for me the best moment was when a cormorant came down like a rocket chasing a shoal of fish. The air trapped in his feathers made him look like a silver missile. The agility he displayed not just with the initial dive but followed up by horizontally chasing the shoal at seabed level was amazing.

Soon it was time for us to leave and begin the long walk back. The wind had gotten up which made for a very blustery walk. The journey back seemed much longer.

Heading Back To Shore - Bussleton Jetty
Heading Back To Shore – Bussleton Jetty

All along the jetty there are interesting plaques to read. Some are folks reminiscences from the past. Some bear historical facts and some are memorial plaques for folks whose ashes have been scattered from the jetty.

Fish - Lucy Dougan A plaque on Bussleton Jetty
Fish – Lucy Dougan
A plaque on Bussleton Jetty

And could this be a statue of the young girl whose memories Lucy Dougan describes above ?

A bronze statue close to the plaque entitled "Fish" Bussleton Jetty
A bronze statue close to the plaque entitled “Fish”
Bussleton Jetty

Or perhaps, Jetsam below ?

Jetsam - Nicole Sinclair Bussleton Jetty
Jetsam – Nicole Sinclair
Bussleton Jetty

Both of the plaques conjure up images of a bygone era and touch on my own memories of a childhood tied strongly to the sea and seashore.

 

Bussleton Jetty


Bussleton Jetty

Bussleton Jetty, 1.8Km long. 2nd longest wood jetty in the world. Has the UWO (Under Water Observatory) at the end where you can go below to see the various fish and other creatures on the sea bed and also on the jetty pilings. Some interesting plaques to read along the way. Well worth the long walk although there is a train which was in for maintenance the day we visited.

My Prostate and Me – Part 3


Template Biopsy !

Monday was one of the longest days of my life. I was scheduled for a “Template Biopsy” which for the un-initiated is described thus …..

The template biopsy is carried out using an ultrasound probe which is passed into your back passage and samples of the prostate gland are obtained through the area of the skin between your scrotum and back passage called the perineum. The procedure is similar to a trans rectal biopsy which you will usually have had.

Let me tell you, from the recipients perspective, it is nothing like the TRUS (Trans rectal biopsy).

To start with my TRUS was carried out fully conscious by a specialist nurse, the lovely Vanessa. The main difference though is that I was in and out of the hospital within an hour or so. But that was 18 months ago or more.

Mondays procedure was to be carried out under general anesthetic, for which I am truly grateful. But lets scroll back the clock a little.

Early Monday morning, Very early

I was awake, some time in the wee small hours. Either I am worrying about the procedure, or this is the residuals of jet-lag acquired on our return from Oz just over a week ago. Perhaps a combination of both.  I checked the clock at 04:00 and thereafter approximately on the hour until I got up just after 07:00. I was not allowed to have anything to eat but was allowed clear liquids to drink and had a black tea around 08:00. The taxi was due to pick me up at 11:30 so I was pottering around in the house killing time. It’s amazing how often I found myself by the bread bin thinking “I’ll just have some toast” or over by the cupboard staring at a packet of peanuts. My last eats had been around 21:00 the previous evening. Going without food for that length of time is not natural for me.

Eventually the taxi turned up, although not at my house but three doors away. Luckily I saw him out there. It could have been worse, the dispatcher at the taxi office misheard my address as Sistine and, had I not corrected him, the taxi would probably have been well on his way to Rome and the Vatican. Still, having ascertained that he was there for me I boarded and we set off. Twice I had to correct his directions back to the main road before I was sure we were going to the hospital.  Mentally I was crossing my fingers, hoping that the surgeon had a better sense of direction than my erstwhile pilot.

Tedium Begins

And so, at 11:50, I checked in at the QA Day Surgery Admissions Reception. And thus began the long wait.  It’s a bit like being on a long haul flight, hours of tedium broken up by announcements from the flight crew. In this case there was no food or drink.

After thirty minutes or so I was taken along to a small room. Here I was visited by the anaesthetist  who interrogated, sorry, checked my details and gave me a brief summary of what to expect. He also arranged for some initial meds.

Shortly thereafter, around 13:00, a nurse arrived with my lunch. A cup of water and four tabs, 2 x paracetamol / 1 antacid and 1 stop you feeling sicky pill.

While I was downing this feast another nurse arrived, interrogated me again and checked my blood pressure and heart rate. My heart rate was right down at about 55 which I queried but is apparently normal for “someone of our age”. She later demonstrated her own readings which were similar, so that was alright then.

I was then left alone to my own devices. I read for a while, played hangman on my phone, read some more, got up and walked around my room, looked out the window , read some more. Well you get the picture. I believe I even had a nap for a few minutes. The window looked down on the back dock but there was nothing happening down there.

Around 16:00 a yet another nurse informed  me that I was Mr. Hodgsons last patient and that I would be seeing him soon. Well I saw his registrar who introduced himself but I have no idea what his name was. His accent, he was English I think, was as indecipherable as his signature on the forms that he got me to sign. He went through the now familiar interrogation, during which Mr. Hodgson popped in, shook my hand and disappeared again.

Oh The Indignity

Twenty minutes later I was invited to go and get changed, by yet another nurse, who led me down to a room full of changing cubicles. This is where all dignity ends.

I am not a small guy at just over six feet tall and way over twenty stones (280lb / 127kg). The nurse threw me a smock and left the room. Needless to say the smock, of the tie at the back variety, did not fit well and I struggled to secure it. Although there was no mirror available I could tell by the cool air that most of my back and all of my bum was pretty much fully exposed. The nurse popped her head in and asked how I was getting on. When I explained that the smock didn’t fit and I was having trouble tying it she assumed a sympathetic air and replied “I shouldn’t worry, the first thing they’ll do is undo it”. I then settled down to fight with the compression stockings which when battle was over were rolled up to just below my knees. Wonderful!!

So there I am with my pale blue smock reaching from just below my chin, down to about two inches above the knee. Struggling to meet my sage green stockings, some two inches below my knees. All with my bum exposed to the rear.

The epitomy of sartorial elegance ? Nope, not a pretty picture.

Not to worry, I thought, I have my dressing gown which should bridge the gap. No such luck. To make sure that I was all bright and shiny for the hospital, my wife had washed and tumble dried it. I hadn’t worn it until now and yes, you’ve guessed, it had shrunk. At least it still closed at the front but the length was a sadly lacking being just a tad longer than the hospital smock. At least my back & bum were covered and therefore a little warmer.

I gathered my stuff and found the nurse, who then gathered up another guy (John) and led us through the hospital. Imagine my feelings as we passed through the first doorway into a public waiting area. I’m dressed like a freak and as we entered the waiting area all heads turned to see who had arrived. I thought later that it must have looked like me and John got dressed in the dark and swapped dressing gowns. His gown reached from neck to ankles and wrapped around him properly while mine was way too small. So, we made it through the waiting area without the gales of laughter I was expecting. Next we traversed the hospital to a stairwell where we descended to the floor below and were left in a new waiting room with one other guy and a TV. Here we waited for what seemed like ages but must have been about thirty to forty minutes. John and the  other guy got the call and then eventually so did I.

Kim, not sure if she was a nurse or a doctor, arrived to lead me to the Operating Theatre suite. Once again I had to traverse the hospital through the public corridors and climb to the upper floors via the stairwell. At this point a cold draught, not Guiness, reminded me about the negative aspects of my attire as I climbed the stairs. The stairs with the open railings to the centre, the railings that gave a not so glorious view of my nether regions to the several people descending these same flights of stairs. One glance up by any of them and they would be scarred for life.

Nearly There

On arrival I am sat in another waiting area, just for few minutes, but my apprehension levels are rising. This is not how I imagined the process would work. All this walking and waiting followed by more walking and waiting. And then an assistant anaesthetist comes and interrogates me one more time and I am on my way. One more surprise was that I had to walk into the theatre and get on the table myself. A green bag is held out for me to dump my shoes and dressing gown into. As I take off the gown a nurse rushes across the room to shut the doors to the outside, to prevent my blushes or those of any outsiders I’m not so sure. Then I am on the table.

And They’re Off

When I entered the theatre there was a group of folks gathered in the corner. Presumably they were in a pre-scrum huddle discussing my procedure. Or maybe they were just discussing Pompeys abysmal record. As I hop on the table I suddenly become the centre of a hive of activity as the anaesthetist and his assistant close in to prepare me. Cannula in the back of the hand, heart monitors etc. then the anaesthetist is telling me that I will feel a coldness in my hand as he injects the first of two concoctions. I felt nothing  and then he informs me that I may feel a little dizzy. I’m staring at the ceiling and the light panels suddenly seem to displace and the next thing I know is a voice over my shoulder is speaking and inviting me to cough.

Job Done

I open my eyes and I am in a different room, apparently job done. This is like taking a shot with an SLR. You look through the lens, focus, shutter release, view goes blank as the mirror lifts, then the view is clear again when the mirror drops. All in the blink of an eye. I’m not feeling dopey or dizzy, just wide awake. Once the nurse is happy that I am OK I am wheeled through to a recovery area.

As I enter the new waiting area I pass John and the other guy from the pre-op waiting area. They are sitting up in their respective beds eating toast which they both wave at me.

After a short time and a cup of water I was invited to get dressed and was led outside to a seating area. The nurse asked if I had eaten anything or had a drink to which I responded “No”. I was offered coffee or tea and I was expecting toast but was in fact offered eggy or corned beef butties. John was already out there so I sat alongside and we compared notes as he had the same procedure. When my coffee and butties arrived he was rather envious since he was only offered toast and like me he loves corned beef. My wife was brought in and she eyed my butties hungrily too. She had been waiting outside since just after five and, as it was now gone seven,  was very hungry.

The purpose of this little tea party is to ensure that you are OK, that you can keep down food and drink and most importantly that you can have a pee. If you can’t keep your food down or you don’t make water they won’t let you go home. Worst still an  inability to pee can mean catheterisation and / or an overnight stay. Luckily I was able after a short while to produce a dribble. Oh but it burned. I’m guessing that I was catheterised during the procedure although nobody said.

Freedom

Anyway, based on my meager performance I was allowed to go and  my daughter came and drove us home. Once home it was more tea and everyone seemed amazed, not the least of which me, at how alert I was. Also that I was in no pain. Well apart from when I had a pee which I was having to do with ever-increasing regularity.

Today, Wednesday Morning

Well the good news is that I have not had any pain. Two nights sleep, although still not sleeping all the way through so blaming the jet lag.

It is now nearly forty-one hours since the procedure.  Any residual pain blocking by the anaesthetic must have worn off by now. The burning sensation has all but disappeared and I have a slight soreness in the perineum, like when you have a bruise, which only makes itself known when I sit on something hard.

Now I have to wait for approximately four weeks to hear the results. That brings us to Christmas week I think, so it is likely that my appointment will be after the holidays. We shall see.