March 2016                                                                                                              Back to February


Tuesday 1st

6 to 14 to 6°C.2.51kWh 1.4kW max, Rained most of the night and into the morning with a clear sunny spell around midday. Clouded over again but much warmer in the south westerly breeze.


The geranium plug plants came yesterday and we moved these into 12 cell trays. Also the first half of the Turbo broad beans which had germinated on wet paper towel.


Wednesday 2nd

1 to 6 to 4°C. 2.84kWh 1.7kW max. Rain or sleet showers in a northerly wind but there was a very sunny spell around midday.


The celery has finally succumbed to the cold so Pat pulled it up along with what remained of the mid season sprouts which the hens were very pleased to be given. There is still plenty of kale for me to eat, which Pat hates.


Thursday 3rd

3 to 8 to 4°C. 3.84kWh 1.6kW max. Showers during the night and early morning but then cleared to sunny intervals  with a south westerly breeze.


Pat took the opportunity of a dry day to order another load of logs for the stove and then barrowed the whole 3.8 cubic metres round the back to the woodshed in the afternoon. Something else I would ordinarily do myself. Maybe I should call her 'SuperPat'?


Friday 4th

-1 to 4 to 3°C. 1.49kWh 250W max. A miserable damp day with a cold northerly wind and some sleet and wet snow showers.


Not a day for working outside.


Saturday 5th

2 to 7 to 3°C. 4.57kWh 1.7kW max.  Mainly sunny but with a cold northerly wind.


The Bacopa plugs came yesterday so planted these into 12 cell trays. Also transplanted the early Leek Elefant from the seed tray into 12 cell trays. Hopefully we will have more success with the leeks this year. The mild winter caused most of them to bolt before they were big enough to eat.


Sunday 6th

0 to 5 to 1°C. 3,86kWh 1.7kW max. Another cold but mainly sunny day.


Nothing we could do outside so watched the Davis Cup.


Monday 7th

-3 to 5 to -4°C. 8.58kWh 1.8kW max. The sunniest day since last September but feeling very cold in the northerly wind.


Tuesday 8th

-4 to 8 to 6°C. 2.6kWh 1.1kW max. Cold start but warmed up during the day. Mainly cloudy with drizzle except for a brighter drier spell around midday.


Planted the last of the plug plants, Petunias, in 12 cell trays and the second batch of germinated Turbo broad beans.


Wednesday 9th

4 to 6 to 5°C. 1.67kWh 400W max. Wet and dreary with a strong cold northerly wind. At least the rain was only light. Further south there are reports of flooding.


Tomorrow is the operation on my hip. We need to get up at 6am to be there by 7.30. Whether I will be able to fill this in for the next day or so we shall see.


The next few days I wrote after I returned home.


Thursday 10th

1 to 7 to 1°C. 2.43kWh 1kW max.  Dull with very little wind, staying dry.


Arrived at the hospital at 7:25 and taken to my room. As you would expect it was dominated by an adjustable hospital bed. There was as wardrobe for my clothes and a locker next to the bed. Between the bed and the window, which had the usual adjustable blind, was a stool and a chair for visitors and a higher chair with arms for me. There was also a television which could also play radio programs.


Pat had brought sheets and a duvet for the bed rather than use theirs and the room seemed fairly clear of chemicals which might trigger my asthma. I got changed into my operating gown and waited for the surgeon and anaesthetist to visit, which they did around 8:30, to explain what was going to happen. The surgeon  drew the usual marks on the correct leg.


They took me to the operating theatre around 10:00. First was the anaesthetic into my spine and a sedative, I assume a benzodiazepine, into a catheter on my wrist. To test when the anaesthetic was working they sprayed the outside of my leg with a volatile liquid and asked if I could feel it cold. To begin with this was just up to my knee but when it got to my waist they knew I was numb enough to start the operation.


The operation took about an hour. It was very strange to feel them moving my leg but without any pain and hear a lot of sawing and hammering. The sedative makes it difficult to remember the order or time taken clearly.


By 12:00 I was back in my room. The anaesthetic was wearing off but it wasn't too painful. Both my legs were resting in troughs and with an inflatable pad round my calves which was continously pumped up and deflated, to guard against DVTs. There was also a tube into my thigh to drain off excess blood from the inside; not much, just a couple of 100ml. By 3pm the physiotherapist was encouraging me to a least stand up next to the bed for a little while.


I haven't lost my appetite; the food was and continued to be delicious and plentiful throughout my stay.


Pat went home late in the afternoon leaving me rest in the care of the nurses. Though I hadn't had much trouble with triggers for my allergies during and after the operation by the evening my asthma was getting worse and I was needing to take 2 puffs of my inhaler every half hour to keep my peak flow at a reasonable level.


Friday 11th

-4 to 12 to 6°C. 8.9kWh 1.8kW max. Cold sunny start. Stayed sunny during the rest of the day.

I went to sleep around 11:30pm but at 2 a.m. woke up feeling very short of breath and with muscle spasms. I rang for the nurse and she started the salbutamol nebuliser. My pulse was fast and my blood pressure was low, which is what you would expect, but my blood oxygen was above 90. I always assumed some of my symptoms when I had a secondary reaction was due to low blood oxygen; it seems not. The nurse stayed with me till I was feeling better and turned up the nasal oxygen just in  case.


I slept intermittently for the rest of the night, needing more salbutamol but from my inhaler not the nebuliser. Thank goodness for the soothing classical music and anouncer's voice on Radio 3.  I was aching all over, not just from the operation but from the muscle spasms in the night. The compression device helped with both the aching and to reduce the swelling in my leg.


In the afternoon they took the drain out and the physiotherapist helped me walk round the room and also down the corridoor to practice going up and down stairs with my crutches. Then they took me to X-ray to check the prosthesis was correctly positioned then back to my room where Pat had turned up to visit.


Saturday 12th

1 to 10 to 8°C. 2.22kWh 0.6kW max.  Damp and dreary.

I slept a lot better overnight but still needed several puffs of salbutamol.


The surgeon came to visit and said that the x-rays showed everything is OK though very stiff but this will improve as I use it.

More visits from the physiotherapist and she is very pleased with my progress. I can go home tomorrow.


Sunday 13th

7 to 12 to 5°C. 7.24kWh 1.8kW max. Mainly sunny.


Slept quite well overnight and only needed help to go to the bathroom because the compression pads were still on my legs.


More visits from the physiotherapist, a different one, Andy, who will be my point of contact for the next few weeks, including an appointment at the end of the month. I had a shower before the nurse changed my dressing. My take home medicines are mainly analgesics and I was advised to take these regularly as prescribed rather than when I feel pain; this is good advice which I already knew but even so was worth passing on. So for the next 10 days or so I will be on alternate paracetamol 2 x 500mg and ibuprofen 400mg every 4 hours and codeine 30 or 60mg every 12 hours. There is also aspirin 150mg daily for the anti-platelet effect; this is for 6 weeks.


Pat arrived around 10:30am and moved all my belongings, including the bedding, Andy showed us how to safely get in and out of the car; this is easier for a right hip if you are getting into the left passenger seat. Then we went home. After lunch I was very tired so went for a half hour lie down; this also helps to reduce the swelling in my calf, ankle and foot. Walked round the kitchen and living room a few times. My right leg still feels to be in a different place, more to the left, that it actually is by looking but I am assured this is normal and will improve with time.


Went to bed at 11pm, very early for me.


Monday 14th

2 to 11 to 5°C. 8.65kWh 1.8kW max. Another sunny spring day.


Woke up around 8:30am after a good nights sleep with very little pain. I think the codeine helped both the pain and sedation.


I felt well enough in the afternoon to go across to the polytunnel to sow more seeds, the later brassicas, tomatoes, aubergine and peppers. I even managed to walk up and down the drive a couple of times before having another rest.


Tuesday 15th

4 to 11 to 8°C. 5.29kWh 1.8kW max. Mainly sunny.


Another good night's sleep. Today is the day for removing the clips (more like staples) from my wound so I needed to have a shower. Baths are not allowed for the next few months as they could cause the hip to dislocate. In the hospital there was a stool in the shower which made it much easier so on the way back we have decided to buy one for home.


Arrived at the hospital outpatients around 3pm. I was surprised how much easier and less painfully the clips were to remove than old-fashioned sutures. Pat also reported how straight and clean the join was. I need to keep the waterproof dressing on for another week and we have two spares just in case.


Got back around 5pm and needed another nap to recover.


Wednesday 16th

3 to 11 to 5°C. 5.55kWh 1.8kW max. Cloudy morning followed by a sunny afternoon; the temperature in the polytunnel reached 24°C.


Felt well enough to do some more work in the polytunnel. Sowed the two french marigolds, Bonita and Naughty Mairetta and placed the maincrop potatoes, Carla and Vales Sovereign, in 3L pots. The early potatoes, Casablanca and Swift are growing nicely in their pots and will soon need moving into 17.5L bags.


Thursday 17th

3 to 7 to 1°C. 4.48kWh 1.5kW max. Cold sunny start but clouded over by midday with northerly wind but stayed dry.


Felt well enough to get some exercise walking up and down the drive starting with 4 circuits of around 90metres. Once in the morning and once in  the afternoon.


Friday 18th

-2 to 5 to 4°C. 1.25kWh  200W max. Cold misty start. Continued dull all day.


Pat started to clear the vegetable patch near road for the peas and beans, helped by the chickens. I wish I could help as well. Managed to walk 5 circuits in the morning and afternoon.


Saturday 19th

6 to 8 to 7°C. 1.78kWh 250W max. Misty start and continiued dull all day.


Went to bed last night and 11pm and didn't wake till 9:15 this morning. This is the longest I have slept for a very long time. The main discomfort is now mostly the scar. Managed 6 circuits twice today.


Sunday 20th

4 to 10 to 4°C. 4.74kWh 1.4kW max. Mainly cloudy with some sunnier spells in the afternoon.


Planted the heat treated onion sets Red Baron and Hytech into 12 cell trays. Then made a start on transplanting the perennial seedlings I started last autumn into 3" pots.


Got out my bicycle GPS computer to see whether I could use it to measure how far I was walking. I am not sure how accurate it can be just walking up and down the drive but it measured 4 circuits as 1300 feet which is near enough one quarter mile, So 16 circuits is about a mile which is less than what I did today doing 10 early in the afternoon and another 8 later.


Monday 21st

-2 to 6 to 4°C. 2.49kWh 600W max.  Cloudy.


Finished transplanting the perennial seedlings. Not all of them, just the larger ones. The rest we gave some liquid fertiliser to keep them going till they grow some more.


Walked nearly 1,6 miles according to the GPS.


Tuesday 22nd

2 to 9 to 5°C. 2.24kWh 500W max. Cloudy.


Planted the germinated maincrop broad beans into 9 cell trays. Then made a start on planting the summer bulbs, corms and tubers into pots, starting with the dahlias.


Wednesday 23rd

5 to 8 to 5°C. 1.81kWh 400W max. Dull.


The early broad beans and peas are outgrowing their cell trays so Pat made a start planting them out, after fencing off the hens from the bottom vegetable patch.


I did some walking late in the morning, about 0.5 miles, but this tired me out and I didn't do much else for the rest of the day. They warned me I would have off days during my recovery; this was one of them. However I was feeling well enough to do some devlopment work on my software instead.


Thursday 24th

5 to 10 to 8°C. 2.08kWh 800W max. Dull with light drizzle in the morning. Some brighter periods in the afternoon with light showers in the evening.


Feeling better though my operation scar is still quite painful as it continues to heal and my whole leg is still quite bruised and swollen though the swelling is less than before and just after the operation. Walked another half mile; this is all I am going to attempt each day till I see the physiotherapist next week.


Transplanted the tomato seedlings into 12 cell trays of coir compost and the late broccoli, minicole cabbage and Doric sprouts into 12 cell trays of soil based compost. Continued to pot the dahlia tubers and various other summer bulbs into 3L pots.


Friday 25th

3 to 13 to 8°C. 10.47kWh 1.9kW max.  Avery sunny day though the strong breeze made it feel cool outside. The temperature in the polytunnel went up to 25°C in the afternoon.


Earlier in the week I ordered a perching stool which allows you to almost stand up with your weight distributed between your legs and bottom. It came today and I tried it out in the polytunnel where we finished potting the summer bulbs. It works really well stopping both my legs and back from hurting while I work. Even after my hip recovers this will be useful; potting and transplanting always puts a strain on my back.


Saturday 26th

7 to 14 to 7°C. 2.33kWh 600W max. A very different day to yesterday. Dull and drizzly in the morning, brighter for a short while over midday, heavy rain in the afternoon and showers in the evening.


Transplanted the marigolds, Bonita and Naughty Marrieta into 12 cell trays.


Sunday 27th

5 to 10 to 7°C. 5.82kWh 2.1kW max. A very variable day with strong winds, heavy showers but also some bright sunshine.


Moved the first early potatoes, Swift and Casablanca from 2L  pots to 17.5L bags, only half filling these at the moment. They are good sturdy plants already with some tiny tubers; much better than last year when the very warm March weather caused them to grow long thin shoots.


Monday 28th

3 to 9 to 5°C. 4.90kWh 1.7kW max. Strong winds and heavy rain all night, clearing by late morning to sunny intervals and a few showers in the afternoon.


Not feeling too good so didn't do much today. Pat took the the forcing tubs off the rhubarb once the wind had died down. We might have some to eat by the weekend.


Tuesday 29th

3 to 8 to 4°C. 7.41kWh 2.1kW max. Sunny intervals interspaced by some very heavy showers before clearing in the evening.


Sowed the African Marigolds and Coleus. Finished planting on the Casablanca potatoes into 17.5L bags and made a start on doing the same with the second early Kestrel potatoes.


Wednesday 30th

0 to 10 to 3°C. 11.10kWh 2.1kW max.  Clear slightly frosty start. Stayed sunny all day apart from a couple of heavy showers, one with hail.


Finished planting on the Kestrel potatoes, then started moving the brassicas into 3.5in pots, starting with the calabrese.


Thursday 31st

0 to 11 to 4°C. 9.47kWh 2kW max.  Frosty start followed by a sunny morning and fairweather cloud afternoon.


Went to visit the physiotherapist and he was very pleased with my progress. So I won't need to see him again and hopefully by the time I see the surgeon in another 3 weeks I will be well on the way to normality again. I  am certainly already more mobile than I have been for several months.