Saturday, 31 July 2010


Iain continues to make a good recovery from his fall in the house 5 weeks ago. He has one more week to go, well actually 10 days, and then he gets fitted with a brace and should be able to come home. Having been stuck in bed for 5 weeks "of detention" he will be weak but should get his muscle tone and size back through normal activity.

Meanwhile here is a video that Bob and Kate sent me. It is so funny and so true-to-life!

The video is entitled They Should Have Asked My Husband. It is a poem recited by Pam Ayres, an English lady who has been entertaining people with her poetry recitations for 35 years.

Click on this link:

Being an Authority in All Things, Iain is set to become an expert on Sir Francis Drake's voyages. Derek F. gave him a most interesting book about Drake's visit to the west coast of British Columbia. And this was in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. More of this anon.

The map below illustrates the current thinking, i.e. he only got part way up the west coast of North America. Why did this fact never come down to us in our history lessons? The story is in this book. (I will get the name when I visit tomorrow.) Actually I think he made it up farther north than I have shown by the yellow arrow. But for now, this shows he made it north of the 49th parallel. Again I will have to clarify this.

Sir Francis Drake, oil on panel, after an engraving attributed to Jodocus Hondius, c. 1583; in the National Portrait Gallery, London. Archivio I.G.D.A./© DeA Picture Library


Monday, 26 July 2010


John came over this afternoon to move furniture in preparation for the Visitors' Invasion. And close behind him were 2 little gnomes ...!

The Man in Charge emerged out of the tool shed having picked up my trusty Rooftile Protection Device - read Yellow Hard Hat - on his way through the house. It certainly gave him Go Anywhere Authority.

Now ... which of Grandma's flowers shall I pull up today?

Am I the only one doing any work around here!

Oh-h-h-h boy! Butter wouldn't melt in his mouth!

Well it's been that kind of day.... Like the delivery man said when he came to the door with a parcel for which I had to sign "It's been a jaicket on - jaicket aff kind of day!" (translation for non-Glaswegians: jacket on, jacket off, i.e. showers followed by sunshine followed by showers).

Sunday, 25 July 2010


Another day, another week. Iain has just over 2 more weeks to go before he gets out of hospital. After visiting him this evening - and supervising his exercises to help maintain his muscle tone - I spent an hour in the garden as it approached dusk. We have visitors arriving in the form of Alastair and Dawn this coming Thursday and then lots of other folk coming the following week for the Big Bash to celebrate Al and Dawn's wedding of one year ago. Really we should have visitors more often ; it's amazing how it sharpens the mind for tidying up!

I noticed that the little sunflower seeds I started off in March are reaching maturity. Here is the first one to flower!

While I was jumping about with the camera I noticed that this flower, or should I say the flower in this position, is the last point to catch the sun before it leaves the garden. This photo shows the flower head catching the last of the sun as the light goes, i.e. 9 o'clock in the evening. There is still light for another hour. As I write it is now 10 o'clock. It is now getting dark; the street lights have come on. This period of twilight or dusk, in Scotland, is called the gloaming.

This is the arty stuff. I Photoshoped this using a cutout filter. I wonder if Marimekko (Finnish fabric designer) gets her design ideas from such exercises?

Saturday, 24 July 2010


Iain is now coming to the end of Week 4 of 6 and is bearing up well. The orthopaedic surgeon was in and said that the exact date for him ending his 6 weeks in bed to stabilize the 2 cracks in his vertebrae is August 11th. The vertebrae will heal, (as opposed to some things in your body which do not) and so there is no getting round this biological fact.

The plan is to let him get up on that date, fit the brace that is in his bedside locker (see previous post), give him a few days to get used to it, then he can be discharged. I think we are talking August 15th if all goes well.

Meanwhile I am keeping busy back at base-camp. Today, Saturday, I got a phone call from Anne Bennet to say she and John were heading off to Inchinnan to pick raspberries. Did I want to come? Naturally, I dropped everything and off we went.

I'm a berry picker from away back. Most years I manage to find a Pick Your Own farm or garden and get a supply. Normally I make jam; this year I think I will just freeze them.

Once I had my basket full of rasps - very ripe so they mostly fell off in your hand - I headed over to the gooseberry patch. The above photo I took using the camera facility of my iPhone which I just happened to have in my hip pocket.

And no sooner had I arrived back home when my iPhone went off. John sent me this photo. He had been out at Mugdock with 2 cheeky monkeys! (Ishie 3 and 1/2 and Alastair 2 and 1/2).

Sunday, 18 July 2010


Today is Sunday; time for reflection. Iain fell in a DIY accident inside the house nearly 3 weeks ago. (If you scroll back you can follow the full story.) He has some broken bones and is going to recover. He is to be in hospital for a total of 6 weeks. He's getting on fine ... he's philosophical!

Yes, it is a miracle he was not killed! 'Nuff said.

But miracles can come in many forms!

[1] Mairi and John (who is a doctor and lives 5 blocks away). I was able to call on John in the moment of crisis and to lean on them both for medical/clinical psychological input as well as hospital visits.

[2] Our large circle of friends! They have been emerging, from both near and far - quite amazing! Iain's colleagues and contacts (think "committees") who, once they get over the shock of hearing about his fall, have also been in touch by post, telephone or the internet.

So here are some of the cards I gathered together and displayed on the window sill. It is quite touching to read who they are from as well as the message and notes they contain. Iain is really pleased to hear from so many people and I can assure you it gives me a great boost! If you are out there - a big Thank You! (Most people know me ... and that I am a big 'card' person. I like sending them - often my own Photoshop creations - and I like receiving them. They sit on any surface that will take them and stay there for ages.)

Our lovely friends in Sweden have been in touch and also special friends in Germany. We know we are in their thoughts and it is quite touching.

So before I start greetin' (as they say in Glasgow - that means "crying") I really must share this lovely set of stamps on Inger's letter to me. Beautiful, quite beautiful, e.g. the colour, the subject, the artwork.

Saturday, 17 July 2010


Although Iain is confined to bed in order to stabilize the 2 cracks in his thoracic vertebrae he is in good spirits. In the post 2 days ago were 2 books from Helene in France - they are in his bedside cabinet so I do not have the titles - and today a book arrived from Dietrich in Germany.

Added to this I managed to get some 'over the counter' reading glasses (3.5 mag.) for him to use as he lost his good pair just before his accident. He has been using his previous perscription glasses which are OK but he is better with this short term solution.

When Mairi and I visited today we were able to have a look at the thoracic brace which is in his locker by the bed. This is a photo of it; this shows the front of the torso. You wear it outside your T-shirt. There is an 8 inch disc that is worn on the back of the torso. This disc has a Vecro strap on each side. This is cinched to secure the whole thing in place. The idea is that it gives support to the thoraco-dorsal spine. A lad in the ward is wearing one and he says it is not too bad to wear. Clearly it is not as restricting i.e. immobilizing, as I thought it would be.

When this is to be applied, I do not know. Maybe they put it in place and have to keep making adjustments to get it right for finally wearing.

The shape of it reminded me of the Order of St. John cross. This photo which I ''halo-ed' is of 2 men of the Order of St. John of the Jerusalem (Hospitallers). An apt analogy, I thought.

Friday, 16 July 2010


It's been a good day today ... a long day, but a good one.

First of all, Ishie and I went to visit Iain in hospital. Visitors are coming in a steady - very welcome - stream and we dove-tailed our visit at the end of Bob & Kate's visit. Bob helped to sort Iain's computer table and Kate was able to compare stories with Iain as she is recovering from a bad accident where her jaw was broken in 2 places.

We are trying to bring food in to help Iain get better by building strong bones and muscle. Teddy Bear helped us by bring one banana for Grandpa and one for Ishie.

Ishie and I got a text message to say that Mum was going to be back later than planned so the 2 of us left the car in the hospital car park and sashayed up Byres Road to find a place for a sticky bun.

We ended up at the lovely French Patisserie where we had a most delicous - and welcome - croissant each with a cup of coffee for me and a mini-glass of water for Ishie. Quite delightful and we both felt better for the pick-me-up. She's quite the young lady now. She immitates your chat, e.g. with arms folded and leaning forward over her croissant, she asks "And what have you been doing today, Grandma?"!

Back home to Milngavie after evening hospital visiting, it is time to put my feet up. It is the start of the annual Glasgow holiday called The Glasgow Fair where factories and shops close and everyone goes on holiday. (The city empties.) I arrived back from my evening visit to find neighbours out on the street: there is a new girl on the block. The family across the street have a new baby today, a baby girl, (No. 4 of 4) and we are all delighted. (When we had to call the ambulance for Iain 2 weeks ago, everyone thought it was for this expectant mother!)

So that called for a swally: I had a dram with my (elderly ... well more elderly than us!) immediate neighbours to whet the baby's head, to drink to Iain's successful recovery and drink to It Being Friday and the start of the Glasgow Fair Fortnight.

Thursday, 15 July 2010


Technology is wonderful. Iain has now settled into the orthopaedic ward and has surrounded himself with all the bits of equipment, gizmos, earphones and associated chargers so he can phone out and listen to the radio or audio books.

They allow phone calls to his mobile so this makes a big difference from the old days! Brian constructed a wee table for him so he can use his laptop. Tonight John helped him to get it set up and organise adjustments that need to be made.

He has a wee Sony radio which he likes very much and Mairi and I have loaded up our old iPods with audio books. (Both of us have moved on to iPhones.) Alastair in Vancouver has sent an Kindle Wireless Reading Device which arrived today but Iain hasn't seen it yet. That will be tomorrow's technological input.

So instead of being surrounded by tubes and wires as he was for the past 2 weeks he now has a cornucopia of wires plus lots of Nairns oatcakes to help pad out this Horn of Plenty.


Photo: Reclining statue of river Nile (from Rome, Roman Imperial Period, late 1st century AD) (Egyptian Museum), Vatican City: Vatican Museum. Copyright

Wednesday, 14 July 2010


If you have just joined us let me summarize: Iain has been in the Western Infirmary for 2 weeks now. He is there as a result of a DIY accident. You can read details if you scroll down from here or click on Iain's accident in the sidebar at the right, lower down, to CATEGORIES. It is a sort of 'folder' with all the Health Bulletins.

He has been on a surgical ward after falling 2 stories in the house. He has cracked a couple of vertebrae and has one cracked rib. The worst bit was that he fell (whether on the upper floor before he dropped on to the lower, we don't know) on his right side bruising his chest wall and his right lung badly.

The good news is that he has got his chest problem (which was the most immediate worry) sorted i.e. the pleural cavity is now drained and today he transferred to the orthopaedic ward on Level 8. At the moment he is in Room 18.

He is confined to bed (having been there for 2 solid weeks) for another 4 weeks in order to stabilize the vertebrae. Then the plan is to fit him with a brace. That will remain for awhile longer ... weeks? months? I guess it depends on the healing.

From looking at other people on the ward they appear to have sort of ?fibre-glass ?plastic panels or plates back and front which are fastened by Velcro on the sides. In my mind I pictured a plaster of Paris body cast. Don't know if they do that nowadays...

Whatever it is going to be I do not think it will have the je ne sais quoi of Rembrandt's Man in Armour which hangs in Glasgow's Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. This photo* shows more of the garb than my recollection from viewing the painting some time ago. I recall that it was very dark and all you saw was the burnished gold and light on the fellow's - actually it is Alexander the Great - face.

* Public domain, Glasgow Museums. This is (Rembrandt's Scillian patron) Ruffo's Allesandro Magno, i.e. there is another one.

Tuesday, 13 July 2010


This is the end of Week 2 since Iain's accident where he fell from the ceiling, down 2 floors to the hall in the centre of the house.

His chest drain came out yesterday and when a bed becomes available he will move 2 floors down in the same building (Western Infirmary) to the orthpaedic ward (Level 8). The ortho people visited today and said that he will require to be 6 weeks in total in his bed (he knew that) and then they plan to make him brace. He has 2 cracked vertebrae which are to be stabilized hence the reason he is on Bed Rest.

I am celebrating his continued progress and also the fact that the roofer is finished. I have decided that the best view of a roofer is not his bum (which has been in evidence for weeks and weeks off and on ... mostly OFF if the truth be told...) but his back.

I took photos to show Iain the finished work. Now the insulation panels that get screwed to the last of the 4 sides of the house can be done.

Anne gave me some lovely lilies 4 days ago. They sit outside on the entrance area at the front door behind the scaffolding.

I keep my eye focused on her lilies as I move from the car (lower right) up to the front door.

Monday, 12 July 2010


Monday and all is well. The chest drain has been taken out so Iain continues to move along the road to recovery. He was not moved from his present ward. They took an x-ray and that still has to be looked at. Therefore, tomorrow we look forward to the report and the possibility of him moving to an orthopaedic ward.

He now feels he would like visitors. Everyone is concerned about the fact that he is going to have to stay in bed for a total of 6 weeks, i.e. not move about as the 2 cracks in the vertebrae are "unstable".

Never the greatest eater, he will be really pleased to see what the neighbours passed in to me today - newly dug potatoes! Now, if ever there was food for recovery that just has to be it! Like all the MacLeod's, he is very partial to potatoes ... any kind of potatoes. These are Red Roosters.

Sunday, 11 July 2010


It is Sunday and it is very quiet. Why are there no cars on Maryhill Road (as I drive in to the Western Infirmary to see Iain)? Why are there only taxis on Byres Road? The hospital car park is only half full this evening. The Surgical Ward has hardly a soul to be seen. Ah hah ... as I walk down the hall past the TV room I see through the door that it is in darkness with patients and staff leaning forward glued to the TV set (exuding the rather irritating sound of vuvuzelas very much sotto voce). Of course! It's the football. The West of Scotland simply closes down!

As I write this at home later in the evening let me tell you that the street is dead quiet and every TV set is on. (In this row of all houses the same, the living room faces the street. An illuminated box is evident in every window!)

Ho hum ... where was I?

Iain is getting better and better. Things are much the same as yesterday meaning that he still has the chest drain in but being Sunday nothing is happening so he expects it will be removed tomorrow. He is in good spirits and furthermore seems to be ready to pick up a paperback. He has not been reading much at all only listening to the radio and audio books. This is not because of his head or neck; he just doesn't feel like it. Now he is sniffing magazines and books so this is him getting back to his old habits.

Meanwhile back at the ranch Anne brought me some flowers - gorgeous lilies. In order to make them last as long as possible I keep them on the front porch. Furthermore this is my attempt to bring beauty into a bourach. This is a Gaelic word for "a mess"... a word that is used rather a lot in our family (especially when applied to Alastair's room when he was growing up!)

The roof is 99% finished. Meanwhile stuff continues to slide down from above or blow off the scaffolding in the wind ... the rain soaks the tools that are left out ... the roofers' litter is strewn everywhere giving me, and my neighbours apoplexy. Ho hum.

Friday, 9 July 2010


Iain is much, much better! The Physio left him with a plastic tube to blow into which pushes a little ball up a calibrated tube. Remember the Strong Man Ring a Bell at the circus? His colour is very good and he is now breathing normally.

John visited today for the first time and tomorrow he is taking the children as they are an absolute tonic particularly for me in the wings and, I know, will be for Iain tomorrow! (Well, yes, we are talking about small doses here as they can be pretty exhausting when you have them full-time ... especially during these light mornings!)

I took a mirror in today and he was able to see that his black eye is away now. No other cuts or bruises on his face. Remember the time 50 years ago when he went through the windscreen of his girl-friend's car?

These photos of the kids complete the collage. They are both talking now. Ishie - Little Miss Chatterbox - has an extensive vocabulary which gets a good work-out whenever we are together. She loves to dress up and is choosing all her own (co-ordinated) outfits. We enjoy her fashion parades where we can admire - on her pile of lovely curls - her "tararra". Illustrated is her Marimekko Tea Cosy (Wannabe Ascot) hat and my Photoshop effort to be-jewel it!

Alastair has a role model, of course, with Ishie and is now trotting out big 3 syllable words along with the odd sentence. It's quite sweet, e.g. when we were looking at a book he points to the picture of the sun: "What's that?" "An octopus"!

Thursday, 8 July 2010


We are inching along. By that I mean Iain is getting better slowly, very slowly, but definitely heading in the right direction. When he fell so badly 8 days ago he seems to have landed either half way down or perhaps at the bottom, on his right side. He did not damage his shoulder or arm but his ribs and, more importantly, his right lung.

The chest drain he has had in for 48 hours is doing its work and he is breathing much better now. Yes, he still has the oxygen mask on but he takes it off for longer periods while he sorts out the iPod or speaks to someone across the room.

He is continuing to do his deep-breathing exercises which are now becoming more effective due to his increased comfort at moving his chest up and down. He does not have a drip any more and is drinking adequately. Food is not great - excuse me ... it never was! - but he is going to talk to the dietician tomorrow.

Mairi and I visited tonight so hopefully she can help him with his feeling of reliving the experience of falling from the roofspace when he wakens in the night.

John and Helen sent a lovely postcard "Escape to the Edge" from Orkney. I would have thought that with the name of "Anderson", Orkney was more like "The Centre"! I only say this because being married to a MacLeod I have had it drummed into me that the Centre of the Universe is Achiltibuie. (When I am in Canada I keep quiet about this because everyone there thinks that where they live IS the Centre of the Universe.... And then of course there was the fellow I used to work for who maintained that Falkirk was the Centre of ...!)

Where was I? Do you see those sweet peas? That is the first picking of the little seeds I started all those months ago. Maggie tells me to keep picking them as more will come so you better believe I am going to fill the house with vases - what am I saying... I haven't got any ... well, jam jars - of them!

Wednesday, 7 July 2010


The Western General Hospital is where Iain is to stay, confined to bed for 6 weeks, while he recovers from his fall from the roofspace (i.e. inside) of the house.

While he has (only!) one cracked rib (no 2 near the sternum) and 2 in his (thoracic) vertabrae, his biggest problem is the fact that he fell on his right side, - huge bruise down right side - and damaged his right lung. His laboured breathing is being helped greatly now by a chest drain being in place for 24 hours. Lots of fluid is coming off and he is slowly, slowly, finding breathing a little easier. However he still uses the oxygen mask but takes it off now and again to have a short chat.

I visit twice a day and our time is very much focused on deep-breathing, pushing fluids and doing exercises. The Physio visits daily. Also he has been moved on to a water-bed. Much better for the tail-end which was getting very sore.

Neil and Maizie sent a card pointing out that he is going to be confined to harbour for awhile! Most definitely! (Photo by Clive Reeves of Berneray Harbour, Outer Hebrides)

Well and truly grounded I am afraid! (Not our boat....!) (Photo by CCC member on west coast of Scotland some years ago.)

Tuesday, 6 July 2010


We move on and it is All Change. John flagged up a point to Mairi to clarify things about the cracked vertebrae. Indeed, it is not the cervical vertebrae involved, it is the thoracic vertebrae. The numbers I do not know but it doesn't matter; we are looking at an injury not at the neck.

He does not have a lung infection. He has fluid in the lung (lung cavity?) and is to have a drain inserted this evening. He has come off the drip but still uses oxygen. Hopefully he will be more comfortable after the chest drain does its work.

He is not sleeping very well. The main reason is that he wakes up with the feeling that he is falling. Mairi, a clinical psychologist, is familiar with this post-trauma phenomenon. We know that people who get caught in an avalanche have similar experiences. It eventually goes away.

The other reason is that the pipes (oxygen) at his head and the next bed's pipes keep him awake. I told him that his pipes used to keep us awake so now it is his turn to thole them.

Maggie and Brian came to the rescue today. He wanted a cyclist drinking container with the drink tube that comes from the resevoir to your mouth. It is called a Platypus Drinking System. So Brian got one at an outdoor shop. I arrived at Maggie's tonight for my tea - along with Innes and pal - and was completely revived with a big plate of chilli con carne, rice and salad and glasses of apple juice ... Nick Nairn look to your laurels, is all I can say!

Monday, 5 July 2010


People have been phoning and sending cards after Iain's accident (a week ago - see previous posts), The cards sit on the window-sill beside his bed in the Surgical Ward at the Western Infirmary, Glasgow.

First the card, then the Bulletin. This came from Sandy and Lesley, our neighbours. We had to laugh at Sandy's suggestion: " ....perhaps as you lie there ... you could write a new pipe tune and maybe call it

MacLeod's Farewell to the Roofspace " !!!!

The Health Bulletin, i.e. position today: his breathing is not so laborious and he feels he can do without the oxygen, but the repeat chest x-ray today shows he has a chest infection. This is despite his diligent deep-breathing. The bruise he has on the right side of his back (down his rib cage) goes from his armpit to 2 inches below his hip bone!

The orthopaedic position this evening is as follows: the plan is to keep him in bed for 6 weeks, i.e. not go the route of a neck/torso brace. The reasons underpinning this decision are unclear to me but all will be explained in the fullness of time.

Meanwhile I am off to hunt for a CD with Gaelic music on it for his ipod nano which John has loaned him. Tonight he will have to make do with Paul Anderson fiddle music CD which I copied on to it. (My CDs tend toward the classical with Scottish and folk heavily sprinkled in.)


Iain fell.
Very badly.

However, he is alive to tell the tale.
Or he would if he was here
But he is in hospital.

He fell 2 stories inside the house while working in the attic space.
Like a trap door giving way, he fell through the ceiling.
Knocked out but recovered enough to get up and walk.

He has a broken rib, and 2 cracked cervical vertebrae.
And that is not to mention the black eye
Which makes him look like a drunk who fell down the stairs.

He is recovering but the exact form of treatment is still to be decided.
(Probably a neck brace and maybe also an upper torso brace.)

* He fell Tuesday June 29, 2010.