My health news

Photo by Kevin GoodrichLast week I had my 30-minute annual diabetes check. Last year, the practice nurse was lovely. I hoped it would be the same one last week, because before her it was a nasty old battleaxe who clearly despised all type 2 diabetes sufferers, didn’t know or care that mine is steroid-induced, and made me feel so horrible I didn’t go back for two years. I think she might have retired. Haven’t seen her around for a good while. One lives in hope.

Anyway, last week it was a different nurse again, but she was just as lovely as the one last year. Unfortunately, the news wasn’t. Lovely, that is.

My condition is invisible and there’s little room for improvement in my personal management, so we’re talking new drugs added to the existing cocktail with the inevitable side effects, and with insulin injections now part of the discussion if these drugs don’t bring things back from the dangerous place they’ve reached in this past year.

Oh well.

On a happier note, I’m pleased to report that Gabapentin, a new (to me) drug my GP started me on two weeks ago to help me sleep at night and so with a bit of luck ease my chronic pain from ME and arthritis, appears to be working. At least for the sleep thing. I’m getting a regular four or five hours per night now. It’s like being human again.

If I continue to tolerate it and can increase the dosage gradually, we hope it might actually reduce my brain’s pain reception. But even if that doesn’t happen, the good sleep is enabling me to write more regularly.

I’m so hopeful about this (perhaps naively so but I can’t help grasping at this straw) that I talked with another author over the weekend about maybe co-writing something exciting. We’ll talk again in September when our calendars are more clear.

God, I hope I’m not setting myself up for a big disappointment with this.

Wish good things for me, please. 🙂

My good writing news

Photo by Jez TimmsMy writing news is good. The “difficult and significant” chapter, where Sky Train has been paused for a year or more while I was too ill to write, is now written.

It turned out to be not difficult at all, because once I got into it I realised nearly all the significant stuff needed to be written into earlier parts of the book. A whole lot of it in a brand new Chapter 2 and other bits and pieces in new scenes I inserted throughout the existing 32k. Two weekends and a few late weekday nights later, it’s now at 40k and I’m chomping at the bit to write the rest of this reinvigorated story. Won’t be fast, because I’m still ill, but I’ve recovered sufficiently to write again and that’s what I’m doing.

My Yay! isn’t even slightly cautious. 🙂

A research development in my family tree

Photo by Mike WilsonI’ve had a satisfying development in my genealogical stuff.

For a good while, we’ve known quite a lot about the dominant two lines in my family tree, the people who produced my mother. One half has lived in Wallasey, on the Wirral, across the River Mersey from Liverpool, for centuries. They have four-hundred-year-old headstones in the churchyard. The other half came from Ireland, where many of them were seamen of various types, until they migrated to Liverpool and mostly continued their association with the sea.

The genealogical work one of our daughters and I have been doing recently has been to find my father’s line. He was orphaned before he married my mother, and he died young, so his family history has been quite a mystery. All we knew was that they came from Hull, a fishing town on England’s east coast.

Earlier this year we traced half of the Hull line to 18th century Chelsea, where they were house painters, and the other half to Carlisle, in Cumbria, NW England, where they all worked in the cotton industry. Some evocative job names in the censuses.

Then, in the mid-1860s, they (the working generation) left their aged ones in Carlisle and moved to Bradford for a generation, and then the next generation moved on farther east to settle in Hull, where they presumably used transferrable skills to become rope makers, etc. rather than cotton spinners, etc. Plus some fishermen, obvs. And a blacksmith.

Anyway, I’ve been wondering what triggered that first migration, and today I found it. The cotton famine of 1861-6. I vaguely remember the name of it, from Industrial Revolution history lessons at school, probably, but none of the details. So this morning I read up on it.

When the cotton industry people of NW England, mill owners and workers, declared their support for slavery abolitionists in the southern states of America, cotton growers in those states responded by placing an embargo. Other regions, mainly Yorkshire, imported cotton from India as well as America, but in difficult times the American embargo proved to be the final straw that killed the industry in NW England. No cotton, no industry.

I can now visualise my people walking away from their homes and everything they knew in Carlisle to find work in Bradford, Yorkshire, when the mills in their towns died. Sad. But a definite answer to my question.

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