Refined Carb Mice …

I have not had a sparkling scintillating day to share with you all today … it was a short day out after a good long sleep.

Dog and I went along to HIS stubble field for his walk this morning … to find persons with large digging machines digging holes if you please!  He gave them his best “how dare you?” look before he turned his attention to … hedgehog spotting!  Well not so much spotting as sniffing!  He did “leave” it when I told him (the second time) and so this one did not actually get lifted out of bed.  I popped over and peeped to check it was still snug in it’s leafy ball.  Dog obviously got a sore mouth and it serves him right!

After his breakfast as I was getting my picnic ready I noticed that I have had a break in … at my pull out larder cupboard.  I need to check the slider since it appears to be jammed giving the little furballs a big enough gap.  I love baking but with noone to share what I bake I don’ often bother.  The mouse (mice) are obviously not following a low refined carb diet … a 500g bag of caster sugar – empty; a 1kg bag of gluten free flour – empty; half a pack of expensive granola – gone; wholemeal flour – started but obviously too healthy for them; another 500g caster sugar opened – but not yet eaten; but all the healthy stuff that would have given them good energy – like nuts – left alone.  They have clearly eaten the flour and the sugar – otherwise it would be spilled in the bottom of the cupboard and there is none.  Greedy, unhealthy wee critters.

So more mouse traps going down this week.  Hoping Pup proves better at actually catching the things – Dog just tells me they are there.

The bus was so busy … now I remember why I like to set off early on a Saturday!  There was a wee bit of a kerfuffle over a ticket and change for a large note, which I was pleased the driver got sorted or he would have been short on his pay.  I saw a Bristows helicopter going backwards – well it was on the back of a lorry! and we travelled from thick freezing fog to bright blue skies and sunshine.  A quick scoot along on the 73 got me to Barn Hill.

After a mooch along the beach and collecting some stones and shells (more about that in a moment) I spotted this lonely goose on the mud flats.  Really not sure why he had settled here on his own – perhaps he had lost contact with the flock just across the water beyond Tentsmuir?  He didn’t seem distressed and spent a good half hour walking  along the beach – perhaps he was just beach combing?

I had set out on a mission – which didn’t quite work out as intended – but may yet be better than I hoped!  It is a special day for one of the blog’s regular readers – her birthday.  This person shares the same first name as me, we have never met (but I would certainly like to sometime) but have been online friends for around 5 years.  We have shared life’s stresses and joys in our regular e-mail and text correspondences; she also likes the pebble pictures I have been including in the blog, finding them soothing but at the same time enjoying the variety of colours and textures.

I wanted to make an exclusive pebble picture in honour of her birthday but could not find an area of pebbles that offered what I was looking for.  So I collected some stones and shells together and moved them along the beach to a better location.  I tumbled them onto the beach form the bag and tried to do little by way of arrangement but I did want the just washed pebble shine so I poured my bottle of water over them and had to go scoop some more from pools on the beach (yes I threw the bottle in the bin and will get a fresh one for my drinking water tomorrow).

This did not turn out like I wanted it to but then another idea came to me – when I go back tomorrow what will the sea have done to change it?  So here is the reference as I left it and I will post an update tomorrow.  As for the birthday pebbles – well I will have to work on those a little more s I am sorry they will be a wee bit late.

I found a cosy rock in the sea defences to sit on for my picnic – and invented a new delicacy – sanded stilton!  I dropped a slice on a rock and wasn’t going to leave it so I just pretended the grittiness was the oatcakes!  I had several doggy visitors while I picnicked … that is normal on my day’s out.  I also was visited by a huge bumble bee – I asked her to hang a round for a moment while I got the camera but she obviously had other things to do and buzzed off.  But in looking round for her I did spot this rather lovely poppy seedhead.

Suddenly the sun disappeared behind this space ship shaped cloud.  It looked like there was a heavy shower falling across Tentsmuir and it took around 15 minutes for the cloud to pass over.  It had been breezy but pleasant in the sunshine and it went really chilly so layers and headband were quickly added.

I took the opportunity to snap some pictures of a pendant I have just made – I picked up this unusual stone at Ferryden yesterday.  It is a soft and smooth dark green stone with some harder bands of pale grey and a lovely shape.  I used green copper wire to wrap it so the wire duplicated the grey bands and at the moment it is just on a black cord.  It is a simple wrap and I will probably rework it at some point but for now I am pleased with it and happy to wear it.

I have just been glazing a chunky but very pretty natural heart shape pebble which I think I will use plain copper wire for but I will need to study it for a while first.

I headed back Seagate and while I waited for the bus a woman asked if I was the queue for the Kirriemuir bus (see I am the bus lady – everyone knows it).  She asked me where I had been on holiday to get my lovely tan – so I told her about my megarider travels.  After a few minutes of chatting when I mentioned Telecare and quoted Community Alarm as a basic type of telecare she said she knew a lady in Kirriemuir who falls a lot and has a community alarm.  I laughed an said that will be Evelyn and I tell people about her in my training sessions.  “Oh you are the lady who tells people about her – she said she is famous!”

So let me share with you as a little taster for my passion in getting telecare right for an older, more vulnerable person – meet Evelyn!

I first met Evelyn on my commute to and from work on the bus.  Evelyn lives alone and goes out every day (bar Christmas Day) using the bus to get herself to different towns, doing her messages, having coffee and treating each of the bus drivers to a bag of crisps.  Evelyn told me one day that she had fallen 18 times over the past few months.  I asked what was being done about her falls and she reeled off a list of medical checks that she was getting (in fact I think the entire local NHS was being run just for her that week).

I acknowledged that was all positive but what about help when she had a fall.  She shrugged and said she just picks herself up and carries on.  I asked her if she had a community alarm.  “Oh yes dear … it is a nice new one and it is on the cupboard in the hall” so then I asked and have you pressed it when you have fallen at home “Oh no dear; I don’t like to be a nuisance and they are such lovely people I don’t like to disturb them”

That made me cross … a community alarm (you might see it referred to as a Personal Alarm or hear it called a “box and button” alarm) is a straightforward way for an individual to raise the alarm if they need help by pressing the button on the alarm (box) or pendant (button) using a dedicated telephone line.  The majority of people with one of these systems pays a weekly charge.  It is what is known as an ACTIVE alarm because the person has to do something to make it work.

Sadly we have a whole generation of Evelyn’s who are not convinced they need help at all, who don’t like to be a nuisance, and some who cannot remember why they have to press the button.  Not only are they paying for a service they do not benefit from, they often never wear their pendant so they cannot use the button if they do fall so the system is not making them safe in their own home at all.  At best Community Alarm is a first line of defence – then we should assess to add PASSIVE alerts that will raise the alarm without an action on the part of the person (eg smoke alarms are passive since they alert by detecting the smoke automatically; fall detectors are passive since they detect a fall by measuring rotation and speed and comparing that to not falling).

So I put on my stern bossy voice and said “listen here Lady when you go home today I want you to get that pendant out and put it on and use it when you need help.  Of course they are nice people – that is partly why they were hired and they are being paid to wait for you to disturb them.”

I did not see Evelyn for a few weeks but when I did she called me over to show me she had her pendant on – she often forgets to take it off when she comes out.  We agreed that really didn’t matter and she tucks it inside her coat so it really isn’t noticeable.  Then she confided  in me that there was something she hadn’t told me previously; she was frightened that when she removed her hearing aid at night she wouldn’t know if there was an intruder in the house and she was so frightened that she barricaded her bedroom door to feel safe, but this meant she didn’t visit the bathroom at night.  However there was good news, she had worked out that she shouldn’t wear her pendant in bed but she could pop it on the bedside table and when she needed to go to the bathroom she could take it with her, hang it inside the bathroom door where it was in reach.  Inadvertently I had given her back some confidence in doing something anyone should feel they can do in their own home safely.

Evelyn and I have explored other independent living themes together but I will leave it there for now.  I do tell people her story in my training sessions because it really illustrates that giving someone a piece of technology they do not fully understand or feel comfortable with does not support them in confident, healthy, happy independent living.  To be a success Telecare has to focus on people and their needs.

I am going to close with this dramatic picture of the rain cloud passing over Tentsmuir as the sun peeps out and lights the green weedy foreshore at Barn Hill.  I love the horizontal ‘banding’ and the colours … a serenity boost for a (temporarily) slightly flagging traveller.

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About nonehpets

I have an interest in how interior design and adapting a home to support living independently for longer can be complementary. The blog Life Long Design is part of an holistic plan for establishing a social enterprise which will offer the people of Tayside opportunities to explore Telecare and the wider scope of assistive technologies. Enabling individuals to make more informed and responsible choices in the care and support they need in their independent living. I am also keen to see public transport more widely adopted and sustainable rural bus services in particular supported. The Blog Travels with a Megarider shares my journey to find serenity in my life as I make that transition form employment to social entrepreneur. One of my methods in increasing serenity is to travel as many miles as I can on a fixed price bus ticket and explore my own local places of interest. Places that I used to go past and had never stopped to look at; places of peace and tranquility; places where I have had some wonderful conversations with complete strangers. I would like to share with you a response to when I described that one paragraph in an e-mail made it sound simple: "Believe me, Cathy, it does not sound simple. You are taking on an incredible challenge for all the right reasons. It is ambitious and admirable - the sort of project that can change lives, including yours." He is right it is ambitious but when did we every achieve anything by settling for the status quo and ignoring what doesn't work for people? So I would welcome your company from time to time on this journey either simply as a reader or if you are brave enough adding your own thoughts to the comments as you feel moved.

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