strange_complex: (Lee as M.R. James)
This is a rather odd review to be writing, because the subject of this book is my step-great-great-grandfather, and its author is my mother. But, then again, I did finish reading it two nights ago, and I am blogging all my leisure reading again this year. So I guess I kind of have to, really!

Of course, the book itself, now that it has finally emerged into the world, is only the culmination of a project which I've been intimately aware of for many years. Origins )

My own reading experience )

A man of his time )

Naturally, I'm bound to conclude by saying that this book was brilliant, and that everyone should rush out and buy a copy. ;-) But I really did get a lot out of it, and not solely because it concerned a (step-)ancestor, or allowed me to get closer to the subject my mother has been working on for so many years. West's life gives us a genuine window into the world of a typical Victorian medic - and in this book I think my mother has done a great job of helping us to see through it. I'm deeply, fiercely proud of her achievement.

Meanwhile, in a brilliant stroke of timing, this seems like the perfect opportunity to plug once more the serialisation of West's last diary which I am undertaking to celebrate the publication of this book over at [livejournal.com profile] jamesfraserwest. The first entry will in fact appear on Friday, since West for some reason did not start writing in his 1883 diary until January 11th (more details here). I know a lot of you have friended the diary already - but if you kind of meant to take a look last time I mentioned it and never quite got round to it, or thought you'd wait until it started up properly, now is the time to get over there and hit that add button! It's very much worth reading, and since it runs out in April when West enters his final illness, it really is a case of add now or miss out. Hope to see you there! :-)

Zzzzz....

Saturday, 13 October 2007 10:36
strange_complex: (Sleeping Hermaphrodite)
Argos arrived promptly with my new bed at 10:30 yesterday, and I spent the rest of the morning manhandling the pieces up the stairs (which the delivery men refused to do, despite the fact that it said on their website they would) and assembling it. It isn't quite 100% complete at the moment, because it turned out on opening the box that two of the pieces were missing. However, luckily they were only the struts which supported the headboard, so it didn't stop me assembling the rest of the bed into a usable state - it just means I don't have a headboard for the moment. And I phoned up the manufacturers of the bed, who were extremely apologetic and keen to help, so I should be getting the requisite struts delivered to me at work early next week.

The mattress I'd chosen has a memory foam top, which I'd tried out in a shop while looking around at bed options, and had been extremely impressed by. It responds to heat, fitting itself to the curves of your body as you lie on it, to reduce 'pressure points' while you are sleeping. When I first cut it out of its plastic cover, it smelt kind of acrid and chemically, but ten hours or so in a room with the windows open largely sorted that out, so that it wasn't too noticeable by the time I went to bed. And as for the comfort! It was definitely worth the money. I felt a bit like one of those cute pictures you sometimes see of a tiny animal curled up asleep in a human palm.

Unfortunately, I couldn't enjoy a really good-quality lie-in in it this morning, as I've just finally got around to registering with a doctor's surgery in Headingley, and had to be there at 9:30 for my annual 'flu jab. That was an experience in itself, though. They were doing nothing else that morning, and had a regular conveyor-belt system going on. Before I'd even opened my mouth to explain why I was there, I was greeted with 'Do you want to take your jacket off and go straight through?' (an instruction, not a question), sat down for 30 seconds, *prick*, and out again via another door, while the next patient was ushered in. Meanwhile, out the front there was a chorus of car-doors opening and closing, as a seemingly never-ending stream of senior citizens rolled up to join the queue.

Apparently I will feel a bit achy for the next 48 hours now. But that's OK. I have a pretty quiet weekend planned, and a very comfortable bed.

Ouch!

Wednesday, 13 October 2004 10:05
strange_complex: (Default)
Just had my 'flu jab for the year. I've regularly been using my asthma as a passport to 'flu-free living for about the past four years, but I think the government are actually starting to insist that all asthmatics have it now, anyway. Sensible them: I had it over Christmas about five years ago (i.e. just before I started the regime of regular annual jabs), and the coughing was definitely not good for my lungs. I don't think I would realistically die of it just because I also have asthma, as mine isn't that severe. But I can see how it could trigger severe breathing problems for some asthmatics, and I am certainly keen to get the jab each year rather than have 'flu.

Incidentally, just for clarification here, I am talking about real influenza, with a raised temperature and severe hacking cough. Despite the fact that it is becoming increasingly common for people to say they have 'flu when they actually just have a bad cold, the difference is real and significant.

I didn't really expect to get jabbed for it this morning: as far as I was concerned, I was just going to my local practice to complete the process of registration by being seen by a doctor. But when I mentioned that I was asthmatic and wanted to get a 'flu jab, he just whipped one out and zapped me.

I do hope it doesn't make me ill itself, though. Last year, I was offered a pneumonia jab at the same time as the 'flu one, and said yes... but then ended up with a temperature the next day, and a swollen and infected upper arm. I'm pretty sure it was all the fault of the pneumonia jab, as I'd had one injection in each side, and that was the side that swelled up. But still I'm a little nervous about the 'flu one this year. Having just had an evil cold which, combined with a heavy workload, has left me utterly exhausted already, I really don't need another mini-illness to add to the problem. *Cross fingers*

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