Dr John Hawkins
Welcome to my bit of the Maison de Stuff,
home to a huge load of pictures,
and my daily blog.
My email address is as above - I've put it in an image in a vein attempt to reduce the amount of spam I get.
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- Recent Entries:
- Day After Boxing Day
Christmas Day with the Pox
Christmas Eve with the Pox
Apoxalypse Part II
Jeffrey Bernard is Unwell
Half and Half
Christmas is Cancelled
The Pox Cometh
Grain Store and Chap Ball
Erika Getting Better
- Day After Boxing Day
- [Friday 27th December 2013]
I think the worst of the chickenpox was over today, and I was starting to feel more human again.
We'd been opening presents in dribs and drabs - fortunately Erika is young enough to have the patience to do so. Today we opened a couple more, including her new Scuttlebug, a present from Adrian and Liz.
- Poxing Day
- [Thursday 26th December 2013]
Perhaps marginally better than the previous day, but still felt pretty awful, and spent most of the day lying down.
- Christmas Day with the Pox
- [Wednesday 25th December 2013]
This was probably the worst day of the chickenpox for me - I'd slept really badly, and felt feverish, and with abdominal pain today. I barely got out of bed for most of the day.
When I'd spoken to my doctor on the phone yesterday around lunchtime she'd asked how many spots I had, I think at that point I'd guessed about 100 all over. By today it must have been more like a thousand. I looked really quite hideous, and found seeing myself in the mirror actually quite upsetting, to be honest.
I did at least manage to see Erika open a couple of presents - I'd bought her a couple of toys from In the Night Garden (a TV show on CBeebies she seems to enjoy) and when she opened one she appeared to shake her head in disbelief. That was rather lovely.
We postponed our Christmas dinner as I barely had any appetite, instead Chie made baked potatoes for dinner this evening. I managed to eat about half of one.
- Christmas Eve with the Pox
- [Tuesday 24th December 2013]
Chie took Erika to the doctor in the morning. We were supposed to be flying to Japan this coming Friday, and whilst we were pretty certain I wouldn't be able to make the flight, we were still deciding whether or not Chie and Erika might go on without me. So Chie wanted to be sure Erika didn't still have any lingering ear infection left, as that was the sort of thing we thought it probably wouldn't be a good idea to have on a plane. Reassuringly the infection is apparently healing nicely, and so finally it seems like Erika has the all clear - the poor girl had been ill for pretty much two weeks solid.
While Chie was there though, she mentioned to her doctor that I'd contracted chickenpox, and he said if I were one of his patients he definitely would have prescribed anti-virals. Having been told by a doctor at my GP surgery they wouldn't prescribe them for me, whilst a bit irritated by the inconsistency, it seemed one last ditch attempt might be worthwhile. So I phoned my surgery, told them I definitely had chickenpox and asked a doctor to call me back. My own GP called back a couple of hours later and said she'd write the prescription for me without any fuss whatsoever. So that was some good news at least - they're not a magic cure, but they do apparently make chickenpox as an adult much less of an ordeal.
Despite this morale boost I did start to feel gradually worse throughout the day, and so, as predicted, Chie had to take over cooking duties. For some reason I'd got rather stuck on the idea of having spaetzle for dinner, which I regret in hindsight as it turned out to be quite a kerfuffle.
- Apoxalypse Part II
- [Monday 23rd December 2013]
Chie went off to work today, and I stayed home to look after Erika.
After waving Chie off in the morning, I went to have a shower and noticed a rather unwelcome Christmas guest had just arrived (or, should I say returned) - chickenpox. I had a few spots mainly around my shoulder, but they were unmistakably the pox.
I didn't feel physically particularly bad for most of the day, but was filled with a quiet sense of dread having read all the horror stories on the web about how bad it is to get it as an adult.
So Erika and I just stayed in all day, partly because I knew I was now infectious, and partly because it wasn't very nice weather.
In the evening we had spaghetti and (soy) meatballs for dinner - I insisted on cooking because, as I said to Chie, it may the last time I'd be able to for a few days. This prediction turned out to be quite accurate.
- Jeffrey Bernard is Unwell
- [Sunday 22nd December 2013]
I'd been watching a recording of Jeffrey Bernard is Unwell over the course of this weekend. It had originally come to my attention because it is set entirely in the Coach and Horses in Soho. I suppose I was reminded of it this week because of Peter O' Toole passing away.
As I was given some time off from parenting duties this afternoon, it seemed fitting to pay a visit to the Coach and Horses, which, better still (for me at least) nowadays serves purely vegetarian food. The Sunday roast, despite an initial threat of butternut squash, was actually very good - albeit that the centrepiece I opted for ended up amusingly similar to the lentil moussaka I'd made last night.
The pub was almost empty - perhaps because of the proximity to Christmas (?!) - or maybe it's just not the sort of place people really think to go to in the daytime. Although this remains my favourite pub in Soho, it sadly seems a far cry from the hotbed of eccentricity and low life it was in Jeffrey Bernard's day. Alas we were beset with the same plague of awful festive music you'd find anywhere else - one member of staff opined enthusiastically that "all Christmas music is good by default" and seemed positively jubilant when East 17's "Stay Another Day" started playing. I promptly left at that point.
I wandered around for a bit, thinking I should probably get on with some Christmas shopping or something, but my mood had soured a bit by this point, and so I just bought a couple of books for Erika then headed home.
- [Saturday 21st December 2013]
Finally today Erika seemed pretty much back to normal. Any sort of participation in the festive season had seemed pretty much off the cards until now, but today we decided we could get out and about, perhaps do a little bit of Christmassy shopping.
Started off the day with breakfast at the Regency Cafe, then progressed from there to Fortnum and Mason, where we bought the bare basics for Christmas (mince pies, a Christmas pudding, crackers, etc). Then after that we popped over the road to the Royal Academy for coffee in the newly renovated Keeper's House, the RA's members rooms. Very smart.
From there we headed to Liberty, where Chie chose a pair of shoes for her Christmas present from me. We normally buy surprise presents for each other, but this year we both seem to be a bit drained by Erika being ill in the run up to Christmas, and thought we'd just make it easy on ourselves.
I had a text from Tom out of the blue, who apparently was in London, so for lunch we met up with him and Nic, and went for ramen of Shoryu, which seemed to go down quite well - although Erika was a bit irritable and didn't seem keen on being there. So after lunch we said our goodbyes and headed home.
We got the bus on which Erika became really quite unhappy - pretty much screaming - so for the sake of the other passengers we got off after two stops and got a taxi the rest of the way. She was quiet in the taxi. Possibly still some lingering bit of pain from her ear infection, or maybe she just hates buses.
In the evening I made a lentil moussaka for dinner, which came out surprisingly well. The last time I'd made a moussaka I remember thinking it was more effort than a lasagne and not as good, so wasn't sure I'd bother again. I'm not really sure what made the difference this time - the only big thing was using lentils rather than Quorn mince... but then Quorn mince works really well in a lasagne, so not sure why it wouldn't work in a moussaka. Anyway, it was designed with Erika in mind as well, and all three of us really enjoyed it, which was very gratifying.
- [Friday 20th December 2013]
My last day at work of the year. Not much to report really!
- [Thursday 19th December 2013]
Although Erika does seem to be getting better day by day - and the spots are clearing nicely - she's still been having high temperatures occasionally, particularly overnight last night. So we decided to take her to the doctor this morning, as the fever with chickenpox is only supposed to last the first couple of days, and she'd had a fever at some point or other on every day since she first got ill.
This time the doctor (a different one to the one we saw on Saturday) said she had an ear infection, and seemed a lot more confident than the one on Saturday, who wasn't really sure about the chest infection. She was still on the course of antibiotics prescribed on Saturday, but today the doctor suggested to stop that and have a short course of stronger antibiotics instead.
I went off to work after that, and did a full day today, which again was a good break from the sanatorium. I felt pretty much completely fine today, perhaps just a twinge of a sore throat now and again, but I'm fairly sure that's on its way out.
I doubt this new course of antibiotics could have had such a quick impact but Erika seemed much better overall today, much less time napping in the daytime, and was walking around a lot more and playing. She was really jolly in the evening when I came back from work too. Still not 100% - she's still having a temperature now and again, but I feel like she's very close now to finally being fully recovered.
- Half and Half
- [Wednesday 18th December 2013]
Erika still didn't seem quite well enough to go back to nursery, so today I stayed home in the morning to look after her, and at lunchtime Chie and I swapped over, so I could go to work in the afternoon. I still felt a little bit feverish - or somehow just a bit out of sorts - but the doctor yesterday had said there was no reason I had to stay off work if I felt well enough to go. I was starting to go a bit crazy having barely left the flat for over a week now, and the only trips out I had made were either to the doctor and/or the pharmacy. That plus the fact Erika just seemed to want to sleep all morning, which I was getting a bit worried about, meant I was really glad of the "break" - i.e. an afternoon spent working.
I stayed at the office until just before 7 so, at Chie's suggestion, I could pick up some pizzas for dinner from Oliveto. The lights of Elizabeth street were all very picturesque, but to be honest this year seeing festive things is just making me a bit sad - whilst everyone else is enjoying the run up to Christmas, we're just busy being ill.
We ate our pizza sitting on the floor of the lounge, which was a complete mess. So immediately after dinner we tidied up. Erika definitely seemed to have perked up again this evening, and was much more like her normal self than she had been in the morning. We received a new sort of backpack thing with reins attached today, and she had fun trying that on.
- Curve Ball
- [Tuesday 17th December 2013]
Again I expected to wake up with spots this morning, but still none. Regardless I decided to get out to see the doctor to see if anything could be done - I'd read about anti-virals being able to lessen the impact of chickenpox if taken at the start of the illness, but already suspected they wouldn't prescribe them for me because I'm not an "at risk" case. My doctor's surgery has a walk-in clinic in the mornings, and the time you arrive can make a huge difference to how long you'll be sitting around waiting. I got there at 8, which may have been slightly overdoing as they don't start until 9 - I was the first person in the queue outside. On reporting to reception they asked what the issue was, and on telling them I thought I might have chickenpox I was quarantined into a separate waiting room (which actually seemed to be more of a spare office / store room) which was quite embarrassing.
When I actually got to see the doctor I was rather surprised to be told my fever and sore throat were actually caused by tonsillitis, not chickenpox. Of course this didn't mean I was going to avoid get chicken pox - the incubation period is cruelly up to 21 days, which could mean the outbreak might be right at the end of the month.
A bit of a "curve ball" I suppose.
I did however manage to get a blood test done for the chickenpox virus, which ought to tell me whether by some miracle I'm immune - I'll hopefully get the results the end of this week. Apparently it's possible to have had the virus but it just never developed into the full rash and anything. So fingers crossed that is the case, but frankly it's clutching at straws - that's a pretty unlikely eventuality, and it's much more likely the case that I'm going to get very ill.
Anyway, one way or another I felt a bit better than I had done yesterday, so I offered Chie the chance to go to work, and I stayed home to look after Erika. She didn't seem particularly bright today, she just wanted to lie down and sleep the whole day, and would only do so either on my lap, or on my chest. As lovely as that was, it meant I couldn't get anything done, but more importantly it was upsetting that she still wasn't back to her normal self yet.
She did perk up a bit in the evening for a while, and thus the pictures of her playing in the laundry basket.
- Christmas is Cancelled
- [Monday 16th December 2013]
I expected to wake up with the dreaded spots this morning, but didn't. I did however feel generally quite unwell, feverish and tired the whole day, so spent a lot of it in bed. As I didn't really feel up to looking after Erika, Chie took the day off work, and effectively ended up looking after us both.
Regardless of my lack of spots, I felt pretty sure this was the start of me getting the dreaded pox, so today we decided to just give up on any hope of trying to travel and visit any family at all over Christmas, and I resigned myself to the fact that we'd be staying put for Christmas, and I'd probably spend it being very ill.
- False Start
- [Sunday 15th December 2013]
Only briefly left the flat today - to try and take Erika for a walk around the garden - but she didn't seem at all keen on the idea. I suppose I had an unrealistic expectation that she'd wake up one morning and suddenly be completely better, but I think this week had been really tough for her, and as it panned out it was still going to take a good few days for her to get back to normal. So after that failed attempt to get some fresh air we just stayed in all day. Erika did at least have a few bright spells during the day, and enjoyed playing with the keyboard for a while in the afternoon.
In the evening I started to feel quite unwell - mainly feverish, with a sore throat, and at other times I'd feel really cold and start shivering. I just assumed this was the inevitable onset of me getting chickenpox - having apparently not had it as a child, and having been looking after Erika the last week it seemed inescapable.
Not a very good night's sleep - as though I've had any good night's sleep this week - but this time rather than Erika keeping me awake it was some combination of the fever, shivering, and a sense of dread of what was to come.
- Pox Saturday
- [Saturday 14th December 2013]
Erika was still quite poorly - still feverish, still sleeping very badly, and still quite lethargic for much of the daytime. So we decided we should probably take her to the doctor in the afternoon - as a trial her doctor's surgery is open for walk-in appointments at the weekend. It was pretty full when we originally went around 3pm, and we decided to come back later as our appointment wouldn't be until after 5.
The doctor said it was quite a severe case of chicken pox - it's not usual to still have a high fever five days after the onset. I felt slightly vindicated by this, having been quite annoyed when I'd read articles on the web describing it as a "mild" illness - "mild" certainly isn't an adjective I'd use to describe my experience this week.
He thought there might have been some additional issue - possibly an ear or chest infection, although he couldn't hear anything for sure with the stethoscope, he still prescribed some antibiotics just to be on the safe side. This is now the third course of antibiotics she's been prescribed in the last three-and-a-bit months since she started nursery, and I'm at the point where I'm questioning it a bit - I'm not sure it's good to have had so many courses of antibiotics in quick session at such a young age. So I'm rather in two minds whether she should actually take it or not.
Moreover I'm starting to get a bit unhappy with the nursery situation - we obviously expected her to pick up a few bugs there, particularly at the start, but this is probably something like her fifth visit to the doctor since she started nursery, her third course of antibiotics, and in total about probably 1 in 4 days during that period she hasn't actually been to nursery because she's been ill, meaning either Chie or I has had to take time off work.
There isn't really an easy alternative though - I think Chie would be quite unhappy now if she had to go back to being a full time Mum again, so some sort of childcare is unavoidable, and apart from constantly getting ill Erika does actually seem to quite like her nursery. Not really sure what the answer is.
- Pox Friday
- [Friday 13th December 2013]
Another pretty bad night's sleep, although at least not quite as bad as the previous night had been. Erika looked pretty dreadful when she woke up this morning, the blisters had probably got to their peak at this point - she was really covered in them, some were starting to burst, and she also had still had a very bad runny nose, which, combined with the fact she insisted on sleeping face down meant half of her face was covered encrusted in snot, possibly mixed with pus from some of the blisters. It was pretty horrible. I did my best to clean her up a bit so as not to shock Chie too much when she returned.
It was a great relief when Chie got back home, around 9am, having taken an overnight flight back from Dubai. Erika definitely seemed to noticeably perk up too. So at this point I officially handed over the baton, and got ready to go to work.
I don't think I've ever appreciated being in the office more than I did today, it was a much needed break from the very intense and rather stressful last few days I'd had, and also helped to allay my sense of guilt or whatever it is that I was falling behind on my work.
Also, I got a new phone today - a Nexus 5.
I didn't stay too late at the office, mindful of the fact Chie was probably tired after her overnight flight, and had been thrown straight in at the deep end with Erika, who was still quite ill.
- Pox Thursday
- [Thursday 12th December 2013]
Again really bad for most of the daytime, I guess she was pretty exhausted from not sleeping well last night (as was I) and had no energy to move about or play or anything - she just wanted to lie on my chest the whole time (and objected strongly if I tried to move her off onto a cushion so I could tidy up or go to the toilet).
In the morning I decided despite her not in any way seeming happy about the idea I had to give her a bath, as she was starting to smell a bit. That was hard work.
She did finally perk up for a bit in the afternoon, when I took a few pictures, mainly to reassure Chie who was still away in Dubai, and naturally a bit worried about the whole thing.
- Pox Wednesday
- [Wednesday 11th December 2013]
Yesterday's notion of "oh maybe it won't be so bad" I'd had from the daytime, when Erika had seemed quite perky, by today seemed like a distant memory. Her fever didn't really subside the whole day, despite giving her as much Calpol as I safely could, and for most of the day she didn't seem to want to play or move about or anything - she just wanted to lie on my chest, half asleep.
The day was followed by probably the worst night of the week - she would only manage to sleep for about 15 minutes before she woke and started crying again. As a result I didn't sleep at all between about midnight and 5am - for added drama I managed to smash a glass on the kitchen floor when trying to get the water jug in the dark, and Erika also threw up on the bed. All in all pretty awful.
- Pox Tuesday
- [Tuesday 10th December 2013]
So this morning I woke up to a rather unpleasant surprise - Erika had quite a few little red spots on her. There was no mistaking it - she had chickenpox. Her nursery had told us she had to stay off for at least seven days, so as Chie was in Dubai until Friday morning that would mean three days off work for me. I quickly accepted my fate, and set about trying to deal with the situation as well as I could.
Erika didn't actually seem particularly ill to begin with, so in the morning we headed out to stock up on supplies. I bought various medicines in Boots, and then did some food shopping at Sainsbury's, mindful of the fact we might be able to get out again for a few days. On our return to the flat I set about industriously making soup, and after lunch we went for a little walk around the gardens, again conscious we might not be able to get outside again for the rest of the week.
Generally she had seemed more or less OK in the daytime, but things definitely deteriorated towards the evening. To begin with the Calpol was doing a fairly good job of keeping her fever down (which was only supposed to be mild, and only supposed to last a day or two at the start) but overnight she started getting really hot, and Calpol didn't seem to be doing much to help any more. She also seemed to be developing quite a persistent runny nose, which didn't let up overnight, so her breathing was disrupted too. She kept waking up and crying, and after giving her Calpol, water, and trying to keep her cool, I quickly ran out of ideas for what to do to comfort her. Not a good night!
- The Pox Cometh
- [Monday 9th December 2013]
Chie flew off to Dubai this morning for a business trip. She'd be away for four nights and it was the first time she'd done so since Erika was born. I have to admit to some apprehension about the whole thing, being sole parent for such a long period. Also there had been the looming threat of a chicken pox outbreak at Erika's nursery, and I'd worried this week might turn into the perfect storm of Erika getting ill, and me having to deal with it all by myself.
Sometimes in this sort of situation I eventually realise I was worrying over nothing, and feel a bit of an idiot as a result. This was not one of those situations.
Erika had a bit of a fever over Sunday night, we'd given her some Calpol and dismissed it thinking/hoping it was just teething or something. I took her to nursery as usual in the morning, but they called in the afternoon to tell me she had a fever, so I went to pick her up a bit early. She had developed one little red spot on her nose, which I again dismissed, not wanting to entertain the possibility it was the dreaded pox.
She wasn't too bad in the evening, I managed to feed her a reasonable amount of dinner (I made mashed potatoes with broccoli and cauliflower in cheese sauce) as we watched In the Night Garden. She went to bed at a reasonable time with only a moderate amount of fuss, and altogether I felt I was doing quite well...
It wasn't a particularly good night's sleep though - she was feverish again, and in the morning I had an unpleasant surprise awaiting me...
- Korean Lunch
- [Sunday 8th December 2013]
Keen as always to sample a cuisine Mum might not have had before when she comes to London, today we decided to have Korean food for lunch. After some initial difficulty finding a Korean restaurant which was actually open for Sunday lunch, we eventually settled on Kimchee in Holborn. As a vegetarian this is the best experience I've ever had of Korean food at a restaurant - they had a vegetarian "set menu" - kind of like a Korean thali or bento I suppose - called a backban. I thought this was really good, even if it did take a while to arrive as it was new on the menu and the chefs were still figuring it out.
After that Chie went off to do some shopping, and I went with Mum to St. Pancras, where we rounded off her visit with a light tea at the little Fortnum and Mason offshoot there, and then waved her off.
- Grain Store and Chap Ball
- [Saturday 7th December 2013]
Mum arrived in London at midday, she'd come so she could babysit Erika this evening, so that Chie and I could go out together.
We went to meet her at St. Pancras, and decided to go to one of the restaurants in Granary Square behind Kings Cross for lunch. After some initial irritation at Caravan, where despite arriving not long after midday we were told there would be an hour's wait for a table (further proof that "brunch" is an annoying concept which should be banned), we instead tried the Grain Store next door, which probably ended up working ut better for us anyway. Although not an entirely vegetarian restaurant, there's a strong focus on vegetables and so quite a few vegetarian dishes on the menu. I think the menu they gave us at this time of day may stylistically have actually been something along the lines of brunch (lots of dishes involved eggs in some form or other), but I chose to ignore this, and manage to enjoy the meal regardless. The Welsh rarebit and mushroom croquettes were particularly good.
After that we headed back to the flat, where we spent most of the rest of the afternoon, apart from a foray out to the supermarket and do a couple of errands.
Made a sort of stew for dinner, then after giving Erika a bath and putting her to bed, Chie and I headed out to the Chap Ball (officially the Grand Anarcho Dandyist Ball). On arrival we found it all a bit odd - even more eccentric than the Chap Olympiad somehow - and Chie in particular didn't really know what to make of the entertainment that had been laid on for earlier in the evening (something Vivian Stanshall related, which was a bit too obscure even for me). However, things improved a bit after that, with some dancing, surprisingly (not really my sort of thing) - and we had a dance instructor collectively lead everyone in a Charleston, then the Lambeth Walk, then (perhaps not so authentically) a Conga. So that was fun.
Kyle and Hannah joined us there after a little while, which was jolly nice, and throughout the evening I enjoyed spotting some of the "celebrities" of the Chap world, and managed to get pictures taken with a couple of them too.
The only real disappointment for me was how badly my bow tie ended up, and I only had myself to blame for that! I'm confident I can do a better job of next time.
- [Friday 6th December 2013]
Ali (my PhD supervisor) popped into the office this afternoon for a tea and a chat, which was very nice - I haven't seen him for a couple of years now.
Again Chie and I swapped roles this evening, she went to her work Christmas party, and I stayed in to look after Erika. I made pasta and cheese sauce for our dinner, and was really pleased by how much she ate - finally her appetite seems to be back to normal after being ill most of last week.
- River Cafe
- [Thursday 5th December 2013]
Went and got my hair cut this morning (overdue as always) and decided to go back to Briggs in St. James's, where I had a delightful chat with Phillip, the 80 something year old barber.
My manager was in London for a few days this week and so had arranged a "team" outing (me plus the one other engineer still working on the project in London, plus a former team member to make up a table of four) - dinner at the River Cafe.
We started out with a drink at the Sloaney Pony (the White Horse in Parsons Green) - it's only the second time I've been there and I actually quite like the place.
Dinner itself was similar to the last time I'd been there - it's very glamorous and exciting atmosphere and the service was excellent, but I'm not sure anyone quite felt the food was as exquisite as it maybe could be. I went really over the top this time on a terrifyingly expensive main course - tagliarini with 10g of Tuscan white truffles, personally shaved for me by the legendary Ruth Rogers. I can't seem to resist ordering truffles - particularly white truffles - whenever I see them on a menu, they're effectively the pinnacle of gastronomy, particularly as a vegetarian... and yet I always wonder afterwards if it was really worth it.
Anyway, despite the hideous expense I did still enjoy the experience again, everyone in the restaurant just looks so glamorous, and, well, posh.
We rounded off the evening with a pint in the world's smallest bar room, at the Dove, a little further along the Thames. Quite a contrast from the glamour of the River Cafe but very nice nonetheless.
- [Wednesday 4th December 2013]
Tonight was my turn to stay in and look after Erika while Chie went out with friends. Made Mexican food (a Quorn chilli) for dinner.
After putting Erika to bed I wiled away the remainder of the evening practicing tying my bow tie, after which I might as well go the whole hog and try on my dinner suit again - now that I finally have the proper shirt to go with it. It certainly helped to add a hint of glamour to an otherwise dull evening.
- Christmas party
- [Tuesday 3rd December 2013]
Met up with Chie and Erika after work to catch the tail end of the Moreton Street Christmas lighting up ceremony. It's the one posh shopping street in Pimlico, which, given house prices in the area, is always what I feel like the other streets ought to be like. The ceremony was organised by the Moreton triangle residents association, who also looked like a pleasingly well heeled bunch.
After that we went back home for dinner, then I headed out to my office's Christmas party. This was the engineering only one (usually the better of the two, and the only one I'm going to this year), and they'd chosen a bar atop Millbank Tower as the venue. So there were some nice views to be had, albeit that misted up windows made it nigh on impossible to get a satisfying photo. As always with these things the music was too loud and I could hardly hear what anyone was saying, plus the drinks on offer were pretty unexciting, but still, don't look a gift horse in the mouth and all that.
- [Monday 2nd December 2013]
Somewhat back to normal today, Erika only having been to nursery one day last week, today I resumed my usual task of getting her up in the morning, feeding her breakfast, and taking her to nursery. It seemed to take ages this morning - her appetite still isn't really back to normal and feeding her breakfast was really hard work!
On the way home I took a picture of the foul Christmas decorations at the EasyHotel Victoria (this video conveys it better than that picture), an amusing contrast to the very tasteful festive decor St. James's Palace I'd seen on Sunday.
Chinese food for dinner, it being a Monday - and a bit of a joint effort. Chie made ma po tofu and I made a stir fry with some mock beef, broccoli and pak choi in a black bean sauce.
- [Sunday 1st December 2013]
Pretty quiet day overall. Mostly just stayed at the flat, I just headed out around 3:30 with Erika to go to the supermarket to buy things for dinner. Yesterday's Thanksgiving meal, nice though it was, had left me with a craving for roast potatoes, so it being a Sunday some kind of roast meal seemed appropriate. I made toad in the hole with extra Yorkshire puddings.
Chie and I rather enjoyed it, but like the previous couple of evenings it was hard to get Erika to eat more than a few mouthfuls - her appetite still seemed to have been thrown off by a week of being ill, and not really eating much.
Consequently she woke up in the middle of the night and was apparently quite hungry, so her and I went and sat in the kitchen eating leftovers at 4am.
- [Saturday 30th November 2013]
Spent the morning thoroughly tidying the flat, I think somehow this was a reaction to Erika having been ill all week - on some not entirely rational level I wanted to get rid of all the germs. In addition she still had quite a bad cough, so I set about ruthlessly expelling all the dust from our bedroom, where we hardly ever vacuum. My highly domestic morning continued with some laundry, and I have to admit overall I found it all quite satisfying.
I was granted a bit of time off in the afternoon, and headed to St. James's to buy an evening shirt for the upcoming Chap ball. After much deliberation I'd finally settled on Hawes and Curtis, as they seemed to be the only place with the exact combination of slim fit, wing collar, marcella, studs, and in the right neck size and arm length. So finally I had the complete black tie outfit. Whilst I was out I also picked up a bottle of wine for this evening in Berry Brothers and Rudd, and had a very pleasant twilight stroll home taking in St. James's Palace and Westminster Abbey.
Iain and Audra invited us along to a Thanksgiving dinner this evening. I've never been to one before, but it's something I've been mindful of every year for the past few years as a result of working for US based companies (it means a couple of days of peace and quiet!). I was in two minds about whether to go or not to begin with, as Erika still wasn't completely recovered from her week of being quite ill, but I think we were all a bit fed up of having spent so much time stuck at home that the change of scenery seemed like a good idea. I actually quite enjoyed the food - particularly the macaroni cheese - although it seemed a bit strange to have this with a meal which was essentially a roast meal (gravy was involved) but not have any roast potatoes.
- Erika Getting Better
- [Friday 29th November 2013]
Although still a bit up and down, Erika was finally starting to show signs of getting better today (the picture of a smile here was more or less the first one we'd seen this week).
I decided Chie and I needed a bit of a treat after our ordeal this week, so for dinner I went and picked up sushi from the Japan Centre.
- [Thursday 28th November 2013]
Erika still poorly. Today the plan was to split nursing duties half and half, so Chie would go to work in the morning, and then we'd swap over at lunch time so I could go to work for the afternoon. In practice though I hardly spent any time at the office, as Chie sent me a message to say she'd called the doctor's surgery to try and book an appointment as Erika's breathing was quite rapid, and the receptionist had (without really any knowledge of the situation) suggested to take Erika to hospital. Despite initially reassuring Chie that it really wasn't that bad, this kind of worrying is contagious, I couldn't concentrate, and decided to just head home so I could assess the situation myself. We then spent an hour or two trying to decide whether we should take her to hospital or not, and eventually managed to calm down and convince ourselves we were overreacting.
Not a very fun day!