A small achievement

dear all I just wanted to share a small achievement with you. last night I took my family out to the cinema, and then had a jolly bite t eat afterwards. a few months ago to have organised something like this, simple as it is, would have been totally beyond me. to do it I have  achieved various things, that were not possible until recently. I found out about disabled access to the venue and about discounts for carers. in the past my wife or my son did the booking for me, as it was too stressful for me. I checked out  the discount card. most cinema chains participate in a scheme called CEA. I can't remember what it stands for but you can get a CEA card for a tenner and it entitles you to a free ticket for a carer. so I was able to get that sorted, and navigated the online booking for the new cinema that opened up near us. my son and I are both Marvel fans, he is a hardcore fan and I have enjoyed seeing the movies with him. so in spite of the poor reviews we were determined to go and see the latest X men offering. as I can now drive again I was able to take the clan out for the evening. it isn't the best movie of the bunch but was a great night out together. it was touch and go whether I would be able to drive as I have had a recent bout of heavy fatigue. it lifted sufficiently for me to feel safe enough to drive. and with some anxiety about parking spaces, managed it successfully. on these occasions I still use my wheelchair, powered effectively by my boy. I can walk a bit but not far and it is exhausting, so for practical reasons the wheelchair makes for a more pleasant experience for such occasions. I just thought I would share that as I was pleased with myself for organising it all and managing the fatigue enough to cope with it.

so with patience, we can do things. it was an ordinary thing to do but so nice to be able to do something  ordinary after so long. I am over three years post stroke, and nothing like I was pre stroke. Still learning how to build a life after stroke without pretending I have to be some kind of superhero, I am happy to leave Marvel to do that. 

 so that's a bit of fun from me. 

with all the very best as you rebuild your lives after the catastrophic experience of stroke. 


Tony that is brilliant! Only a survivor can appreciate the effort you put in, but,more importantly, you achieved it. I see it as a big achievement, not a small one. I am only just beginning to realise that the amount of effort involved in planning things has an impact on fatigue levels.

We are attending a friend’s Golden Wedding in late August and yesterday I booked the rail tickets online. Like you, I have to think about how best to manage the journey, disabled support and the best time to travel. That was enough for one task. I booked the hotel a week or so ago.

Have you a blue badge yet? I renewed mine a week or so ago. It is a godsend. I never thought I would end up with one. This morning I bumped into an old friend whose wife has Altzeimers. That was a good reminder how lucky I am only to have had a stroke. I have made a reasonable recovery so far and hope for more yet.

So pleased you and the family had a good time.

How amazing is that, and thanks for letting us all know about the cinema card. Your achievement shows how we can all improve with time and patience.  I have just renewed my disable rail card which allows discount for me and the person travelling with me.  It took a while getting the first one as you have to supply PIP letter, but once you have it the renewal is easy.  Wendy

Dear Tony,


I just want to congratulate you on the success of it all. Well done for making it happen. May you do even more one year from now.

hi JJ

yes I do have a blue badge, it has been enormously helpful.  the planning for these things does take so much more energy than pre stroke. I also have a disabled persons railcard I have not used it yet. got it in anticipation of travelling to Manchester to see my mother who is frail elderly now and has been very ill. I can't drive that kind of distance now, and will not attempt it. we are planning to go to my neice's wedding in July and I have done my part in arranging a stopover. I am planning on attempting the drive, not to Manchester but to Hampshire so should be about an hour and a half. I have tried myself on that distance and can do it though will have a payback for a couple of days. it's all of that that we need to plan for and it takes some learning. 

 hope your wedding celebration goes well 


best wishes 



Well done Tony. I know a lot of what an effort you made to achieve that trip and how much determination you must have applied to your recovery in general.


Nice one Tony. I've heard mixed reviews of the new X Men but I always find something in them to enjoy


you just don't realise what slow means untilyou have llived through it.  "stroke time" as I think of it is a different world altogether from ordinary time and goes very slowly. can be intensly frustrating, but it is  successes lik that at the weekend that can remind us of  how far we have come. while it is nothing like life pre stroke. it is  real life.  it was so nice to feel part of the family in that way again. losing ones role is probably an underestimated bereavement with stroke, as with other chronic conditions. any glimpse of normality is very affirming.

hope things continue to develop for you both in your struggle to rebuild your lives. 

best wishes 


thanks Colin 

hows yhe garden? I am fighting battles with snails that seem to view my attempts at growing things from seed as  a  free feast for them. it is a bit disappointing. while I lost a few plants I persist and have planted a whole nuther batch. I will watch over them carefully and try and protect them.  one or two bean plants survived, and so far I have four courgette seedlings going strong, and protected under little cloches. so fingers crossed. yhe wet weather brings the snails out. I don't like using slug pellets but may have to resort to that if nothing else works. I haven't tried beer traps yet. I hear they are effective but I am not sure the beer would make it that far!

happy days!



I am no gardener. I dont have ideal results, but at least I get something. I grow most of my veg from seed in little prorpgators and once they are put in little pots they go in my conservatory. So they get planted out when they are about 6" tall. We have sandy soil and its incredibkly dry here. So slugs and snails are not a major problem. I also own a house in London and that gets snails by the thousands. Most veg there are in big pots and troughs and thats easier to protect. But I do use slug pellets around the pots in the hope they are warded off. I am saying I do this, but I havent made it to our London house since stroke so its just what I used to do pre stroke.

Little cloches are very useful.

I can patrol the veg plot every day. Courgettes are ideal this year. Strawberries are not the best taste (spring too dry) but are early and OK. The best success is a massive asparagus bed. I mistakenly planted four rows not grasping that one row would feed a family of four. But having grown them for three years they now produce . They are the first veg to eat in the spring and they come up at a good rate of knots. Also they are quite expensive to buy in the shops so its good to have this exotic veg each day. So much nicer when you can pick it and eat it that day. My very favouriye is sweet corn. Again, so much nicer if you pick and cook immediately. The corn plants are just being released from their cloches. Mostly grown indoors but I put six seeds on one end of the plot and they have come up fine. And twelve seeds two weeks later and not a sign of them.

I do have a long garden so its a good walking exercise without any effort.

Snails dont like gravel. Maybe a moat of sand or gravel could be an option.

I get down to the plants by using a kneeler. I also have a fork firmly stuck nearby so that I can get up.

I will now go and do a bit of weeding in the sun before the anticipated rain arrives.


thanks for tips. I am in London so have the gardners nightmare of heVy clay soil, snails love it. I am slowly working on it to improve the soil quality. it will take years, but I am in no hurry. little cloches and constant vigilance is my current pest control strategy. I am hoping to create a kind of lean to greenhouse under a logia we had built some years ago.  I am waiting for  someone to come in and do some jobs for us. I am hoping with that I can keep the baby plants away from the pests. I hadd a great success with cucumber in a big pot a few years back and was hoping to repeat that this year, but sadly the seedlings haven't survived. I am going to try again. I am pinning hopes on the courgettes. Once they get established they are quite resilient to snails, except for the flowers, which of course are the essential parts. I press on and will try and post a photo if things go well. 

 enjoy the asparagus. 

best wishes 


Look forwrad to a snap.

I have just been chased in from the garden by gentle rain drops. So I potted on four catmint plants which I grow for my cats entertainment. Now I am catching up on paperwork.

I think that any horticulture is good for our wellbeing. We are growing food or producing nice flowers. I didnt quite think that this morning when a bee stung me. He was resting inside my wellington boot. Ouch. Just a smaller bee and not one of those huge hornets that are invading from the continent. More like helicopters than hornets. They love my lilac tree and are very hard to shift.

I am providing lots more space for wildlife. I cant keep up the whole garden and so a planned move to some wild spots serves the purpose.






Hello Tony,

I saw Gardeners World (Episode 14) last week which featured Sienna Hosta who grow different varieties of hosta. They use a garlic spray on their hosta to deter snails. They gave the recipe for the spray on the programme. They also have a really good website, didn’t know there were that many varieties of hosta. I lost my last hosta to snails a couple of years ago but might try again after seeing this site.

Hope this helps.


 Found the garlic wash on Twitter.

garlic wash recipe:

2 bulbs of garlic boiled in 2L of water. Strain, the water remaining is your concentrate. 2 table spoons in a 5L sprayer or watering can watered over your hostas once a week. More during wet weather. 


thanks for that, I'll look into it.