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This is the UK website for Peter and Maureen Scargill. We live in the Northeast of England and also Andalusia in Spain.

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Making the Best of Summer

You may have noticed a lack of entries in here over the summer. That’s because I do most of my writing over at the Bedrock site and on Facebook in summer. The weather over in Spain has been very hot and though we’re getting the odd thunder-storm now, it is generally 32-36c during the day even now in early September. I’ve done a lot of technical blogging on the days it has been TOO hot and we’ve done a little travelling, with more in sight for September.

Maureen in the sea

Here we have Maureen at her best, in the sea. she loves it – talking of which that’s where we are off to tomorrow for the day.. one of several nice beaches in the general area around Mojacar (Southeast coast) – I picked a beach at random for our day trip with our friends Karin and Dave. Of course, it all depends on the forecast being accurate.

Life after a Stroke

A friend recently asked me an interesting question… someone who probably knows I write blogs, make extensive use of social media and create things like YouTube videos. I was asked if I had blogged about my experiences as a stroke survivor?

StrokeWell, the short answer is that though I’ve spoken to several people about the subject and jotted down the odd note, no, I’ve not really blogged about my situation as it never occurred to me that it might be helpful to others, so here goes, I hope someone finds this useful. I’ve also realised that Google calendar is screwing up past events so this will be my reliable record of related events.

There are many aspects to what is commonly known as a “stroke” and no doubt I’ll miss some important stuff here but I’ll do my best. Firstly there is “having a stroke”, there is the immediate to medium-term aftermath and the long-term recovery process and then there is society’s attitude to stroke survivors – a combination of human empathy and help at best and gross ignorance and even callousness at the other end. Indeed, someone asked me if the stroke had anything to do with the brain I’m not entirely sure how it is possible to reach adulthood and not know that much…

The beginning: In December 2017 at age 63, having recently taken the decision to back away from an all consuming and very active tech and business life in favour of enjoying simply living (preferably in the sun) rather than work as many do, possibly until they are no longer able to enjoy travel) and while minding my own business on a Saturday night in my office as my wife and grand-daughter watched TV, I apparently had what is commonly called an ischemic stroke.

Bear in mind that up until that point I had been a much over-weight but otherwise perfectly healthy and happy guy, completely devoid of hypochondria who was settling nicely into “retirement” and that in December I was busy ignoring the cold weather in the Northeast of England by blogging and reviewing high tech gadgets (as normal) in time for the Christmas.

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The LED Lighting Sunday Lecture

Good morning all…

Benefit from my mistakes?.. in modernising our house lighting both here in the UK and over in Spain, we have totally gone over to LED lighting of one kind or another. Having been used to compact fluorescents, I kind of expect a couple of years at least, before lights give up.

LED lighting is currently a choice, it won’t be for long as supplies of older alternatives dry up.

The first thing I learned when fitting LED lighting is that manufacturer specs are rubbish, blindly copied from the actual LED design specs by the lamp manufacturers/sales people. The specs refer to LEDs running at reasonable (warm) temperatures. Typically, household lighting gets HOT due to poor ventilation. LEDs don’t like to run HOT so forget your 13 year life claims but 2-5 years should be do-able..

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A Crappy Winter Morning

Lovely winter morning? Not lovely winter morning! The first of these pictures was sadly taken precisely 1,198.3 miles (1,928.5km) North of the second (hence the quality variation) mid-morning this morning. For anyone looking in while enjoying the sunshine in Southern Spain, please spare a thought for friends suffering the current god-forsaken weather in the Northeast of England.

Crappy winter morning

Lovely Winter Morning

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Chicago then back to Blighty

After a very pleasant trip to the USA to visit friends and relatives in and around Chicago, we’re back in the UK. Time to get on with our various winter jobs and to catch up with our friends over here. Meanwhile here are some pics from our trip to Chicago.

Food pic from USA store

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Relaxing in Galera

It is hard to express the stress we’ve been under thanks to rubbish tenants who played the system and kept us in between homes for months not to mention pretty much destroying our home in Wark with their couldn’t give a toss lifestyle, however much of the repair work was done before our travels this month and now we’re taking a well earned break. I’m simultaneously recovering from a stroke and long overdue carpal tunnel surgery. The sun helps a lot as does spending time with friends over here in Spain!

Cullar with friends Ester and John (left)

Len, Christine, Ron and Barry

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Back to Wark

Despite the unbelievably poor state our ex-tenants left the place in (hard to believe that there are people with so little regard for where they live) the cottage is starting, slowly to take shape thanks to lots of hard work, help from friends and lots of money…. the man-cave should be largely functional within the week, the house itself will take somewhat longer. not the best of times to be recuperating from a stroke nor preparing for a carpal tunnel op but then no-one ever promised life would be fair.

Short Trip to Spain

To relieve the stress of waiting for tenants to move out of Wark, not to mention the mind-numbing after-effects of my (first and hopefully last) stroke, we recently took a short break in Spain and as well as stopping over in our place in Galera, we took a short detour down to Puerto De Mazarron. Just a 2-week stop-over but given that the weather was mixed over the 2 weeks I think it is fair to say that some of it was unusual weather. By now however I note they are hitting peaks of 26c in Galera.

Puerto de Mazarron Read the rest of this entry »

Life and Illness

I am currently “recovering” from a life threatening illness, only shortly after “retiring”. I use quotes for a reason here. I hope this story is interesting.

On 15th of December last year, I had, out of the blue (I guess it is always that way) an ischaemic stroke which affected my left side ((right brain?) initially quite badly. Though to this date I have no knowledge of the actual stroke, I was in my home office at the time working on the computer as usual and not unusual for late at night I must’ve dozed off, when all of a sudden I found myself on the floor, completely unable to get up. I don’t recall much more but it seems my wife and grand-daughter, discovering my state, rapidly got me to hospital where I had clot-busting medicine (thank science for 21st century medicine without which I wouldn’t be writing this in May 2018) within hours of having the stroke.

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The Big Change

Looks like the last time I wrote in here was late last year.  That might seem odd to some of you so to clarify, I spent much of December, all of January and part of February 2018 in hospital following a stroke in mid-December. I have since then been incredibly hard at work performing a mix of official NHS therapy and my own home brew therapy concentrating on getting my lost keyboard skills back.

The stroke initially took out my entire left side but that is now largely reduced to weakness in my arm and hand and a slight inattention in my foot and will improve in time. My back is weak but that isn’t stopping me getting around. The big one for me is the left (writing) hand which is very much a work in progress and I’m using it to type this blog, but not without hard work.

For no reason other than getting a head start when I was out of action, I’ve dropped my weight by 20% with more on the way, helped no doubt by having no desire to consume alcohol.

A shame it took something this dramatic to get me to lose the weight but there you are. I’ve only just started to resume blogging and the hand still needs lots of work but I’m making a start. Maureen is also losing weight which makes it easier for me.