Wednesday, February 27, 2013


As those who know me in the flesh would tell you, now that I’m happily retired and no longer trying to do three things at once, I’m usually reasonably  laid-back and good at taking life as it comes.  Of course I get angry about the big things, like injustice and corruption and the mess we’re making of our wonderful planet, but I don’t often get irritated by the little things nowadays.

However, as the past month has gone on, I’ve become more and more irritated by one particular little thing and that is spam. Not email spam, as our ISP does a wonderful job of filtering that, but blog spam - those annoying pseudo-comments that have recently been cluttering up my blog.

In the past Blogger’s spam filter has worked well and I've been able to carry on happily without the dreaded word verification I find so hard to decipher and without needing to use comment moderation. However this new wave of spam seems to be much more sophisticated and able to fool Blogger’s filtering system, with the result that I’m having to clear spam messages from my blog on a very regular basis.

Being a stubborn old biddy, I still refuse to put word verification on my blog, but I have reluctantly switched on comment moderation for all posts more than 10 days old. I also make sure that all comments are emailed to me, not just the moderated ones, so that I can go to my dashboard and mark them as spam, rather than simply deleting them from the comments section of my blog.

This, I gather, is known as training the spam filter and it’s not the way I would choose to spend my time. Knitting socks is much more fun and DH and I have warm feet at the end of it, but a spamless blog is also a worthwhile objective , so I will do what it takes to achieve it. That won’t stop me grinding my teeth with annoyance just a little, as I do my bit to frustrate the spammers. Let’s hope my dentist doesn’t notice......


In her comment Annie at knitsofacto gave two excellent tips which I think deserve to be more easily found by those engaged in the battle against spam:

1.       Never leave the spam comments on a post. Just having links in place on a legitimate site gives the spammers legitimacy.  

2.      A quick scan of those comments the spam filter does pick up is all that's then necessary before deleting them. If you just look at the end of the comments, phrases like 'my site' are a dead giveaway that you're looking at spam.

 Image via Google

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Now you see it….

….now you don’t.....



With both the sun and the spring proving to be very fickle, there’s nothing for it but brighten up the day with a touch of sardonic humour from Tom Lehrer, a song which I remember our two singing with enormous relish when they were still at primary school. J

But before you all start enjoying yourselves, I’ve just remembered that today is the second birthday of my blog. I can’t believe it’s two years since I tentatively sent that first little post out into the big wide cyberworld, with no idea what a life-changing and life-enhancing experience it would prove to be. Thank you all so much for putting up with me over the past two years. Blogging is hugely rewarding and such fun and I look forward with keen anticipation to what the next blogging year will bring. 

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Marking time

Many, many thanks for all your kind, encouraging and hugely informative comments and emails on my last post. I’ve been quite overwhelmed by the response and you have helped me more than you can know as I settle down to wait to be summoned for surgery.

Now, of course, my brain has gone on strike and I don’t have a spark of blogging inspiration, so I thought I would simply share with you a still from DH’s video of the fox that came to visit us this time last year. From the vantage point of the bathroom window which looks down over the former farmyard and the fields below, he filmed the fox as it wandered from field to garden and back in search of possible prey. We may have no near human neighbours here in Wales, but nature is all around us.

Saturday, February 09, 2013

The year turned upside-down

Having spent quite a lot of time since last Monday’s appointment bringing the family up-to-date with developments by email, I thought I would do the same here on the blog, so that we can move on to more varied topics before I bore you all rigid.

On Monday morning DH drove me to the Outpatients Department at our local cottage hospital and settled down with the work he’d brought with him to wait for me. Nearly two hours later I emerged, half-blinded by the drops used to shrink the iris, and with my mind buzzing with all the information I’d been given.

The very thorough surgeon I saw was keen to disabuse me of the notion that, just because it’s now done routinely, cataract surgery is not major surgery. It may not take very long or necessitate in-patient treatment any more, but it’s still a complex procedure and things can and do wrong sometimes, especially if there are any other eye conditions, including the kind of severe short sight I have always had. Complications such as retinal detachment are more common with severe short sight, so he wanted to be sure I understood this before agreeing to surgery.

Secondly he said that the way the cataract in my right eye had recently developed more rapidly meant that, unless I had surgery, my sight in that eye would probably worsen until I would be effectively blind in it, though obviously he could give me no timescale for that.

When I said that I was aware of the risks and did want to have the operation, he then sprang a bombshell on me by asking me whether I wanted to go for gold and have my short sight corrected at the same time! This would be done by not replacing the defective lens with one of similar thickness, which would leave me with clear vision, but still as short-sighted as ever.

Instead he would insert a thin lens which would mean that light would be refracted to focus, if not exactly on the retina (though that is the aim) then at least much closer to it than it does at present. I would still need glasses, as an artificial lens can’t change focus for closer work, but they would be far weaker and thinner than the ones I’ve worn almost as long as I can remember.

The main problem in having this done is that it would leave me temporarily with very uneven vision, with one very weak eye (the left) and a much stronger, newly-corrected one on the right, and this potentially rather (or even very) uncomfortable situation would last for the three months which have to elapse between cataract operations.

He could see that all this was a lot to take in at once, especially as I'd only been expecting to have one operation in the foreseeable future, so he told me I don’t have to make a final decision until I see him at the pre-op assessment in the big district general hospital where I will have surgery. This gives me time to talk things over with DH and do some research on the subject, but already I am well-nigh certain I will opt for the thin lens and somehow cope with the three-month period between operations.

The other problem of course is that being on a waiting list for not just one but two operations means that all our plans for this year are going to be upset. The surgeon said that the first operation will happen within three months, possibly even sooner depending on cancellations. After this there will be a three month wait until the first eye has completely healed and then the second operation. So all our normal routine is up in the air at the moment and I’m still trying to get my head around the idea that I may one day be able to go swimming and recognise the people at the other side of the pool or put on make-up (on the very rare occasions when I use it) without having to squint at close quarters. 

So there you have it – a Perpetua not in transit, but spinning on the spot, with a whole new perspective on the world opening up in front of her.

Image via

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Laughter is the best medicine

On this cold, windy and wet evening, as the weather tries to decide whether to rain or to snow, and as I try to sort out in my somewhat overfull mind all I was told at my appointment with the consultant yesterday, this little gem has just popped up in my YouTube subscription channel.  Suddenly the world seems warmer and my mind much clearer. J Enjoy!