Hi all! Well it’s been yet another eventful week in onein400 land! First, the redoubtable Lord Bragg has adapted his helpful household automation device for me…


What Lee? What happened man?” Read on…

Err well, you remember that I purchased those handy remote controls for the electric plugs that I wrote about in Lordy, Lordy, deep in thought ? As it happens, one of the buttons controls the lights on Jean’s dressing table, but also has the hair dryer plugged in to it!

Last weekend I was about to use the hair dryer to dry my glorious locks, and noted that it didn’t operate when I clicked the button. Stupidly (with extreme hindsight) I placed the hair dryer on the dressing table and staggered slowly over to the bedside where the remote control was secreted! I proudly pressed the button to deliver power to the plug and the hair dryer suddenly flew into life! Being that it was poised on top of a smooth surface, the said dryer, rather like igniting a powerful jet engine that was not fixed to anything, started to rapidly spin. Suddenly it blew itself off of the table, falling 3 feet on to the floor, smash!! The insides of the dryer made a horrid crunching sound, and were sucked through the heating area, shooting molten hot plastic pieces out of the end! Once the glowing, burning smell had spread I decided to turn it off! It was completed destroyed and more annoyingly my hair was still very wet! Why me??? Anyway, at least it gave me an idea for Jean’s birthday present! Anyone needing advice on this cunningly ingenious way of selecting conjugal presents, just drop me an email! As ever, Lord Bragg dispensing priceless advice! For everything else there’s Braggcard!

This slightly crazy event actually reminds me of an another near catastrophe in the onein400 household. By now, I suspect you are beginning to think that, “You are a total liability Lee”. No, I just tell the stories! 

Many years ago when presenting at technical meetings with clients, I often used to start a talk off with this picture, and ask the following question.

What is the connection between these two items?


To save you all from making potentially embarrassing guesses, the answer is that they have both burnt down houses in the UK! The first is, of course, a classic goldfish fish bowl, which we don’t see much now in the UK, and the second is a concave double-sided shaving mirror! How did I know this interesting fact? Well we used to have, and still do, a shaving mirror just like this, ie one side regular and the flip side magnifying. One hot summer day, I completed my usual bloodless shave, left the bathroom, and vacated the house for work. On my return that night, in the window frame behind the shaving mirror there was a deep black, smouldering hole!! The sun had moved across the sky, (totally irresponsible, that), hit the reverse side of the mirror and the burning rays focused on the wooden frame for some time! We were very lucky! I remember browsing the Internet and finding that this was NOT uncommon, and also it has occurred with goldfish bowls situated behind net curtains!! Needless to say, I removed the magnifying side of the mirror, and to this day it is blank.

So now that you have just returned from chucking your goldfish down the toilet, on with this week’s post!

We spent 4 days in glorious North Wales last week, eating, drinking and spending time with Jean’s cousin and uncle. Yes the weather was grim, but it hardly seemed to matter. The journey is long, but our now precise planning went well. With the blue-badge we typically get a good parking spot near the entrance to services so I only have a short walk. If the walk is very short, I will use a stick in public places, but if longer I will use my rollator.

I did fancy a Subway sub at one stop and Jean FORCED me to walk across the open store area with those pesky missiles shooting all around me (children). I made it and fluently asked for my sub. One thing that has become evident more and more recently is my need for sheer focus. I don’t attempt to do anything else whilst walking/using rollator other than actually moving. Although using the walker does enable me to talk more, any attempt to carry something in a public place, and walk, is a recipe for disaster. It seems to be an overload of the complex human nervous system which is technically very interesting. When something happens it can seriously upset my balance. I now understand when I see the extreme focus that the elderly have when walking with frames.

On the route to Wales we met Lord Lee Bragg, in one of the services, at about 11am. He was trying to buy some vodka and whisky. However, he was told by the attendant that she could not sell alcohol before midday. Lord Bragg exclaimed, “Mumble, mumble, European Union, What is this country coming to!?”

Jean drove to Wales that day. Although we have made this trip a gazillion times, and because I had been gently advised not to instruct her “on every single turning in Wales“, Jean missed a turning! Of course, I slowly made Jean aware of her mistake and that we should perhaps make recompense! Jean accused me of panicking. I advised…

Please don’t mistake anger for panic!

We survived the missed turn, and although having to drive 3 extra miles through sheep infested land, we finally returned to our well driven path.

Whilst we still had access to FM radio, before the venture into deepest darkest North Wales, we listened to JK (aka Jamiroquai) being interviewed on the radio. Love his music, and his acquisition of classic cars is staggering. He has an amazing collection, including, as he just dropped into conversation, 7 (yes seven if I heard correctly) Ferrari GTOs similar to the one Steve McQueen owned! I assume this is for the spare parts to keep one going!! (Apologies to my Italian friends!) I know what it feels like, JK. We had 2 chrome tyre pressure caps stolen (yes, stolen) from our old Classic Mini! Got to have those spares! Replacement set £4 (inc p&p) from http://www.minispares.com.

I also treated Jean to some of Braggmiroquai’s ‘top tunes’ once we had lost radio contact with England (available on 15 inch vinyl – special edition).


We had a great time away, including what can only be described as a wonderful Sunday dinner party for 20 people, including the lovely Pat.

The ladies are very forward in North Wales. Pat wanted to discuss “Dividing her snowdrops“. Shocked, and although flattered by this advance, I quickly moved onto eating my sorbet! On being told she was talking about her garden, I recovered my composure and was delighted to recommend a small trowel!

This last Sunday we ventured out for breakfast at a local town breakfast bar to meet friends. We normally park on double yellow lines directly outside, but some “non-cripple” had parked his car and was waiting for some event to happen! We managed to park within a few extra metres, but still Jean had to stop me from……

Walking sticking” his car!

An evil stare was sufficient, and as Jean is an Oscar winner with such looks I let her administer the full punishment! But beware, I have sharpened my walking stick for any wrong doers in the future and I am considering buying a traffic warden uniform!

My occupational therapist (OT) visited to demonstrate a shower chair for future use in our bathroom, and to show how much space it will actually require. As always, the amount of information available is very useful, and should always be considered when planning changes. One interesting point is the movement of the chair across even tiny raised doorways etc. Now, this appears to be due to small wheel size. Those of you who have read my earlier posts regarding the importance of larger wheel sizes for rollators for ease of use will probably ask surely the same applies to shower chairs? Yet another chance for product research! If any of you out there have had experience, I would love to hear from you.

Finally this week, I think I am losing it. I am sure I popped out the two Neurofen (ibuprofen) tablets from the packet on the tablecloth. Where the **** are they!?


Same time next week, readers.