My Sweet Lord

Really want to see you, Lord, but it takes so long……..the opening lyrics from possibly the most spiritually moving song ever written…uplifting and sobering …. With just 24 hours left of my working life here in the UK and 39 years after entering service as a boy soldier, I’m feeling strangely at peace with life…it isn’t done by a long stretch, but everything seems so much clearer. An inescapable aspect of life in Gozo is religion. Despite having not being christened and having a creationist view of life, I have always had a fascination for places of worship and religious art. 


Being a career Infantry soldier, most conflict intervention is in some part down to one faith or another; one God or another…who has the best imaginary friend! And that aspect has been the hill to acceptance I had been unable to climb. Though, it’s fair to say in the difficult times, I had asked my imaginary friend to see me alright!!
Two events in my life, one a near fatal bike accident and the other marrying Danielle, completely reshaped my view of life and our purpose. Surviving my accident was truly a gift, and as I entered the scanner my doctor boomed in his deep African accent “Mr Whatley are you a religious man? When you are well you must go to Church and thank the Lord, you should not be here”….

Danielle showed me that faith and believing wasn’t something to be ashamed of…. its not about being a zealot….its not about literal interpretation, it’s about understanding the intent of the message, leading a good life, doing the right thing and being a good person. Did Jesus exist? Of course he did. Did he have magical powers? No. He wasn’t Paul Daniels!! Did he feed 5000 with 7 loaves and a few small fish? It’s pretty improbable. According to the Gospel Jesus said: “I have compassion for these people, they have been with me three days, I don’t want to send them away hungry”. It was the goodness of his thoughts and intentions, not that he actually made the rations stretch that far!! For me, that is the truth behind the story…

And so it is that, yes, I do have faith, and it directs me to be a better person; to do the right thing, to give without expecting reward, to treat everyone equally. Moving to Gozo enables all these things….a new beginning… a rebirth, call it what you want. To slightly misquote Monty Python’s Life of Brian…I am a Christian, and so is my Wife!! 

Peace out xxx

Is-Salvatur, Marsalforn

It’s the final countdown….

So here we are with a few days left to go. People ask me ‘are you excited?’ I never really know how to answer. I think excitement was a few months back now. Then came frustration and now I think we’re at catatonia; knee deep in the minutiae of our 40+ UK based years deciding  whether our lives could continue in any meaningful fashion without a gold Christmas tealight holder Poppy made in 2004 or if Max’s future career hinges on the retention of a certificate for ‘outstanding behaviour’ when he was seven…..these moment to moment scruples are enough to send you to Broadmoor!

So we are down to our last allotted box to pack, though we’re going to have to try and squeeze another one in otherwise Poppy’s not coming! I think we know what needs to go in it, and it should fit, but we won’t know for sure until Wednesday evening when school has finished and Julian has finished work, and life as we know it, can pause while it gets upended and transported 1,800 miles. So at the moment our heads are just endless, whirring lists of things that still need to be done, but can’t quite be actioned yet. So if anyone else asks me ‘are you all packed?’ their lives are in serious danger!

Boxes boxes everywhere…

Last week we went to my parents’to collect our speedy boat. After 2 1/2 years sitting on her driveway covered in a tarp and various ‘useful’ items my Dad had amassed, I think my Mum shed a silent tear as it departed. It was either that or having to bid adieu to the family of wasps that have taken up residence in one of the transoms. Attempts to speed-evict them on the M2 proved futile. On arrival in Canterbury it appeared that only one had survived the trip, but a quick bang on the side on Saturday confirmed that the whole gang were back in residence once more. So the wasp killer has been deployed in the hope that when the doors of our container are opened on the quayside in Marsaxlokk, we don’t find that all our worldly belongings have been consumed by a giant wasp’s nest (stuff of nightmares)


Capt. Max aboard Sperlash

A few hiccuppy niggles on the Gozo house purchase involving MEPA permits and secret rooms (stuff of dreams) has led us to delay our journey down for a couple of days so next weekend, after the boys have been despatched for a couple of weeks, we will drive over to France and Julian will stay there for the week with ze dogs sorting stuff out, while I travel to work in Birmingham for the week. 😩 

However, the following Friday the fun begins and the plan is that Julian will collect me from Paris on Friday night and we’ll start our drive down over the weekend – hopefully rocking up in Pozzallo by 21.30 on Monday 31st to catch our boat to Malta.

A mere bimble

I’ll try and keep you up to date with our movements – wifi permitting – I’m hoping it’ll be largely uneventful, but there’s bound to be a few funny stories along the way.

We visited our families to say our goodbyes over the weekend and are still to have a bye-bye meal with my parents and grandparents on Wednesday evening, but with most of them having booked flights to Malta already, it’s not too emotional and after 462 days of waiting I think we are certainly ready to get going. If we hadn’t been, I think the beautiful sight that greeted me on Broadstairs High Street at 6am this morning might have swung it….

No gulls in Gozo 👌

Happy Monday everyone!

Time, time, time – see what’s become of me.

Julian and I are currently shadows of our former selves; husks of people plodding through the last 18 UK based days like the three-eyed aliens out of Toy Story in their eternal search for The Claw.

Our much needed holiday in Barbados fell foul of the BA outage and instead we had a 6 hour ‘mini-break’ on the tarmac at Gatwick, before being sent home. The blow was softened though by four days in Malta “sorting stuff out” and also a nice bit of EU statutory compo  which has paid for a bit of our shipping costs. 

At the gate, moments before it all went wrong.

Our UK sale finally went through. Four and a half months had elapsed from offer to completion and we aged about the same amount in years. How a two-property chain can be so painful is beyond me. Please, anyone reading this, never engage the ‘services’ of Advantage Property Lawyers. Pay a little more and use a proper high street solicitor.

Thankfully, the Maltese process seems more straightforward, but more about that when it’s done and dusted.

Since then Leo has made his First Holy Communion. On a lovely hot day, he rocked a tonic suit and we all went to Morellis for full on sundaes by way of a celebration.

Leo and the big man

Poppy has finished her A-levels, had her prom and flown to Mexico – all in the space of about 48 hours – and is currently living with a bunch of divemaster interns in Cozumel. The next time she comes home, that home will be in Gozo!

Off on her travels after 4 hours sleep

And us? Well we’re still sorting stuff, selling stuff, packing stuff and still wishing we didn’t have so much bloody stuff….but we are also freewheeling now. The movers are booked.Our crossing is booked. The speed boat has been enrolled on the Small Ships Register and we have obtained papers to prove that our, unbeknownst to us, endangered Java finches were legally obtained from a licensed vendor of captive-bred birds. Julian did our last boot fair this morning and we have six boxes left in which to fit the rest of our worldly goods…..so we are freewheeling, but freewheeling with a manic expression 🚲😃

Very superstitious 

Hello! We are still here. It’s still all happening. We’ve not gone quiet because it’s all gone horribly wrong and we don’t want to talk about it, like a bad job interview or a failed driving test. It’s just that I am so absolutely crippled by superstition that I can’t talk about anything to do with ‘the move’ with any degree of confidence or certainty for fear that the ‘Cocky Gods’ will hear me and go “oh foolish woman, that isn’t ever going to possibly work out”, and with a flash the whole thing will come crashing down around our ears. Cf. Counting chickens before they’ve hatched. Therefore I’m not saying nuffint. 

I can tell you with certainty however, that we successfully opened a Maltese Bank account, which sounds like a small thing but was actually an EPIC achievement. A three month process of form filling and signatures and phone calls and emails, culminating in a four hour interview; no more, no less – exactly four hours as the friendly man had told us at the beginning. And at the end of which we received an IBAN number and now, a few days later, we are proud owners of the prettiest bank cards ever.😍
But I can’t tell you anything else in case my head pops off in a fit of excitement mixed with paralysing fear…..

….So for now I am just going to leave this here…….

When we took this photo I went to say something and then stopped myself because Julian would laugh at me. After a bit of cajoling and promises that of course he wouldn’t laugh I pronounced with dreamy eyes that “being in Gozo makes my heart feel happy”. Cue snorting laughter 😔

Mela (awesome Maltese word used once every 5 seconds to fill gaps) as soon as we have that key in our sweaty palms, all ready to leave in the lock of the front door before heading out to the beach all day, rest assured you’ll be the first to know. You might even hear the shriek!

Don’t it always seem to go, that you don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone.

The Azure Window is gone!! I don’t think I will believe it until I see it for myself. Like the Twin Towers; an image so iconic, you just can’t imagine that it no longer exists.

?

Bizarrely, early this morning, on the train to Birmingham, I had been scrolling through Instagram and there had been a photo of it, in all its loveliness, and a caption underneath urging people not to walk on the top of it, if they wanted it to remain. It seems The Sea isn’t on Instagram ?

Wise words….

By the time I arrived into the office it was no more. Alerted by an email from my best Gozo guru, Keith, I clicked the link to the Times of Malta and there was the photographic evidence (not reproduced here in case it causes distress). I did a quick date calculation to check it wasn’t April 1st (not that I know if they observe April Fool’s day in Gozo, but you know) and then I considered possible Photoshop trickery, but Joseph Muscat had tweeted about it so it had to be true.

I’d only been there twice. The first time with Julian in April this year, on a particularly windy day. The Sea was giving her a battering that day too, but she stood there looking very much the stronger contender; the ferocious waves and the people standing on the top were no match for her limestoney might. We had an ice cream and the wind blew it in to my hair.

Azure Window 1-0 The Sea

On our next visit we took the children, on a much calmer October evening, and the children nearly made me have kittens by scrambling up the rocks to take this picture:

This is what’s known as a ‘fixed grin’

Max and Poppy were lucky enough to dive the Blue Hole on that trip. A dive Julian and I had not had the chance to do and one that I was very much looking forward to; surfacing beneath that wonderful blue arch must certainly have been an awe-inspiring sight. Alas, I will never know. 

I’ve had lots of funny thoughts about it today. I had been looking forward to taking our visitors there when we move, but that won’t be possible now. Will they still come? We’ll have to take them to Dwejra Tower and the Inland Sea and say ‘oh and that’s where the Azure Window was……’ Will postcards of its image be snapped up? Will restaurants be renamed?? Will people forget it was ever there??? Without it being there it’s just a typical bit of Gozitan coastline. Will they take the signs down?

All questions to be answered, but does it make me feel differently about Gozo? No it doesn’t. It just makes me realise the fragility of life; how something can be there one day and completely gone the next. It makes me  want to take nothing for granted and appreciate each thing even more, lest it should disappear beneath a crashing wave.

I texted Poppy to tell her about it. She replied with one word. GEOGRAPHY. Ever the pragmatist!

In our hearts forever ❤

Teenage Kicks

Our blog to date has mostly focused on us, the grown ups…France…dogs… the trials and tribulations of selling/buying a house and latterly, Cake!! 

However our family has three other human members.

Action Girl!

I came into Poppy’s life as she was turning 12…anyone who knows us will agree she is her mother’s image. She also has many of her mothers attributes and ways…she is in turns, kind, stubborn, tenacious, helpful, emotional and always funny. Oh and she sleeps..a lot!

Sloths sleep…..a lot!

Our relationship is no different than any Father/Teenage Daughter, and despite a lack of biological linkage, we have our close moments…the battles of will the Mexican stand offs, political disagreements, the perennial differing ideas as to what “is” tidy and what “isnt”…and the ultimate act of removing her door from its hinges after a particularly heavy session of door slamming!!! Despite all this we get on pretty well….

Naturally quiet and lightly built I must say I was a little surprised when she said she wanted to become a member of the Army Cadet Force, I mean most 14 year old girls are more interested in applying foundation and eye liner than camoflage cream and foliage to ones webbing!!
But despite my misgivings Poppy thrived in a male dominated youth organisation, rising to the rank of Colour Sergeant in an Infantry Company is no mean feat whilst attaining her 4 star qualification and a host of other badges, trophies, certificates and awards including  representing Kent ACF at the annual Bisley shooting competition, and all within a short 4 years…to say I am immensely proud of her would be an understatement.and all this achieved despite me being a Captain in her Company meaning she had no easy routes or leg ups and indeed needed to work doubly hard for recognition !!!. 
My abiding Cadet memory is of her smile beaming out from under a sagging poncho at 5am on a storm battered harbour position in Dartmoor. Despite being tired, wet, cold and hungry she could still smile..right then I knew she had “it”

Non-tac bungees!

An accomplished diver, poppy has already achieved her advanced open water and rescue diver qualification, she is a natural under the surface, assured and at ease with what can be an unforgiving and at times deadly environment…After her A levels in late June Poppy will  fly out alone to Sharm el Sheik to embark on her 6 week Divemaster course followed by her Instructor’s course before starting University in Plymouth studying marine biology…a career in marine conservation is in her sights and most definely within her ability..

Ariel and Danielle

And with direct flights from Exeter she will of course have wonderful Gozo to come home to during her breaks from Uni…she does after all have to get Leo diving, and what better way than to have your big sister teach you….

Cake by the Ocean 

I’m one of those people who worries that if I talk too much about something it’ll go wrong and not happen. Like an odd sort of superstition. This applies to all sorts of things; if I comment to someone that my car is reliable it will invariably break down within the hour. If I tell someone that I have a job interview, there is no way I’m getting that job. And if Julian singles out a footballer playing for the opposition by name they will DEFINITELY score the winning goal (cf. shut up John Motson!). 

For this reason I’ve been a little bit quiet on the ol’ blog of late – with house sales/purchases, exchange rates and Brexit all thrown into the mix, I dare not open my mouth and put the kibosh on the whole thing, so I’m going to talk about something else entirely. Im going to talk about cake.

Anyone who knows me knows that I like cake; it’s quite apparent. Julian loves cake too. From the very start, ‘going for coffee and cake’ was an activity that Julian and I enjoyed regularly – from the very first mid-morning visit to Costa. Julian and I used to fika even before I knew it was a thing! 

What is a little surprising though is that cake is also an intrinsic part of our love affair with Gozo. For anyone not in the know, Gozo gives good cake!

Chocolate cake, carrot cake, cheesecake, rainbow cake, Snickers cake, frickin’ luminous green cake – Gozo has got it all going on AND, most importantly, it’s affordable cakey fun for all the family.

One Sunday afternoon in the UK, we were all loafing around the house, listlessly waiting for the inevitable night before school/work blues. “I know” I said. “Let’s all go and have coffee and cake!” So the five of us jumped in the car and headed off to Macknades, a local farm shop and purveyor of fine but pricey cakes. 5 hot drinks + 5 cakes =£28!!!! 28 whole British pounds sterling!! We could do a whole week’s shopping in Lidl for that!

So when we first indulged in our café habit on Gozo we were pleasantly surprised. Now, whenever we visit our daily coffee and cake fix, is one of the most hotly anticipated highlights of our trip!

Let me introduce you to the Odyssey of cakes that we have known and loved on Calypso’s Isle…..

This radioactive-looking Cassata from a cafe in Nadur is where it all began…
Not a shabby €4 offering from the band club in Ghajnsielem
Psychedelia in Duke’s cafe
Another day, another visit to Duke’s for cheesecake 
Affordable elevenses in Marsalforn.
Posh coffee and cake in the Grand Hotel
The ultimate – Snickers cake in Hondoq ?

I know there are more good things to come – one day I will eventually find the holy grail and Jessica’s Delights in Marsalforn will actually be open! 

But I don’t think any confection, any towering croquembouche, could ever beat the unbridled joy of going down to the beach near our home (please, please hopefully it will be) in Qala on a summers day and gazing across a Kinnie liveried table at this vision of loveliness….

Cake by the Ocean indeed!!

​This Old House/You Gotta Beat The Clock

465 days….. 465 days until Go Go to Gozo!!! Seems like a long time. In fact a very long time….. Yeah.  I will definitely have time to get everything ready to put  the house on the market…… hmmm, it was close. Very close! 

Way back then we were still gamely toiling away in Gueschart; getting it all finished off, heating fitted upstairs, a small bathroom and just generally working without pressure. At this stage marketing our UK house wasn’t even a blip on the calendar horizon. Truth to tell, in the five years of owning Gresham Cottage we had done very little other than some cosmetic work to cheer the place up and I kind of guess we learnt to live with the horribly laid and part missing first generation laminate floor in the front room, the exposed pipe work in the kitchen and the neglected exterior, I mean we all do that don’t we??

In Gueschart  we had started to use a daily work book, in the main to keep a record of what we had achieved;  a way of making us feel better at the end of a particular arduous weekend, when it felt we had achieved nothing. I swear few things on this earth are more satisfying than to tick off the jobs completed. So by employing the same trusted method (one column for location, one for job, one for materials required and the all-important ‘tick’ column) I quickly accrued five pages of work for Gresham Cottage. Five flipping pages.. OMG!!

At this stage I have to admit to being pretty optimistic  about having it all cracked before New Year with a view to going live by the 6th January. What we hadn’t factored in was a cracking Norovirus, with a good old bout of Flu hot on its heels (that’s real flu, not man flu, though this is what I wrote on my sick certificate!) effectively putting us well behind the curve and most certainly under the pump.

Added to our physical ineffectiveness, we had also decided to take the children on a surprise 3 day Christmas trip to Gothenburg, In fairness it was a great break, one we all needed, but it did eat into that all important “time on the job” … At this point I will mention Twinkle our little  miniature dachshund, who regular followers will know,  in October suffered a near catastrophic back injury. It had been our intention to breed her in order for Danielle, in later life, to become “That Crazy Daxie Lady”. But now, with her back injury, breeding was out of the question. 

This is where Mildred & Emily enter the decorating deadline maelstrom. These adorable Black and Tan mini Dachshund’s had been removed to the Happy Endings Rescue centre (run by the owners of the kennels we used when away in Gothenburg). I won’t go into the history that led to them being removed, suffice to say it wasn’t great. So as I often do, I idly remarked to Dan that they were coming in and that they were a pair, possibly mother and daughter, both recently having had puppies… I don’t think Dan listed to the rest , she simply emailed Happy Endings…. “We will have them. Both of them!!”  And so our two dogs became four, two of which have had very little in the way of training in respect of socialising, sharing food and doing wees and poos outside. The other two are Minx and Twinkle!!… But two weeks down the line both will wear a collar, will walk with a lead and will generally eat from just the one bowl at meal times. Wees and poos are an ongoing issue…..

I digress, decorating went into full tilt post Xmas. We had conducted a monumental down-size of all non-essential items, in the main going on ebay and turning a fair return. Some being boxed for the move and the remainder sent  to charity and the skip. The children did a sterling job helping and generally buying into “a tidy room policy”… So every room except  the boys’ room and the bathroom have been painted, a floor laid, a new sink fitted, pipework boxed in, lights repaired (thank you to a school Dad,  Jamie) exteriors painted and everything looking just swell!! We finished late on Sunday evening, photos were taken on the Monday, and we went live today, Tuesday.. we have two viewings booked already!!..Whilst I may have wielded the tools in the main, Danielle has been the director of operations, and with her keen eye to detail and an ability to “dress a room” we are fully confident we have done the best we can….In fact, we are rather proud of our house.

Looking up at my dry white board, the countdown reads 192 days to Gozo…phew

Been a long time, been a long time…..

It has been actual aeons since my last post and for that I must apologise. In my defence we have been tirelessly working towards our Gozo goal – the house is half-decluttered, half-painted and therefore halfway toward going on the market next week (eek!) This has involved an inordinate amount of eBay ing and we are now on first name terms with both the people in the Post Office and the Hermes man. We also snuck in a trip to New York to mark my ‘landmark birthday’ earlier in the year and we were both so exhausted that we succumbed to some horrible virus that blighted half our holiday and left with me a lifetime aversion to Quarter pounders with cheese – so not all bad then! But I still absolutely LOVED it ❤ 

A few hours before it all went to shit…..literally!

For Christmas our kind family and friends duly bought us consumable presents. I think I must have been a bit of a hun in my mission not to acquire further worldly goods as each gift was handed to me with the words ‘it’s something you can use’ accompanied by an anxious expression on the face of the bearer. I’m a bad person. 

Merry Christmas!

In pursuit of a clutter-free and marketable home, we persuaded the kids that this year they really did not want a metric tonne of plastic crap and instead REALLY wanted a festive family break to a mystery location – a concept that they bought into admirably!

When anticipation was high..

So off we went to Gatwick on Boxing Day evening for our Sleep Park Fly at the UK’S biggest Premier Inn. Despite my loudmouth husband’s best efforts to give the game away at several junctures, we managed to keep the destination a secret from them until 6.30am the following morning by which time they were so knackered they couldn’t even summon up the enthusiasm to tear open the named envelopes containing their boarding passes and the ‘big reveal’; Gothenburg.‘I knew it was Finland!’ cried Max ?. 

Sweden – Take 1

Julian and I had spent a weekend in Gothenburg in September 2015; this time to mark a non-landmark birthday. In fact after this trip, we strongly considered moving to Sweden, drawn by the clean efficiency of the country and the widespread use of English – as well as the meatballs obvs – but I strongly suspected that I couldn’t cope with the low amount of daylight, a hunch that was confirmed on this trip. With the sun turning in around 2.30pm, I found myself googling up the Gharb webcam just for a glimpse of sun! A lovely time was had by all though…

Gothenburg from the skies…

And here we stand now, on the precipice of 2017; the year where it’s all gonna go off, 203 days til it all hits the proverbial fan. There are no doubt going to be challenges; fitting our worldly goods (including a speed boat) into a shipping container, ferrying our newly augmented pet family of 4 doggies and 2 birdies to the other side of the continent, managing to keep our cool with the triggering of Article 50 and the ensuing turmoil on the currency market, but I know I have the very best people around me to achieve everything I need to – both coming with and staying put.

The gang

So Happy New Year to you all – whether you are taking giant leaps or tiny steps in a 2017 – have a healthy and happy one – and Is sena t-tajba! xx

Back To Life Back To Reality

Heading back to the airport in our trusty, if a little battered Mazda 626, my mind wandered, which isn’t altogether recommended when driving on Maltese roads! In our short 7 day trip we really had achieved a huge amount. Our priority on this trip was to sell Gozo to the boys; Max and Leo. Not in a “you will enjoy yourself” kind of way; that clearly would have been wrong, but by letting them immerse themselves in the daily life of a Gozitan boy without any kind of prescribed itinerary. Listening to them chirping away in the car about coffee and cake at Hondoq, “diving in Marsalforn, walking up the big hill to see Jesus and just how small Leo’s new class was going to be, amongst other things was warmly reassuring. Gozo has been officially sold!!!

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Sold!!!!

Arriving back in the UK is rarely a comforting experience, especially when the outside temperature has dropped by about 15 degrees! But we heroically managed to get ourselves and our 7 bags on and off the bus and find our car, despite my phone being dead and, of course, the location of the car in the car park being safely stowed in my Google notes! I think God must have known how depressed I felt at being back as he parted the waves of M25 traffic for me to drive unimpeded back to Kent.

I know not of any worse feeling than unpacking your holiday stuff having left the place, that in your heart, feels like your home. Our only chink of sunlight on the horizon was collecting Minx and Twinkle. By a twist of fate our old kennels had shut with quite short notice and we had found Butterstone Kennels near Ospringe, oh my!! What a great place! Just arriving at the gate I knew I had chosen well (not something I normally score well on) – great staff and lovely facilities.

Getting the dogs home is always an event in itself, two more loving dogs you will be hard pushed to find. We love them to bits, and that evening we played and enjoyed having them back. Little did we know that a huge black cloud was descending upon our happy family.

Twinkle is a smaller than average miniature Dachshund, but as is typical of her breed is as brave as a lion and unrelenting in her loving licks and cuddles. Every morning without exception, once released from her cage, she would race upstairs to liberally lick any poor unfortunate who came within range, but not on this Saturday morning. She seemed strangely subdued and looked unsteady on her feet, the unsteadiness developed into a collapse and an inability to stand or use her legs within the space of 60 short frightening minutes.

Arriving at our local vets we waited, fearing the worse, though we were assured it wasn’t as bad as it appeared. A shot of Methadone and some Tramadol and we were back home – cue one very trippy Dachshund!!

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Hmmm this stuff is good!!

Sunday 5am and Twinkle was not doing well, Dani googled “Dachshund Paralyis” BINGO!!! We had, or more importantly, Twinkle had a problem. A big potentially life ending problem. Anyone who has ever watched Noel Fitzpatrick, the “Super Vet”, will know he is the go-to-man for these cases. We duly called them up only to be told we must be referred.. a 7am visit to the out of hours vet and£165 later we had our referral.

Meeting James Guthrie, the operating surgeon, gave us hope. To us it was traumatic, to James its what he does… a lot!…. James had a good idea that we were looking at a herniated disc.  At about 2pm we said our goodbyes. It would be 2 hours before we got any news. Reading up on James he was first in his class at Edinburgh, had multiple published papers to his name, and although young we positively had the best man for the job. Twinkle came round mid afternoon, James had been totally “on the money” in his suspected diagnosis; a herniated disc – explained as jam being squeezed out of doughnut – was indeed the issue. The procedure meant a lateral incision in Twinkle’s back, with the ‘jam’ being sucked out and a small window cut in the bones of her spine to allow the disc extra room to move in the future and prevent her spinal cord being compressed, stopping the messages getting from her brain to her legs.

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The damage….

Mondays call was everything we wanted to hear, she had been for a wee and had even tried to stand.. you go girl!!!… I collected twinkle on the Wednesday, still a little wobbly but definitely on the road to recovery. The road may be long – 4 or 5 months – she may never be 100%, but we at least have her back, James and Fitzpatrick Referrals we can never thank you enough.

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The recovering patient

Now to think about the Daxie ramps we’ll need for the 3 flights of stairs in the house in Gozo…….