The rise of online

There are now many, many things we can do online. I order my ostomy supplies online. I make my GP appointments and request repeat prescriptions online. Our gas and electricity is supplied by a company that is online only. I interact with other IBD suffers (many of whom I have never met) via Facebook and the ia forum.

I am able to read the opinions and stories of other IBD sufferers via their blogs, or see there tweets and Instagram posts. And all of that is great.

If we stick with the UK for a moment, there are however a number of groups of people who can’t access the online world in the same way as me. Those living in rural areas for example who don’t have sufficient speed. And some older people (and I’m really not sure here what would count as older) are less confident or competent online. It is now not unheard of for websites to crash – Adele tickets anyone? – due to high demand, leaving the people on the phone very little chance of getting through.

And recently, it is not just websites that replace shops, but online clubs – a subscription service that makes a regular delivery – now seem to be on the rise. I myself have two current subscriptions – the following links will take you to the sites via my ‘recommend a friend’ links. The first is with Cornerstone for shaving supplies – I’ve been using them since November and am very pleased with the shave – and the second is with Flavourly for a monthly box of craft beer. I had a gift of a spicebox subscription for my birthday from the Spicery.


I also recently tried out after a friend recommended it – they deliver chilled meats and other high protein products. Because I am a bit of a social media floozy and I started liking these companies on various streams, I then started getting recommendations for other, similar sites. I have seen at least one other shaving club, several beer clubs and another protein/ meat website.

This is on top of gin, cheese, chocolate and charcuterie clubs. As a business model, I guess  it makes sense – cheap premises, easy access (via the net) for your customers. And so far I have not been disappointed. IT does mean that our high street is having to change – if you can order everything online, why would you leave your house? It is a little scary, exciting and – when my mobility was limited post operatively – very useful.

Is there anything you wouldn’t buy online?



Stoma sited!

So one of the 7 stoma nurses has just been round to mark where my stoma will go – subject to the bowel behaving itself!

To have 7 stoma nurses feels amazing. I know the hospital is specialist in this area of medicine and care, but it feels very reassuring.

My new stoma will hopefully go just to the left of my old one. It couldn’t go any higher or lower because of the way my belly creases, but I am happy with that position. All the creasing could change post op anyway!

Sorry the photo is the wring way round. Two sites are marked, with 1 being the prefered , and 2 being the reserve. As long as there are not too many adhesions this should be fine. The surgeon has also been round and done the consent for the procedure, and answered some questions. My op will be in the afternoon, and I’ll see the anaesthetist in the morning. Nil by mouth from midnight, so just had my last dinner, including indestructible custard!

#oneaday, Day 65, Daily bread

Today I attempted to bake bread for the second time. The first time was an absolute disaster – it didn’t rise or cook properly – we put this down to not enough yeast, and with a tweak this time it seemed to be much better!

Not only did it rise but it was very tasty. So far I have tried it with spread, jam, and plain – jam wins.

#oneaday, Day 63, Eating out

Tonight in a change to my usual schedule I ended up collecting my wife from the train station and we went out for dinner. We visited The Bridge Brasserie in Chippenham. I’d walked past a few times, and it looked like a nice place. As we had come straight from work I was a bit worried we might be turned away – me in my trainers and fleece – but the place is very relaxed and we were welcomed and given a table.

We selected cocktails which were 2 for 1 – I had a mojito which was great, hadn’t had a good one in a while and my wife had a honey martini which was also great. Front of house and cocktail expertise was provided by Chris who was very friendly without being overbearing.

I selected the rosemary chicken terrine with broiche to start, Mrs had scallops (which she usually does). Both were great, a good starter size and very tasty. I was also very impressed with the seasoning of my salad on the side – which is often neglected.

Main was rib eye steak for me – which was beautifully cooked and again brilliantly seasoned. The boxty cake was slightly charred – not sure if this was deliberate but it still tasted great, as did the mushroom. Dr Otherhalf had the sea bass with crab risotto and was initially disappointed at the size of the fillet – very chefily trimmed – but once she had finished her risotto – which was delicate and complimented the perfectly cooked bass – she was full.

We didn’t opt for pudding as it was in impromptu night out, but would definitely recommend – we’ll be back, maybe to try the bargin set lunch.

#oneaday, Day 60, Host with the most

This weekend we hosted a 6 nations final/ St Patricks Day party,  which included the first BBQ of the year – it always was going to too, rain or shine…

Our house is quite small, so we only had a few friends over, some from London, some from Bristol and some neighbours. Much booze was consumed, food was eaten and merriment enjoyed.

What makes a good gathering though? We didn’t have gourmet food – although the BBQ food was not burnt on the outside, raw in the middle. There were no fancy cocktails or very expensive wines – we mostly drank real ale, cider and Guinness. We watched rugby, some trashy TV (Take Me Out) and played Lips on the XBox. Everyone was relaxed – some a little too much, but they were kept in check by there partners. We have received much praise and thanks for our event, and I think the secret was probably a small focus (rugby) with nothing too complicated (drinking games) getting in the way. No dress code, bring your own booze and just enjoy.

Now to plan my 30th with the same success….

#oneaday, Day 33, Nice, but not amazing

Yesterday I went for lunch for my mothers birthday at the Lambert Arms. This venue was picked because a) it is about half way between Peterborough & Chippenham and b) came up on a quick Google search when I was looking for a possible venue.

It seemed to fit the bill, looked nice and was in the Michelin guide in 2010. So we went, had lunch and it was good. I would however, suggest to the proprietors a few ways top make it even better….

1) Make sure staff know what is going on. There was a wedding going on, and when . When we arrived it was quite hectic. The Lambert offers accommodation, and people were checking in at reception. We walked up to what appeared to be the entrance to the restaurant area. ‘Can I help you?’ said a stressed looking woman. ‘We have a reservation.’ I said.’ Oh you need to go to reception and see them there.’ Needless to say one man’s reservation in the restaurant for lunch is a stressed waitresses people without luggage checking in.

2) Put the heating on. We were in the restaurant. It was cold. Simple one really.

3) Make sure staff know the food. Our waitress was a young girl, maybe just with a Saturday job, but it got grating that she had to go and ask in the kitchen a lot.

4) Do better pastry. My game pie, filling wise, was lovely, if not a bit peppery. The pastry was like cardboard. And I like a pie top have pastry all the way round – this was a stew with a lid.

Like I say, little things. Could make it a wonderful place.


#oneaday, Day 9, Tom yum soup rules!

First of all, hello to my subscribers, and also to my casual readers. I was very happy to have start moderating comments today, and I hope you found my answers useful.

It’s been a busy weekend readers. Worked late on Friday then had a few drinks with the neighbours. Saturday was breakfast with a hungover wife, then the quest continued to obtain a Wii controller with which to play GoldenEye. Following my post on Friday about needing to find one, I searched every conceivable shop in Devizes where I work to no avail. There is no games shop in this small Wiltshire market town, but I tried electronics stores and supermarkets (3). Nothing. I found this very frustrating, but I don’t live there. Surely Chippenham would give me better success?

Stop one – PC World/ Dixons. Nope. Sainsburys – no. Thankfully, a quick trip into town and the small (but pricey) independent games shop yielded success – and GoldenEye is much more playable with this controller – even if 007 Classic mode is very hard. I moaned  a lot about the poor shopping experience to my wife, who understood – she is from a rural community, where as me, I am used to big city living!*

Sunday morning we got up and went off  ‘to do something’** and so we trundled off to look at a White Horse – a peculiar feature of Wiltshire. Carved out of chalk hills, although the one we visited was actually white painted concrete.

Westbury White Horse

Westbury White Horse

It was breezy up on that hill, and as we headed home in time to do some grocery shopping (I never said we got up early) I was desired for the ingredients for Tom Yum soup – a very fragrant Thai soup, which requires lemongrass, galangal, birdseye chillies, kafir lime leaves, fish sauce, spring onions, lime and coriander. Aside from the galangal and maybe the kafir lime leaves, I was confident I could get all this stuff in Sainsburys. HOW WRONG WAS I?

The answer is – a bit. No fish sauce. No galangal no kafir lime leaves. I was mildly peeved. However, they did stock a Tom Yum soup paste, which it turns out makes a pretty good version, even if I do say so myself. Wife also impressed – good job!

I would still like to make it from scratch, and I did add fresh lemongrass and coriander. and the lack of decent shopping where I live is beginning to disturb me. Could this actually mean that they were right in the 80s, and Queensgate, Peterborough is the capital city of shopping? A disturbing thought for us all….

* Well, Peterborough. Small city living.

** My wife’s favourite thing to do to stop me playing computer games