Saturday, December 12, 2009



At the moment there is an orgy of decoration going on! You may remember that early in October last year Joanie had that awful fall and ended up with a broken knee and a wrist in plaster; as a result last year’s decorations were somewhat minimal. But this year she is making up for lost time! The porch lights were switched on Thanksgiving evening and now there are decorations strewn all over the living room carpet. The rule this year appears to be that it if it’s not moving then decorate it!! Tinker was having his usual afternoon nap and almost got festooned with a string of lights, well no, that’s a joke actually, but the way things are you never know! Seriously though, Joanie just loves her decorations and will more than make up for last years shortfall.


Jimmy arrived with his pickup this morning and took us to the tree farm. Evidently to produce a six foot tree involves a twelve year cycle from planting to harvesting; the recent wet summer has caused a considerable amount of root rot thus affecting the final product, however the lady with whom I spoke did not seem too worried. Our tree was loaded onto the truck, and (surprise surprise) Joanie immediately started with the decorations the instant it was placed on it’s stand once bought indoors!


The tree decoration was completed this morning, and very nice it looks too. Just to add to the atmosphere it is snowing as I write this. However it is not forecast to last very long and next week is forecast to be sunny and dry.


Joanie had to go to the hospital yesterday for some tests which she passed OK. The reason I raise this matter is so as to say a little about American hospitals. Lehigh Valley Hospital, on the outskirts of Allentown and about 45 minutes drive, is the main general hospital for North East Pennsylvania. The complex is vast, it must be around five or six times the size of the Conquest. There are many buildings, some going up ten floors and it has the capacity to handle every conceivable case or emergency; most road accident victims are firstly taken to the local hospital here in Pottsville and, when stabilised, flown by helicopter to Lehigh for further treatment.

Upon arrival at the main entrance you find a valet parking service, this is completely free. You simply wait a few moments until one of the Staff comes over with your ticket and he then parks your car in a specially designated secure area. There is every conceivable facility within the hospital, a very large cafeteria serving anything from burgers to chop suey, a very comprehensive gift shop and a general store. Of course the medical facilities are second to none, and if you are only in for some tests, you are hooked up to one of those bleeping monitors. All the bed bays have televisions and there is a very high nurse/patient ratio.

Upon leaving the hospital you hand the parking ticket to a staff member who walks to the parking area and brings your car back to the main entrance. After having been accustomed to those horrendous parking charges at the Conquest, this is indeed a luxury!

We are experiencing the first really cold snap of the winter with temperatures down in single figures(F not C) in some places. Earlier this week a very large storm crossed the country from Northern California to Maine. We were lucky with only minimal snowfall, but the past two days the wind of around 30 mph has been a real killer. But today the wind has gone and we have wall to wall sunshine but still with sub zero temperatures.

Well that’s if for this time



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