Well, Well, Well

 There are a number of meanings for well but I am using the following definitions: (i) in good health, (ii) as an exclamation, (iii) a borehole to supply water, and (iv) in a good or satisfactory way.

What was meant to be a short-stay family gathering on the Isle of Wight, turned into a longer-than-expected holiday due to illness; more of that later.

We travelled down from Hereford on Friday 20th October to catch the 2 o'clock afternoon ferry. After a somewhat arduous journey of more than 4½ hours, we arrived at Lymington Pier with a quarter of an hour to spare. The journey included a short stop at Pewsey to take onboard refreshments and use the facilities.

The short (45 minutes) and expensive crossing was uneventful and, before you knew it, we were gathered around the kitchen table, supping tea, eating cake & catching up with the family news.

A trip to Carisbrooke Castle was planned for the following day. It was at Carisbrooke that we joined English Heritage many moons ago (possibly over 40 years ago, but don't quote me on that one). 

Photo 1: Looking towards the Keep, Carisbrooke Castle
The standard admission price (£12.50 for an adult) is excellent value, although as members we get free entry. You get to climb the Norman battlements, see the donkeys walk the treadmill to draw water from the well (definition (iii)), visit the chapel and gardens,  and educate yourself in the superb museum.

Photo 2: Chapel looking South

Photo 3: Chapel looking North

There is a cafe on site which was rather busy on the day we visited. Don't forget to enjoy the panoramic views from the battlements ...

Photo 4: Views Looking North

Photo 5: Views Looking North

And a couple of sketches by Mary ...
Painting by Mary 1: Carisbrooke Castle (22/10/23)

Painting by Mary 2: Carisbrooke Castle (22/10/23)

By way of contrast, Mary and I visited Mottistone Manor Gardens - looked after by the National Trust - the following day. 

Photo 6: Mottistone House & Gardens (22/10/23)

This is a very different experience to Carisbrooke which is heavily steeped in English National History. The entry price, £8.50 per adult, is a little cheaper for Mottistone and still good value especially if you enjoy formal gardens and wide open spaces to walk. Children appeared to enjoy both Carisbrooke and Mottistone. As members, we get free entry.

Despite the lateness of the year, there was still plenty of colour on display.

Photo 7: Mottistone Gardens (22/10/23)

Photo 8: Mottistone Gardens (22/10/23)

Photo 9: Mottistone Gardens (22/10/23)

Photo 10: Mottistone Gardens (22/10/23)

Photo 11: Bee on Cosmos Flower, Mottistone (22/10/23)

The house, itself, only has a few rooms open for the secondhand bookshop - the plan is to open up more rooms in the future now the previous resident has left. Other points of interest include The Shack in the tea garden and the nearby Church of St Peter & St Paul, where Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock) was married. We both had a rather tasty homemade soup and cheese scone in the tea garden and Mary sketched this scene ...

Painting by Mary 3: Mottistone (22/10/23)

... before we departed and headed for the National Trust car park at Compton Bay. It was getting a little cool now so we just enjoyed the view from the car ...

Painting by Mary 4: Rooks at Compton Bay (22/10/23)

... before returning to the family accommodation.

Over the last few days, I had been suffering from pains in my left leg (calf) and ribcage (righthand side) alleviated somewhat by applying ibuprofen gel. Back at base, my sister-in-law said I didn't look too good - which I thought was a bit cheeky. In this case, however, she meant I did not look well (definition (i)). It was suggested a trip to A&E was appropriate and I agreed as I was shivering and aching.

To cut a long story short, I collapsed briefly while in A&E. I regained consciousness quickly with the help of some extra oxygen and was whisked off to the Resuscitation Unit. I had suffered a pulmonary embolism. Well!! That was unexpected (definition (ii)).

I was put on anti-coagulant & antibiotics, had CT and Echo Scans, and continued to take extra oxygen via nasal prongs. I was moved four times while in St Mary's Hospital, due to a chronic shortage of beds, but was extremely well cared for (definition (iv)) by the medical and ancillary staff. On the 4th day, I was taken off oxygen and, on Day 5, I was discharged. I cannot speak highly enough of everyone at St Mary's: from the receptionist whom I spoke to first to the consultant who explained what was going on all the way through my treatment.

After a rather nasty experience with an egg mayonnaise sandwich (in name only) on the first night (there was no other vegetarian/vegan option), the regular food turned out to be surprisingly tasty. There was always a vegetarian option for lunch and tea with plenty to drink throughout the day. A fairly typical meal is shown in Photo 12; believe it or not but that green stuff at the front of the plate was advertised as garden peas!

Photo 12: Hospital Meal

The original 4-day break from blogging turned, unexpectedly, into a 9-day break. However, we're now back home with slightly more time on my hands as the doctors say I have to take it easy. Annoyingly, my heart rate data during the pulmonary embolism was wiped, presumably by the CT scanner; it would have been nice to see if there were any prewarning signs in the data.


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