3 July 2022

And, we’re back! After a marvellous four nights in Northumberland which was every bit as splendid as I had hoped it might be. Beautiful, wide sandy beaches where Miss Daisy could run free, a fabulous collection of rotten old ruins of the sort our boys used to love being dragged around back in the day, a glut of delicious shellfish and other assorted seafood and pretty decent weather. What more could one ask?

You’ll have to wait until next week for the best of the least bad photos and a full description of our various activities. But here’s one just to whet your appetite.

I had planned to give you the week off but we did have a bit of excitement the day before we left of which the one or two of you who haven’t heard the details might like to know. So, sorry for disturbing your Sunday after all.

Last Sunday morning whilst she was gardening, Penelope was stung by a wasp. No big deal, she’s been stung many times before including one just about a week ago. That one had a bit of swelling and was very itchy. This time, however, Penny went into a full-blown anaphylactic shock. She made her way into the kitchen and began, she says, to feel a bit peculiar. She shouted for me to come – a shout which, of course, I ignored. The second shout, a bit more emphatic this time, got me out of my study and downstairs to investigate – she was on the sofa struggling to breath and had some difficulty telling me what had happened.

Naturally, I went into full-scale panic mode – OMG, WTF and various other expletive-laden expressions passed my lips as I struggled to think what to do. One of our very nice neighbours has a son who is allergic to nuts – perhaps they will have an epi-pen? They didn’t, of course, but she did have some antihistamines which she brought round, one of which we managed to get Penny to swallow. Meanwhile, I was on the phone to the emergency services requesting an ambulance asap!

After twelve years of Conservative government, the NHS is on life support, hanging on by a thread. There have been cases of ambulances taking up to three hours to arrive and then, when they get to hospital, having to hang around for another hour waiting to offload their passengers. Thankfully, in our case, the ambulance from Banbury arrived in about 20 minutes followed about five minutes later by the air ambulance crew from Coventry. Moreton Pinkney has not seen such excitement in a very long time!

The ambulance crew were, of course, sensational. They covered her with sticky pads and hooked her up to an incredible beeping/blinking machine which measured all her vitals. They then gave her an injection of antihistamines and another of adrenalin followed a bit later with another adrenalin shot and gradually they began to bring her back from wherever she had gone. After about an hour they had her stabilised and carted her off to the ambulance to be blue-lighted to the Hornton Hospital in Banbury. Apparently, Penny said to the crew that, with all the pressure on A&E departments, she’d probably have to wait for a bit in the ambulance. “Not you,” they said. “You’re going straight in.”

More bleeping/blinking machines, an ECG and other bits and pieces and finally they were sufficiently confident of her recovery that she was wheeled out into the corridor where she stayed for another couple of hours before I was summoned to fetch her home.

So, that’s a bit of excitement I don’t need to repeat again, thank you very much! She is now the proud owner of two epi-pens which she has to carry with her 24/7 – hopefully, they’ll never be needed. I just hope she’s better at remembering her pens than she is with remembering her phone. And ensuring that it’s switched on. And fully charged.

Meanwhile, keep happy, keep smiling, be careful, wear a f**king facemask in crowded places and keep your distance. And keep safe. And be gentle to wasps and bees.

Lots of love to you all,


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