Holiday in Cumbria 2006

Fair Hill is on a road to Ennerdale Bridge. It is a rural road, but has a local at speed morning (at least) rush period for workers going to Sellafield. The hosts said tourists go more slowly. We were one. Getting to Ennerdale Bridge allowed us to go and see Ennerdale Water, but only from a distance, at a forest stop that allowed some drawing.

I drew using fibre tip pens near the car, and continued after helping mum to sit at a picnic table with views of a cottage, hills and the end of the lake. I joined her for a second drawing of mine using watercolour pencils, that stayed dry.

Via the village of Lamplugh, which can only remind one of the murder of the estate agent, we went via Loweswater (which I failed to photograph) to Crummock Water and Buttermere. This was a single track B road - how a coach thought it could come the opposite way I do not know. Then we went over Honister Pass, which for some strange reason I was calling Honniker Pass, as if after the East German leader. After the pass and the slate mine (we did not stop there) the road suddenly looks more like a B road and with green fields rather than high scrappy land. It narrowed again at Derwent Water, where I walked about a little with camera and mum stayed in the car.
We assumed we would visit Keswick again, and headed for Workington. This would be to see the coastal town and a different environment. It had absolutely nothing to offer - I called it worse - and we moved on to Whitehaven. Whitehaven did not want anyone to park in its streets, because a disc was need (where the hell from?), though how mum was going to do some visiting normal shops I was unsure as she needed some physical support. In the end we do what we always do, and went to supermarkets and associated shops off their own car parks. Hard luck Whitehaven shops. No wonder town centres die. Mum purchased two cushions in one such shop off Morrisons. I was able to show her a marina just outside Tesco car park. We ate in Tesco and it was pathetic. I cannot understand why they waste space on a cafe area and yet provide so little, like warmed up jacket potatoes and a cheese and chives mixture that is near its sell by date and actually reduces the cost of the potato. I also visited Aldi. We were sort of travelling around and around from car park to car park.
The journey included passage through the A595 between Workington and Whitehaven. Here, unnoticed, I was obviously picked up by a speed camera, except it clocked me doing 47 mph in an apparent 60 mph area. Normally I do take notice of speed camera signs and markings, as well as speed limits. What really annoys me about speed on roads is people who do 35 mph or more in a 30 mph area, so I fall back, then seem to hold to 40 mph in a 40 mph, and then do 45 or 50 mph on a clear 60 mph. So they block the road when I catch up and then you get a long trail behind a leading nuisance. If the road is good, do the speed of the road. There is no virtue in going slowly for the sake of it. The A66 in the Lake District is worst for this, on these tangential roads where you cannot see far enough around the sweep of a long bend to overtake. Oh, the A66 over the Pennines is a disaster of a road where single carriageway, with tractors and lorries that cannot cope. It needs the extra dualling it is getting, but it needs to be dualled all the way - mind, then there would be the spectacle of a lorry doing 62 mph overtaking a lorry doing 60 mph leading to a string of vehicles down the right hand lane (as on the old A1) and blocking everyone else. I am unrepentant - why does the lorry being overtaken not slow down to let the other one in, to then speed up again so that everyone else can get past?
They are not prosecuting: "on this occasion" said the follow up letter. No apology or explanation was included. Called a conditional offer, this withdrawel indicates it is little in the way of an offer. I had read it and decided I was not accepting it, and fancied a day on court. Instead I rang up and these powers that be withdrew it, the so called conditional offer. No problem: road pricing is coming and that will be unconditional.
When we were back at the house, we heard that a farmer had cut through a water mains pipe and there was no water downstairs. There was water upstairs, due to four large tanks in the loft. This meant the upstairs toilet and even upstairs shower would continue to work. I said to mum, keen to visit a toilet, that she could go upstairs. When I came back in from the car, she had fallen due to not seeing the single step on the landing. As she was sat at the top of the stairs, I was uncertain what had happened, but her right knee was no longer giving her any support. She had fallen on to it. At this time and mentioning the fall David Blackburn was bringing water from a butt to use to fill the downstairs toilet. Next day mum needed help for any mobility. The bed and breakfast hosts were very helpful (throughout). I did obviously look at this single step and asked myself if it was a danger. The light from below illuminated its edge, and I had always seen it. A notice might have been put on the wall but it would have been as unlikely to be seen as the step. It was a series of random errors starting with the farmer and having tanks to keep upstairs supplied, and I am not interested in the amoral slip and trip industry. The issue is one of good faith, and it was there.
So on Sunday morning I took mum to the hospital, hoping for a wheelchair. Instead they gave mum's leg an X Ray. Accident and Emergency said it looks like a fracture. She was admitted, having a plaster restraint put on and, later that day, a fibre glass one also preventing the knee from bending. The consultant on Monday, however, said there was no fracture. The X Ray effect was caused by soft tissue. The Ward said the treatment is the same, a treatment that originally was due to last six weeks (but surely not if not a fracture?). That afternoon I returned to the house and then went all the way to Derbyshire and all the way back (just an hour's break there) to get my sister, who appeared with me on Monday for visiting time.
The hospital said visiting hours are 2 pm to 8 pm, and so I went with my sister to Wastwater in the morning, which was spectacular. At Gosforth I bought my £13 worth of local and country type magazines. It was all she could see now. We also went down to Ravenglass for a brief visit to the coast, though I had wanted to see and did not Muncaster Castle. My sister and I then went on a hospital tour as mum was not where they said she would be and we were directed wrongly. Apparently visiting hours were 7 pm to 8 pm on the Jenkin Ward, but we could go anytime given being on holiday. During this time a consultant arrived who declared it was not a fracture, and indeed mum felt no pain when the foot was pushed inside the fibre glass restraint which prevented the knee bending.
The issue now was transferring to a local hospital. I asked for Scunthorpe General and not Hull Royal, due to my sensitivity about Hull Royal being more of a machine when it comes to patients, as well as being at the wrong side of the ridiculously expensive Humber Bridge. The idea was to transfer her to a local hospital by ambulance, and for an occupational therapist to come to the house and check on it before mum was allowed home.
My sister and I went to eat in Morrisons, so much better than Tesco. Then I discovered a puncture. After this we returned to the hospital for the regular evening visiting hours. Once again, despite the shorter time, I dropped her off and parked away from the doouble yellow lines down the hill. NHS parking charges are a rip off, a sniding way of getting money. If I paid for the afternoon and evening sessions, I would have been seriously out of pocket. This was another reason for asking for Scunthorpe hospital: they can't yellow line the roads everywhere and it is possible to park and walk in. It is not so easy for Hull (there are some residential streets nearby but it is a rabbit warren isolated from the main roads and easy to get lost).
On the next day my sister and I went to Maryport in the morning, which is a very pleasant place and a ghost port of its past - a huge now little used harbour with divisions for, no doubt, large ships. I walked around photographing and went in its museum. My sister found a bank in the town. It was made clear that she did not appreciate this sort of holiday (including Wastwater) as much as going to busy places like Paignton or her caravan at Filey. We are so different. Once again we spent hours at the hospital, and once again went to Morrisons.
Tuesday evening might have been the end of the holiday with mum. So Wednesday, with nothing more to do and more use in New Holland, I drove my sister to join her daughter and granddaughter to New Holland. Pausing on the M6, we went via the M61 and the stupidly renumbered M60. Minutes mattered and I went over the Humber Bridge for stopping at Barton (for money and milk) and I was in New Holland for fifteen minutes. I drove back and despite a pathetic ride over the A66 - tractors! Grrrrr! - I arrived at the hospital for 7:10 pm after a swift run. I remember getting a clear road at last on the A595 and coming across a speed camera on a 60 mph stretch, thinking how pathetic that when you get an open road this thing is put there to collect some money. Mum was slightly surprised to see me.

The next day, Thursday, I went up a nearby track and hill to draw the view. I had hoped to see Calder Abbey ruins but did not. I chatted to a farmer at the end of the road. At hospital the talk was of Ward 9 Scunthorpe General Hospital but a separate room due to stopping hospital to hospital infections. What a state we are in when hospitals are such dangerous places. The consultants had agreed, but bed managers had to agree. The issue of ambulance transport was now dropped in favour of the back seat of the car, subject to seat belt use. Otherwise we would have to wait for an ambulance, and would mean a journey where mum could not see out of the windows and one considerably longer than mine.
So it was that next day, Friday, I was packed completely. I first looked in on Egremont on market day and climbed to its high castle ruins, and diverted via St Bees to see its coast.
I had spent two nights on my own and spending on bed and breakfast. I expected to take mum to Scunthorpe. There was "bad news": there was no bed. So I said I would take mum anyway. I said mum is only going there while an occupational therapist visits the house, but we had one of those some time back who had made changes to our house via workmen coming. Mum may as well be at home. So the consultant was telephoned, and a physiotherapist arrived to test mum's mobility and he sat afterwards and did much writing. I was given documents to hand over personally at Scunthorpe hospital, except they were taken off me, put in the back of mum's wheelchair and stayed there when we drove off. I went back and stopped in Leeming Bar again, where mum rather than use the provided card bed pans wanted to go to the toilet. So I reparked in the disabled spot and she used the donated zimmer to go into the disabled toilet via their key. At home my neice and I brought down a bed to the sitting room, and the never used commode once provided by this once visiting occupational therapist and follow up came into use. It did, despite an attempt by mum to go upstairs aided by my neice who once was a residential home worker, and was able to help mum downstairs safely. The bathroom trip was a failure, as another attempt was after my sister, neice and grandneice had gone home on the Sunday.
Since then social services were called. Despite giving the GP surgery's address to Jenkin Ward of the West Cumberland Hospital, who said it was their fault, they sent all documents and X rays to me. Fortunately the GP surgery saved me a trip by sending them on for me from Barton. Meanwhile I wrote a further letter to the Scunthorpe consultant saying consistent with her recovery I would like the restraint off at the earliest opportunity, that if my mother had not received a fracture then I do not know but surely it has to be on less time than if there was a restraint. Social services added support.
So in essence my mother had one day's full holiday and I added Wastwater, Ravenglass, Maryport, up a hill, and Egremont with St Bees.
Later I took her back to Cumbria to experience what she had missed. However, this did not prevent her turning against me using the collusion of other members of my family, and trying to have me ejected from the house. She said that the first holiday and the second was me being selfish. 2006 was a year of crisis.


Adrian Worsfold