Friday, March 27, 2015

Prayer for the Dead by James Oswald

The search for a missing journalist is called off as a body is found at the scene of a carefully staged murder.

In a sealed chamber, deep in the heart of Gilmerton Cove, a mysterious network of caves and passages sprawling beneath Edinburgh, the victim has undergone a macabre ritual of purification.

Inspector Tony McLean knew the dead man, and can't shake off the suspicion that there is far more to this case than meets the eye. The baffling lack of forensics at the crime scene seems impossible. But it is not the only thing about this case that McLean will find beyond belief.

Teamed with the most unlikely and unwelcome of allies, he must track down a killer driven by the darkest compulsions, who will answer only to a higher power.

This was a slow starter for me. Based on the title and the first murder, I began to worry it would have some serious religious overtones ... which put me off. Also I was reminded what a struggle it is to read a thick hard cover book. They are heavy! Haha.

But at some point, when I really gave it a chance, I was completely absorbed and in the end thoroughly enjoyed this story. I didn't guess whodunnit correctly, although there was a tie-in with a specific character I saw coming a mile off (I thought he'd done it).

I also quite enjoyed the character of Inspector McLean so I will look out for more from this series in future.


* This is one of my Featured Book Reviews, sponsored by Penguin Books.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Thanks for all the fish.

So just a quick update. Clearly The Littlest One won't be arriving today :) I feel like that at least alleviates some pressure off her future sibling from possibly being the only one in the family who is not born on the 26th of the month ... haha.

On Monday, The Trucker drove me to Sandton (to try and remove any traffic issues that could be affecting my blood pressure) and we had everything checked again. My blood pressure was still high (149, I think) and there was still no protein in my urine. The doc was happy that although it was high it seemed stable ... so we'd just check it again at my Wednesday appointment.

Yesterday my blood pressure was right down below 140 although there was a very minor trace of protein in my urine. So we got the all clear :) Seems likely the 2 days working from home definitely helped!

At the moment it's sounding likely that we'll make a call at next week's appointment and she may arrive next Thursday (SECOND of April - haha). She still hasn't dropped. I've read some stuff online from midwives about that not being a good reason for a caesar, but am trusting my doc. If they haven't dropped there is often a reason they haven't (cord too short, cord around the neck, hands in the way, forehead presenting) and I could try going into natural labour, but likely it will end with an emergency c-section and just cause additional stress to us both.

I have a week to get my head around the idea of a caesar. I know I have always maintained, whatever is best and safest for us both. But I clearly had definite leanings toward natural labour (with pain meds tho). The thing I like least about the idea of a caesar is she'll be out in 5 mins and then whisked off with Dad while I lie around on the table for another 45mins getting stitched up ... that's the longest we'll ever have been apart. I really liked that with natural labour she would come straight to me and for that first hour all three of us would be together bonding.

It probably sounds like such a ridiculous thing and I'm quite sure that even 6 months from now it will be the last thing I remember or care about ... so few moms (the ones I've chatted to about this) seem to remember much about the birth after their child has arrived because although it seems like the biggest deal right now (from where I am in the process), once the kiddie arrives, everything changes and is about them and those are your memories. Irrelevant how they arrived, all that matters is that they did.

So anyway, I've bumped up my leave. I officially only have 4 days left of work and I'll be working from home for all of them. So yesterday I went into the office and cleared out my desk and handed in my access card. It felt so weird. Peeps I've been working at this place for almost seven years (there was a lot to send for shredding that had been piling up in my drawers - haha). And after my maternity leave I won't be going back to the Joburg office (unless a lot changes in the next 6 months) because we'll be moving to Cape Town (!) and I'll be going back to work at the office there. Yikes. It all feels very peculiar, actually.

I am sure you can imagine, since my blog posts have already become fairly erratic (we don't do much anymore so there isn't that much to write about), I have no idea what'll happen to them after next week. I was hoping to finish up my Turkey posts before she arrived, but I think I'm about half way so I'm not even sure I'll get that done :( At this point I'm not committing to anything.

If you don't hear from me here for a while, I'm sure I'll be around with more byte-sized updates on Twitter & Instagram. Blogging has been fun and a much needed outlet, but I'm not sure yet if it's part of my future. Thanks for reading :)

Here's to a whole new phase!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

17 October: St Nicholas Island to Fethiye

We had a slow start to the morning. After breakfast we left St Nicholas Island and took a 2hr trip to our next stop. OMG, I felt so awful! The boat was rocking dreadfully, I felt completely ill. But I survived ;)

We stopped in a little bay just before Fethiye, for one last swim and lunch.

This cruise was such a superb experience. We relaxed wonderfully ... which is usually quite tricky for me to actually do on holiday because I'm all about cramming in as much experience into the time as I can. I would highly recommend it. But, I'm not sure what it's like when it's "in season" ... we were the last cruise of the 2014 season.

And then, we were saying our goodbyes to the crew, our tourmates and the boat.

From there we headed to our hotel, Villa Daffodil, and showered and relaxed before heading into town to rent a scooter and find a laundry.

We also had a browse thru some of the shopping streets and shared a meatball kebap (yum!).

Woo! Being back on a scooter really made this feel like a holiday - haha. We rode along the coast, actually passing the bay we had stopped in for lunch.

After a nap back at the hotel, we headed to dinner at the top Fethiye restaurant on Trip Advisor, Mozaik Bahce. Of course there was a waiting list ... we'd completely forgotten it was a Friday night! Haha.

But it wasn't too long, soon we were eating red pepper bread (amaze) and I finally got to try Manti. Wow, that was absolutely delish!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

16 October: Butterfly Valley to St Nicholas Island

Early this morning (about 4:30am apparently) the boat headed to our next stop, Butterfly Valley. We woke up at 8am just as we arrived. There was no one else around at all!

Unfortunately it was a very overcast morning but we still had a pretty awesome swim. And, actually, after I was out, I had the next exciting sighting of the trip, from on the boat (the viz was so good!). I watched a cuttlefish swimming about. Very cool!

After that we headed to another little beach where the group of doctors were hoping to go Paragliding. Unfortunately  for them, even tho we saw loads of people floating down from the mountain, their trip was cancelled due to wind.

We didn't stay too long and didn't even leave the boat to explore the busier-than-Butterfly-Valley beach.

From there we headed to our overnight stop at St Nicholas Island.

I was off the boat with the snorkelling gear (barely any working masks and only one snorkel!) almost immediately after lunch. Best stop so far!

So many fish. A sunken city (sort of). I saw 2 more eels, a school of about 8 little cuttlefish and 3 pufferfish. Also, sadly, plenty of litter.

By the time I headed back, The Trucker was over his need to relax (last night catching up with him - haha) and we headed out to snorkel together. After a Nutella Roti / Pancake from a sales-boat. We saw hardly anything! Very disappointing.

We relaxed a little more, the group of doctors got collected from our boat for their next stop and the rest of us headed up to explore St Nicholas Island's ruins just before sunset.

Monday, March 23, 2015

36 weeks, 3 days

Friday ended well with an awesome Baby Shower at the office! Wow, so much yummy food and friendly faces and did we ever get spoilt with more gifts!

So I left the office on quite a high. I decided to come home for a bit and revel in all the cute baby things and relax a little after driving thru the traffic before going to get my blood pressure re-checked at Olivedale.

Turns out they wouldn't check my blood pressure or urine protein at Olivedale Maternity-Labour ward. I was told to go to casualty. I found the whole experience quite awful and after wandering around there and seeing their Maternity & Labour ward I couldn't be happier that that is not my hospital! (Maybe it is because of their renovations, who knows?)

I did take a wander to their casualty ... but the place was full and I really had no desire to sit around actual sick people waiting for who knows how long. Fed up with the experience, I got back in my car and headed for Sandton where I felt instantly better. The place is lighter and feels more "in control", there were people to be seen on duty, I didn't have to hunt them down.

(photo: 16 weeks vs. 36 weeks)

They let me rest for a bit before taking my first reading. And then, because that was high, I waited again for a second reading. It was lower than the first but still higher than Wednesday :( On the plus side, there was no protein in my urine.

After a look on Google to try see how I can lower my blood pressure, I think I probably have Gestational Hypertension and not actually preeclampsia ... since I don't seem to have any other symptoms for it other than the high blood pressure.

The nurse phoned my gynae and I'll go get it checked again today. I really wasn't expecting it to be up again. I got home and bawled. I'm okay now, but it was a bit of an emotional weekend ...

We made home made pizzas and watched series and went to bed early.

On Saturday morning I had a very lazy time ... although The Trucker was up early. He had arranged to get some work done on my old house in preparation to sell it (painting, damp proofing, that sort of thing). I stayed home, read my book, watched some tv ... rested. Until about 1pm when I'd booked a hair appointment in anticipation of our Maternity Shoot later in the afternoon.

All was going well till about 15h30 when a crazy storm rolled in. Luckily we could move the shoot from the original location (James & Ethel Grey Park) to the studio nearby. I was a little disappointed that we couldn't get a nice natural outdoor shoot, but I wasn't going to take any chances by postponing it! I think the photos will still be great :) We had fun!

In the evening we watched Fury. Which was okay. I'm a bit over movies lately, to be honest.

On Sunday we had absolutely no plans so we had a lazy morning in bed and then met some friends at Blandford Manor for a late breakfast.

After that we took a drive so The Trucker could show me the progress on the house he is building. Wow. It is looking absolutely amazing! Unfortunately I wasn't feeling great after that so he dropped me back at home before going to do the grocery shopping.

I think I spent the rest of the day in bed dozing and reading my book. Probably just what my body needs! The thought of still being at work this week feels a little overwhelming right now, but thank goodness I get to do it from the comfort of my own home ... so less stress, more comfortable.

What happens next is anyone's guess!

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