Tuesday, August 18, 2009



This is Boot I have been wearing for 7 weeks on my right leg to help repair the ruptured Achilles Tendon (see the diagram on the right) which I damaged at the end of my doomed June Election Campaign.

Initially diagnosed as a strain, an ultra sound scan after 4 weeks showed a rupture. My orthopaedic consultant decided not to operate but told me to wear the Boot for 8 weeks. Five weeks later I saw him again - for all of 6 minutes! - and extended the period to 11 weeks. I have to wear the Boot all day and am banned from driving, so I am largely confined to the house.

I have managed to get out quite often, thanks to family and friends and have been away twice - to visit friends in Norway and to the Isle of Wight with the granddaughters. My four walls became quite claustrophobic and besides I am a 'traveloholic' having visited or lived in 80 countries across 5 continents.

Temporary immobility concentrates the mind and has made me value my freedom and my car, living on an estate of 470 houses with no bus service. I remain cheerful and am grateful to still have 2 legs. My daughter's mother in law had a leg amputated in 2007 after a stroke due to an infection acquired in Hemel Hempstead Hospital. She is now permanently wheelchair bound so who am I to complain?

Also I am still alive! I have been to 2 funerals recently - Councillor Dave Lewis and my friend Sam Clark, Chairman of Elstow Parish Council and local farmer. Other Bedford Borough Council colleagues have died, including the Mayor of Bedford 11 days ago, Bob Elford and and Mohammed Khan. At present we hear nightly of our brave
young soldiers dying and being blown up by the Taleban bombs in Afghanistan - 204 so far - some of them barely 18 years old. What a tragedy for their grieving families.

Today I took a taxi to Bedford to sit on a 3-day DDA (Disability Discrimination) Employment Tribunal and the young Claimant has been disabled all her life. In 2006/7 I had 3 operations in one year in Bedford Hospital and Addenbrookes in Cambridge, where I met patients who had spent all their lives in and out of hospitals

Life is good - I may no longer be a Councillor but I have a wonderful family and friends, my health (apart from the injured leg!) religious and political freedom, a nice home, possessions and food on the table - benefits not enjoyed by millions of people across the world.

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