Nothing Wrong With My Poo!

bowel-screening-kitA few weeks ago the NHS sent me a screening kit for bowel cancer which I had to return in the mail. I got the results today and can claim “there’s nothing wrong with my poo!”

Bowel cancer screening is something that the NHS (National Health Service) in the UK offer free for anyone when they turn 60, which I did in October, and they do this using a screening kit that you prepare at home and then send back to them in the post.

It sounds very easy to complete the test, which consists of taking 2 smears from 3 separate bowel movements, and spreading these on small squares on the kit, which are hidden/protected under a flap.

In reality though, preparing the test results is not quite so easy.


First of all, the kit includes 6 cardboard sticks, 1 for each of the 6 windows, so 2 separate samples per bowel movement. Each cardboard stick must only be used once, and the samples taken from a different area of the poop.

Now, you can’t allow the poop to become contaminated, for example by letting it drop into the toilet and then “fishing” it out. They recommend either using toilet paper to catch it in, or a plastic container.

I don’t know about you, but I didn’t fancy the idea of doing number two into a plastic tub, so I opted for using toilet paper instead.

The first problem is of course that you have to have the kit handy for when you need to go, and of course you have to remember to take it with you into the bathroom. Now I wasn’t going to try and do this at work, so I had to time my bodily functions for either first thing in the morning or in the evening. As you probably know only too well, place any constraints like that on your body and it invariably doesn’t want to co-operate, so it was a bit of a stressful process that took 4 days, but in the end I did manage to get the samples.

Back to the task of catching the poo though, and if you have ever attempted to catch this on sheets of toilet paper, there is a certain stress involved, in case your hand is in the wrong place or you excrete a massive turd and it just overflows the paper.

There is a third posibility of course, and that’s finding that your poop is soft, sludgy or even just liquid. It doesn’t bare thinking about, but fortunately I didn’t suffer from any of the above and caught smaller samples than I imagined.

Now the other fun part is trying to take a smear to put on the small squares in the testing kit. In my case, every movement that I did was hard, not soft. In fact they were about the hardness of cheddar cheese.

Have you ever tried cutting a small piece of cheddar cheese with a piece of cardboard, then attempting to smear just a tiny bit onto a square of plastic? I tell you, it’s nigh on impossible, and I ended up smearing this stuff all over the place, just trying to take a teeny weeny sample.

Other than that the test was easy, but it was a humorous experience that albeit rather gross to discuss, I felt I had to write about it for those of you who can see the funny side of this type of experience.

And in my case the results have come back all clear, phew! No sign of bowel cancer or any of the other things that they test for fortunately. It doesn’t mean I don’t have any problems, but the tests didn’t show up anything at least.

I’m good to go for another two years at least.

Well I hope you enjoyed that read and weren’t too disgusted at the gruesome details. Do you have any medical procedure stories that are humorous? If so, please leave us a comment and share.

My Digital Tyre Inflator Saved My Bacon This Morning

In the Spring I bought a digital tyre inflator because I was fed up with having to go to the service station every couple of weeks to keep tyres on my car pumped up. The rear tyres keep losing air, and this inflator has proved to be incredibly useful, so much better than the analogue one that I used to have.

This morning I managed to leave the house 10 minutes early on my daily commute to work, and on my way up the hill about half a mile after leaving home I noticed a strange sound, but didn’t pay too much attention. I was more concerned about whether leaving home early would help me to beat the solid traffic jam that I have to face every day, and if you live in Southampton and have to drive over the river at Wood Mill every day, well you know full well what I mean. It usually takes me 20 minutes to do the first mile from home, and by the time I get over the river, the traffic has built up on the other side.

By the time I reached the queue and stopped, about a mile from home, the queue was nice and short. But then the driver behind me got out of his car, ran up to mine and said “did you know you have a flat tyre”?

Well to put it mildly I was rather peeved, having noticed that the rear tyre on the driver’s side was a little low, but I didn’t think it was THAT low!

So, I pulled the car over onto the pavement, got my tyre inflator out of the back, and set it going to put some more air into the rear tyre on my side, which is the one that goes down most often.

I left this running for a minute or so, then to my horror I saw that the tyre on the passenger side was completely flat, just like a pancake!

“Oh crap!” I thought to myself, I hope it inflates ok, or I will be really late for work, and it’s a busy day today for me.

Fortunately the tyre inflated ok, and I got to work ok, albeit barely before the buzzer went to start work, as by the time I got going again the traffic had really built up.

If you don’t have a tyre inflator and suffer from your car tyres going flat on occasions, I highly recommend the Polco Rapid Digital Tyre Inflator, which is the one that I purchased after a lot of searching and reading reviews.

I certainly haven’t been disappointed with this handy inexpensive gadget, and what I do love is that I can set the pressure that I want the tyre to inflate to, connect it to the tyre, turn it on and it stops automatically when the tyre has been correctly inflated.

I purchased mine at but also have a wide range of Digital Tyre Inflators.

A Pint Of Ale In Beer

Beer, DevonBeer is a small fishing village on the south Devon coast and we drove here after our trip to the Donkey Sanctuary in Sidmouth to enjoy the view and also to have a bit to eat as it was late afternoon.

We have been to Beer several times before, and we enjoy the narrow winding streets, old buildings and above all watching the fishing boats that are pulled up on the shingle beach.

It seems strange these days to find fishing boats that aren’t kept in a harbour, especially in the UK, but the boats at Beer are launched from the shingle beach on wooden rollers straight into the sea, which gets deep very quickly. When they return, they head straight for the shore, where a winch is attached and rollers place underneath them so they can be hauled up the steep slope to where they are out of the reach of the waves.

We were hungry when we arrived, so having parked the car we headed straight for The Anchor Inn where we ate last time we visited earlier this year and where we had enjoyed the food. This time the food wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great either. Debbie’s lasagna was part hot and part cold and seemed like it had been microwaved.  I had a mixed grill which was ok, but having ordered the steak medium it was definitely well done and a bit chewy.

Having eaten we took a nice walk along the shingle beach, and for late October it was a lovely afternoon and there were quite a lot of people around enjoying what was probably one of the last nice days we will have this year.

You can learn more about Beer on it’s official website, and below are a few more pictures that I took for you to enjoy.

The Sidmouth Donkey Sanctuary

Walter our sponsored DonkeyWe visited the Sidmouth Donkey Sanctuary in Devon back in April and it was such a foggy day that it was quite a bizarre experience walking around and seeing donkeys appearing out of the mist.

Today the weather was much nicer, and definitely not bad at all for the end of October. It was fairly cloudy, just a light breeze, some sunshine, occasional sprinkles of rain, but overall pretty nice.

Debbie wanted to sponsor a donkey for a Christmas present last year, and in April when we spent a long weekend in  Devon to see the donkeys, Walter (our sponsored donkey) just hid inside. Mind you it was a chilly damp day.

Walter is rather shy, and this time when we visited we went straight to where he lives, and even though he was outside, he made his way inside soon after our arrival.

Thankfully, one of the helpers there, a lovely lady from The Netherlands, led him out again, took some pictures of us with him, and also took some more pictures for us of him inside.

We were very fortunate to be able to spend quite a lot of time with Walter and his half-brother Timothy, and we learned a lot from this lady, as well as from several other helpers when we went back in the afternoon.

The Donkey Sanctuary was created by Dr Elisabeth Svendsen, MBE in 1969 to help save donkeys from around the world, and this place can only be described at HUGE! There are over 400 donkeys at this location alone, and numerous fields and stables where they live. They even have a hospital on site where they can treat donkeys that have injuries.

Some donkeys have been rescued from a life of abuse, while others have been donated to the sanctuary when their owners have no longer been able to look after them properly.

Some of the donkeys (like Walter) help with children who have disabilities, and they truly are lovely gentle creatures and are great with children.

Here are a few more pictures from our day at The Donkey Sanctuary.

Half Term In Devon

Heaven In DevonWe are spending the last week in October in Devon. It’s also half term week, and since we can only go away when the schools are on a break, it does limit us to when we can take trips, but staying in a converted farm building which is off the beaten track, we expect a lovely quiet week.

It’s only a couple of hours drive from where we live to this lovely tranquil spot, which is about a mile off the main road down a single lane track, and it’s so quiet here, you literally could hear a pin drop. It certainly is a little bit of “Heaven In Devon”.

The drive wasn’t bad, a couple of slow spots but nothing major, and we stopped at Greendale Farm Shop shortly before we arrived to buy some food and also to sample their Fish & Chips which are supposed to be excellent. Indeed they were, good portions, freshly cooked and well priced too.

Greendale is a lovely farm shop. It’s well stocked with lots of local produce, including freshly caught local fish and lots of local cheeses and meats. Outside there are hundreds of chickens running around, as well as an Ostrich and other animals, great entertainment for the kids.

Having stocked up with fresh bread, local milk, cheese and butter etc, we headed off to our destination, unpacked and walked around the property before hopping into the hot tub to relax.

The owner has a lovely large house with acres of grounds, and outside the door of our converted farm building (the left one in the photo) is a lovely patio garden, and beyond that a large field.  Guests are allowed to walk around the grounds, and there is a lot to see, including gorgeous sunsets (weather permitting).

More tomorrow as we head out to the nearby Donkey Sanctuary and visit another of our favourite beauty spots here, Beer.

The Musings Of Debbe & Tony