Sunday, July 31, 2005

A better behaved body

Having listened to my body mid-morning, and grabbed the extra sleep, I seem to have had a rather better day than for some time. Of course, the new distraction possibly played some part in it as, that resolved the quandary of decision-making that has been rather haunting me.

This evening we watched "Agatha Christie's Poirot : Five Little Pigs" on ITV; neither of us had seen it before and, we're both agreed that it's one of the best episodes. Meantime, we had the video kept busy recording John Grisham's "The Pelican Brief" for watching at a later date. I have a vague idea that I may have seen the film but, Helen definitely hasn't and seems quite eager to view it.

David Jacob's programme, on Radio 2, is keeping me company whilst I prepare this blog, it always features some good music from the musicals and some of the great songwriters. A sign of my great age is that I still think of him as the presenter of 'Juke Box Jury'. As my vision is now starting to get blurred, it must be my body asking me to take note.

God bless and, sweet dreams.

Today the Sun has Shone

Last night, like so many of late, was not the most restful although, I felt a litle more refreshed on a relatively early emergence from duvet-dom. This proved to be a false alarm however, as by 11.00am I required a few minutes lie-down which swiftly turned into one and a half hours of sleep. I had just emerged from this surprise nap when Helen returned from having taken a service at one of the circuit chapels.

After lunch, one of my minced beef curry specials, I decided to visit Comet to do a bit more browsing. One of the laptops, which had been my earlier preference, had now been reduced in price by £80, so after my lengthy indecision process ... decided, yes this was the one. It was the display model and, another salesman came over to it whilst our salesman went to collect the packaging. Apparently, another person was on the phone at that point having just decided they would like it. How fortuitous was that, after all that earlier indecision, I only just managed to get the machine I wanted (a newly discontinued model!)

My beloved and myself have just been enjoying this week's edition of "Songs Of Praise" before Helen went out to the evening service at her local chapel. Must be a day for piety, taking a service and worshipping at another one; perhaps one day soon I'll have the resilience to participate in such worshipful endeavour!

Saturday, July 30, 2005


Twenty minutes ago, my other persona, Heterocon, had to give up writing, doubled over in tear provoking discomfort. After this brief interlude, only the aches remain but, it's hard to ascertain whether the various supports or the painkillers are kicking in. I, myself, find it hard to believe that it's such a short time ago that I was in the throes of a screaming cringe-making intensity of pain.

Why can't life be simpler, how long do I have to scream before someone realizes I'm not just crying wolf! Anyway, I must be grateful that at least I can sit reasonably upright once more. At the moment, with Radio 3 playing in the background, I am the picture of contentment. I only hope that this content never turns to contempt.

Life is short, we should rejoice and be glad in it.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Making the most of a bad job!

This evening, at 10.00pm, I went out for my first BBW (brief brisk walk) since rather overdoing it last Friday. An attempt to speed up on the return leg (of the walk ... I actually used both each way!) proved moderately successful. Irregularity of ability seems to be pretty much the blueprint for me at the moment. It would be nice if I could know in advance how, within reason, I was going to be the next day. I don't so much mind having to learn my limitations and so, pace my activities but, one days reasonable pacing seems to be the next day's struggle.

If I was more capable of an active social whirl I wouldn't moan on so much about limitations but, I do recognize how fortunate I am in what I can manage. The real frustration is that my energy deficit, lack of concentration, even the joint pains, seem to get passed off as symptoms of the depression of which I am 95% of the time unaware. As someone who has suffered spasmodic bouts of depression, not at all regularly, since my "breakdown" in the mid-60's, I do wish that my opinion that I am not in any way suffering any classic form of depression could be taken seriously. What "low" bouts I have these days, often of just a few hours duration, bear no resemblance to the pall that hung over me when I was depressed; they usually are a frustrated re-action to my lack of energy and physiological discomfort. The "chicken and egg problem" is all too obvious.

Body and mind are quite clearly closely intertwined, one can quite easily feel down because of a physical or neurological ailment ... this is not the same as being depressed!

PS I actually baled out 100 litres of water from the pond at lunch-time ... my, my, haven't I managed an exertionful day? My halo's positively shining.

Here Is The News

Once again various niggling skin irritations, and muscle twitches, have forced me out of bed. I hasten to add that the irritations were my personal property and, not a secondary effect from my better half who despite my antics remains sound asleep. I admit to some disruption of her sleep pattern.

Anyway, I've no intention of boring you with vivid descriptions. The following Headline and sub-header on VNU net really appealed to my sense of humour:

Russian spammer found beaten to death
One billion email users under suspicion as police launch enquiry

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Reflections from a tired soul.

Just watched 'The Last Temptation Of Christ', for the first time in a few years, and am quite stunned by it's power. The interaction/conflict between body and spirit is remarkably portrayed; the equation between the humanity and the divinity of Jesus is one with which I've wrestled on many occasions!

Were he not fully human, then there would be no incarnation (enfleshment) but sinlessness casts doubt on the full humanity. My understanding of God is almost entirely shaped by Jesus, a moulding that survived and strengthened whilst studying other religious traditions. The concerns that grasp me tend to be funnelled through the Christ tradition.

I have a faith and many doubts; a concentration on the spirit which ignores the needs of the flesh and the struggle for justice has never been for me.


I'd been fighting against the odds, in the battle against inattention but, despite my concentration deficit, the muse still grabbed me and pinned my (already) strapped wrists down in front of a keyboard. In fact the muse called at an inconvenient time and, I had to struggle against the alloy wrist brace to scribble down the first mysterious words.

Anyway, the result so far, a poem called BEING can be viewed on Heterocon's site. The muse can be at times aMUSING, more frequently beMUSING but, above all, she cannot (or I dare not take the risk) be mocked!

Today, I thank the muse; this time she wreaked no havoc but, left my day on a more positive course.

A de-concentrated morning

Today concentration is at a long-time low; I'm even surprised I found my way to the dashboard. Open up my various e-mail programmes, look at what's there and I can't even be bothered to open them!

Go out into the wet miserable day, just to the local Co-op to obtain a nicotine refill, take advantage of the occasion for a short stroll (around the shortest block) and return home slightly refreshed. Start browsing through the odd e-mail, following a few links but, still the concentration isn't there.

The real blessing of the day is that my beloved Helen is at home until mid-afternoon, I always love it when she's around and, I know that she enjoys my company (even though she suffers with me ... every little ache and frustration!)

With a wonderful wife and, an online opportunity to rant, what more could one desire .... no, no, don't answer that ...!

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Drifting Into Laughter

A day of some discomfort, at times considerable but, I almost kept on smiling through. It was one of those days when computer technology seemed to have a mind of it's own, whilst my nind drifted away from anything I hoped to concentrate on.

When Helen arrived back from her day at the hospital and, a trip out with Beth, it proved a real bright-spot in my day. She popped a couple of potatoes in the oven, to get on with the baking process whilst she got on with her blog and caught up with e-mails. When the potatoes were ready, I chargrilled some Salmon along with cherry tomatoes, peppers and mushrooms, as an abundantly overflowing filling for the jacket pots.

Our friend Graham came around this evening and, left more relaxed than when he arrived. At least I managed to get him and ma belle amoureuse laughing; quite on form tonight! I'm not the perfect misery my blog at times seems to be striving towards.

The tiredness, which has never really left me all day, is starting to really make it's presence felt. Let's hope there's no need for more messages ce soir.


After a couple of better night's sleep, tonight is back to a tale of discomfort. A restlesness on retiring, stretching my limbs every which way all to no avail The convulsive like twitching of the legs I couldn't quite control and, suddenly all the nerve endings in my body seemed to be set on edge. Much as I love snuggling up to my beloved (and vice-versa) I suddenly couldn't tolerate being touched, the price to be paid was a cringing shudder.

Perhaps the rather negative vibe to my day has now allocated itself to the night as well. I've just been down to make myself a mug of drinking chocolate, an action designed more to occupy my by now restless mind as any actual benefit it may have.

Sitting upright, in front of this bit of technology, temporarily seems to be the most comfortable position. Wish I could say as much for the process of hitting the keys. Radio 2 plays quietly in the background, a soothing companion in my solitude. I'm trusting it won't be too long until my mind and body are sufficiently relaxed to contemplate some sleep.

Sweet Dreams.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

A Hollow Day

Today was, in considerable parts, a day of hollowness; a kind of depression, in response to noticing all the tasks that I could be doing in the home and garden and yet, don't feel able to tackle. When one of these hollow days occurs, every slight hiccup to one's routine takes on a disproportionate weight.

When it comes to summing up this quite negative day however, it is the good things that come foremost in the mind, like the company of an adored and adoring wife. The usual light chores, which can be pleasures on a better day, seem to get done ... e.g. feeding the fish in both pond and aquarium, preparing dinner for Helen and myself ... but, the rest of the day is lost in a drift of resting and moping.

Mid-evening brought about an improvement in my mood, when I received (via e-mail) four more photos of my gorgeous great-niece. Her special smile is enough to drive away the blues. After that I seemed to manage to raise sufficient energy to watch a couple of episodes of CSI with my beloved.

Just for the sake of Being

Just popped by, en route from tending to Heterocon's impulses. It has started to become a habit with Heterocon, to clutch at "coffin nails" instead of straws. If you find this perplexing visit the following two entries : "A Question of Understanding" and "My Old Friend Nick Teen".

Once again I find myself struggling with fatigue, although the aches and pains are on a much lesser scale than of late. The big question always is ... How much do I/dare I push myself. When it comes to mental exertion the situation is even more problematic; whereas at times we can set aside physical chores, the ruminations of the mind continue unabated come rain or shine.

Perhaps, if I could find a shortcut to restoring my once pretty good powers of concentration, I could immerse myself in a good book thus cutting down on the time given to my meandering thoughts! I am therefore I think, to twist Descartes maxim into a more existentialist framework ... then all that remains is the action consequent upon the thought.

Sorry, I'm rambling again; I only called in to prevent any feelings of neglect!

Monday, July 25, 2005

Love Struck

Heterocon has already recalled my disastrous struggles with a rabid vegetable oil bottle but, that wasn't the end of the story. On hearing my gasps and groans of exasperation, my beloved came dashing through to the rescue; at this point I heard a sudden roll of thunder which I was swiftly to discover was a tremendous collision between Helen's left hand and the lounge door.

Throughout the evening the pain has been growing, as I hear her moaning about a severely corrupted hand! No, actually, I can quite believe tha pain has been increasing, as can be evidenced by the expanding first-finger knuckle. I did wonder why she kept shunning me when I attempted to hold her hand. It's hard to please some people!

Side by Side

So far there has been little risk of me becoming alert, at least it means no new routines to get the hang of. It's amazing that, in the space of a few minutes, on Helen's return from the day hospital, I could manage to lose a half-full tumbler of H20! It's almost enough to drive one to drink.

Apart from a bit of web-surfing, looking at paintings by old friends of mine, seeking more info and prices on widescreen laptops but, more generally following a barely conscious trail through web-sites whose content I have no recollection of.

My beloved and I are currently sat, side-by-side at our respective PC and laptop, tapping away at the keyboard to the background strains of Radio 3. We actually do talk to each other but, it's really good to check out her blog ... it saves me the effort of putting her verbal comments into some kind of perspective.

Anyway, that's enough gibberish for now. Thanks for popping by.

Grateful Thanks

Last night provided me with a better night's sleep than of late. At 3.00am, however, I had to remove myself from the bed once more; this time it was to down a few teaspoonfuls of Gaviscon in an emergency attempt to quell a bout of reflux. Perhaps it's time to renew the prescription for proton pump inhibitors, a medication which had obviously proved its worth.

It really was a rfereshing change though, to spend the night without the lower limbs, particularly, taking on a convulsive life of their own. Any aches in the upper limbs were also minimal. For a more restful night, I give thanks.

If I'm not careful, before I know it, I may even become alert during the day.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

And That's Another Day Of Rest

Fatigue was once again the keynote of my day, it certainly proved fitting for the day of rest! I had managed to raise myself from my bed before Helen returned from Chapel; her return served as a reminder that perhaps it was time to shower and get dressed.

The spicy herbed chicken dish, prepared last evening, exceeded expectations (and they are high enough). At least I can still manage to produce some culinary triumphs. Whilst dining, we listened again to "Songs For The New Millenium: Breaking The Chains", a 17 track CD produced for the Methodist Publishing House. The diversity of styles and influences, blues, soul, world music etc., together with it's themes of Peace, Faith, Hope and Justice, makes this, for me, one of the most refreshing praise and worship albums. After that, we listened to some of Steve Brookstein's "Heart & Soul" before Helen drove me down to PC World, for twenty minutes laptop browsing.

Enjoyed "Songs of Praise" before tea, although by that time I was struggling a little to keep my eyes open. We were both looking forward to the final instalment of "Donovan" at 9.00pm but, in the light of recent events, this had been postponed. In it's place an episode of "Midsommer Murders" (I believe it was called 'Death of A Hollow Man') was shown . We both enjoyed such a good laugh in this episode that it totally overcame my tiredness.

For the first time in the day, I am now starting to feel quite wide-awake.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Clearing The Air

The last employment I had, before my present bout of ill health, was as Caretaker / Steward at my local Parish Church. The ill health actually started whilst I was still in that employment, a fact which was soon to be overlooked by the Vicar. Throughout the employment, I received much praise for my dedication and commitment above and beyond the hours for which I received remuneration.

Frequently, whilst suffering various minor ailments (and even flu-like symptoms), a bout of labyrinthitis etc. .. I continued to labour there, even whilst undergoing chiropractic treatment for a frozen shoulder, after the failure of hydrocortisone injections to alleviate the problem.

Eventually, I reached a state of both physical and emotional collapse and, had no option other than to quit rather abruptly. A couple of the wardens apologized to me but, the rather myopic Vicar could only say that I had let them down.

It was over three months later that I was able, with the encouragement of Helen, to pluck up the courage to visit my GP; such was the severity of my emotional exhaustion!

My successor was given double the hours to perform much the same tasks (unsuccesfully, in part due to theill-health of the new postholder) and, with additional chores, it has now become a full-time post.

Now, some twenty months down the line, I still smart at the Vicar's insensitivity and, realize that I must let it go! In so many ways I still have a great deal of respect for the man but, this one splinter took on such gargantuan proportions that, neither my wife nor myself felt able to continue worshipping there. Admittedly, at the moment, I have great difficulty in being condemned to a be in a roomful of people for the duration of a service, no matter where!

I seek forgiveness for holding this grudge; as I've already stated in many ways I admire this man, who was an amazing mixture of pastor, minister and administrator; his major failing is being a workaholic, which perhaps leaves him blind to the all too frail flesh of others!

I just, suddenly, had the desire to sweep out this murky closet.

Drifting Through Another Day

Heterocon has already reported on the beginning of my (conscious) day and, it has proceeded in a pretty non-eventful way. All formal proceedings, getting dressed, having a shower, feeding the fish, have been dealt with.

The main part of tomorrows dinner has been prepared, spicy herbed Chicken in a rich peppers, mushrooms, and cherry tomato sauce with tantalizing hints of lemon, ginger and garam masala. When Helen comes back from chapel in the morning, all that's left to do is pop the prepared chicken dish in the oven, and a steamer full of vegetables on the gas-ring ... et voila! I am so fortunate to have such a good personal shopper in the shape of Helen, just as she's so fortunate in having an excellent cook like me.

It's important that I blow my own trumpet, otherwise I may get overlooked. Apart from the chores referred to, the major task of the day has been staying awake; I just have a sneaking feeling, which Helen shares, that I maybe overdid it yesterday! I really must develop pacing skills, in order to enjoy all the more the things I can manage.

Morpheus Waylaid

The word, a couple of hours ago, was shattered. I see no reason to change that word, the only change is that then I hoped for a good night's sleep and so retired reasonably early. As I lay in bed, I felt somehow ill at ease with my body, a certain (indefinable) type of convulsive twitch seemed to take over the muscles of my limbs each time I started to yield to the call of Morpheus.

Had I been more mentally alert, this experience would be easier to understand, or ... is my mind alert and, therefore, at loggerheads with an exhausted body. It actually feels far more comfortable to sit upright than to lie down. A lttle wart, aligned with my bottom left rib, has started to twitch in syncopation with the warty growth at the juncture of neck and shoulder. These creatures may be referred to as benign but, currently they are proving themselves a malign force.

At present, I feel like a test-bed of dis-ease, in search of a hypochondriac in order to display it's unreality. Quite what that means is beyond my comprehension, so ... don't allow yourself to become too perplexed.

Sweet Dreams.

Friday, July 22, 2005

A Heavy Drift

Having stretched my lower limbs a bit more than of late, I am pleased to report a relative absence of aches and pains in that quarter. The downside is that, since returning home I have been floating in a weird kind of void, unable to concentrate on anything. Even so, I managed to struggle through the preparation of a delicious Salmon savoury rice for dinner.

Come the evening, I drifted into watching the beginning of Mahler 5 on BBC4 (Mahler being one of my favopurite composers) but, was lacking the emotional stamina to properly listen. Having switched that off, put on a DVD of "On The Beach", not exactly a barrel of laughs, more a very worthy film on the ludicrousness of nuclear weapons ... with them around we're all victims! After an hour, the semblance of concentration dissipated into the ether. At least I can continue viewing at a later time, quite unlike the horrendous experience of cinema going!

Even a beautiful Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc could only tempt me to struggle through a glass and a bit. Shattered seems to be the best word to describe my current state of being. I am fortunate, I am in love with my wife who also loves me but, even that richness fails to alleviate my current emotional inertia.

Perhaps a good night's sleep will go some way to restore my powers of concentration; I don't think that's too much to ask.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

A Relaxing Evening

Went out for a brief amble, with my beloved, after tea; basically a little stroll around the block. This time, I was cautious not to follow a route that entailed climbing steps even though I might have managed bettter this evening.

On our return, we settled down to watch (and do a VHS to DVD transfer) "My Fair Lady", I'd certainly forgotten just how funny it could be and, how brilliantly Rex Harrison portrays Prof Higgins. Of course the primary reason, alongside the musical score, was to fall in love (all over again) with Audrey H.

The niggles in the elbow have returned so, I'll make this item short and sweet. Meanwhile ma belle amoureuse is writing up a brief blog for today on 'Bright Light'.

One Step Forward ... erm ... forget the rest

Just popped out to give the goldfish their second feed and, amazing discovery, my legs moved more easily than they have in the past couple of weeks! The aches in the arms, and all components therof, had somehow made me oblivious to the fact that my knees and ankles weren't bothering me at all. Yes, I know that, shortly after arising from my disturbed slumbers, my descent (of the stairs) was more of an ungainly stumble than a walk but, since then I've not really given the lower limbs any thought.

Sorry if this sounds like confessions of a hypochondriac but, it's quite simply that my varying body parts do have a habit of painfully intruding into the front-rooms of my mind!

For the moment, I give thanks.

A temporary anguish

One moment I'm sat upright, in a firm but comfortable chair, elbows and wrists duly strapped and supported. Next moment, discomfort has shifted in to the armpits; I stretch both arms, palms facing each other, between the thighs for a couple of minutes ease. My whole body cries out with dis-ease and, I am impotent to deal with the symptoms, I lie down on the bed and for a moment feel a sense of ease but ... it is only for a moment. These symptoms come and go, I know they will pass, go back to the upright comfortable chair and type these few words but, the very act of reaching out simply to type is totally dicomfiting. Will write a proper entry when the symptoms fade once more!

Restless Night

It's amazing the havoc aching elbows and armpits can play with the whole cosy psychosomatic being. Since retiring to bed, shortly before midnight, this is the third time I've gotten up so, this time decided I'd grab a little to eat and renewed my radio listening. It just seemed impossible to get off to sleep, even the pain-killers have had zero effect on the discomfort stakes so, this time I've decided to get dressed.That's the most comfortable thing to do, if I'm going to be sitting around.

Perhaps exhaustion will soon hit home and, I'll be able to sleep regardless. If I'm going to do any more surfing, reckon I'll have to don elbow and wrist supports once more before I look at what's going on in the big wide world out there.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

A short lived "alertness" spasm

The modicum of alertness, which was my good fortune from around 11.00am, dissipated itself by 1.30pm. Simultaneous with the energy's farewell, a nagging ache verging on the really painful occurred in both elbows and forearms. As all I was doing at the time was a little light reading, one wonders where such a curse comes from.

The strapping up of elbows and wrists proved beneficial, so much so that I fell asleep during what promised to be a really good Afternoon Play on Radio 4. Admittedly once I struggled free of the arms of Morpheus, the pain at first seemed more acute. I thank God that it is currently no more than a nausea-promoting niggle.

As you are now bearing witness, decided to do a little work on the PC although it's not quite as easy with the wrist supports on. Having said that, I doubt that keyboard work would be on the agenda at all without their support.

Helen will be meeting up with her friend Hilary this evening, for one of their (theoretically) fortnightly conflabs at the Pizza Hut. I imagine our friend Graham will come around here to share the company of this not-so-old crock.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Tarantino On Telly

The Tarantino episodes of CSI were totally mesmerising, the tension being sustained right through from the opening scenes to the final minutes. Not exactly the sort of programme to relax one into sleep but, at least I can surf a while, and relax to the sound of Radio 2 before and as I allow my head to hit the pillow. As my dreams have all been quite vivid, when I remember them, I don't think Mr Tarantino will affect them one way or the other.

In total, it's been a pretty good day for me. I am learning to appreciate what I can do, rather than lamenting that which I would do if I had the energy etc. My beloved is hoping to (soon) have her own blog up and running; it seems like they're contagious. I'm sure that there'll be a link from here when there's anything to read! Meantime, I'm off to visit some other spaces. Goodnight all.

The Breeze And I

Towards the end of the afternoon, the cooler breezier day aiding and abetting, I managed a BBW (brief brisk walk) although the pace slowed down somewhat after the ascent of a dozen steps. To look on the bright side, I wasn't totally exhausted by the time we got back home and, I subsequently got around to repotting the Aloe Vera plant; providing I've not messed-up somewhere along the line, one plant has now become three. Not only do I find this plant aesthetically pleasing, the liquid squeezed from it's cut leaves has quite remarkable healing properties.

Providing I feel sufficiently alert, I'm looking forward to the Tarantino directed episode of CSI, postponed from last week. I may be back later but, please don't treat that as a threat ... it's not even a promise!

Extended sleep does not refreshment make

Emerged from my slumbers around 11.ooam, some 11 hours after entering duvet-dom. Although the sleep pattern was somewhat disturbed, my reckoning is that I managed at least nine hours of solid sleep. I would like to be able to report that I feel really refreshed but, sorry, no joy on that front.

A cooler, very breezy day is nonetheless welcome; it's truly amazing how much easier my knee and ankle joints felt when I popped out to the local shops a few minutes ago. Just had a quick check of my e-mail and, Yahoo had done a good job of sorting all the 'SPAM' into the bulk folder ... 33 items today, primarily offering bargain priced software ... 'premium' programmes at budget prices, how likely is that. There was a time when I felt the filtering was a bit too keen but, today all items really were spam.

I always find it better to delete 'Bulk' as and when I go into my mail account, that way it's easier to check whether any legitimate mail has been wrongly placed there!

After checking my mail, next port of call was PC Advisor to check out the news and the forums. There's always so much information one can pick up from other peoples computing problems and, there are some occasions when I do my own postings. It's really encouraging that so many people out there are prepared to freely offer help and advice!

So, that's my day so far and, I do gradually seem to be getting more alert. Perhaps the progress will continue.

Monday, July 18, 2005

To sleep perchance to avoid snacking

Early afternoon found Heterocon feeling surprised that he was still reasonably alert, but, I have it on good authority (being the self-same person) that within ten minutes of that blog entry he was sound asleep, awakened only on Helen's return.

Next on the agenda, went out for a little walk; what should've taken about 15 minutes took closer to 30. Knee joints and ankle joints colluded to make the lifting of one's foot seem as if it was a violation of natural laws.

On return to the house, a collapse onto the sofa seemed to be in order; a postural faux pas if ever there was one! Now it's the small of my back, the right-shoulder, right elbow and right wrist joining the lower limbs conspiracy ... an ache, in time, creates nine (if you'll forgive the paraphrase).

An hour of television viewing disappeared from my consciousness but, I was still pleased to catch the last twenty minutes of 'Murder Investigation Team' ... it certainly looked as if it had been quite gripping, Helen was certainly held in thrall. In the moments when I was awake I seemed to be constantly stuffing my facial orifice with brazil nuts, crystallised ginger, cornchips and bananas. This increased appetite seems to be a quite recent phenomenon; the snacks were on top of a three-meal day.

Suddenly, I'm starting to feel more alert; if I sustain that thought perhaps it means that sleep is imminent!

Now, how did I manage that

Yes, it's Sinna Luvva reporting at this unearthly sunlit hour. The reason: I'm simply aching in too many places to get back into bed. I seem to have developed a habit of turning onto my chest, arms deeply entrenched beneath the pillow. Somehow, this becomes a position of comfort during sleep-time hours; the real problem arises when I lock firmly into position when it's my desire to turn either onto my back or side.

The arms refuse to take the strain, the base of the neck and base of the spine scream their alarms but, somehow, after much careful manoeuvering I manage a recovery of sorts. By this time of course, both forearms are weightily tingling. Currently, I'm feeling physically shattered, having made a crablike descent to grab a glass of water but, undecided as to whether I have sufficient courage to get back into bed.

It feels so much better to get that, and myself, off my chest so to speak! I know that I slept, as shadows of some pretty vivid dreams remain etched in part of my conscious mind. If they were not dreams the scars have healed remarkably well!

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Days of Drowsiness

Emerged, from my slumbers, totally under-refreshed , somewhere between 11.ooam and Noon. Felt rather grateful that I'd already prepared the bulk of today's lunch last evening. The Madras type curry had simply to be popped in the oven before I prepared the Saffron rice. Meantime, a late breakfast was adequte to tide me over.

Straining, and rinsing, the prepared rice proved rather problematic as my wrist failed to take the strain of the saucepan. Helen swiftly came to the rescue, my Lady in shining armour. The heat of the day, once again, brought out the worst in my joint pains. An attempted post-lunch BBW became more of a VBSD (very brief slow drift) as, although the Sun was lost behind clouds, the atmosphere felt something like it must be in the heart of a compost bin.

If I can manage to keep awake, 'Songs Of Praise' sounds like it should be good this evening , centring on the Lord's Prayer! Later on ITV3 has one of Jeremy Brett's Sherlock Holmes episodes, so alertness proving willing, I should enjoy that. Relaxation is such a wonderful thing but, not so rewarding when it imposes itself on one!

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Of Heroes and Folly

Awoke bright and early this morning and, reached to my bookshelf for a book of Rilke's poetry. My concentration span is rather limited, at present, but I managed to read a couple of earlier poems before stumbling over Duino Elegies 3 & 10. Although translations vary, there's always some special quality (a persona perhaps) that somehow seems to take root in one's consciousness.

The bolder side of me would like to attempt my own translation, although I would have to rely very heavily on my wife's proficiency in the German language. I do realize, of course, that at times there seems to be to be a surfeit of translations but, in the end poetry is so integrated with its language of composition that occasionally a paraphrase ... which creates a new "authentic" poem ... should be placed alongside a literal translation. My only credential for being so presumptuous is a friend, back in the mid 1960's, noticing how profoundly my work had been influenced by RMR. It truly was a remarkable observation as within a few weeks I started to read Rilke for the first time!

If this sounds like gibberish, blame it on my early rising (i.e. before 8.ooam) as I've been quite shattered ever since.

Friday, July 15, 2005

The Spirit Is Willing

The energy reserves have been more noted by their absence today but, it is a relief to know that there is in all probability something there! I have nothing much to report on earlier phases of the day, as I can't recall any event apart from feeding the fish and snatching a lunch of fruit and wholemeal bread.

In the early evening we ventured down to the local 'Brewer's Fayre' for a bite to eat, in my case Smothered Chicken (i.e chicken topped with bacon and cheese) with a Tikka Masala sauce, chips, peas and carrots, followed by a Trio dessert .. strawberry cheesecake, chocolate tort and chocolate fudge cake served with ice cream. All nice and unpretentious but, very satisfying.

Later in the evening I settled down to watch, listen and, record to DVD, Tippett's 'A Child Of Our Time' .. a potently poignant work which on this occasion, the opening night of the BBC Proms, almost overwhelmed me. In the light of recent events it gained an added poignancy and pertinence. In the end though, the work still stands as a mighty tribute to the human spirit!

Thursday, July 14, 2005

A Little Alleviation ... A Little More Action

Almost like a miracle; at 6.45pm today, I actually managed to come down the stairs placing one foot in front of the other, rather than the crab-like gait which in recent weeks had become normality.

Walked out to the garden pond and, the air felt reasonably fresh; a marked contrast to the heat earlier in the day.

I am reluctant to place too much emphasis on the remission in either my knees or the atmosphere! Perhaps the fact that someone, outside of immediate family, seems to have taken my ailments seriously ... see yesterday's entry, "This Is The Day" ... has had a remarkable placebo effect!

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

This Is The Day

It's really amazing how much easier it is to advise and give assistance to someone else than it is to do the same for one-self. Tonight, with the visit of a young friend, just felt so good and constructive; it really was rather like one of the better housegroups I've belonged to, or run, in days of yore.

The day did prove rather 'overheated' as anticipated and, the decrease in the ponds volume of water is becoming quite marked. Helen's sister Janet visited, during the afternoon, and remained long enough for Helen's return and, delivered an electric pump which has already proved useful in reflating the Bush bop-bag!

Prepared a fresh trout pasta early evening, thoroughly enjoyed by ma belle et moi!

Helen returned with news of someone who may be able to help me with coping strategies for ME/CFS; I just have to remember to ask the trick-cyclist for a referral to her. Although I've been getting treated for depression for sometime now, despite the symptoms being totally atypical of those I'd experienced in previous bouts ... my good self-esteem and very brief spasmodic low periods seem to be more symptomatic of ME/CFS.

Helen has just allowed her head to hit the pillow and ... hey presto ... instant sleep. My problem is, when my head hits the pillow it's not unusual to feel more alert and, aware of various integral discomforts! Seems like we're an ideal complement to each other. Whatsoever things are good, such as my beloved, I shall think on these things! I rejoice in my good fortune!

Early to bed ... not too early to rise ...

Awoke around 9.20AM, after an earlyish-to-bed night, to be greeted by the threat of yet another stifling day. Yesterday felt like I was sleepwalking for most of the day but, in this stupor, managed to salvage a decent lunch for Helen and myself as well as starting the process of illustrating my four most recent poems. The illustrated version [PDF] can be viewed on our geocities (luv4sinners) website!

Monday, July 11, 2005

Testing Times

What a contradictory entity my body seems to be. Ambient temperature ... in the words of Mr Porter ... Too Darn'd Hot; my appetite (for food) ... also at an all time high! Usually, my complaint has been that it's too hot to eat but now, it's hot so let's generate some more heat!

Already, I'm hobbling sideways down the stairs; somehow it's too painful on the 'unsprung' knees to go down the normal way. Occasionally I challenge myself to alternate the lead* foot but, that's far too insecure a mode of travel.

*[on this occasion I mean it in the 'leed' sounding sense ... like the foot in front ... but, the lower limbs frequently feel like Pb!]

A letter arrived this morning, from the Surgery, confirming that they'd received the results of my liver function blood test and could I collect the necessary envelope for another test in three months time. Currently I seem to spend a lot of time switching between routine Thyroid function and antibodies tests, routine blood count and now it seems as if liver function is joining the roll of honour! Sorry, I forgot to mention visits to the trick-cyclist and impending related clinics: psychologist, anger-management etc. Actually the temper hasn't manifest itself much of late but then, we've had very few unwelcome cold-callers at the door.

With my current low energy levels, the computer is a god-send; I can entertain and inform myself for hours without needing to travel too far.

Women Bishops

I just can't believe that the institutional church is still divided about whether to accept women as bishops. The facile argument, given by an anglo-catholic priest on the programme currently showing on Channel4, is that a priest is an iconic representative of Jesus Christ and, surprise, surprise .. the aforementioned JC was made incarnate as a male! I think there's a good possibility he was also of semitic stock ... how can this priest live with himself, being an iconic representation of Christ when he's not a Semite. Come to that, how can anyone not born of a Virgin cast himself in such an iconic role?

Talk about airs and graces!

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Life's Not Always A Breeze

Another humid, airless, cloying kind of day. Got to admit, although it may be nice to see the sun, it does my various minor ailments no favours. Later evening it becomes almost bearable to venture out, enjoy a sneaky wisp of breeze sat by the pond ... that's the theory anyway but, that hint of breeze seems rather elusive!

Good Morning Sunshine

The heat, or was it the "work", certainly took its toll on my sleep pattern! What pattern you may well ask? Alright, start again; the heat took its toll on my usual erratic sleep patten. Being extremely restless, when retiring shortly after the witching hour, my body and mind (in apparent co-ordination) decided to get out of bed for a hot drink, some nicotine and, a couple of hours web-surfing. The, (by now)normal, aches and pains, seem to have been exacerbated by the persistent ineradicable coating of perspiration.

Give me a few hours and I may even begin to feel awake, rather than the current trance-like state of auto-pilot typist! The discomfort, in the armpits and upper arms, does actually confirm that I am to some degree conscious!

Good morning sunshine!

Saturday, July 09, 2005

The Day's Bulletin

On emerging from a rather lengthy lie-in, quickly realised that it was going to be too hot to attempt one of my BBW's (brief brisk walks). From around 4.00 pm, it was nice to relax near the pond in the shade of a parasol & shrubbery. Around 6.30pm, actually tackled a modicum of gardening which at least provides some of the necessary exercise quotient. By the time I got back into the house my lower limbs were already feeling the strain, manifesting itself both in the leaden-ness of movement on the stairs and moderately sharp pain in each knee.

Further time on my feet was necessary, as I enjoyed preparations for tomorrows lunch. These days, I find cooking a wonderful creative outlet but, I must admit to not liking the heat of the kitchen.

Radio and TV news bulletins were, as expected full of the aftermath of Thursday's bombings; it must be horrendous for those people still awaiting news of friends and relatives. As my thoughts and prayers go out to all involved, I also remember all the suffering people in Iraq; the destroying or maiming of any human life is equally abhorrent no matter where, or who the perpetrators may be.

Friday, July 08, 2005

And So On With The Show

It's not often that I can admit to a good belly laugh but, this evening television did us proud. We even found one or two reasonable laughs in CSI (Crime Scene Investigation), the convention for people who enjoy dressing up as animals provided an intriguing background to tonight's investigation. Switch then from Channel 5, across to BBC2 for Grumpy Old Men ... that programme always manages to touch on several of my pet hates! Slightly later, on BBC1, the highlight of our evening was, by far, Ardal O'Hanlon on Jack Dee Live AtThe Apollo. I'd almost forgotten just how hilarious good stand-up can be; , it certainly leaves one with a welcome glow. What a gift, to see the absurd in the perfectly ordinary!

The lesson I've learnt is not to take life too seriously.

Excuses In Advance

Although, at times, the calf muscles felt more like sodden loo-rolls, once again managed to put in a slightly longer walk, this time to meet my beloved at the Acorn Centre. Other ailments include a severely aching right elbow, making it's presence far more obvious within the past twenty minutes or so.

But life tastes sweet and, I'm determined to make the most of it. Wonder of wonders, I even managed to arouse myself from my slumbers before 9.40AM. Is this a record? No ... not quite ... but I do feel quite righteous!

Maybe, if this 'improvement' keeps up, I'll soon be able to make use of my grandiosely named Studio and actually produce a few new paintings. It's bound to feel quite strange after concentrating recent efforts on computer graphics programmes. But ... you can hear the excuses creeping up on you ... if I get back to my painting perhaps the recent nudgings of the poetic muse will fade away. A muse is always hard to resist but, it is tempting at times to yell .. "get thee behind me!"

Strange, that I should already be preparing the excuses before the creativity has properly gotten under way. I look forward to reporting progress.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Born Anew

Today, I managed a longer brief brisk walk ... i.e.if you don't mind ignoring the 'brisk' and possibly the 'brief' component. My beloved and myself visited a local nature reserve, completing the walk as a circular tour. The "quiet" of the reserve was in such stark contrast to the tragedy unfolding in the Capital's morning.

It's almost as if such tragic events bring out the need to make the most of one's everyday existence. The contrast between the flittering iridescence of the damsel flies, at the edge of the clay pool, and the sooty velvet of the butterflies in the bordering meadow, just opened our eyes afresh to the wonders of nature ... almost like being born anew, certainly refreshed!

The Tyranny of the Violent

What can one say? My thoughts and prayers go out to all the victims, their friends and families, of this mornings bombings in London.

The taking of a life, and the wilful maiming of any individual is in my book an abomination. It is equally abominable whether it be a private act of vengeance, or violence authorised by a state or martial authority.

The real losers in any such act are the majority of humankind as, for the illiberal (both in mainstream and fringe politics) such acts are grist to their mill!

Just Playing Around

Some ten minutes ago I submitted a blog entry and voila ... it's gone. Now, I'll try to recap ... but the memory is fickle ... the thrust of the entry was that I am grateful that the process of blogging is so therapeutic. That must be the reason I bother with it.

Were a stranger to stumble upon this weblog, what would they make of it, the apparent randomness of the entries etc. But, life really is like that ... a stream of discontinuities in search of an organizing consciousness.

Frequently I only discover the topic of a blog entry when it's already a fait accompli. When I approach the blank dashboard I have no idea what thoughts/ events I'm going to comment on or write about. Still, it proves therapeutic; it's surprising what frustrations can be relieved by the odd rant ... even if it's about an unrelated topic. I suppose this approach could be called the Punchbag Blog.

By now you may be wondering why I bother to make the blog public. A perfectly valid question.

One can only communicate from ones-self; it is foolhardy to believe that one communicates with or to a given audience, that is a fortunate by-product when and if it occurs. Meantime, I play about with my own dilemmas in the hope that I am more often able to affirm life than to let the b*gg**s grind me down!

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Rudiments of a new poem


These visits are
by now routine -
on entering

the lion's den,
expect a smile
and beckoning wave

to take a seat.
Obediently, you sit
and start to contemplate

time's passage.
Words fail, as always,
to express

the visit's
raison d'etre.

Malcolm Evison
5 July 2005

Share The Dis-ease!

Around lunchtime, a rolling thunder of pain spread through my arms, from shoulder through to extremities. It was more like a series of dull thuds rather than any sharp ache, excepting the elbows where the sensation was more akin to 'pain' rather than an ache.

I duly strapped up the elbows and, got on with the minor task of preparing lunch. Whilst listening to the afternoon play, BBC Radio 4, it became essential to tackle the severe discomfort in my left arm, far from a new phenomenon. The only way of regaining any comfort was to hold the upper-arm, tightly clamped to the torso, with the forearm stretched (at a 90 degree angle) across the small of my back with fingers outstretched. After maintaining this posture for about 30 minutes, the discomfort was somewhat alleviated.

The problem is, how does one express this to one's GP in the course of a short consultation? A pattern of shifting muscular and joint pains, ranging from near numbness to acute nagging, even to a state which feels like total muscular exhaustion, is much easier to suffer than express. Perhaps it is part and parcel of the overwhelming sense of fatigue which seems to pervade at least half of all my "waking" hours.

Although I am being treated for depression, I can't help feeling that a more accurate diagnosis would be frustration ... the impossibility of expressing the near inexpressible sense of dis-ease within a brief formal consultation!

One further question arises : is it appropriate, when in consultation with a psychiatrist, to concentrate all the attention on one's physical ailments? I do have a history of depression but, never in the course of my current "treatment" have the symptoms resembled those of any previous bout of the said illness! The physical ailments make it extremely difficult to pursue the social excursions which could prove beneficial were it simply "a state of mind".


So, some French leader, called Chirac, makes a hoary old joke about British cuisine and, the phone lines to The Jeremy Vine Show (currently under someone else's navigation) are red hot with complaints from us Brits. Major crisis for G8!

On the other hand the Smirking Chimp, George Dubya, expresses the view that he's there solely to defend USA's interest, no irate phone calls! Maybe we don't expect anything from morons in any case.

Monday, July 04, 2005


HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY ... I pray that one day it will become a reality and, the UK will be freed from the pernicious presence of American military and spy bases!


Sunday, July 03, 2005

For That's My Day Of Rest

After a heavily aching limbed start to the day, sometime after 11.00AM, spent most of the day in suitably relaxed mode. Took one or two photos, both digital and analogue 35mm, of the water lilies in sunshine swallowing mode, before lunch.

Suddenly discovered we hadn't sufficient brown rice to go with the Madras + type dish I'd prepared last evening, so, not for the first time, improvised with a savoury Penne pasta.

After lunch watched some of the Wimbledon men's final ... Federer just makes it all seem so easy ... brilliantly easy!

"Songs Of Praise" from South Africa I found really inspirational; the singing both worshipful and praising. Rarely have I experienced such prayerful voices but, prayer of the right kind ... prayer that knows it gets answers! A real boost to my sometimes flailing, and frequently faltering, faith.

Later in the evening watched, for the first time, '55 Degrees North' and we were both suitably impressed and involved. Thanks to our friend Peter for mentioning this programme on his recent visit. After a brief lull, revisited the film "Wag The Dog" of which I must say "it is disturbingly funny".

Very big thanks goes out to BBC television, all these programmes were viewed on or (in the latter case) recorded from BBC channels.

LIVE 8 and sundry ramblings

Saturday, after a late emergence from the snoozepad, passed remarkably quickly! Really enjoyed dipping into the BBC coverage of LIVE 8 and found myself surprised by the performances that impressed me. To have so many significant performers on one stage in the course of 10 hours is a remarkable acheivement. One can only hope that it's function of consciousness raising has been equally significant! Problem is that the G8 World Leaders are FALLIBLE, and yes ... STUBBORN, HUMAN BEINGS just like you and me. Trouble is, being human means that they're probably JUST AS SELFISH AS YOU AND I and inevitably, to be where they are, they must have a POWER COMPLEX. Chances are, THEY ALSO HAVE A CONSCIENCE ... maybe we can start to MAKE POVERTY HISTORY.

Anyway back to the show: the performances that impressed me most were REM (no surprise there), Madonna (such a knockout performance ... I'm not her Nr.1 fan), Keane, Razorlight and Velvet Revolver. I enjoyed a lot more but, some of my viewing was disrupted by visitors, domestic chores, calls of nature etc. ... but, fortunately I have ten hours of VHS to skim through for the acts I missed.

In the afternoon, we went out for a Strawberry & Cream Tea at Berwick Grange, the Methodist Residential home where my father spent his last few years (from the age of 93 on). It made a pleasant change although, many of the visitors for this fund-raiser turned out to be the same ones who attend the coffee mornings at Helen's Chapel. On return from there, it was apron donning time as I prepared the major part of Sunday's Lunch.

Enjoyed the final episode of the current series of 'Murder In Suburbia', a wonderful lightness of touch and, touchingly human.

I still can't think what happened to the day.

Friday, July 01, 2005

An Evening With Sinna Luvva

Mid-evening, went out for an SP [Slow Plod] which these days seem to have taken the place of the BBW's. Farewell brief brisk walks, welcome the geriatric crawl! In one sense, it's the effort that counts but, what does effort bring .... an even greater one.

A sharp pain in the left knee can be passed off as a "twinge" but, the sustained dull ache which began in the ankles, and then commandeered both shins, is not so easily shrugged off! Every step taken seemed to demand a re-anchoring of the feet but then, the leaden ache attacks the calf muscles. Oh, woe is me! The next attempt to raise the foot, sadly, seems to confirm that the foot was well and truly anchored down.

Such is the nature of my multiple, but varyingly specified, ailments. As Jolson once said "You ain't heard nothin' yet!". As I have no need to remind myself of my growing antiquity, I will spare you further irritating details of premature geriatric decline.

The day has witnessed many moments of enjoyment; time spent with my beloved is always such, as is the garden pond, with lily leaves unfurling and the flowers opening and closing according to the phases of the sun. Have just been watching, for the Nth time, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. It never fails to entertain, escapism pure and simple. My initial intention was to transfer The Apartment to DVD but, after a false start, switched to the purer mode of escape!