Monday, October 31, 2005

Progress in the bathroom and crap via e-mail

Tomorrow morning I’ll be able to have a shower in the transitional bathroom. Present state of play is, showerbath and much of the tiling complete, old WC sans cistern still in situ and, no washbasin. Having a separate loo downstairs has veered between being useful and a necessity. A washbasin in the spare bedroom has also proved a blessing. All being well, the transformation process will be complete by Wednesday afternoon.

My date for quitting smoking has been postponed until the whole job is finished.


Received an e-mail today (senders address: , informing me that I’d won 500,000 Euros from the BANKGIRO LOTERIJ.NL,/INTERNATIONAL PROMOTION PROGRAMES NL. Statements such as the following make it rather suspicious :
“Due to mixed up of some names and addresses, we ask that you keep this
personal, till your claims has been processed and your funds remitted
you. This is part of our security measures to avoid double claiming or
unwarranted taking advantage of the situation by other participants or
“NOTE: All winnings must be notarized to complete the claim process;
will be referred to a Foreign Transfer Manager,to have their winnings
notarized. Winners are to cover the legal charges not STAATSLOTERIJ,”
as well as:
“N.B. Any breach of confidentiality on the part of the winners will

So, it's a 'promotion' but, they're afraid of publicity!

Just out of curiosity I sought further information online; several similar mailings can be found at :
[INFN ( Italian) National Institute of Nuclear Physics]

Don’t think I’m going to be wealthy just yet!

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Jesus Lives

Jesus of Nazareth, referred to by the faith community, in the light of that experience called “resurrection, as the Christ, has a hold on me. His subversion, and some would say fulfilment, of the religious culture in which he was raised continues to excite me through all the fluctuating phases of my faith journey.

The fact that he was fully human implies to me that he shared our weaknesses in order to walk fully alongside us. He was no respecter of social status, and was frequently to be found alongside the poor, the oppressed and outcast of society. I’ve always loved that primitive Christian hymn in Philippians 2:6-11 – He “did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant ...”

What a contrast to some world leaders who, claiming to be his followers, act as if they have exclusive access to God’s will and, in so many actions (that they order their subjects to perform) bring shame to the name of Jesus the Christ. Unfortunately, right from the birth of Christendom in the 4th century CE, there have been attempts to transform the “good news to the poor” into a message which is used to further subjugate the poor and oppressed.

Excuse the rambling but, I’ve just been enjoying the nation’s top ten hymns on tonight’s “Songs of Praise” some of which rate amongst my favourite’s, Wesley’s ‘Love Divine’ and, in the top 20 (last week’s edition of the programme)another of Wesley’s ‘And Can It Be’. All of Charles Wesley’s hymns have a theological profundity which is hard to match, embracing the life, death and resurrection. [Must admit, although I may be stirred, how much of it I accept is a variable feast!]

Personally, I feel equally at home with Ewan MacColl’s ‘Ballad Of The Carpenter’ as with a Wesley hymn, I love the recognition of the political dynamic in Jesus’ life and ministry but, I am still moved by the symbols of a more traditional Christianity ... I know that Jesus lives! But, were he simply an avatar of YHWH what would be so remarkable about that, a symbol of a definition rather than a beacon in the fight against oppression and injustice. The man Jesus died early in the Common Era, many profess to witnessing his physically resuscitated form but, most importantly, his Word and Spirit inspire action to counter oppression and injustice wherever it occurs.

It is time to reclaim Jesus and to be empowered through the symbols of the faith.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

The service-less bank

The visit to the service-less bank proved an even worse experience than anticipated. At first it seemed as if the statement issuing machines had been removed whereas, in fact, they had been replaced with new touchscreen machines in a different area of the impersonal foyer. Unfortunately, these machines will only print the on-screen section of the statement. Admittedly, it was possible to go further back, printing half empty sheets of each respective on-screen image but, I don't understand what was so wrong with the machines which served up a total list of all transactions since the previous statement.

It seems so obvious that banks, like most commercial ventures, are more concerned about streamlining, avoiding personal contact, and maximising profits for the fat-cat directors, rather than providing any kind of 'personal' service to 'ordinary' customers.

I've lost track of how many cosmetic re-vamps this branch of HSBC has undergone, in the past few years, wasting money (which could have been used to benefit their customers) on hollow fripperies! It must be some kind of tax break thing.

Bright and Lazy

A bright and mild morning faced me on my slow emergence from duvetdom and, I revelled in the delights of struggling into a bath in my own home! A further rest was required after this exertion, almost as if I’d been taking a shower. A traditional egg, bacon and black pudding breakfast was followed by the equally conventional Saturday morning/early afternoon lounge around, today in the company of ‘The NewsQuiz’ (Radio 4) and ‘It’s Been A Bad Week’ (Radio 2); I’d even found time, before that, to listen to Mark Lamarr with Joe Brand … a refreshing change in the usual Jonathon Ross slot (Radio 2).

Feeling quite venturesome, I might even pay a visit to my (service-free) bank to obtain a statement from one of the machines contained therein. I’ve not yet got around to online banking, preferring the more personal touch of an almost ‘real’ bank as opposed to the virtual kind. So, that’s today’s great adventure recorded in advance of the actual event.

Bright and Lazy

A bright and mild morning faced me on my slow emergence from duvetdom and, I revelled in the delights of struggling into a bath in my own home! A further rest was required after this exertion, almost as if I’d been taking a shower. A traditional egg, bacon and black pudding breakfast was followed by the equally conventional Saturday morning/early afternoon lounge around, today in the company of ‘The NewsQuiz’ (Radio 4) and ‘It’s Been A Bad Week’ (Radio 2); I’d even found time, before that, to listen to Mark Lamarr with Joe Brand … a refreshing change in the usual Jonathon Ross slot (Radio 2).

Feeling quite venturesome, I might even pay a visit to my (service-free) bank to obtain a statement from one of the machines contained therein. I’ve not yet got around to online banking, preferring the more personal touch of an almost ‘real’ bank as opposed to the virtual kind. So, that’s today’s great adventure recorded in advance of the actual event.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Personal Hygiene As A Torture Regime

Being without a bath or shower facility, my beloved arranged an alternative venue where we may partake of such luxuries. As an idea it was quite wonderful but, the reality is best forgotten.

The bath was either half or three-quarters of the size of what I had misguidedly assumed was the norm. The hand-held shower device was situated beneath the sloping roof of the terrace house. Being unable to adjust the shower-head to an appropriate temperature, or work out how it could be used other than from a seated position, formal bathing was decided upon.

My joints, being the semi-inflexible source of current spasmodic discomfort, were instantly traumatized by the experience but, I must admit it felt nice to have water splashing upon the torso. The real delights occurred as I tried to remove myself from the washtub.

The difficulty encountered when moving, from a seated with legs (of necessity) bent position, into the appropriate semi upright position required to remove ones-self from the bathing receptacle, is almost beyond description. My beloved’s (reasonable sounding) suggestion that I turn onto my knees was taken on board, thwarted only by the restraints of the washtub’s width. Visions of emergency services being called, to remove me, were at the forefront of one’s mind. [The time is none too distant since they had to rescue me from the stairs in my own home].

Eventually, I managed to overcome the resistance of back, arm and leg muscles (and the pertinent joints) to perform my own deliverance!

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Normal Service May Be Resumed ... One Day!

My genial (?) disposition is beginning to wear a bit thin and, I’ve not yet hit the start date for my quitting smoking regime. The house is currently without a bath or shower and, the bathroom is still sans washbasin. That old bugbear ‘fatigue’ is walloping me with a vengeance, even after a good night’s sleep last night.

The tiling of the bathroom had to be called off, with the workmen’s sudden realization that the walls required a little more plaster! Unlike my better half, I don’t have the energy reserves to have, or even to contemplate having, an all-over wash at the washbasin in the front bedroom midst the upheaval's extraneous clutter.

Everything seems to be out of kilter; with my great-niece’s first birthday coming up this weekend we couldn’t even find one of my two address books to post off her special birthday card. My beloved managed to find one of them after a stressful search through our combi-clutter.

Perhaps some of the stress will ease a little when we once more have a functioning bathroom! The last couple of years have seen the addition of Warm Roof insulation and the consequent moving of the trapdoor, floor and storage units installed in the loft, a complete new dampcourse and subsequent redecoration of the main ground floor rooms. The hallway and kitchen still display their proud dampcourse wounds, some eighteen months after they were perpetrated. A new pond was also installed in the garden.

Perhaps one day normality will return but, energy reserves ... well, that’s a different matter.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Grating Anticipations

Today is the day for the new lower ceiling to be installed in the bathroom and, already I’ve had an extremely restless night in anticipation of the disruption. It will also be the day when the new bath is installed. It’s just as well we have a washbasin in the front bedroom as the bathroom is currently sans such a utility.

I have every faith in the workmen performing the transformation; the major problem is my current inability to cope with any changes to my ‘familiar’ environment. Never thought there would come a day when I became Malcolm the conservative!

I know at some point the electricity, as well as the water, will have to be turned off so it’s pretty much a case of “gather ye rosebuds while ye may”.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

In comes the plumber, out goes the psychiatrist

This morning the plumber arrived, to commence work on the bathroom; unfortunately the bath didn’t, so today has been primarily a day of dismantling. The van from Ideal Standard forgot to unload the bath although all the ‘pottery’ is available.

Hopefully the new bath and shower will be installed tomorrow. Found it hard to settle during the night, in anticipation of the disruption, although after an earlier false alarm did fall back to sleep until around 8.45am.

Kept an appointment with the psychiatrist this afternoon and, he confirmed that he didn’t think I had any mental health problem and, definitely no depression. What complex psychosomatic beings we are ... albeit I’m relieved to be more somatic than psycho! So, no more appointments.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Inflation : The High Cost of Getting Lost

The letter box goes “clunk” and, lo and behold … “Santa’s Christmas Gift Collection”, a catalogue from comet, has been delivered.

On page 9, a satellite navigation pack is advertised and, the text reads, “never get lost again for under £200!”

does this mean that, in future, it will cost far more, for any one of us, to get lost?

Sunday, October 23, 2005


Concentration not being what it used to be, I don't get around to much reading these days but, I have become enthused by a recent collection of essays tackling "the myth of redemptive violence" and the (erroneous) Christian doctrine of "penal substitution". It is very much a book dealing with the existential, social & political implications of the Gospel.

Title: "Consuming Passion : Why the killing of Jesus really matters"

Profits before People ... the old, old story

Drink giants' plans to fuel binge Britain · £20,000 bonuses for pub managers who exceed targets · Staff race to sell more shots

I find this ‘story’ in today’s Observer particularly disturbing (especially in the light of my recent posting regarding alcoholism/alcohol abuse).

Saturday, October 22, 2005

The X Factor

Some real ‘star’ performances on “The X Factor” this evening. It really was great to see Shayne on top form, he definitely has the ‘X factor’. As I commented last week, Shayne was my tip from the audition phase of the show and, tonight he really proved himself. Journey South were just brilliant natural performers; I suppose it has taken their years of experience to make them so natural. Brenda really took possession of the stage and that personality it’s just irresistible.

A good show all around, even Chico was very watchable. One felt sorry for Philip’s nervousness but, one can only hope he’s not saved by a sympathy vote. The hell of controlling such excessive nervousness could maybe harm his appealing personality… trying to become a ‘star’ can never be an easy journey!

Were I to cast a vote, I wouldn’t know where to begin. All I know is that my beloved would buy an album by Journey South and, I couldn’t raise any objection to that.

Friday, October 21, 2005


Great, I thought, after a late arising and (later still) post-noon shower, no marked ill-effects from yesterday’s Heterocon recorded exertions. Tired, indeed I was (and am) but, not totally exhausted! Come 2.00pm, a few minor aches begin in shoulders and upper arms and, an unsolicited ‘phone call brings out the full force of my fatigue induced tetchiness.

Half-an-hour later, the effort of scrolling the pages on the web becomes slightly discomforting; strangely this discomfort in using my right-hand has led to symptoms causing me to apply a wrist support to the left one. Discomfort has by now returned to the armpits (right and left); as I type this missive one-handedly I am compelled to clasp both upper-arms vertically against my torso.

The re-action to yesterdays lawn-mowing is not what I could have foreseen; at least I am only semi-knocked-out.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Thought For The Day

Having been prompted by yesterday afternoon's radio play (reported by Heterocon), I finally got around to writing to our friend Brian, currently a guest in one of Her Majesty's penal institutions. Whenever I think of Brian, I can't help but consider the words of Phil Ochs "There But For Fortune".

Brian is, tragically, an alcoholic. His prison sentence, as on previous occasions, is alcohol related. Sober, Brian is one of the most gentle and caring people it has been my privilege to know but, when fired up with alcohol violence is an almost inevitable accompaniment. Sadly, there are far too many people around who revel in the prospect of a bit of aggro! Result, a charge of GBH ... having a record doesn't assist one's cause come the search for culpability.

He himself recognizes that he is not nice to know when he has had a drink; he would never impose himself on friends' hospitality when he's fallen off the wagon.

"There But For Fortune": there have been times earlier in my life when I've drunk to excess, resulting in arrest and, even sectioning under the Mental health Act. But, I am fortunate ... I am not an alcoholic, I can enjoy a drink simply for the pleasure of it's flavour; there's not even any risk attached to taking communion (where fermented grapes are the order of the day).

It is pleasing to have got around to writing to him once more, proferring the re-assurance that he is in our thoughts and prayers.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

The Appointed Time

Struggled manfully, albeit sleepily, from my bed this morning, ready for the 9.00am visit by my physio. Unfortunately she was unable to keep the appointment as they were so short staffed at the hospital; still, I suppose the early rising discipline may stand me in good stead at some future date!

This afternoon, I kept my appointment with the practice nurse to discuss assistance in quitting smoking but, the first suggested start date for my ‘effort’ coincided with the day work starts on our bathroom refurbishment. Not a good idea! A prescription has been issued for nicotine patches but, the start date will now be 1sr November. I have a bit of reading up to do, in order to plan my strategy …. and, a little voice keeps saying, “is it really such a good idea? You know how much harm quitting caused last rime!”

Last time I relied solely on will-power and, the ‘mental’ ill-effects were accompanied by inexplicable physical ailments. Months later, when I reverted to the habit, physical and mental symptoms were swiftly healed. I really must clarify my reasons for quitting and, discover what the trigger points may be for quitting quitting! One certain factor is to hide my eyes and ears from any media coverage of National No Smoking Day … guess which word the susceptible mind latches on to.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Impending Transformations

How the days fly by when one is having a good/sleepy time. Tomorrow will be my third morning of early arising and, apart from having to catch up on sleep during the day, my last couple of earlier mornings don’t seem to have done too much harm. I have commenced the transfer of some bottles of vino from their bathroom-based cellar as we prepare for the bathroom’s transformation. I don’t think les bouteilles (or at least their content) would appreciate the vibrations.

Monday morning is the time when the workmen come to commence the transforming deed. If only I had the energy, I would seek an external retreat as the work proceeds.

Monday, October 17, 2005

You Can't Get Too Much of a Good Thing

The casserole, prepared Saturday afternoon, stood us in good stead again this lunchtime and proved just as delicious as it was on the first occasion. I'm afraid that today has been even more idle than yesterday, reverting to the norm. I look forward to the day I can report an amazing recovery, meanwhile I continue to rejoice in the love of a good woman and ... in case you're wondering ... I do mean my wife, ma belle Helene!

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Consuming Passions

The daylight hours have flown swiftly by on a day that has been much better for me. Oh the joy at having some energy, it has been a rare treat to feel reasonably well for about nine hours. A brief visit to Rossett Nature Reserve was marred only by the fact that vandals had once more destroyed the (sturdy) handrail on the walkway across the wetlands. The time we were there, late afternoon, was just perfect ... the sun being at just the right angle to set off the slowly turning foliage.

The chicken casserole, prepared last afternoon, was most delicious; I had to persist in singing my own praises for a good ten minutes after consuming! Hints of mustard, white wine, paprika and ginger came through its creamy texture, a sensual delight!

Apart from the minor factor of love, Helen's capability as a cook helped me to decide (at a late age) that I was maybe ready to settle down. Little did I realize that, from my sad solitary microwaveable meals, I was soon to develop my current culinary expertise. Even on days when I have to force myself to slave over a hot stove, I can bask in this sense of creative achievement on an otherwise non-productive day.

Our friend, and surrogate son, Graham took the picture above of ma belle amoureuse et moi at the nature reserve.

Talking To Myself

Ridiculously early as it may be, by my standards, sat here in my wonderful warm boucle dressing gown I feel almost awake. Now is the time to be sensible; I will not have a shower, I will have some breakfast cereal, I will rejoice in this day the Lord has made. I will bask in the warm and tender love of ma belle amoureuse; I will try to not upset my beloved and, God knows, I can be very trying!

Being awake is not a call to 'achieve', it is simply a present fact. Why do we always seek to make it more complicated.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Something of a quandary

A lot of the time I have to resort to PPI's to quell my gastric reflux problems but then, on occasion I find it necessary to take anti-inflammatories to deal with various muscular and joint pains. Whilst the anti-inflammatories can at times be effective, an unfortunate side-effect is to cause further gastric problems.

Reflux can be a major contributor to sleep disruption but, then again, so can muscular aches and pains. I don't think it's a difficult balance to maintain ... simply impossible!

And Who'll Be Going Home Tonight

My body seems to have been intent on grinding me down for the last couple of weeks but, I'm still looking for rainbows. Television supplied a little light relief, this evening, in the form of "The X-Factor"; it's always good to hear the honest and constructive criticism proffered by Simon and, there are some really personable performers. Once it was down to the final two acts ... the telephone vote having put the other ten acts through ... it was so predictable that Sharon and Louis would go for the crass third-rate exhibitionist. Sorry to see 'Addictiv Ladies' go home so soon. The acts I'll be looking out for (and looking forward to) in the coming weeks are Andy, Journey South, Brenda and Chenia although during the auditions my first tip would have been Shayne.

Anyway, immediately X-Factor had finished, we switched over to the chamber operas on BBC4 to hear a whole different kind of singing. Our young friend Graham commented, ref. one of the sopranos ... "I wonder if she'll be going home tonight?" Quite strangely, within a few minutes the character she was playing lay dead. How's that for going home?

Friday, October 14, 2005

A Day Of Changing Fortunes

A somewhat groggy start to the day, pretty well par for the course at present, was even accompanied by spasmodic excruciating back-ache, foreshadowed what in many respects was to prove a more positive day. As the mail box 'clunked' with delivery of 'PC Advisor' and some other hopeful mail, a video ordered from the US of A a mere 9 days ago also arrived! Another mail item was a message from the Health Authority, responding to a referral from my GP. It was good to know that all stops are now being pulled out.

This afternoon, Helen A (the physiotherapist) arrived to administer my first acupuncture treatment. As I relaxed, breathing slowly, I was reminded of days of yore when I practised meditation as I lay there 'watching' my breathing. Helen A thought that meditation could prove helpful and, said that if I got back into it so would she. This could prove mutually beneficial. Next Wednesday she will be administering a more intensive Acupuncture treatment. It's early days yet, for this treatment and, no promises can be made but, it is a welcome opportunity.

When Helen, ma belle amoureuse, arrived home she gently administered Ibuprofen gel to the pain afflicted area of my back. I later managed to prepare one of my special (fresh) Salmon savoury rice dishes, a delight to the palates of my beloved et moi.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Not a lot of ado about very little

Heterocon has recorded my relative lack of activity today …” relative to what?” you may ask. And all I can say is, “Good Question”!

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

A Touch of Nostalgia

Nostalgia is everywhere these days; still recovering from the recent Dylan Fest, I'm currently relishing, and simultaneously recording to DVD, the CREAM Re-union concert (BBC4). It's a small miracle the Re-union concerts ever occurred.

Before Cream were thought of, Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker on occasion played 'Klook's Kleek' (The Railway Hotel, West Hampstead) as members of the Graham Bond Organization ... and, lucky me, I lived (literally) within earshot on Broadhurst Gardens, but I still went in. Travelled up West a bit to see Clapton with The Yardbirds at the Marquee too, never really rated them nor the moddy environment.

To be young and living in The Smoke in those halcyon days ... sadly I was, on occasion, too wrecked to optimise the experience but, had I not been wrecked ... well that would would perhaps mean I missed it all anyhow!

The Circle Of Guilt

Today has been a day on my own, as my beloved has gone over to meet her brother David in Horton-in-Ribblesdale. How I would have loved to have gone off on this jaunt but, travel is something I’m just unable to contemplate at present. Much as I hate being parted from Helen, for any amount of time, it’s always pleasing to see how much her health has improved.

At times I find myself feeling guilty as my ill-health potentially holds us back from most joint social activities. It truly is devastating how fatigue, and associated discomforts, divorce one from a once reasonably active social life. When eleven hours of nocturnal sleep leave one unrefreshed, perhaps in part due to spasmodic disruptions (miscellaneous muscular and joint aches, aggressive bouts of reflux etc.), it becomes increasingly difficult to motivate ones-self to follow any regular routine.

Even when one has had this (excessive) amount of sleep, it still does not alleviate the need for further rest during the day. The erratic nature of these various symptoms, make it incredibly difficult to plan any activities in advance. Being incapable of planning any outings with my beloved, I feel guilty; this is harmful to my beloved so the guilt intensifies. I apologize for not being well but, of course, this makes no sense … pardon me for living etc. …! And so the guilt rolls on.

Frustration with the situation leads to mood changes, and occasional inappropriate outbursts of temper, yet overall I feel so privileged to be in such a loving relationship. Being grateful, I want to give more but am unable to; guilt is once more the result!

Being unable to perform any routine occupation, since leaving my part-time employment some 22 months ago, conflicts with the Protestant Work Ethic into which I was born and raised. Result: Guilt. Any occupation requires a degree of alertness, energy, concentration, each quality which is in randomly short supply.

And so the circle goes on … and on … and ….

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

A Little Mystery

The mythology surrounding the Dove, be it Greek, Indian or Biblical is immensely fascinating. For me one of the most potent factors for it becoming a peace symbol is it's lack of bile or gall. What suddenly made me think about this was, my wife bringing home a Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum) and, on the care instructions came the following caution : "Sap may irritate skin".

So, we have the dove totally without bile as a symbol of peace and, the peace lily with an irritant sap. I have not yet formulated the lesson to be gained.

Monday, October 10, 2005

A Mind Of Their Own

From time to time, certain computer programmes seem to respond/not respond in a completely unpredictable fashion. One is almost tempted to believe that they are human!

Today whilst attempting to copy an item from a particular webpage into MS Word, I repeatedly encountered the query whether I wished to send an error report. After five or six failed attempts decided to give up. This occurred whilst using IE as my web-browser. By way of experiment tried pasting the same item into Open Office Writer : no problem!

Switched over to Firefox and, no problem copying the same item into MS Word. It is almost as if there was a bit of internecene conflict in the MS camp. Perhaps it's yet another glitch with IE, I've been getting quite used to them but, on further testing, it only seems to be when I'm copying from that particular webpage.

I'll just have to regard the temporary frustration as another aspect of life's rich tapestry and, find a life!

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Faecal Emissions

The sun actually emerged from behind the milky clouds, for how long I'm unable to tell you. Having just eaten my lunch, exhaustion simply overtook me and a 'few minutes' lie down ate up a goodly portion of the afternoon. In general it has been a day of grogginess for me and, sheer frustration as I glanced at the form that the DWP require me to complete. A requirement, in several places, to "tick one box only" where two or three may apply (dependent on the day) is a particular cause of frustration verging on anger.

The prospect of a further medical examination, the waiting area (into which one is locked for periods of time) is extremely claustrophobic and, the journey to get there is for me nothing short of a nightmare.

In all, a day of stress, anxiety and exhaustion. I have until the end of the month to complete the impossible form but, I don't want to hang on to it for too long. Official forms remind me of faeces; it is with total relief one expels them from one's system. On this happy note, I bid my readers adieu.

A Lost Golden Age

Since my emergence from the bedroom, for a quick nicotine fix, some forty minutes ago, I've been on-line without absorbing any of the contents of the web-pages I've been viewing. Such is my state of wakefulness. It really is hard to get used to the amount of rest my mind & body seems to require these days.

The, none too distant, past seems like a golden age; there was a time when I could plan ahead, set myself targets, lead a quite full social life and, still have energy remaining for whatever unforeseen tasks should arise. At present, even on a good day, any task requires me to strike while the iron's hot as, ten minutes either way can make a whole world's difference as to my physical & emotional preparedness/ability to perform. The most frustrating aspect is not knowing, even one hour ahead, how I'm going to be fixed to cope with the task in hand.

Outside, the sky is still quite milky but hints at a little more brightness than the past few days. Hope my spirits & stamina can respond in an appropriate way.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

They Also Serve

After a somewhat earlier, but bleary-eyed, start to the day, eventually recovered my composure sufficiently to remember the pond fishes lunchtime feed. As I'd started my day with a 'grill-up', a bowl of Wheat Biscuit cereal served my lunchtime purposes and, this evening will be resorting to a microwaveable Indian meal.

Went out to get my flu-jab this afternoon and, quite amazingly was able to walk straight in and out. It's great when one chooses the right time of day, when it's an all-day walk-in surgery.

I've just prepared the gammon joint (for Sunday lunch) and put it in to roast, as well as parboiling the potatoes (lovingly peeled and diced by ma belle amoureuse) in ginger, garlic, turmeric and mixed herb infused water. They have just received a further sprinkling of garlic and herbs whilst still warm and, are becoming impatient to be popped into the roasting tin come tomorrow lunchtime. ["They also serve, who only stand and wait"!]

Friday, October 07, 2005

Strength in Weakness

Having spent some 12 to 13 hours in bed, at least 11 of them (even allowing for spasmodic interruptions) sleeping, it was still a struggle to raise myself from the duvet’s encumbrance. The fact that only a dull grey day revealed itself, from behind the curtain, may have contributed a little to the sustained bed-rest. I was evidently “burning-up” (my beloved’s description) for a fair bit of my rest time but, that’s not at all unusual.

Getting out of bed, and dressed, required a major effort of will! Having motivated myself, for this heroic deed, I have to admit that sleep has yet to prove itself a source of refreshment!

My first exertion of the day was to check my e-mails and, subsequently, rattle out “Caiman – came and went” in the guise of my alter-ego Heterocon. Whilst posting a response to an e-mail on a commerce website, the ‘phone rang and quickly demonstrated that even the most minor application of ‘multi-tasking’ is beyond the remit of my physical and emotional stamina. Concentration was impossible on either the website or the ‘phone call.

Still, I soldier on, in the sure and certain knowledge that I am loved in the most important quarters (e.g. ma belle Helene & JC), despite my frail and vulnerable flesh. In love, I am strong.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Hoping S/He's Rambling On

No sign of Tiggy today; perhaps the nourishment, received yesterday afternoon, allowed T to catch up on some restorative sleep before setting off on some more normal nocturnal snufflings around the neighbourhood gardens. All his relatives are more than welcome, in our garden, to enjoy an abundance of slugs and, come hibernation time, we have now installed a proper hedgehog house, suitably sited and camouflaged with leaves and soil.

His visit yesterday, for all the concern it caused us, proved a bright spot in what had been a 'bad' day for me. Thanks Tiggy!

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Our Amazing Little Friend

Took a little walk up the garden, with my beloved, before lunch to feed the goldfish. We then went to check if there were any apples remaining, on the trees in the 'wildife' area of the garden. Walking back down the lawn, Helen made a sudden startled movement, which in turn made me jump. The cause of the start, a little hedgehog well 'balled up' in the middle of the lawn had been the cause of Helen's 'trip'. The little creature, which could have almost been mistaken for a tussock of brown coarse grass, had found a strange place to rest as, being the middle of the day we didn't expect 'Tiggy' to be out for a walk. Normally, at most, we catch a fleeting nocturnal glimpse of these creatures.

Next step, get out my gardening gloves to pick him/her up and see if she was OK. Tiggy seemed to be having a little doze but, was he simply stunned? Carried the little fella (or fella-ess, whatever the gender may be) up to the wilder area of the garden and placed it under the bushes.

By mid-afternoon, when I'd recovered from my mini-collapse (detailed by Heterocon), went to check up on our new found friend but, there was no trace of the creature. Half-an-hour later, when ma belle had returned from the Doctor's surgery, we spotted wee 'Tiggy' on the concrete near the back door, head to one side and, looking totally pitiful. Once more, on with the gardening gloves and Tiggy was placed in a box with some wee morsels of sliced chicken and a drop of water. The worrying thing was that he didn't 'ball-up' when I went to pick him up, the vulnerability of the weak perhaps! It wasn't long, however, before we heard a delightfully repeated 'shlurrup' as he made short work of his first course.

Being concerned about the little fella's well-being, Helen phoned the RSPCA who suggested we take Tiggy to a local vets to be checked out. During the car journey, the hedgehog became a little more lively. The vet thought it seemed quite healthy, relatively tic free and with good strong limbs. The most worrying factor was his weight, a mere 275gms; will it be possible to attain the sugggested 550-600gms required to survive the hibernation period.

On return home, we hastily erected a makeshift hedgehog house ... lined out with dry leaves and, released Tiggy near it's entrance. Next requirement was to purchase some meat (not fish) cat food as, we intend to leave some food out for him each evening, to help him put on weight and gain some strength. If we catch a glimpse of him and, he seems to be failing, we'll have to find a box for him in the top shed to protect him from the frosts when they arrive.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Monday, October 03, 2005

Auntie Beeb

Tonight's offering in the Hidden Decades season on BBC4 was quite brilliantly realized, "Our Hidden Lives" looked at the lives of four people in the immediate aftermath of WW2. The tensions and uncertainties in these ordinary lives were so sensitively portrayed and, the whole atmosphere of the piece struck chords with me; it really is amazing how much I recognized of that era, in spite of the fact that I was a mere 1 years old at the time. Of course the austerity years were so much a part of my childhood. A totally involving gentle production.

Earlier in the evening, we caught (minus the first fifteen minutes) "The Battle for Britain's Soul" (BBC2), tonight centring on the eighteenth century. We both are looking forward to the rest of the series, it was simultaneously informative and entertaining. For me it succeeded where a more po-faced presentation could have proved a complete turn-off. Thank you BBC.


My full emergence, from the night's repose, occurred somewhat reluctantly at around 9.20am. The morning rest was somewhat interrupted by the doorbell ringing at about 7.30am, summoning my beloved to recover a parcel from the doorstep. Despite the disruption, we are still pleased with the prompt delivery of Helen's new mobile 'phone from Amazon, so yours truly quickly transferred the SIM from her antique machine and, inserted the battery after a slight problem discovering how to open the battery compartment. We haven't had mobile telephonic machines before, where the SIM goes in a separate section rather than under the battery.

Only one telephone call has disrupted my morning ... "Hi this is .... of Holiday rewards ...", at which point I bellow to the (presumed) recorded voice .."stupid American cow ...!". I despise cold-calling whether in person or telephonically and, I think that the organizers of such sales tactics should be locked up for life and subjected to a barrage of nuisance calls twenty-four hours a day!

My irritation doesn't last for long, even though the only thing I want from the Americans is the withdrawal of their forces of occupation from the UK!

Sunday, October 02, 2005


A lazy start to a leisurely Sunday but, not too leisurely for my beloved, who managed to allow sufficient time to get to morning service without a last minute run. This evening Helen has gone to the Harvest Supper, at her chapel; maybe one of these days I’ll be sufficiently energised and confident to attend the chapel with her.

It’s only a couple of years ago that I had no problem coping with church services, jazz clubs and general socializing; since that time I’ve been unable to cope with sizeable groups of people, regardless of the setting and, the duration of a church service proved impossible to cope with. The spirit is weakening because the flesh is weak!

I’ve been catching up on some more VHS recordings today, an old Omnibus programme on Louis Armstrong and, Pennebaker’s ‘Don’t Look Back’, the film of Bob Dylan’s 1965 tour of the UK. Both of these programmes were hugely enjoyable and, in different ways, reminded me of a time when once I was a young man!

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Tiredness and Television

It has been one of those days when I found it nigh impossible to feel wide-awake! A night of vivid, albeit quite abstract, dreams led to a rather spasmodic sleep pattern. The erratic pattern continued into the day but, after preparing tomorrow's lunch, in the late afternoon, I became fractionally more alert.

Tonight was the 'boot camp' phase of "The X Factor" which proved reasonably entertaining viewing and, we also dipped into some of the 'Hidden Decade' programmes on BBC4. The decade 1945 -1955 I find quite fascinating as it coincides with my childhood and, one can only feel grateful that the period of austerity has not haunted one's subsequent life. With my health problems, I can only express my appreciation of the National Health Service brought in by the post-war Labour Government.

I've been sat in front of my laptop for far too long, concentration seriously flagging, so it's time to say Au Revoir.