Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Little Pricks

Had a welcome visit from my acupuncturist this afternoon but, events of the past couple of weeks had caused such a build-up of tension in my body to the extent that my body (or at least my right hand) persistently rejected one of the needles. The throbbing persisted, for a little longer than usual, at one of the insertion points in my neck but, no problems with those in the feet. I was already tired when the practitioner arrived (not really surprising after last night’s manoeuvres) and, she seemed to recognize that fact as she checked my pulse but, after the treatment the ordinary tiredness was replaced by a more spaced-out variety.

A short while later, as I sat on the sofa, I was unable to control a trembling in both lower limbs so, the only solution was to have a (recommended) little rest, tucked under a cosy blanket on the sofa.

Monday, January 30, 2006

"In Everything Give Thanks"

It really feels quite strange, sat bolt upright in front of the keyboard, head tilted slightly back as if I’m rearing away from the LCD. This is actually the most comfortable position, at the moment, as it alleviates the throbbing spasm in the right side of the neck. At least I know, or hope its knowledge and not just wishful thinking, that this phase will soon pass; apart from being one of the stiff-necked people I feel pretty alert (or is it the neck spasm that’s keeping me alert?).

Anyway, rather than bemoaning these little upsets, I think it’s time that I remembered to give thanks for:

Love and care shown by ma belle amoureuse, friends and family
The opportunity, yesterday, to help someone by setting up some programmes on her laptop computer
The glorious red sky that I’ve just observed
The (partial) restoration of my appetite for food
Last nights ‘Child Of Our Time’ [BBC1]
The Afternoon Play on Radio 4
A roof over my head
The kind comments left recently on Heterocon’s blog

Come to think of it, I really am quite privileged!

Saturday, January 28, 2006

To the kitchen and back

I just don’t know where the day has gone and yet, it has at times seemed interminable. When I eventually emerged from the duvet lair, just after mid-day, I discovered a bright sunshiny day beaming in at me, as I slumped on the sofa, whilst the radio babbled it’s accompaniment to my day.

I managed a degree of concentration for ‘The Saturday Play: The Bitter Pill’ (Radio 4), in spite of a marked degree of discomfort. An odd combination of sinus ache, indigestion and, aching arms struggled to distract me but, I persevered.

Shortly after 4.00pm, I thought it was time to start my preparations for Sunday Lunch but, this effort was swiftly curtailed as, having struggled to chop an onion, I found it well nigh impossible to cope/ co-ordinate my fingers whilst attempting to deseed and slice the peppers. At this point, I yielded to my bodies demand for rest and, swiftly fell asleep on the sofa. A couple of hours later I returned to the kitchen and prepared a Chicken Chasseur related dish; after the earlier difficulties, my sense of achievement feels all the greater.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Just what the Doctor ordered

The simplest of things seems to knock me off course these days; the occasions when I positively decide to do something seem to implode if I don’t immediately get on with it. Even the simple act of putting on a DVD or CD sometimes seems like it requires military precision. The ‘phone ringing makes me jump and totally distracts me; it’s almost as if each nerve ending is being given an electric shock. It really is quite strange, having to catch one’s breath before I can even utter a hoarse “hello” and, even then, I find myself unable to sustain a telephonic conversation with someone who has simply called to find out how I’m “getting on”.

Anyway, after such an eventful early evening, my beloved and I did eventually manage to settle down and start watching a DVD of ‘Doc Martin’ (Series One) and, it turned out to be my most sustained viewing experience for some considerable time. Although I identified, all too closely, with the “Docs” description of his panic attacks, the overall humour of the programmes seemed to confirm the adage that “laughter is the best medicine”. It was the first time, for the past week, that I have felt really capable of relaxing and, it was followed by a good (almost refreshing) night’s sleep.

Thanks Doc!

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Progress Report

Another pendulum day but, overall more settled. After eleven hours in bed, my state of being in the early part of the day fluctuated, quite erratically, between reasonably alert and exhausted. Intermittent ‘cold flushes’ also seemed to take a starring role.

Yesterday afternoon, my beloved had taken a copy of the most recent DWP epistle, asking me to obtain a letter from my GP, down to the surgery; this afternoon, I had to go down to sign a consent form permitting the GP to send such a letter to the Department. [Evidently, neither the DWP nor the outsourced Medical Services are permitted to ask the GP for the pertinent letter; something to do with Data Protection.]

Whilst ma belle was delivering the letter to the surgery, I received a ‘phone call from the DWP which I had difficulty in coping with, as my emotions were so close to the surface, but they did suggest that, if I was unable to get the necessary doctor’s note, perhaps I could get one from my physiotherapist. Unfortunately, I knew that she had been incapacitated for some time, so it didn’t seem a viable option.

This afternoon, I received a ‘phone call from my physiotherapist and, the great news is that my acupuncture treatment will be resuming next week! She also offered to write a note in support of my application to have my assessment medical at home.

So, Sinna Luvva is looking forward to getting the needle! [Much preferred to “the slings and arrows …. ”].

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Cloud Evasion

Although the stress clouds still loom heavily, my mind occasionally manages a siesta away from their shadow. A late afternoon diet of “Songs of Praise” and, “Johnny and the Bomb” (both on BBC1), have provided a suitable distraction from my woes. I even find it possible to count my blessings; a warm living room, food on the table when I’m ready for it and, above all, the loving care and attention of Helen, ma belle amoureuse. I am indeed privileged and, currently, berate myself for being such a wimp in the face of stress; unfortunately, I find it hard to thwart these little quirks of fate.

Many moments of today have found the real Malcolm in residence whereas; for much of yesterday, he was nowhere to be found!

Bliss was it in that night to be asleep

The good news is that I had the best night’s sleep that I’ve managed for ages. The surprising thing is that I’d already spent large chunks of the day, yesterday, collapsing into sleep at times when the miscellaneous aches and feelings of nausea and distress allowed this relief. So, it appears that my body had a lot of catching up to do!

Having just emerged from the duvet-lair and, feeling semi-alert, it’s too soon to know whether I’ve recovered from yesterday’s emotional trough. Trouble is, whenever I have these ‘setbacks’ it takes its toll on my beloved as well as me! To be a physical and emotional wreck is not a vocational choice and, I long for the day when I can get back to the energy levels (both physical and emotional) that will allow me to get on with some painting and a little bit of socializing. Meanwhile, in this day the Lord has made, I will attempt to rejoice and be glad.

Strange to think that a “good night’s sleep” is such a newsworthy event; lets hope that it can become a new habit (there’s nothing wrong with a bit of wishful thinking now and again).

5.00pm - A postscript to this item can be found on Heterocon's 'blog.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

The unheeding bastards are still on the march

The saga continues. When my beloved contacted the DWP in York, yesterday, the person she spoke to ensured her that “yes indeed, the protocol is that we contact your GP and, we will see to that”. This morning a letter arrives from Jobcentre Plus (Part of the Department for Work and Pensions) in York with the following contents:

“I understand you would like a home visit, to get a home visit you will need to ask your own doctor for a covering letter to say why you need a home visit.

You could also telephone the centre in Leeds who arranged your appointment and ask them to arrange a home visit giving them details of why you need a home visit. …..

I am sorry I am unable to do this for you, the Medical Services team have asked that you telephone the above number as soon as possible for your appointment and request for a home visit.”

Remember, this Medical Services team are the very same ones who rang me and, to whom I explained the reasons why a home visit would be appropriate. They are also the ones who asked me to obtain a covering letter from my GP. My GP, when I had made the effort to visit him, explained that the protocol was for them to contact him … blah, blah, blah!

And, above all, remember my request was made on the form submitted to the DWP just over three months ago!

My health, which recently seemed to be showing modest signs of improvement, now seems to be heading towards a sharp decline.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Medical Services?

I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to ‘ATOS Origin IT Services UK Ltd’ aka ‘MEDICAL SERVICES Provided on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions’ for enabling me to cough my lungs up this morning, a result of an excessive inhalation of tar and nicotine in response to the stress they have caused!

Yesterday I reported on the breach of protocol, which I attributed to the DWP itself rather than their running dogs. Today I received, from MEDICAL SERVICES (aka ATOS Origin), a compliment slip with the hand written message “Please provide a letter from your GP to confirm …..Etc”, together with a reply paid envelope. At least my confidence is restored, to the extent that I hadn’t misunderstood their incorrect telephonically communicated instructions of the 18th inst, which made me feel something of a fool at yesterday’s GP appointment.

Meantime my beloved has managed to communicate, telephonically, with the DWP in York who have cancelled my appointment in the ‘locked box’ for 9 February and, they will be contacting my GP as per protocol.

The question now is, do I respond to the so-called MEDICAL SERVICES in Leeds?

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Silly Faffing Games

Further to yesterday’s posting, A Regressive Impulse, the stress continues to mount. Following the advice of the anonymous caller from Medical Services (linked to the DWP), I summoned up the courage, and reserves of emotional stamina, to make and keep an appointment with my GP. This was to find out if he would be prepared to send them a note to confirm that a 'home visit' medical would be more suitable for me.

As soon as I mentioned the nature of my visit, the doctor informed me that the anonymous caller’s suggestion was a breach of protocol. The protocol, unsurprisingly, is that they (the DWP or their medical agents) contact the GP but, he did suggest that he felt a home visit would be more appropriate!

So, having had my completed form for three months, it seems that the Department of Work and Pensions are practising a cheap emotional blackmail with the now pressurised timescale, or perhaps they are quite simply incompetent! My beloved will attempt to contact the relevant section of DWP to ask them to contact my GP, following the correct protocol, as the calendar buzzes around my head.

I had intended to go to an Exhibition Preview this evening, which would have been only my second real social outing in the past year, but now, I feel rather too exhausted and nauseous to contemplate such an expenditure of energy.

My grateful thanks go out to Tony Blair’s Uncivil Service.

Feeling more charitable, I paraphrase a couple of lines from Philip Larkin (Poet and Librarian of my alma mater):

“They f*ck you up, D W P.
They may not mean to, but they do.”

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

A Regressive Impulse

Three months after submitting my Incapacity Form to the DWP, suggesting that a home visit would be more appropriate than visiting the ‘locked box’ waiting room in York for a medical, I received a phone call this afternoon from Medical Services. Within a few minutes the smoky tarry contents of my nicotine sticks were being consumed at an excessive rate! Their intention is to arrange an appointment in York’s claustrophobic box for February 9th.

However, if I can get my GP to write a few lines, to say that a home visit would be more suitable, that appointment will be over-ridden. Already, the palpitations are at hand as my pulse races and a general feeling of nausea overwhelms me.

My thoughts race too; what a bloody fool I was, futilely struggling to remain at work until the end of 2003 despite ailing health. Had I yielded sooner then, perhaps, my health would not have plummeted to such uncomfortable depths. I curse, once more, the day that the Protestant Work Ethic was infused into my soul.

After the best ten days or so, I have experienced (within my limitations) health-wise, for the past eighteen months, it is almost as if I feel a pall descending to cover and devour this progress.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Reporting for duty

Having ventured out for an early morning meeting at the Health Centre, I feel just about ready for my second snooze of the day. At least I now have the sense of achievement attached to having kept that appointment! The meeting proved much more satisfactory than I had anticipated.

At lunchtime the casserole, prepared on Saturday, made a welcome return to the oven and the dining table. The extra ‘standing day’ seems to enhance the flavour of an already enticing dish.

Post lunch, I retired to a cosily supporting fireside chair, legs elevated on an appropriate support stool whilst I listened, half attentively, to an excellent afternoon play on Radio 4. The ‘half’ attention was due to my state of exhaustion rather than the drama’s calibre.

In retrospect, I’m quite surprised just how (reasonably) alert I had been during the morning’s meeting. Despite the shockingly early (by my standards) start to the day, I still find it easy to say “I rejoice and am glad in this day the Lord has made”.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Dr Gillian McKeith - dubious nutrition advice by Gillian McKeith - "You Are What You Eat"

When my wife watched the first TV series by this personality, I coined the pet name "the anorexic witch" for this "Dr". This page grants her the appropriate degree of respect that my affection for her demands! Highly entertaining and a tad worrying.

Dr Gillian McKeith - dubious nutrition advice by Gillian McKeith - "You Are What You Eat"

WCC 9th Assembly - AGAPE - A call to love and action

A wonderful liturgy at the heart of this document.

WCC 9th Assembly - AGAPE

... and early afternoon

My beloved has returned, from her visit to Sheila (her retired vicar friend) on the outskirts of York and, has indeed restored the brightness to my day! I welcome her flying visit home, although she will soon be venturing out again for a lunchtime appointment, with members of her German conversation group, at the local ‘Brewers Fayre’.

Ma belle amoureuse smiles and, all is right with the world!

New every morning ...

As I look out at the world, through bleary half-gummed eyes, the dull and drear drizzly scene doesn’t exactly proffer joie de vivre; never mind, the day is still young and, when my beloved returns from her morning’s outing I will have all the brightness I need.

Twelve and a half hours of sleep, from which must be subtracted the night-sweat disruptions, has left me feeling quite drowsy; a bruised sensation around the ribs has the habit of reminding me that I am indeed awake and, in this knowledge, I move on towards my goal … whatever that may be!

Sunday, January 15, 2006

A Good Day

I entered the day with aching limbs and, an (all too familiar) inability to concentrate. As per the norm, Helen readied herself for morning worship .. of God not me .. whilst I remained au lit for some necessary rest. Emerged from the duvet lair at 11.20am and, as the day progressed, was pleased to discover that yesterday's activity had none of the severe repercussions about which I am always a little apprehensive.

By mid-afternoon I felt ready to take a brief brisk walk, a shorter route than yesterday as my knees and leg muscles were giving me a few warning shots. After this, I still had suffient energy left to take a shower so, that's a bonus!

This evening, my beloved and I have settled down to watch "A Child of Our Time" (BBC1) and, energy reserves permitting, hope to watch "Foyle's War" (ITV1). As accompaniment to the TV habit, the contents of a bottle of 'Lindemans Bin 95, Sauvignon Blanc, 2003' are being consumed "for the stomach's sake".

All in all, an enjoyable leisurely day!

Saturday, January 14, 2006

An Active Day

After a slow emergence into day, quite leisurely until the ‘phone rang about 11.00am forcing me from my early morning stupor, I’ve managed to excel myself in terms of energy expenditure. Don’t get me wrong, excelling my normal levels is far from earning me an entry in the ‘Guinness Book of Records’. I actually feel quite proud of my achievement and, I’m trusting that I won’t have too heavy a toll to pay.

My beloved, before dashing off to a Coffee Morning, brought me a wonderful ‘breakfast in bed’ (bacon, black pudding and egg … takes some beating) and, whilst I was basking in the afterglow the disruptive ‘phone call came. The call was actually quite welcome, our surrogate son calling from his Midlands home, and he did apologize for getting me out of bed! The next few hours are lost to my memory; I probably did a bit of web browsing, which would be par for the course.

By about 3.30pm, suggested to ma belle that it might be nice to go out for a little walk and, this we duly did. On this occasion, the walk was of the moderately brisk, (slightly extended) brief variety. It did us good to notice how the afternoons are lengthening although, admittedly, on more overcast days the change is much less perceptible.

On our return home, I noticed that the net covering the pond had started to sag a bit so, the next minor task was to re-stretch it a little. That task done, it was time to clean out a blocked drain at the side of the house; by that task was done my halo really began to shine. Ten minutes after the completion of this task, decided to make a start on preparations for Sunday lunch and, as usual, this burst of ‘creativity’ proved most rewarding!

Tomorrow, Cathy joins us for lunch and, I know she relishes the prospect of devouring my latest creation.

This is the day the Lord has made and, I rejoice and am glad in it!

Friday, January 13, 2006

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Turning The Other Cheek

Last night, after a relaxed evening in the company of my beloved and the goggle-box, sleep was extremely hard to come by. Amongst our viewing was “Who Do You Think You Are” (BBC1), in which Jeremy Paxman was persuaded to explore his family tree and, coming from his quite privileged background, was visibly moved to discover the hardships endured by his great-great grandparents. Come my attempt to sleep, my thoughts turned first to the hardships experienced by my parents but, swiftly moved on to remembering other people who had been important to me.

In an attempt to focus down my mind, I settled on remembering one especially important person. Don S had settled down in rural Lincolnshire after working on a farm with fellow ‘conchies’ during WW2. In 1966, on the verge of a mental breakdown, I’d fled the hecticity of London life for a few weeks rest with my parents who had recently moved to Lincolnshire. To say I was living on my nerves would be an understatement, it was rather a case that they were feeding on me.

Don, a Quaker, also attended a small village chapel where my father was minister and, shortly after this prodigal son of the manse returned home, he called around to have a chat with me. My response was to pick up a broom handle to threaten him with and, yell and tell him to “f*** off”.

A couple of days later found me, fuelled by a few sedatives (all I really wanted was to rest!) and copious amounts of alcohol, wandering around the village putting my fist and feet through windows, including those of the pub and the manse. Somehow the police stumbled across me and, being the lithe sort of guy I was in those days, I managed to perform amazing feats of escapology from the strait jacket they applied as they prepared to have me sectioned and transported to the psychiatric hospital.

After a few days, when I became sufficiently compliant to be trusted to wander the locked ward rather than my ‘private’ cell, I was surprised that Don came to visit me during his lunch hour. These visits became a fairly regular event and, eventually, the staff allowed me to go on evening visits to the Theatre in Lincoln along with with Don and his wife. When I was eventually allowed to have weekends at home, Don was once again there for me and introduced me to the local Film Society where I made my first social contacts in Lincolnshire.

Here was a man who really believed in turning the other cheek!  

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Mixed Blessings

It was good, this morning, to find that my friend The Oxcliffe Fox was sufficiently recuperated to have done a posting; by the miracles of technology it’s possible to be concerned for a friend’s “well-being” in situations where previously one would have been oblivious to any ailments that had befallen them. It certainly is a mixed blessing!

Talking of mixed blessings, the last few days have seen an amazingly sluggish performance on msn spaces, so much so that, by the time one gets into the ‘edit’ programme one has had plenty of opportunity to forget the purpose of the visit.

A further blessing is your ability to visit this space and discover that “I compliment you on your good taste and/or curiosity”.

Progressive Politics, Populist Voices Forums-viewtopic-Shouldering a Burden, Building a Bridge, Blogging a Convention

Somehow stumbled upon this posting over a month after it first appeared - an interesting post on "the cost of discipleship".
Progressive Politics, Populist Voices Forums-viewtopic-Shouldering a Burden, Building a Bridge, Blogging a Convention

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Truth is harmful to international relations - Bush's proposal to bomb al-Jazeera

“David Keogh, a Cabinet Office employee, is charged with leaking information damaging to international relations to Leo O'Connor, researcher to Tony Clarke, former MP for Northampton South. The two are due to appear in court today for committal hearings.”

And I thought it was already common knowledge that Bush showed signs of being a moronic megalomaniac; so how does further evidence damage international relations? Media Labour MPs leaked Bush's proposal to bomb al-Jazeera

Sluggishly Alert!

The day is still quite young and, despite a familiar erratic sleep pattern, I feel reasonably alert; what an unusual conjunction of events this is! I was already up, and surfing the blogosphere, at a time when most recent days would have found my location to be in the heart of  Zzzzzz …zzz It’s the kind of shock to the system that I’m just about able to cope with. Perhaps I may even make so bold as to venture forth for a brief brisk walk, although that thought makes me start to wonder whether I’m really as alert as previously assumed!

I’ve just pinched myself and, I’m definitely not dreaming but, already the thought processes are falling back into their traditional sluggish mode. Who knows, once the caffeine and nicotine hits home, I may even have something to say.

Meantime, I wish you all good day!

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Seven Things sans Tag

Thanks for tagging me Martyn. Here’s my attempt at ‘7 Things’: The 7 books and movies were difficult to narrow down and would maybe read differently another day – the whole thing proved an interesting exercise in categorized spontaneity!

7 Things to do before I die:
Change my underpants
Enjoy myself
Visit Paris
Witness the successful prosecution of Bush and Blair for War Crimes
Learn the art of forgiveness
Retain my integrity
Give thanks for my life

7 Things I cannot do:
Drive A Car
Drink as much as I used to
Socialize for a prolonged period
Fall out of love with my wife
Understand the cult of celebrity
Understand the attraction of Sport

7 Things that attract me to blogging:
To share my thoughts
To share my diary - mundane as it may be
Allows room for creativity even when I haven’t the stamina to do other writing or painting
Keeps my friends in touch with me
Enables me to vent my frustrations
Provides me with a regular discipline

7 Things I say most often:
What a load of crap
James Blunt’s a real …. (varied expletives)
I adore you
I’ll just go and have another ciggy
Fancy a drop of wine
I feel knackered
This is the day the Lord has made … let us rejoice and be glad in it!

7 Books I love:
The Outsider – Camus
Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge – Rilke
The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists – Tressell
The Brothers Karamazov – Dostoevsky
The Crucified God – Moltmann
Hugh Johnson’s Wine Companion
Joseph (aka ‘Friends and Lovers) – Maurice Capitanchik

7 Movies or TV Series I watch or would watch over and over again:
American Beauty
Shawshank Redemption
High Society
Coupling (TV Series)
Spaced (TV Series)
A Thing Called Love (TV serialised drama)
Jazz On A Summers Day

7 Bloggers who I’d like to have a go at this:
Here’s where I break with tradition – I can’t stand imposing even a hint of pressure. I’ll say the next seven bloggers who read this and fancy having a go – I’m much too lazy to delegate!
Let me know (leave a comment) if you’re prepared to have a go!

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Adding Some Spice to a Grey Day

A day of idleness, one in which I even allowed my beloved to pop a frozen pizza into the oven, in lieu of a ‘proper’ meal. Heterocon has already recorded my vague entry into the day and, even as the day progressed, little has changed. My one piece of ‘work’, at the beginning of the evening, was to prepare a Mexican tinged minced beef and peppers casserole ready for our Sunday lunch. A preliminary tasting suggests a tongue tingling sharpness to the dish but, that will be tamed a little by the greens it will be served with.

Sudden sharp pains in both knees decided to make their presence felt as I returned from the kitchen but, otherwise, the days keynote has been a general relatively pain-free mind fog and, I have submitted to its demand of idleness.

Friday, January 06, 2006

A Confusion of Relevance

Yesterday evening we submitted the following Customer Service enquiry to ntl via e-mail on their ‘interactive form’:

“We are currently paying £10.50 per month line rental and £17.99 per month for 1Mb Broadband.

Whilst visiting your website we noted a VALUE PACK for Phone & Broadband including:

Unlimited local off-peak calls
1Mb Broadband

for an inclusive price of £24.99 per month.

Could you please switch us onto this tariff, as we don’t like to miss out on getting more services for less money, or would this change deprive us of the unlimited broadband usage promised from this month?”

The automated response assured us that the enquiry would be submitted to “the relevant ntl department”. A quite straightforward Customer Services enquiry I would have thought.

This morning’s reply, (for which I’m not criticizing their promptness), to our customer service enquiry, came from the ‘ntl Technical Support Bureau’ … I suspect this was not the “relevant department” … so, not at all unexpectedly, their message states:

“Unfortunately we are unable to process your request as we only handle internet technical support queries.”

Oh the wondrous joys of automated systems.

Climb every mountain

After much prompting and prodding from my beloved, managed to remove myself from the duvet realm in order to keep a dental appointment at 9.45AM! I’m not sure what is the most unnerving part of such occasions; the lights, the injections, the drilling or, the sonic cleaner (with its high-pitched whine). Each of the aforementioned items creates an ‘overloaded’ sensory experience but, I think, in this instance the sonic cleaner has to take the honours.

Hopefully, fillings and scalings completed, I don’t have to face this ordeal for another six months when the next routine examination is due. Everything, that I used to take in my stride, now feels like I’m undertaking an arduous expedition!

As I struggle to hit the appropriate letter on the keyboard, I intersperse the exercise with trying to find the location of my supra-numb mouth in order to sip a warm drink.

Methinks a rest is now in order.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Shared Pleasures

My adored one, last evening, went out to share a pizza and potato wedges with her friend Hilary at an underheated Pizza Hut … it’s the company she goes for! Meanwhile, poor lonesome me was like little boy lost; having first watched ‘A Seaside Parish’ and the following programme about a headstone carver, quickly realized there was nothing I really fancied watching on the goggle box.

The strange thing is, for all the backlog of DVD’s to catch up on, I couldn’t quite apply myself to the procedure. DVD & Video viewing can never be a solitary procedure for me these days; I would so miss the pre-emptive laughter and suspense (even the commentaries) proffered by my beloved. Part of the pleasure, the entertainment even, is the amazing gusto of appreciation that emanates from ma belle amoureuse. The contribution of these idiosyncratic responses is definitely on a par with those of l’auteur him/herself!

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

And For This I Give Thanks

This morning, I awoke after some seven and a half hours of intermittent hot-flushed sleep but, all too swiftly returned to a state of rib and limb aching stupor. Some eleven hours after retiring to bed, my beloved assisted my slow elevation into an appropriate position to manage a hot drink and a bowl of cereal.

Half an hour later, I managed to remove myself from the duvet lair and proceeded to the bathroom where, under the caring supervision of ma belle, I managed to enjoy a shower even though the subsequent towelling procedure proved a bit of an effort. It was a pleasant surprise to find that a further rest period was not required after this exertion.

Being the brave soul that I am, I eventually managed a brief brisk walk in the company of ma belle. At the present time I am feeling reasonably alert, ache free and, quite human. For this I give thanks!

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

A Relaxed Evening

It was really good to have Cathy and Ken as our guests last evening and, I was relieved that my stamina held out, after the earlier ‘cold flush’ attack. It proved a very relaxed evening, aided and abetted by a glass (or two) of “L’Escarpe” Pouilly Fuisse, 2004 and a Warburn Estate ShowReserve Shiraz, 2002. My past experience of the Shiraz and, the application of the women folk to its consumption, assured me that I was not proferring a dud, whilst the Chardonnay provided Ken and myself with a fruitfully smooth and long finished imbibing pleasure.

In these days, when my tolerance of alcohol ain’t what it used to be, I still manage to derive considerable pleasure from the bouquet and palate of a well-made wine, consumed in moderation. In the course of the evening, I even managed to take a piccy of Ken and Cathy in which Ken looked remarkably like a sultry early ‘60s (the calendar years, not the unattained age) Elvis. The digital result was achieved sans manipulation of the image. Even in the cold clear light of the following day, I can still observe photographic evidence of this resemblance … I refrain from publishing the piccy for fear of adding more grist to the “Elvis isn’t dead” mill. [You’ll just have to take my word for it, I’m afraid].

Monday, January 02, 2006

Unwelcome Visitors

My days of navel-gazing are so long past, they seem to belong to another being! I suppose that, to some extent, it has been replaced by thermo-torso observation. The mysteries of the body thermostat are way beyond my comprehension. Sudden “hot-flushes” which totally disregard the ambient temperature have had, over the past few months, to share the place of honour with “cold-flushes”.

What is it with these all too frequent “body event” visitors? They don’t seem to realize that I wouldn’t feel too upset if they deprived me of their companionship!