Sunday, December 30, 2007

No Contest

The greatest privilege of the Christmas period, apart from celebration of the Christ child, has been the opportunity to luxuriate in my beloveds presence 24 hours a day for the past ten days! Tomorrow, I’ll be back to my solitary existence, through the daylight hours, as Helen returns to the world of paid employment.

Of course, New Years day being a public holiday, I will once again be blessed with her presence on Tuesday and, that will provide another opportunity to demonstrate that it’s impossible to have too much of a good thing!

For the past few days, ma belle amoureuse has had the opportunity to catch up on some much needed rest, but one has to admit she can’t manage my (exhaustion imposed) twelve hours bed rest per diem!

There are some things in which there’s quite simply no competition.


P.S. A posting for 26 December, CELEBRATING CHRISTMAS, can be found on 'Mal's Murmurings'.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

On Christmas Day In The Morning

Well, Christmas Day certainly started with a bang, as Beth tumbled down the bottom half of the stairs. Our traditional champagne and smoked trout breakfast has been put on hold. Following the tumble, Beth took a few tentative steps, said she was OK and, as if to prove the point, immediately crumbled (well more like rigidified) into unconsciousness. A few minutes of unresponsiveness later, a groggy emergence made our beloved daughter into a legless wonder, so there she was resting against the hall wall, swaddled in blankets and, compared to her pallor Jacob Marley’s ghost is the figure of absolute health and vitality.

Helen had a swift bite to eat before running Beth down to casualty to get checked out. Unfortunately, ma belle was unable to wait with her as she had to get down to Wesley to lead off the Christmas Morning service. One and a half hours later, Beth has been safely returned to the fold – thank God for Christmas Taxi service, though God help us with the charges for same.

Meantime, we hear on the grapevine that Sina ( Beth’s ex-partners son) is enjoying his Christmas in Birmingham with a full-blown case of Food poisoning. The day can only improve, can’t it?

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Saturday, December 22, 2007

A Change of Venue

What a topsy-turvy world I’m living in; yesterday the attention was focussed on an abscess in the lower part of my body, early this evening the focus shifts up to a point above the torso. All of a sudden a large blood blister erupts onto the scene; actually, I wish the eruption had climaxed rather than remain the swollen possibility of such action. That would certainly have eased the discomfort.

This intruder has made its home well back on the roof of my mouth. Applying ‘anbesol’ (anaesthetic & antiseptic solution) to this discomforting blob is, to say the least, a tricky business. Life is certainly never dull around these parts!

Friday, December 21, 2007

A Little More Consultation, A Little Less Action

Soundtrack: music from ‘Jaws’, it pounds through my brain. He rolls on the latex gloves, applies lubricating gel and slowly approaches. He’d already done the abdominal pressure test but now, it’s down to the real investigation. Almost before the investigation begins, a pre-existent painful area seems to be crying out for attention but, all I can do is lay on my side and think of England. Thankfully, the investigation is not too prolonged; this could never be my idea of a good afternoon out!

Anyway it seems like an abscess has been the cause of the problem and, the GP swiftly prescribes a 7 day course of antibiotics and a hydrocortisone laced ointment to apply to the affected area and arranges for a follow up consultation.

So, that was the late-afternoon highlight of my day; it certainly woke me up. This morning I’d really struggled to remove myself from the duvet lair; a struggle still reflected in my sense of jadedness through to mid-afternoon. Last evening I attended a Christmas Party, with my beloved and Beth, at the Acorn Centre where ma belle is a volunteer assistant; a bit of socializing that I managed to cope with far better than I’d have anticipated but, I still have a price to pay.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Monday, December 17, 2007

A VIRGIN FAILS to provide a service

Sunday 16 December

ISP’s, who’d have ‘em; on the other hand, how would we manage without ‘em? Yesterday the connections were very slow, today zilch! So I phone the Virgin Media service status line, thankfully a Freephone number, only to discover that the “connections are slow” in all our adjacent postal areas, as well as here, but “our engineers are aware of the problem and are in the process of repairing it!” I’m rather suspicious; if they’re only aware that connections are slow, rather than non-existent, are they really on the ball at all?

It’s quite a while since we had a major problem with NTL / Virgin Media (remembering the company before it became a Virgin) but, it still makes for a very frustrating time. The web has been a major lifeline for me, via various forums, blogs and networking sites I’ve managed to retain a ‘virtual’ social life, much richer than the ‘real’ one which is rather limited owing to health restraints.

Trouble is, one hears of nightmare scenarios with many different ISPs so, is it really worth jumping out of the current frying pan?

Monday 17 December

Still no internet connection, good old reliable Virgin Media, so by 1.30pm decide to check once more with lack of service line; at least this time the recorded voice is rather more honest and states that this area is suffering from a “loss of service” and, their engineers are aware of the issue.

That’s little consolation, what I want is for them to do something about it! As Karl Marx said all those years ago, “Philosophers have interpreted the world, our task is to change it” but now, our ISP having failed to change failure into function, we’re back to a more metaphysical problem, namely ‘creatio ex nihilo’. Is it really possible that this company (the beloved Virgin Media) can get their fingers out and create a service out of a vacuum? Their apologies for the inconvenience are insufficient; we pay real money for their product and expect to receive that product in exchange for that cash. A service industry that fails to deliver deserves to go to the wall.

We will certainly be considering a change of ISP!

At this season, when all around us churches proclaim a Virgin birth, I feel that another miracle is required in which a Virgin starts to provide a decent service.

3.50pm – I offer up my prayer of thanksgiving. A Virgin conceived a way to restore our internet connection. The age of miracles has not yet passed.


A further posting for today, Of Leon ...and other problems, can be found on 'Mal's Murmurings'.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

A Patronizing Post

An eventful day, by the standards of yours truly; having roused myself into a state of semi-alertness, after a mere 10 ½ hours bed rest, I girded up my loins to venture into town. At least ma belle chauffeuse found a reasonably convenient parking spot before we ambled our way down to the Christmas Fayre at Wesley Chapel. It was really heart-warming to find that many of the stalls were making funds for worthwhile causes, Save The Children, Traidcraft, Palestinian handicrafts and, even a stall selling hand-made greetings cards for which the proceeds were going to support work in Nigeria. I’m not really one for buying at Christmas Fayres but, as I’m certainly in favour of supporting these causes, I set aside my usual reservations.

As we made our way back through town it was good to see a Ladies Morris Team dancing outside of the shopping centre, a really festive touch, as well as one or two talented buskers. So frequently the combination of the words talent and busker can seem paradoxical.

After lunch, my beloved suggest we patronize one of the local clothes shops so, I duly intended to say, “What brave souls you are, struggling on in the local community, boldly standing your ground against e-commerce and out of town retail parks!”, but then I thought that this would be too patronizing. Deep down, I had suspected that my beloved meant to make a purchase at this local shop; oh the ambiguities of the word patronize. Ma belle’s attention was swiftly drawn to an outfit that had caught her eye when it formed part of the window display a few weeks ago. The problem of finding a present for the lady who is privileged to be my spouse was resolved in one fell swoop.

After each of these forays, it was really good to slump back into a comfortable supporting armchair! Not for some time, has so much been accomplished, by this stoical wimp, within such a relatively short time span.

Come late afternoon, it was time to metaphorically don my chef’s hat and make preparations for tomorrow’s dinner. Firstly I sliced some chicken breast fillets, onions and peppers, and prepared an olive oil based paste of coriander, paprika, cumin, turmeric, and garlic in the bottom of the wok. Once this was sizzling threw in the onion rings, to be followed by the sliced peppers and chicken. A few sliced mushrooms were thrown into the mix for good measure. After a bit of vigorous stirring, decided to mix a miso solution (my beloved having just excavated a jar of miso in the course of a very belated spring clean); this, with a generous sprinkling of dried basil added, was duly poured into the wok and left to simmer.

The contents of the wok have now been dispersed into two casserole dishes, ready to be popped into the oven on Sunday and Monday respectively. And now, I’m lost in wonder, love and praise as I watch Helen prepare a posting for her Bright Light blog.

Monday, December 03, 2007

A Gold Medal Award

Grey days with wind-lashed rain beating its presence on the windowpane; the outlook is grim. Pick up a book to browse, turn on the radio and, all too soon I become restless. For these past dew days, the assemblage of familiar numbing pains and nagging aches are all that have prevented me from sleeping the time away.

Thoughts of an impending journey, a mere two and a bit hours of chauffeuse driven motoring, fill me with a sense of doom; even at the best of times I’m not too fond of travelling but, in my current state of dis-ease, the prospect is even more worrying.

The arrival at any destination always seems long overdue but, the sense of relief is overshadowed by the prospect of the return journey. The arrival back home is always the best part of the experience when, once more, my breathing permits itself to return to a more normal pattern.

By writing this down I hoped to disclose the irrationality of my dread but, instead, it only serves to reaffirm that nature never intended me to be a nomad. These days, the prospect of any journey of more than a few miles duration requires several pre-emptive visits to the loo; a somewhat spastic colon and a non-retentive bladder are never ideal travelling companions.

This doesn’t just sound like self-pity, it is the genuine article. Any minor deviation from my normal home-centric regime seems like the most perverse obstacle course has been placed in my path. I award myself the gold-medal for wimpishness, no-one is more entitled to such a prize.


Mal's Murmurings talks about PRIVILEGE