Thursday, February 26, 2009

Find out how Malcolm enjoys A PRIVILEGED LIFE! [ The link is to a posting on MAL's MURMURINGS]

Friday, February 20, 2009

Through the night ....

Some days, the body just doesn’t belong to the skin which encapsulates it. No matter what the elasticity may be, there’s quite simply too much flesh to quietly co-exist within these restraints. To be honest, in my case, this experience of existential (and probably somatoform) disease and despair is more likely to occur at night time, when total exhaustion overwhelms the necessity of sleep.

Last night was a case in point; having already been shattered earlier in the day, my recumbent body alternating between disparagingly cold shivers and shudders and clammy overheated perspiration. More about the, most enjoyable, day’s preceding events later**; suffice it to say, some couple of hours before the witching one, I was already in a sufficiently somnolent state to anticipate a solid night’s sleep. Unfortunately, my whole psychosomatic being chose to rebel against nature’s course.

Everything was fine as my beloved snuggled up but, inevitably, there came a time to turn over and, this led to the discomfort switch flicking itself to the ‘on’ position. Left side, right-side, back-side, front-side; none of these postures bore any resemblance to comfort in any manner. Hands under the pillow, between pillows, pillows propped up; none of these proved the necessary perquisite for slumber. But the searing aches were worst of all; starting from shoulders, hips and ankles, these debilitating arrows swiftly became all pervasive.

Each slight movement led to a nauseating tearing of the armpits and the groin; disrobing was definitely the order of the night, pyjama tops and bottoms were swiftly discarded but, it still felt as if, at each susceptible body juncture, these discarded robes were tearing into the flesh. The accompanying sense of nausea, caused in no small part by the post-nasal drip, my all too persistent companion did little to alleviate my overall sense of distress. It was quite impossible to hold back the gut-wrenching screams emanating from somewhere deep within my psyche.

Visits to the bathroom, and occasional dressing gown bedecked ambling saunters around the room, served little purpose other than to relieve the bruising monotony of simply lying there in the hope that sleep would soon befall.

A few years back, similar nocturnal discomforts were par for the course; it’s strange the alarm that their excruciating return causes. Come morning, the longed for sleep (and relaxation) arrived and I’ve just managed to raise myself from the duvet lair at 1.15PM. And I’m here to tell the tale.


**PS (21/02/09 - 8.28PM) unfortunately I've been lacking the necessary stamina or resolve to fulfil this prediction: a very worthy report can be found on my beloved's blog 'Bright Light' - "Our Wedding Anniversary - Part One" and "Our Wedding Anniversary - Aftermath"

Sunday, February 15, 2009


I somehow found myself rather disappointed by this evening’s episode (6/8) of “Christianity: A History” (Channel 4), whose premise (according to Radio Times) purported to be:

“the revolution in which the peoples of Africa, Asia and Latin America seized the religion of their former colonial masters …. and are now set to overturn the established Christian world”.

To my surprise, given this premise, there was not even a passing reference to Liberation Theology in any of its manifestations.

We were treated to well worn stories of how Catholicism, in Latin America, was forced to allow the indigenous people to adapt the faith to their own traditions; (the whole history of Christianity’s expansion in the West, perhaps even before the Constantinian usurpation, has been one of adapting to societal and traditional mores). Eventually we came to the threat of splitting the Anglican Communion because the African nations attack such western liberalism as women priests and attitudes towards homosexuality. What kind of “revolution” sets out to turn the clock back on Christian inclusiveness; why, in this context, no mention of parts of the African church, in a completely reactionary manner, condoning and even conniving in the harsh persecution of homosexuals.

All too frequently we were treated to scenes of African Pentecostal fervour, with not the merest hint that contemporary Pentecostalism has also been a trend in many W.A.S.P (and even R.C.) churches, as well as those in the developing world.

Where, may I ask, is the revolutionary transformation?


My posting on 'Mal's Murmurings', Gentle Changes, is on a more domestic theme.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Playing it safe?????

Two items, along the same lines, caught my attention today (one in the New York Times, the other the Washington Post); I must admit that one side of me wonders if the (capitalist)system is worth bailing out whilst, at the same time, it should be obvious to anyone that without some kind of bailing out action such vast numbers of innocent people are going to suffer!

"And the argument that our culture won’t stand for nationalization — well, our culture isn’t too friendly towards bank bailouts of any kind. Yet those bailouts are necessary; and even in America they may be more palatable if taxpayers at least get to throw the bums out." - Paul Krugman : Obama on nationalization

"Geithner did not want the administration to seem leftist, so he rejected the temporary nationalization of the bad banks. Yet the advantage of nationalization is that it's straightforward: The government would take over the bad banks -- as opposed to throwing endless sums of money at them -- clean them up, and sell them off." - E.J.Dionne Jr.:Lost in the Middle

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Slow Running


I doubt that it’s possible to resist this inbred protestant work ethic, and its consequent guilt trip. I’m the guy who, for many observers, seemed so laid back that, even when standing upright, my spine must have been around 45 degrees from the horizontal and yet, this gnawing guilt persistently upsets me.

For the past few years, for health reasons, I’ve been unable to undertake any employment paid or voluntary, each day being so unpredictable, presenting the unexpected obstacle or fresh hope; physical and emotional stamina rarely coincide even on the best of days. A major regret is that, when I was enjoying better health, I pushed myself that bit too far; my current ability to pace myself, to subsist on a lower altitude plateau, does not come easily.

A very good day for me, these days, means running at as high as 35% of what would have been a quite sluggish activity level for me a few short years ago, and yet, I’m still plagued by guilt. I ought to be doing more; forget the fact that taking a shower is frequently a daily task too far, cleaning my teeth an effort too much when exhaustion suddenly overtakes me, I should be doing more; I should be out there earning an honest living.

Of course the media, and politicians of all persuasions, almost daily attack anyone living on disability or incapacity benefits as degenerate scroungers. If only some of that vitriol could have been spared to attack the greed driven recklessness of the banking fraternity, or the many hours wasted (and billions of pounds lost to treasury) by those working out ever more devious tax-avoidance schemes for those who already have more income annually than most of us can expect to earn in a lifetime, our economy might now be in a far healthier state.

Perhaps in a few months time, when I chronologically comply with / qualify for the Old Age Pension, the “guilt” will flee from me. Somehow that could be the time for freeing up; it’s currently difficult to admit that I’m enjoying being a gentleman of leisure, whilst I so wish for the energy to be running in a far less leisurely mode.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

plumbing the heights and scaling the depths

A dull, numb, lightly throbbing pressure behind the eyeballs; a leaden ache above the eyebrows; a general sense of hollowness within the skull and torso – the kind of discomfort that it is so difficult to express. Today, this has taken pole position against the competing sharper, sometimes excruciating, pains and discomfort emanating from the sciatic nerve.

It’s extremely difficult to formulate a table of aches, pains and discomfort; how does a constant low key gnawing, of a bruising kind, compare to an experience of an acute electric shock? Can numbness in any way be correlated with a more instantly sharply stinging sensation?

What does one express on a visit to the GP?

In my case it’s always the (perhaps transient) currently preoccupying dis-ease that is foremost in the more general catalogue of sensations; the ongoing symptoms of a chronic condition are rarely raised. These (permanent) discomforts are always least apparent when one has the physical and emotional stamina required to make, or permit my beloved to make, the appointment in the first place. I am fortunate with my GP’s, that they generally give me the time necessary to make the point but, even so, there are always the omnipresent discomforts that I don’t want to bother them with.

I suppose that the recent disabling excruciating pain, caused by a herniated disc, so overshadowed my regular discomforting companions that, had I been able to overlook the surface anguish, I could have imagined myself as being in the best of health.

The snow, outside of course, reflects the sunshine’s dazzling glare around the sitting room; my eyes ache from this glorious assault. The gas fire is turned up high but, the cold shudders, which I’m experiencing, strive to deny the fact.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Firms' secret tax avoidance schemes cost UK billions | Business | The Guardian

I’ve always known that there’s one law for the rich and another for the rest of us! Indeed, I suspect that a very fine margin separates the (nominally) legal tax avoidance and the (definitely) illegal tax evasion. The business communities lack of patriotism is most noticeable – they’ll take all the handouts and avoid any payouts; the poor as always subsidise the rich.

“The veil of confidentiality that covers these tax avoidance schemes is so difficult to penetrate that nobody knows exactly how much tax goes missing each year. But HM Revenue & Customs estimated that the size of the tax gap could be anything between £3.7bn and £13bn. The Commons public accounts committee put it at a possible £8.5bn and the TUC said £12bn.”

Firms' secret tax avoidance schemes cost UK billions | Business | The Guardian