Existential weekend survived and Brillo Bard

I coped with my weekend existential self discovery, if that isn’t an oxymoron. Since then I have been locked in a most heroic struggle with an extremely tedious task necessary for my next great project. But too rays of sunshine lit up my rainy weekend 1. A friend of mine confessed to finding his own company boring, something I rank lower than my reaction to selftime which is one of gloom. To find yourself boring has got to be to plumb new depths of self scrutiny. I am really impressed – wow! Personally I find myself to be the most fascinating being in the universe, bar none. Second I received a poem from a friend. Sadly it’s not about me but it is about a present I bought her at the car boot sale. I could not resist getting her a ceramic container for a Brillo pad. Just knew she would be delighted and to top that I knew she needed one. Who doesn’t! Anyway here is a picture of the item and below that the splendiferous poem written in its honour. The bard is Barbara Evans of the parish of Worcester. I believe this to be opus 1 but stand to be corrected. More poems on domestic artefacts are most welcome.



Penelope Posonby Penstemonn Prillo, who paid insufficient attention to safety at the sink and was early cut off in Dreadful agonies

A Cautionary Tale by
Hillarious Bollocks

Barbara O’Donnell had never had
A receptacle for her brillo pad
Thankfully she had a mate
Who saved from a dreadful fate
The like of which I’ll now relate

Penelope Ponsonby Penstemonn Prillo
Was scrubbing away at her pans with a brillo
(The butler was off- he was quite a cumudgeon
Housekeeper and servants-resigned in high dudgeon)
She scraped and she scrubbed at the fat from the bacon
Then suddenly cried “Whats that noise the dog’s makin’?”
(A creature called Fluff- with a very loud bark
Who often made out he was sick for a lark)
As she rushed in a panic towards the back door
The brillo pad slid off the sink to the floor
When she’d scolded the dog and returned with the vac
She slipped on the brillo pad, fell on her back
And there she did lie for a number of days
Until the old butler, who’d mended his ways,
returned to her ladyship’s home full of smiles
To find her prostate on the floor on the tiles
“Who am I? Who are you?” she cried. “If it please yer”
The butler replied, ” You be sick with amnesia.
Just sign this new will. You can leave me the lot”
And when it was done, killed her off with one shot

So Barbara be thankful when reading of this
That you have such a friend in the generous Chris
To save you from injury his dearest wish
As he Scoured the car boots for a brillo pad dish.

Writing as therapy to address wimpness – will it work?

I am actually really beginning to believe there is something in the notion of writing as therapy. I know why I am teensy weensy bit stressed – it is because Maria has the nerve to be away this weekend. Two whole nights!! Despite writing an insultingly objective analysis to woman’s hour of the recipe for a successful marriage (the male perspective was the brief (I doubt they used it)) – it was all a complete lie – I adore her, worship her and alarmingly for her, depend on her totally for my mental well being as well as my physical. Mind you that sounds some distance from the recipe for a happy marriage – more like the motivation for a plot to a Nordic noir. Obsessive neurotic lecturer husband self immolates in Fjord. Thus In anticipation of this disasterous weekend of blubbering heapness I feel the need to offload – so here goes.

I hate my own company- hate, hate, hate it. I can not put it strongly enough. If I were cast way on a desert island with my eight records I would throw myself and them in the sea before tea time – Fact, unequivocal, no lie. Those smugly self sufficient souls on the show always talk about making a shelter and enjoying the tranquility what they really mean is hoping they packed 20 Valium and screaming like a baby until they were dead with narcotics or exhaustion. That said I have managed to endure just a few memorable occasions of isolation. When I was 21 I hitch hiked around Europe for a month spending 90% of my time on my own or linguistically alone. The odd encounter with someone who would speak to me was a restorative sufficient to last a day or two before I started to collapse like soggy cardboard and wanted my mum. After Guildhall I spent 5 months in Italy but can only really count the first month as alone because after then I formed so many friendships (in desperation, a few undesirable ones for sure) that I actually had to change apartments to get away from some of them. Since then my alone times have been short and grim. I know when I am in one. There is a very particular feeling that starts in my stomach and then spreads until it has consumed every positive thought or feeling in me. I see a world peopled by Bosch – the artist not the power tool – flaming demons erupt from my indigestible (that’s another symptom) cornflakes. It has no rationale and for a bit there is no escape. Then it flys away for a bit – anything can trigger a temporary stay of the nonsense and exuberant joy a radio programme, the cats fighting, a telephone call. While bouncing between these two extremes I feel I can really empathise with those who suffer from bipolar disease. But now…

I have my writing. I have never had this outlet before and this weekend I will conducting a study – as follows: Does writing a blog help those pathetic individuals who can’t cope being alone cope better? Blubbering tear soaked phone calls to all and sundry will prove the null hypothesis.


Update from Arthur and my consultant in Leeds

Arthur has been triumphant but I am not allowed to say more so I won’t. We are very very proud of him.

As for me medically nothing of great consequence to report. It looks increasingly unlikely that they will recommend to go ahead with the transplant for all the reasons I have already reported. There are still a few test results required to consolidate this view and so we have to go again in the next few weeks. My bloods are still good and I am very well so plenty to celebrate. My response is to trust the judgement of the specialists concerned particularly those that would have to undertake the procedure and if the risks are too great then I would certainly not wish to have it. I will report back on the outcome when we know. As I expected it’s just a case of carry on as we were hurrah!

George, Ellie, news, piles, projects

George has been made assistant editor of a specialist magazine. He is managing the impossible task of keeping an active freelance (bring in a wee bit of dosh) career with his writing career. We are really delighted for him and Avani. They are both really well set up in Norwich now and he even has a bike.

Ooh my butt is full of grapes. Sod it owwwwww!

It’s been ages since I have been awake at 3.30 am and writing my blog. I feel a wave of nostalgia for those steroid soaked streams of consciousness of yore. Here I am again and I have no idea why. It could be an excess of Mars Bar ice creams (I am on one or day) or more likely an extremely disturbing episode of the Sopranos – and I mean disturbing. Series 6 the Finale. It is certainly not my imminent visit to see the consultant in Leeds which promises little change, nor any particular health or other anxiety. I think it might be rather simple – it’s the birds tweeting. Blooming heck they are loud these days.

Here’s a funny thing. Among the many bits that have ‘fallen off’ since I became ill, my hearing seems to have ‘fallen on.’ Or more precisely, like my sight, it has changed. On Saturday we attended the delightful Ellie’s 21st birthday party. She looked like a radiant princess from a sunny fairy tale – any prince would have fallen for her – I did – it was a fantastic affair with all her student dentist friends cheering her on, Appleton Roebuck was transformed into a really bright and vibrant place – however like some “I only ever listen to Mozart” turd I showed my age horribly. The ‘popular music’ was loud but no louder than I was used to with the family band but I really struggled to hear anŷthing at all that was said to me, so much so that in the end I gave up conversing and must have looked like the proverbial sulky puss sitting in silence. Everyone else seemed just fine, bopping along – I was happy enough listening to some great tracks, many of which the family band had played but I was sadly condemned to gestures of mute approval. A great evening for the Baxter family though, they just should not bother to invite one foot in the gravers like me in future. Still, as I was saying, the compensation is that in non noisy conditions I would say my hearing has improved so much so that here in am roused by an insomniac starling to do some blogging. It is very early for birdsong?

I am certainly blogging less. Last year at this time I found it very difficult to be outside and last indoors pummelling the keys like a caffeinated Gordon Brown – he used to need a new keyboard every month cos he was so aggressive in his typing. I was not really moving around and about at all. This year I am enjoying the outside a lot whenever it is sunny and have fun doing things with my hands. Weekends are filled with practical things. The house and garden has been assaulted by my enthusiasm for doing odd jobs. I put washing soda down the drains, it stops them blocking, I hang pictures, I frame pictures, I drill holes and fill the holes I previously drilled. I fix bits of furniture or get them fixed. I have gone manic with lighting, lamps and lamp shades. They are all over the place. Telephones continue to preoccupy me and I still crave a K6 phone box – the red one. In the meantime I have learnt how to get old rotary dial phones to connect to the BT Network. I might have a go with a local network of crank phones (the ones with the handles.) I have expanded my collection of lighters to include an American brand of the 50’s called ‘Evans’. These are so ‘Madmen’ but are much harder to fix than the British brands. One example took me a whole day. I am also on with my lifetimes work project that I am keeping secret in case it flops. It’s pretty time consuming in a repetitive way at present.

We are the proud possessors of a new chimney pot. It has not been fitted yet but is about 6 foot tall and a foot wide – massive. It is designed to rise above the roof line and make our open fire draw properly. Hitherto we a have at time had to open the windows to let the smoke out when the wind was in the wrong direction – now I believe we will be able to run a small chemical works or a Dickensian tanning factory.

Since the election I seem to have lost my outrage. I feel as though I have arrived at a position of weariness when it comes to the bigger world picture. It didn’t take long. When I was ill I had loads of pent up energy that had nowhere to go. It was if my body was constipating my brain so it just flushed itself out in all directions, a silage spray of outrage. I am much calmer now, probably less entertaining in a ‘what stupid thing is he going to say next’ sort of way. I suppose I feel more normal. I have been bored with cancer for ages now. I don’t read about it, never have, I don’t follow the latest ‘breakthrough’ stories or do ‘living with cancer’ fun runs . I don’t seek out those who have it, nor do I avoid them. I have a good friend in the village who has it and we have enjoyed one session of mutual moaning. Her approach is a lot like mine which is very comforting. We can almost compete in the who can be coolest about it competition – we are both cool.

I must admit that I have had the traditional ‘put life in perspective’ moment. I have mentioned this before but have sought to avoid using this specific phrase because it seems so crass. It goes as follows – I take the anarchist position that our current way of regulating humanity leads to wage slavery. We all spend most of our lives doing things to feed the machine that sustains us. The more we feed it the more it wants, we can never hope to satisfy its appetite until it has consumed us and all the things that sustain us. Remove the machine and we may have time to do more to feed ourselves and others less fortunate than us. FIFA is really just a blatant version of our current world order. We are horrified to observe the rich and powerful helping themselves to stuff meant for the poor and powerless. I must remember that when I am next in Primark for a two pound T Shirt or Tesco for a one pound gallon of milk.

Our fountain stands still and firm since Mitch felled it – I think it may have been symbolic hopefully not phallic. The rats are well rotted. The hens are surprisingly still alive and extremely loveable in a thick as shit sort of way. A new cat is in the neighbourhood but so far can only be seen staring enviously out the window at our two playing metaphorical croquet and polishing their Purdey’s on the lawn – na na na na na – they purr, we are not house cats! Brian, our farmer neighbour, has a vintage tractor I am envious of. Our neighbours hung Tory posters in their window during the election just to annoy me – it worked. Maria’s mum is coping well with insulin and Arthur is the next Herbert von Karajan – not really its just that he had a conducting exam recently. He has some fantastic stories to tell which sadly I cannot repeat (danger of being whacked). He is working 12 hour 7 day weeks at the moment – ahhh the joys of showbiz.

Love to you all

Pussy’s in the well (sort of )

The cat fell out of the cherry tree and demolished the fountain. This may sound like a French proverbial folk tale from which one learns wise things regarding the folly of cherry tree climbing in the palace garden, but in this case it describe the true fate of our fountain; that is we believe this is what happened.

I got up early one Saturday morning to head off to the car boot sale and Mitch was playing boisterously in the garden. He was sufficiently hyper to give me a farewell punch as I passed. I left him springing confidentially up and down the cherry tree swinging from perilously thin branches probably hoping to surprise a sparrow. As far as we know a few minutes later the fountain was down. The whole lot upturned. As we had never bothered to stick it together assuming it’s own weight would be sufficient to keep it upright, it was perfectly possible that a significant weight (Mitch is significant) would be enough to start a reconstituted stone avalanche. Happily and miraculously nothing was seriously damaged including Mitch and the fountain stands proud once more bonded by B&Q’s all purpose builders adhesive. Phew.