Tuesday, December 8, 2009

two dangerous old pot heads

Scary scary world!

I have not been writing -in fact I have been hiding. I was right into communicating and contacted old friends and was contributing to some discussion forums but then I just felt too exposed- too open. Assumptions made and questions asked made me feel obliged to be explaining every thing to every body all the time. I need friends in real time and face to face and suddenly the inadequacies of cyber friendship mocked my isolation more than alleviated it. I despaired at the stupidity of some of the nasties who have to leave vicious comments on vulnerable peoples blogs. Any way I am either feeling a bit better or going into a manic phase- either way I should be active again- must dash Herrad is calling.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Today was a good one

The new chair fits great on Herrad and holds her in a nice strong upright position. The professionals were great and it all went without too much stress for Herrad. We shall soon be able to take advantage of it and get out the house.
Happy day.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Thanks Jessica

Big thanks to Jessica for commenting on an old post- a very heavy one at a sad time and then a big silence. It was a bad time and I did find things to much for me. I wanted to hide away. I found I could not cope with discussion groups I was contributing to- I dreaded visitors, I lost all my confidence.
Herrad is now stable and we are doing ok. She has had some effects and has more difficulty with her hands. We are adjusting and getting on with it so maybe I can start posting again.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Oh shi...

Today Herrad has got worse. She is hurting real bad and can use her hands less. I can see how scared she is. A distant hurt look in her eyes- like an abused animal. I am shocked and scared.
It is my nightmare coming closer.
OK big smile and keep my chin up.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

A poem

I never get round to finishing my poems- they sit for years before I start to feel they are getting near a finished state. To get over this extreme control freakery I have started posting raw work on my other blog- I have one piece that says something I wanted to say and says it quite well. I hope it expresses something of what other people may have experienced so I have posted it here- maybe not a great poem but it is honest.

How high do you have to set a spam filter to block compassion?
MS does not mean Mr. Gates.
No virus linked to her system failure
She is no threat
But you set her into quarantine
In case her pain upsets you.

Disease makes people uncomfortable.
Not every friend is worth caring for.
You made your choice:
Comfort before honour.

Get on with your life
Have fun
We wish you no ill
Because we know you are a little dead
And not qualified to share our beauty.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Shock in Heaven

Edward Kennedy fails to arrive!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Ticking over-

I am coping as well as I have for some time. I am getting over the incident with the jerk and his dog. I have had to force my self to get through the door at times but I kept doing it. Slowly it became less frightening. Now I can even believe I enjoyed shopping yesterday and going to the market was a pleasure again. In the last months these experiences have been a paranoid nightmare. Every few moments another panic.(Purse! Keys! ID card! phone!) I can not run away like I would have done before Herrad's illness- I have to care for Herrad I have to do the shopping I have to talk to the "care" professionals: no time to freak out! I can not stop freaking out so I am acting normal whilst screaming inside. Oh well I would have liked to be an actor if only I could learn the lines- memory of a fish- but I can improvise and work up quite a nice little performance as "care giver".
I hate living in this house. I leave and enter through a communal front gate and have nothing but unpleasant confrontations with the filth who live around us. A stupid nasty anti-social family drag the whole place down. Their child provokes the other children to behave badly and the adults show no concern for any of the consequences. I believe they must hate their children because they smoke cigarettes in the lift with them. When I use the lift after them I choke in the filthy air. I guess that is the atmosphere the children grow up in. The adults are not in good health themselves and I have heard that strokes are caused by both inherited factors and environmental factors. I wonder if tobacco counts as inheritance or environment. Daddy provides both for the children.
I hate gangsters and hard men most of all- just stupid little selfish boys who fail to reach emotional adulthood. I have often had dealings with such people and am always shocked by what limited jerks they are. They hide behind violence. They are so scared of the world of compassion. It is the one challenge they can not cope with. They have no belief that they can be more than a big stupid greedy animal- consuming and not creating. Indeed they are a model of all that is wrong with human society- they have the selfishness of the trading floor and apply it to personal relationships. The trader kills and robs and enslaves by proxy but the hood does it personally, so in some ways you could almost see them as more moral than the man who never sees the blood he spills. The trader acknowledges the state monopoly on violence whilst the hood has not got the financial enforcement of the legal system so he uses his own gun- not the coppers. Both hood and trader are the same useless parasite that lives off the labour of others. Both despise honest workers. Both are enemies of freedom.
Any way a good rant! I feel better and I hear the shits are trying for a new house- make it happen soon and far far away!
I hope that I can avoid the scum till either he kills himself with his ciggies or he moves.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Poems and things

I am trying to get back to creative writing. I have started to write at least one idea out in note or simple form every day then spend every fifth day editing what I have got.
I tried to participate in a peer to peer review site but found it a bit too haphazard. A piece of greeting card sentimental verse, a concrete poem, a minimalistic twelve words over six lines and covering the whole page and a high school angst filled cry for understanding. I just did not know what to say. The one poem I had some time for stylistically I found a little trite and banal but could do nothing but praise it in the context. The reviews for my poems were mostly useless. Only one person had worked out that it was literary poem- (even though the author I was writing about was in the first line!)- as a result I felt the other reviews were of little value. I need a different set of peers.
The other big worry was giving marks- how can I value a poem on a numeric scale of worth?
Anyway I am now doing a little more writing and putting some organisation into it. An experiment is not a failure if it has a result-even if the result is to prove something does not work.
I am getting some nice funny little poems written that bring me a lot of pleasure. I will start putting them on my other blog soon.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

It will hurt so much.

Herrad posted today about the end of her life- eased out of it by the lovely Dr Dagmah. We hope in our own home and peacefully- with Motorhead playing "Ace Of Spades" at full blast- maybe not we will see. It will be Herrad's choice. I miss Britain a lot. We were planning to move to Wales when Herrad got sick. At first I was choked we had to stay here- I need some bloody hills! but now I don't mind. There is a lot wrong in this country but this they have right- without weed to help ease the pain and spasms and the assurance of a dignified end to life I think Herrad may have chosen to end her life before the MS got so bad. What a loss!
I can not think what I will do without her. I do not enjoy doing things without her. Going to the cinema or to a concert is about sharing the experience with Herrad- talking to her is what I like to do most.
I will need a bloody job as well- shit.
Most of all I will be just so lonely.
I will do all I can to keep her enjoying life for as long as she can.

all one folk at heart

I didn't know you had Morris dancing in New Orleans!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Get over it!

I was neglectful and allowed Herrad to get a skin infection. I spotted it in time and it is under control but it was something I thought I had covered. Herrad being stuck in bed and so immobile and the hot sticky weather- all factors but I need to be on top of them all.
Since Tuesday I have been feeling like I have been balancing on the edge of the abyss- I have felt that within a week my neglect will have killed her and it will be all my fault and it is all just too much.
Today I have got balance back again. Yeah a mistake was made. Not the first and unlikely to be the last. It did do some damage to Herrad and she would have felt pain if her nervous system worked. I will always feel bad when I get it wrong but I remain determined to get it right next time. I get it right most times and I learn from the mistakes.
Life is too short to worry- I have waisted two days with anxiety. Time to move on.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Essential information.

Cricket: As explained to a foreigner...

You have two sides, one out in the field and one in. Each man that's in the side that's in goes out, and when he's out he comes in and the next man goes in until he's out. When they are all out, the side that's out comes in and the side thats been in goes out and tries to get those coming in, out. Sometimes you get men still in and not out.

When a man goes out to go in, the men who are out try to get him out, and when he is out he goes in and the next man in goes out and goes in. There are two men called umpires who stay all out all the time and they decide when the men who are in are out. When both sides have been in and all the men have out, and both sides have been out twice after all the men have been in, including those who are not out, that is the end of the game!

Now an instructional video on how to treat an Ausie batsman.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

A good day to you all!

Herrad before the sore.

Super nurse Ton Peeks came round and has given the all clear for Herrad to start the process of sitting up again!
I am so happy! It will be year of Herrad being stuck in bed next month. A whole year.
I did not think I would get through some of it. But we have got through this one. She is still here. Still with me and we are ready to face the next challenge.
Now if England can only thrash the Ausies at Lords today my joy will be unbounded!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Nout so queer

To get it straight- the banner behind the men is supposed to be anti homo- some repressed emotions there one thinks!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

good news and forward the workers

Something good. Willis (my wonder neighbour) stopped the man with the dog on the street and asked him what he was playing at. She secured an apology and an assurance it will not happen again. I had also found out the house he lives in is a squat that was organised by the "Kraakbewegging" (the squatters movement). I emailed them directly about the problem and Herrad phoned an old friend from the squat scene. The idiots behaviour was not approved of as it is not only personally abhorrent it is also damaging to the movement so they asked him to watch what he was up to. So I am not scared any more and you could say that the community functioned as it should- no one hurt no one locked up. He was having a bad time himself and over reacted. It should not of happened but that is city life. He is unlikely to make future confrontations with me and that is all I really care about. If he does I know who to ask now.
Willis is a great neighbour to have and I am glad that the squat movement still takes it's social responsibilities seriously. The right wing VVD party is campaigning to have the house evicted and would use the incident to pressurise the local government to act. Despite the idiot with a dog I would rather see the house full of bright lively young people with a DIY internet cafe downstairs than a boarded up shell; there is no money to fund the redevelopment so the block would stand derelict indefinitely.
I have been on anarchist forums in the last few weeks. I have been committed to the unfashionable cause of communism most of my adult life and have found the lack of opportunity to participate in the struggle (such as it is) very frustrating. As it is I am now in discussion about communist perspectives of life as a carer with a carer for a severely learning handicapped child an elderly comrade looking after his partner with dementia and a chap who has just lost his partner after caring for her for many years. An interesting discussion is just starting. Unfortunately for me the others are UK based so a lot of specific issues do not apply to my situation but the broader discussion about the role of care givers and the ways care is given may prove to be very interesting. I would hope I could at least gain some social insights from Herrad's MS- I get very little else from it.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

A letter to a star- she should be acting not bullshitting!

Dear Ms.Jackson, I was a rail worker prior to the New Labour election victory.
I remember you stood outside an LUL station cutting up a map of the system to represent the Tory plan to break up LUL into privately run companies and claiming that you would never let this happen.
You said such a carve up would be a disaster for the network and you were right: in government you did carve it up and it was a disaster.
Some management consultants got a bucket full of money but the poor old Underground got stuffed.
Did you tell us that you would protect LUL just to get elected?
Do you believe that "private public partnership" is any thing more than a way of giving public money to the crooked and incompetent?
Do you understand why workers like me will never vote for liars like New Labour again?
I am so ashamed I was once a member of your party.
Richie Maguire

Friday, June 26, 2009

As he should be remembered... before it all got nasty

Born the same year as me- a stranger journey than even mine!
he was a so talented... shame it all got so horrible

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Unhappy but...

I am still all over the place emotionally and am not enjoying this period at all- but with saying that I have had some great moments of pleasure and some small triumphs.
I made tamarind balls for Herrad- a taste of her childhood combining three things that grow in Trinidad- tamarind sugar and Scotch Bonnet chilli peppers. Not enough chilli in the first batch but I know how it is done now (very easy). Next was coo-coo: cornmeal with okra. It is a dish from Trinidad's African heritage. Again much easier than I feared and I got it just how she likes it first go- which was not bad 'cos I have never even eaten it before so I was working without any idea of what "good" would be like. I served it with a tvp curry and dahl.
We got the Pakistani honey mangos (the best I have ever had)in the shops again so I am working on the taste buds and hoping the heart will follow.
Thanks for the nice words from the last moan. It does help.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Waisting oxygen.

Today it is all too much. Herrad being sick pushes me to the edge anyway. Now I am scared to go out because of the jerk. I am feeling trapped and desperate. My life feels like one big losing battle. Right now this morning I do not want to wake to another like this.
Don't worry. I have said it now and feel just a little better. If you have done-thanks for reading.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

It was a huge relief to hear that Spike is not sick. He had a blocked gland and has not got cancer. It was what I believed to be true when I first noticed a little lump on his nose was not a tick or a scrape from playing. I guessed it would be nothing and rationalised it would be nothing but still when we got the news I felt like a huge weight was off my shoulders.
I have had another worry. A jerk with a big viscous dog. The halfwit moved in to the neighbourhood a few months ago. His dog is big and free running and attacked my nine year old Jack Russell bitch. The jerk then tried to attack me and has vowed to get me for saving my dog.
I have been worried shitless and find it hard to leave the house.
I am scared and angry. Mostly because he has taken me back to a place in my mind I do not want to go. I have lived in shithead's world. I can operate on that level but I am better than that. He has been reported to the police and I have been approached by neighbours who saw the prick in action.
My tension has made Herrad physically worse- MS is always made worse by stress...
Stupid fucker so he is!

Saturday, June 6, 2009


I had to take Spikey to the vet today. He has a little growth on his nose. The vet thinks it is very likely be a recurrence of a benign tumour he had some years ago. He will go in to have it removed next Thursday and the offending item sent for a biopsy.
It is nothing to worry about.
Only I am worried to pieces.
Spikey is very dear to Herrad and me.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Nout so queer as... penguins!

'Gay penguins' rear adopted chick
A Humboldt penguin chick
Humboldt penguin numbers are declining in the wild
Two "gay" male penguins have hatched a chick and are now rearing it as its adoptive parents, says a German zoo.

The zoo, in Bremerhaven, northern Germany, says the adult males - Z and Vielpunkt - were given an egg which was rejected by its biological parents.

It says the couple are now happily rearing the chick, said to have reached four weeks old.

The zoo made headlines in 2005 over plans to "test" the sexual orientation of penguins with homosexual traits.

Three pairs of male penguins had been seen attempting to mate with each other and trying to hatch offspring from stones.

Since the chick arrived, they have been behaving just as you would expect a heterosexual couple to do

The zoo flew in four females in a bid to get the endangered birds to reproduce - but quickly abandoned the scheme after causing outrage among gay rights activists, who accused it of interfering in the animals' behaviour.

The six "gay" penguins remain at the zoo, among them Z and Vielpunkt who are now rearing the chick together after being given the rejected egg.

"Z and Vielpunkt, both males, gladly accepted their 'Easter gift' and got straight down to raising it," said a zoo statement.

"Since the chick arrived, they have been behaving just as you would expect a heterosexual couple to do. The two happy fathers spend their days attentively protecting, caring for and feeding their adopted offspring."

Humboldt penguins are normally found in coastal Peru and Chile, but their numbers have been dwindling due to overfishing, reports the AFP news agency.

'Drive to mate'

There have been previous reports of exclusive male-to-male pairings among penguins, some of which have also included the rearing of chicks.

Homosexual behaviour is well documented in many different animals, but it is not understood in detail, says Professor Stuart West, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Oxford.

Professor West says it has been suggested that homosexual activity could serve various purposes - for instance, it may relate to social bonding and establishment of dominance among bonobo chimps, while in some bird species, females may come together to rear young.

Other animals may simply exhibit a "drive to mate", while others may, like humans, enjoy non-procreative sexual activity.

"Homosexuality is nothing unusual among animals," Bremerhaven zoo said on Wednesday.

"Sex and coupling up in our world do not necessarily have anything to do with reproduction." that's a relief!
from BBC News website

Thursday, May 28, 2009

The excitement builds!

South Africa rugby team (the Springboks) versus the combined English Welsh Scottish and Irish team "The Lions" produces one of the fiercest competitions in world sport. For generations the South Africans dominated physically with outright violent tactics. In 1974 Northern Ireland police sergeant and Lions captain, Willie John McBride, devised a strategy to beat them at their own game- if a a Lion was punched (or kicked,stamped on, eye gouged) the cry "Ninety nine" went up and every Lion punched the nearest Springbok. Some test matches were battles but eventually the Springboks were pushed back and the Lions won the series. When the Lions beat the invincible 'Boks Nelson Mandela and his fellow prisoners on Robin Island cheered and street parties broke out in Soweto.
When the current Lions go to SA it will be as competitive but hopefully less violent and the new 'Boks reflect the new RSA: their biggest fan is Nelson Mandela.

Caregiver falsely convicted of murder.

If you can spare a moment for Susan please take a look.

For more info this is Susan's blog
Here is her web site

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

My inspiration

It has not been so good for Herrad in the last few weeks. Today was the first day in a while she woke just calling out in pain and not having a big cry. I have learned to ask if it is anything specific that I can help with or is it just MS. Just MS has been the answer. Just her body being slowly destroyed and her world limited to a bedroom. I stroke the bits that she can still feel and tell her that I love her. Fetch her some weed and then enlist the help of the dogs. The sunshine that has been streaming in from the window this month was replaced by a day best described in the words of my late Scottish granny; "Dreech an' druchit"(the Scots language has many ways to describe rain!). But today after the massage and pills Herrad opened up her computer- straight to her blog- and comments came flooding in bringing such sunshine into the day.
I am so glad people like Herrad. The things people say are so generous but I truly believe she deserves every compliment. I see her every day- good bad and indifferent and I see her being grumpy and sometimes she can be a down right grouch but she is never less than wonderful. She is always so very loving to me.
Some people commenting have religious views that colour their understanding and language, we may not share their beliefs but the kind sentiments show them to be such good sweet people. I like to be reminded that what ever the outside appearance of separation we are all one people and hold more in common than divides us. Herrad has always helped me to think kindly about people and not to loose my self in anger. I am so glad that other people see just how well she is handling this totally unacceptable situation just as she has gone through much in her life. Nothing can diminish her dignity. She is my inspiration and I am glad that she can share her brilliance with so many others. Without her blog she would be so lonely and making friends has always been her thing. I am so grateful to everyone in the blogosphere who helps me care for my darling. Love to you all.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

This is just to say....

I bought a punnet of over ripe strawberries yesterday
and I ate them all absent mindedly whilst listening to the cricket,
sorry. I bought them for you!
I feel like a monster.

Before the first coffee!

I should have written this before I read Herrad's blog and left my comment there.
Not the quiet Sunday awakening I had hoped for. It was obvious there was a problem with Herrad's catheter- not enough in her urine bag (we refer to it as "the wet purse")so I knew it must be blocked. I detached the wet purse and tried to flush the catheter with a brine rinse- nothing was coming or going. Herrad called the doctors and they arrived just as I was returning with the dogs from a relief mission. It was all very quick and civilised. What made it work was Herrad taking the initiative in making it a friendly and co-operative enterprise. Relaxed doctors work better so Herrad always tries to make it easy for them. She was pushing at an open door today because they were a very nice team. The doctor was a very nice friendly professional and the para-medic one of the special breed of gentle giant Dutch men. His head almost scraped the top of the door frame as he came through and he was quite sporty in physique but he never felt to be dominating. In England I would say he was definitely gay but in Amsterdam he was just probably gay. Shame he was gone so quick 'cos I have a friend looking for a boyfriend and he was quite a catch for some one!
It has been a bit more restful since then and despite the rain falling down outside I feel warm and sunny within. Herrad was great.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Cake and custard

Sweet day- nothing much to report. Just having a nice relaxed day when every chore is a delight. We had a conversation about comfort food last night. We both remembered motorcycle journeys in English Spring weather when an old fashioned transport cafe and a cup of hot tea with milk and sugar got life back into dead fingers. I remembered a place just North of Carlisle on the road to Scotland. When I hitch-hiked this was often a place I would get stuck. If I had any cash I would go in and have cake and custard- enough calories to fight off hypothermia and fuel me for last hundred miles home. After sharing this tale with Herrad I knew that it would be compulsory for me to make cake and custard tonight.
I am her very favourite husband now!
My flowers in the window boxes and in the tubs on the balcony are coming on nicely, the dogs all crashed out and floppy. One last walk round the block with them in a minute then off duty. Sweet day.
ps. Banana cake and lemon and coconut custard.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Sad twisted minds and dead dogs dicks.

My friend has received anonymous hateful comments on his blog. He is a sick man facing arthritis, MS, cardiac problems, and a bad back. He is also the full-time carer for his elderly and increasingly senile mother.
He writes infrequently but touchingly honestly. He is always quick to leave a kind and supportive comment on other peoples blogs and has large following of men and women around the world who have been touched and moved by his simple story of triumph over circumstance. He is loved.
Somebody has sent him hurtful and stupid comments. He is a tough old bird and quite up to looking after himself so I wont go into the detail.
We open up and share our lives to make for a better understanding of the human condition. I write this blog to let go of pain and to contact other people in the similar circumstances so we can learn from each other and support each other through the bad times. Malicious and disturbed individuals are part of that condition and we have to deal with them. I moderate my comments but have never had cause to reject one.
If I received a hate comment I would maybe use it as a foil to write about but I doubt if I would publish it. If you want to have go have a go I love argument but I will not get involved in a slanging match with some one who I have no respect for. Put forward your thesis and defend it- that is how we learn what is sound and what is false.
On the other hand I love to have a go at people and organisations I do not agree with- I love a good argument but I have to have at least some respect for my opponent. Insult trading is a poor substitute for demolishing an argument.
Oh and if you want to have a go at insulting me my old colleague Mick Connelly set the bar quite high when he covered the West End of Glasgow with the legend "Richie Maguire Sucks Dead Dogs Dicks" I wish I still had a photo to show you!(of the graffiti not me and a dead dog!) If you read this Mick lots of love.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Pain and law makers

It has been a better week. Sense of humour still struggling to hit old levels but more is becoming amusing and less is seeming horrific.
Wobbly yesterday due to over tiredness. It was a wobbly and not so good but I knew all the time what was wrong and a good nights sleep seems to have been the remedy. A week ago I would have felt as if it was all a great cosmic abyss into which I am descending. As it is I knew it was a bad day 'cos I was knackered.
I got a big fright yesterday from Steve and BR on http://spinfortunaswheel.blogspot.com/
Subsequent posts have proved more optimistic but at the time it hit me just how fond I am of these two men.
I am so angry that prejudice stops BR getting the medication he needs. I see how Herrad gets relief from THC vapour. The THC reduces the spasms that cause the pain- other painkillers numb out some of the pain and a big chunk of conciousness. We use weed 'cos it works and because the Professor of Neurological Medicine we consulted recommended it.
It is strange that Americans are refused the best treatment available when it is herb that grows for next to nothing.
Rationality must prevail over prejudice and the law must change. I do not care how it is organised- I would not mind if it was the Devil incarnate or even Donald Rumsfield got the contract to supply but MS sufferers must receive the relief! The position of the US in world politics allowed small town prejudice to get weed put on the UN narcotics list- time for the supertanker of US opinion to turn round and bring about the change MS sufferers need.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Happy May Day to workers every where... and gumboils to the rich!

“How many wrathful people, young people, will be with us when the red and black banners wave in the wind of anger! What a tidal wave it will be when the red and black banners rise around the old wreck!

"The red banner, which has always stood for liberty, frightens the executioners because it is so red with our blood. The black flag, with layers of blood upon it from those who wanted to live by working or die by fighting, frightens those who want to live off the work of others. Those red and black banners wave over us mourning our dead and wave over our hopes for the dawn that is breaking.”

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Oh no!

I hate the Queens Day holiday for political reasons- (today I hate it 'cos we can't participate)- but it does bring a lot of pleasure to a lot of people so I bury my republicanism and when we could get around it we did and had a good time. It is a strange celebration and I enjoy feeling foreign- cos I am! It is nice to be so close to something that is not my own. It has given me insights into English culture that have helped me understand being English. What I notice most is how friendly drunken Dutch people are compared to my compatriots. Even if they are decked out like a Rangers supporters club I learned to smile and join in.
Today a crazy drove a car into a crowd of people cheering for the royal party as they went by on an open top bus. To date four people have died.
Nice happy smiling laughing Dutch people enjoying the spring sunshine.
The day is still sunny and people are still having a party in the streets here 96 kilometres from the mayhem. Life goes on.
An update: now it has all stopped. As word has got round the sound systems have been switched off and people are making their way home prematurely. Today is second only to New Year here for parties. It is now a strange silent end to the big day. One boat went by with mournful Amsterdam music playing loudly other than that only children's voices can be heard on the streets- not even much traffic.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Joy pain laughter and pot plants

Herrad woke with a howl this morning. She was in a lot of pain physically but from her eyes I could see she had been looking into that dark abyss that is future. We held our faces together and shared hundreds of gentle little kisses till she could stop crying. I got her some weed vapour and Spike and Marleen applied their regime of dog love. We managed to get back to enjoying the moment again and are now awaiting the visit of her physiotherapist. (Hey she arrived just on the completion of the word!)
Herrad is doing OK and so am I but we are both confronting new problems. Life becomes a process of managing worsening situations. She does not post all the pains and humiliations she suffers. It is not for me to tell: we are still strangely a very private couple. I will say that her courage is humbling to witness and I am privileged to share with her.
I am back to some type of mental normality after being up and down like a... very emotional over the last weeks.
With help from a lovely friend I got some pots and earth and plants on Saturday and now the balcony and Herrad's window box look as if they are part of a cottage garden (deep joy!). It is a pleasure to see see life and colour when you come out the lift. Other neighbours seem determined to drag our building into a slum and as I have no desire to make a confrontation with them I think my best course of action is to inflict beauty on them. They can scowl at me but I shall smile back. I regard everyone as potentially my equal and I hope that one day even my neighbours can love themselves enough to stop behaving like arseholes and join the rest of us in the pursuit of joy. I wont hold my breath.

Friday, April 24, 2009

I shall strive...

Mohawk cropped nicely, face shaved and body showered. New exploding skull t shirt on. Ready to take on the world, I will at least go get the groceries when I work up the courage. I hope the people are behind me!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

My birthday present from Herrad

Thanks Herrad XXX

Happy birthday to all Shakespeare lovers.

A woman's face with Nature's own hand painted
Hast thou, the master-mistress of my passion;
A woman's gentle heart, but not acquainted
With shifting change, as is false women's fashion;
An eye more bright than theirs, less false in rolling,
Gilding the object whereupon it gazeth;
A man in hue, all 'hues' in his controlling,
Much steals men's eyes and women's souls amazeth.
And for a woman wert thou first created;
Till Nature, as she wrought thee, fell a-doting,
And by addition me of thee defeated,
By adding one thing to my purpose nothing.
But since she prick'd thee out for women's pleasure,
Mine be thy love and thy love's use their treasure.

Earl of Southampton- was he the boy!

My third dog.

My third dog. When my old dog Daisy got older we got Spike to keep her company and perk her interest levels up. At first she was not convinced that another dog was what she needed and a mad Jack Russell from the rescue did not fit into her well run life. Once she had literally licked him into shape he realised that resistance was futile. She would pin him down and hold is entire head in her mouth and growl gently. I was terrified but he just went all soft and puppy like. They would then sit together and she would look lovingly at him and he looked very proud. As Daisy was getting older we decided on dog three- not to replace Daisy but to be there for the wee lad when she died. We thought we would have four or five years when we got Marleen. She was a loved but neglected dog. Her previous owner could not cope with the her and her new baby. The dog had been chronically over fed and under exercised. She was so overweight she could not get in and out of her dog bed. She could not groom herself without rolling around on her belly but could never get to her hind quarters. She weighed 12 kilos when she arrived; she is now 6 kilos. She has become the most sweet lovely active dog and Daisy loved her from minute one.
After two years Daisy got cancer. It was very swift. She had one tumour removed then a year later she got an unrelated cancer and her lungs were full of pea sized tumours which could be suppressed with chemo but would kill her eventually. I saw the fear in the old girls face when it hit her- we had had a great day in the park and she got a little weary on the way home. She ate her dinner then just slept till bedtime. When I took them for the last walk around she was very tired. I had to carry her outside. She was panting and was in such pain. I gave her painkillers left over from the surgery. As soon as they kicked in she wanted to cuddle and even played a little. We took her to the vet and we got the worst news. No hope. I came home with her on the bicycle with her in the trailer. The pain killers were working and when I looked behind I saw her happy smiley Staffie face looking back at me with her ears flapping joyously in the wind. The next day Herrad and I took her to be euthanasied. Howl!
Marleen stepped up to be the top bitch and after a few days Spike stopped looking for Daisy when Herrad got off the tram at night. We will always miss a character like Daisy but life goes on. Spike and Marleen have become an inseparable and devoted partnership and are a daily joy. We planned to get another dog about now. We wanted to get another dog from the rescue and give it a good life- it worked with my Spike, he was in three homes before he found someone mad enough to keep him and he is now such a lovely little companion.
I have been watching more television than I consider healthy. I have not abandoned it entirely like some of my friends but at one time watched about two hours a week (soccer mostly). Since Herrad and I have been stuck at home more we have got the habit again. Most times choosing a channel is more pain limitation than searching out gems. Animal rescue programs (Philedelphia, Houston and Phoenix) appeal to a couple of old dog lovers like us so we watch Animal Planet re-runs of five year old reality tv. It has convinced me of one thing: I do not want to take another dog in this situation. So much of the neglect on the tv is from well meaning over committing. When I got sick (pneumonia) last year Spike and Marleen were going bonkers for lack of walking and general attention. I guess I would not have the two dogs we have now if I knew we would be living with MS as well. It would not be fair to bring another dog into this uncertainty. Yet another bit of MS shit. I am so glad other people have the companionship of their pets to help them get through a day with MS. I see how a bit of dog love can get Herrad smiling again on a bad morning and I hate to think how fat I would become if they did not walk me!
I would encourage anyone thinking about a new pet to try the local shelter first.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Working through it.

I am still a bit too upset to say things are going well. I am a bit less stressed out but still on the edge of my nerves all the time.
Some days have been worse than others and each day a mixture of good and bad but I have felt slightly better every day. I have extended the exercise regime (still pathetic but at least it now exists) and have started writing some fiction again. I do not think that I am creating anything worthwhile but I enjoy controlling a small part of the universe-even if it exists only in my imagination. I have strong plot and character elements but I doubt if I have the discipline to take it to more than a few chapters. Never the less it works for me now. Maybe if I keep going eventually I can have enough to edit together. A strong theme of the redemptive nature of love runs through most of my writing. I guess I can never quite kill my optimism despite my negative frame of mind.
Strange things happen when you are feeling strange. Pigeons are trying to nest in our gutters- not wanting bird crap all over our landing and balcony I chase them off before they can get a nest built. I waved my hands violently towards them shouting wildly- my house keys flew out of my hand over the yard and into the neighbouring yard. This was being used as a depot for the building company renovating the neighbourhood. Their work is finished and the house locked up.
I did my ninja bit! Climbed onto the outbuildings down the other side retrieved the keys and climbed back. I was amazed I could not only still do this kind of thing but I did quite easily. It was an unexpected highlight of the week- just call me Spiderman!

Morisseys inspiration- the king of Norhtern Angst

He is still wowing audiences but never gets the credit for founding a genre.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Minor achievments- major triumphs.

Yesterday I got it right! I sneaked Herrad's Easter egg into her without her noticing. She was convinced that the state I have been in for the last couple of weeks there would be no egg.
The squeal of delight when she saw it was the biggest rush I have experienced!
She is my best drug.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

For all the geezers what aint fick like wot we is

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A memory

I have been anxious and manic today. Buzzing around with unnatural and unfocusable energy. It hit me that there was something that helped with this feeling, then I remembered: I used to get hammered!
Seventeen years on the wagon and I still miss the uisce beatha!

Personal Indulgence

Be Happy!

Max Wall was the funniest act I ever saw. His mixture of the endearing and the grotesque was the inspiration for my attempts at comedy. Alas I am not the clown Max was (he was a student of the great Zog in Paris if ye know your clowning) so I managed the grotesque but lacked the endearing.
There are not many clowns at the top of comedy- I can only think of Lee Evans and of course Robin Williams (not that I have heard of him doing comedy for a long time now). It is bloody hard to make clowning work in a 'Stand Up' orientated business.

Stanley Unwin was a wonder- I am five years old every time I hear his nonsense.

My heritage of folk music

The great outdoors

A friend just sent us some pictures of the snow melting and spring getting into the buds. Just trees and a wild river and some undulating hills. I howled like a baby.
I miss getting out into the hills more than sex. I could get on my bike when I lived in Glasgow and get to Ben Lomond in an hour and a half. I often did it at five in the morning and be back for the afternoon. In recalling I am still amazed that at the time I was doing this I had a huge beer gut- I must have drunk one hell of a lot.

Friday, April 10, 2009

A near miss.

I was right to be worried for my friend on the oil rig. He knew two of the men who died and had planned to have a beer with them over the weekend when he got home. He had to fly back to Aberdeen a few days after the crash and before the bodies had been recovered. He is not sure what to do next. There is no money anywhere else but this was close to home.
I was glad he called even though I knew he was safe. He is a special friend- he told Herrad she would love me a year before we met. Herrad being the woman she is tried not to like me when he introduced us. She eventually had to agree with him.

Maggie Smith and Kenneth Wlliams

Two of my favourite actors perform for the author- Betjeman is not a favourite poet but he was such a nice one.

When I first posted I left an N out of Kenneth- I can still hear him squawking in outrage. I have never got to see either in a theatre- still a chance with Maggie and I will take it if ever it comes. I am quite star struck with the lovely Ms. Smith.

I must keep going!

Today I aim to keep myself as positive as I can manage. We started the day with Herrad crying from pain physical and mental. It is part of my responsibility to her to create the atmosphere she needs to sustain her emotionally. In the last few days I have not been able to do this. Depression is a disease I suffer from just as MS is a disease Herrad suffers from. Sometimes her MS affects my depression and sometimes my depression affects her MS. Today Jack Russell therapy combined with massage and thc soon had us enjoying the April sunshine streaming through the windows. The radio offered us the twin delights of ranting against the new Bishop of Westminster (RC top dog in England) and a lovely programme about Laurence Olivier and the founding of the National Theatre. BBC Radio 4 can be fun!
Thanks for the encouraging comments. They help. I use this space to let go when it is going bad for me. It is part of making it better. As I write out my woes I find them less daunting. I am right to feel fear and sadness in a scary sad time. It is not stylistic that I usually end with a lighter remark. When I read back my grim tale I find it a little funny and I can not take things quite as seriously. Even in the worst days Herrad and I spend more time laughing than crying. Thanks for the support but do not worry: Herrad and I are still a strong team.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Carry on screaming

Well I am getting a bit less down. I have tried to exercise and do some nice things and look at the good and everything but it does not really help. I managed to do some maintenance on my bike and it is working a bit better and that gives me an up.
I am always depressed, only sometimes I can not control the emotional impact it has on me. I have to get my shit together and I will. Not because I want to but because I have to. By choice I would sit by the side of the road and cry till I died. In fact I will work very hard to make this home a happy place to be. To some extent I will succeed.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Miserable git.

I have not had anything to blog for a few days 'cos I am feeling too low to share. Maybe turning fifty next week is getting to me. I do not want to celebrate but that is not an option with a Trinidadian in the house.
I was thinking about people congratulating me for being born and managing not to die yet and it all seemed such an obscenity. I am not happy to be alive and I was not wanted when I was born... and I got a puncture and it rained and... (distant whining voice fading to infinity)
I know there is some one worse off than me: she has to live with me! I'll go and be nice to her for a bit now- she will make it all seem worth while again.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

A relief for me but not for others.

The list of the victims of the helicopter crash in the North Sea yesterday has been published. I scanned the list and to my relief my old friend's name was not on it.
Sixteen other workers died. Some one else's mate.
I knew a man who died in the Piper Alpha disaster. He was the patriarch of a huge family and the biggest tough guy in the pub. A horrible blond perm and a sovereign ring on every finger. His family were shattered when they lost him. His sons did not carry themselves with the confidence they had when the big man was around. His wife never left the house for months.
Sixteen families will be so sad this weekend. I am glad that it is not the Brycelands. My heart goes out to those who did loose a loved one in Wednesday's crash.

Spring is on the way!

Good news yesterday from the doctor. The wound is healing and we will be starting the long process of getting Herrad sitting up and going out in sunshine.
I find my self humming this as I go round the house.

Silver in the Stubble
(Sydney Carter)

Early in the Morning,
Hear the razor roar,
There's silver in the stubble
And it wasn't there before.

For the leaves are getting greener,
And spring is on the way;
Girls are getting prettier
And younger every day.

Silver in the stubble;
Winter in the wood.
Fare you well, you wicked world,
I'm going to be good.

Time to think of Heaven;
Time to think of Hell.
Time to go to church on Sunday,
Hark, I hear the bell.

But if any girl is willing,
She only has to say;
I'll hang my halo on a shelf
Until another day.

Written by Sydney Carter in 1964
Copyright Sydney Carter

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Getting down.

I cant get happy. Sunny weather and all but I cant get a smile togehter. Every thing seems like another Everest to clime.
I will trot out the old platitudes about one day a time and all that and just keep going. I'll try to get things together. I have to.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

All for charity!

Usual comedy for telethon is a painful experience.
Men in frocks seldom fail to amuse however.

Friday, March 27, 2009

When do you say?

I heard today about how Nick died. His doctors were desperate for him to loose weight. He had diabetes and cardiological problems linked to his obesity.
When he visited us he would often bring a roast chicken and a bag of cream cakes. Herrad asked him not to bring the snacks and we subverted him with lighter things to eat. I know that in the last period he spent most of his time at home eating. When he visited his hand and mouth never stopped. After his birthday he was delighted with the party his friends held for him but I was dismayed that one of his friends gave him a huge box of chocolates. I thought at the time they may as well have stuck a loaded revolver in his hand.
Well Nick's arteries were so bunged up with snack food his poor old heart died. Ironically a group of his friends had got together to try to make him take care once he got over this one. Just too late.
His friends are getting his journals ordered and edited and will get them published. Evidently some sad souls are scared he may have mentioned them. If he mentions me (even derogatory) I will just be flattered.

Ronnie Laine

I have many reasons to hate MS this is another... and we lost Stevie from smoking in bed

Thursday, March 26, 2009

An old enemy

When I was a teenager I was under threat from a gang of skinheads for many years. I have a scar on my head from their attention. My crime was having black friends and listening to reggae music. They provoked me and my friends to hitting back and I was involved in some incidents of violence. We even trained ourselves in combat skills to protect ourselves. Their leader was a hateful stupid man and I hated him.
Funny to hear yesterday just how shit things are for him. He is in jail for life and his former gang members wish to kill him on his release. His partner is sick and in bed all day with no one to keep her company. Care workers come twice a day to meet her needs.
They are not nice people but when I think of the shattered existence they have called a life my heart goes out to them. We all make choices and have to live with the consequences. Last time I saw him he decided to attack the James Connelly Republican Marching Band on the Bloody Sunday commemoration. That was not one of his better choices. I guess he has run out of options now. Stupid man.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

A comic tale.

I went to the wrong funeral. I was in the wrong place at the right time and missed seeing Nick off. My only conciliation is to know it will make a funny story in a few days time when I don't feel so sad.
I may have given up comedy but evidently comedy has not given up me.
If I am wrong about an after life he will be holding his belly and chortling.

Off to bury the boy.

Goodbye my old friend


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Thank you everybody.

Thank you for the kind words about Nick. It was good to write down how I was feeling and so very nice to read your kind comments.
Nick was a bringer of laughter and wonder. I will miss him but I regard my self as lucky to have known such an extraordinary man.
Thanks for sharing this sad moment with me. You have really helped.

One hundred trucks go by at once!

The inland waterways are a great green way of shifting tons of goods quietly through the city- in England there would be a convoy of diesel powered trucks nose to tail on the ring road.

Feral geese.

Feral geese are an Amsterdam phenomena. Our local flock is up to thirty strong and can be a nuisance when they take over an area. Personally I love to see the flotilla patrolling the canals and hear the outrageous honking.

Pigeon wars!

Pigeon wars! One of my neighbours insists on throwing food out her window for the pigeons. The pigeons are seen as a health hazard and a nuisance by the rest of the building. These notices keep going up in the lift and then getting ripped down.
I think the old cow who feeds the birds is either wanting a fight or her pigeons are so important to her sad life that she can not stop feeding them. Sadly the people putting up the notices are not very capable of thinking things through and this has gone on for months. I stand aside.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

death at a birthday party.

Today is Herrad's birthday and St Pat's and I feel like shit. My old friend Nick died yesterday and I am just starting to realise what it means.
Nick was a brilliant man. He had a lifetimes battle with depression. It impacted on him in many ways. He was so clever and talented but never hit the heights he could have. If only he had been able to love himself a bit more. He was born to a theatrical family in South Africa. His father was well known for his satirical plays about South African politics. Nick fled South Africa after refusing to participate in the illegal war in Namibia. He was a refugee in Amsterdam for the rest of his life but he never lost his love of his home land. I met him in 89 and got to know him in 97. The more time I spent with him the more interesting he became.
I have lost my only male friend in Amsterdam. I have lost unique conversation. I have lost a big hug and a kind word. I have lost Nick Leslie

Monday, March 16, 2009

In memory of Nick Leslie

My great friend the lovely Nick Leslie who died today. I will miss him so much.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Screwed up little boy.

I woke to Herrad calling out in pain. I did my usual comforting- filling a bag of weed vapour for her, massage then pills. Lifted the dogs onto her bed so Herrad could have a cuddle. It was all OK after a while and Spike and Herrad had a huge love session. Sometimes Spike can not tolerate sharing Herrad with Marleen but today it was OK. We all had the mission to get the smile back on that pretty face again.

I try to be honest open and adult about my emotions but I still let the freaked out desperate child escape from the rational every now and then. Today Herrad said something in a way that hit the button.
My father could be an absolute piece of shit when he got the mind and the way Herrad spoke to me over something trivial was nasty (not very nasty) but nasty in the way my father could be. He would ask questions about something but without giving any information. I would seek to provide the answer he was after but was aware there was something else on the agenda. After a few minutes of fear the misdemeanour would be revealed and I would get a beating. When I got older I would just tell him to piss off and just give him the pleasure of being the executioner- he could miss out on playing prosecuting counsel. The physical bullying was easier to deal with than the emotional bullying. By the time I was fifteen we hated each other and I stopped going home.
Herrad was treated to the answer my Dad should have got. She did not deserve the venom and I am so sorry.
Beatings were done to improve me and to fulfil my fathers duty as a parent. I hated him for thirty years and have had depression problems all my life. Now those beatings even hurt Herrad. Violence (physical, verbal, emotional) does not belong in families.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Pure Class

Wedding shop on Kinkerstraat.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Give us a break!

Oh stuff it. Sad sad sad days these. I read it on other peoples blogs and right here right now. Bad news overwhelming so many people. Pain and loss. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh!
Today we had the nurse round and the wound has not got smaller. It is smaller in circumference but not in depth. It is no worse. It is clean and stable- too stable.
Herrad is all tight lipped and distant. She is aching to get out and about again. I feel desperate. I can feel tears behind my eyes and a big lump in my throat.
Give us a break!

Richie Maguire speaks to the people of Ireland!

Bloody hell! I just can not believe it! Stop now! This is madness!
That is my message to Real IRA and Continuity IRA.
A united Ireland can be achieved by referendum in twenty years time with the changing demographics of the North East of Ireland. The Unionists spotted that and went for a deal, the Provos spotted it and realised that the gun was redundant. A deal was done. that is how war ends- when people do a deal.
Certain individuals have lost their status in the community because of peace. Redundant warriors find it hard to transfer their skills- some have just moved sideways into organised crime others have decided to keep the war going. What else can they do? All their life they have been conditioned to fight the Brits. Ireland has enough martyrs. Today an eighteen year old boy sits awaiting trial for murdering a policeman. He might get out when he is fifty. One grandfather and two young men dead. A Polish man who was delivering pizza to young soldiers was gunned down as a "collaborator".
Britain's iniquitous history in Ireland is coming to end. Let it end with compromise. Reconcilliation is the future.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

tired again

I am like a half shut knife today. I need sleep.
Herrad had a bad start and I have felt a bit smashed up since. Off to the shop for emergency chocolate.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Takin it easy

Today I have designated a lazy day. Minimum effort. I will walk the dogs and make dinner and do the maintenance on my 51 Ford. Beyond that nothing more than warm comforting drinks and and a good book. Tomorrow I can do all the crap I am ignoring now.
The classic gag from the late great Humphrey Littleton.
Samantha has a reclining chair and he has a small divan bed- so while she puts her feet up he'll get his head down.

Friday, March 6, 2009

A lovely dentist.

Today I visited my dentist. He is a very good dentist and very nice man.
I am a total coward. My first dentist was a drunken brute with huge fingers covered in course red hair. He injured my older sister so much she needed to go to hospital to get her gums stitched. I have pulled my own teeth to avoid a dentist. My previous dentist in London left a root canal tool (2cm metal spike) inside Herrad's molar- (discovered years later by our current dentist) and after she extracted one of mine a severed root emerged from my gum some two months later.
Our dentist is gentle, kind, and extremely good. When we first came back to him after London he referred Herrad to the professor at the dental school for a second opinion (more damage form London). The professor made it very clear that Sietsa was one of his best pupils and a top practitioner. I guess he could make a fortune but not only does he base his practice in the inner city he also spends about half the year working in Malawi with aids orphans. I trust him to be sober and to care if he hurts me!
So it was and a cavity was filled with the minimum of discomfort.The worst he does is sing along to the radio.
He is very fond of Herrad and asked after her and was keen to get a link to her blog. His assistant is a really nice woman as well. Apart from emergency butchery in London Herrad has been his patient for about 25 years- he was a young thing just out of school when she first went to him and evidently he was known then as the dish with a drill. He is still not bad- if a little balder.
Funny I kind of enjoy going to my dentists!

Tolstoy is the geezer!

I see many people use quotes on sites and blogs. Usually they are there to inspire. Some are a nice phrase often of a cynical nature that express the essence of the content.
I looked for a source of quotes for my self, favourite author... one of many and maybe the most pretentious to quote: Leo Tolstoy.
I like the man and love his writing. His political/social commentary is more relevant than ever. So I am looking for a Tolstoy quote to sum up the blog.
Some nominations:
A man can live and be healthy without killing animals for food; therefore, if he eats meat, he participates in taking animal life merely for the sake of his appetite.
Leo Tolstoy

All happy families resemble one another, each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.
Leo Tolstoy

All violence consists in some people forcing others, under threat of suffering or death, to do what they do not want to do.
Leo Tolstoy

All, everything that I understand, I understand only because I love.
Leo Tolstoy

And all people live, Not by reason of any care they have for themselves, But by the love for them that is in other people.
Leo Tolstoy

Art is not a handicraft, it is the transmission of feeling the artist has experienced.
Leo Tolstoy

Boredom: the desire for desires.
Leo Tolstoy

Even in the valley of the shadow of death, two and two do not make six.
Leo Tolstoy

Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.
Leo Tolstoy

Government is an association of men who do violence to the rest of us.
Leo Tolstoy

He never chooses an opinion; he just wears whatever happens to be in style.
Leo Tolstoy

Historians are like deaf people who go on answering questions that no one has asked them.
Leo Tolstoy

I sit on a man's back, choking him and making him carry me, and yet assure myself and others that I am very sorry for him and wish to ease his lot by all possible means - except by getting off his back.
Leo Tolstoy

If so many men, so many minds, certainly so many hearts, so many kinds of love.
Leo Tolstoy

If you want to be happy, be.
Leo Tolstoy

In all history there is no war which was not hatched by the governments, the governments alone, independent of the interests of the people, to whom war is always pernicious even when successful.
Leo Tolstoy

It is amazing how complete is the delusion that beauty is goodness.
Leo Tolstoy

Man lives consciously for himself, but is an unconscious instrument in the attainment of the historic, universal, aims of humanity.
Leo Tolstoy

Music is the shorthand of emotion.
Leo Tolstoy

Nietzsche was stupid and abnormal.
Leo Tolstoy

One of the first conditions of happiness is that the link between Man and Nature shall not be broken.
Leo Tolstoy

Our body is a machine for living. It is organized for that, it is its nature. Let life go on in it unhindered and let it defend itself.
Leo Tolstoy

The changes in our life must come from the impossibility to live otherwise than according to the demands of our conscience not from our mental resolution to try a new form of life.
Leo Tolstoy

The greater the state, the more wrong and cruel its patriotism, and the greater is the sum of suffering upon which its power is founded.
Leo Tolstoy

The law condemns and punishes only actions within certain definite and narrow limits; it thereby justifies, in a way, all similar actions that lie outside those limits.
Leo Tolstoy

The sole meaning of life is to serve humanity.
Leo Tolstoy

The two most powerful warriors are patience and time.
Leo Tolstoy

There is no greatness where there is no simplicity, goodness and truth.
Leo Tolstoy

To say that a work of art is good, but incomprehensible to the majority of men, is the same as saying of some kind of food that it is very good but that most people can't eat it.
Leo Tolstoy

True life is lived when tiny changes occur.
Leo Tolstoy

Truth, like gold, is to be obtained not by its growth, but by washing away from it all that is not gold.
Leo Tolstoy

War is so unjust and ugly that all who wage it must try to stifle the voice of conscience within themselves.
Leo Tolstoy

War on the other hand is such a terrible thing, that no man, especially a Christian man, has the right to assume the responsibility of starting it.
Leo Tolstoy

We lost because we told ourselves we lost.
Leo Tolstoy

We must not only cease our present desire for the growth of the state, but we must desire its decrease, its weakening.
Leo Tolstoy

What a strange illusion it is to suppose that beauty is goodness.
Leo Tolstoy

I like old Leo!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Cockney Golden Girls

Sorry Steve Johnny Speight did it first

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

My people!

Leave it out!

Words are fun!

Rhyming slang started with the street traders in the 19C. The traders (costamongers) would go to the market or even go out of London to growers to buy and sell fresh fruit and veg off a donkey cart. They were an urban peasantry who did not fit into the new industrial society. The newly founded police force was given the task of placing them under control. (Weights and measures, controlling pitches, banning traditional fares, banning street games, they even had the right to inspect homes for cleanliness.)Huge street battles were fought until the police got the upper hand. Suddenly the coppers were watching what ever they were doing so the use of Romany, Cant, back slang, and rhyming slang became methods of concealing what you were talking about. Some of the early use has become "legitimate". A "Mickey Finn" comes from the instruction to put a strong laxative into a police agents beer- Mix one in- Mickey Finn. Today in parliament the aristocratic Eton and Oxford educated David Cameron (leader of the Conservative Party) talked about the Prime Minister "loosing his bottle"
Bottle and Glass- ass. A native user like me would seldom use bottle. I would string it through a bit. April- April in Paris. Paris rhymes with Aris -Aristotle. Aristotle- bottle. Bottle and glass- ass.
New ones are made up all the time- "Who is getting the Britneys in?" (Britney Spears- Beers)
Historical ones like Tom Micks- six. Or Lillian Gish- fish are from the silent film era.
My favourite is Jerusalem for donkey. Jerusalem artichoke to rhyme with the Romany word for donkey; moke.
Back slang is still in the language ;Yob (boy backwards).
A gay language also evolved amongst male prostitutes and with theatricals. I did know some lovely old queens who spoke it quite fluently. I can remember some phrases "Dolly to vader your bona eek" Lovely to see you beautiful face. I believe it is fashionable again in high camp circles in London. Bona.
For some real fun catch this!


Sad... even America only guarantees the right to pursue happiness. Civilization gives us a false sense of mastery over our environment when in reality we are only elements within it. The forces that control the wider system will continue to operate what ever edifices we construct to resist them . We have to adapt to the environment or we fail to survive. I have adapted to include MS in my environment. How I make a living, where I live, expectations all changed to accommodate the new uncontrollable factor. I have adapted to change and loss so as I can continue with my life and take on the new task of caregiver. I have changed my expectations for the rest of my life. What I can not see is how I adapt to not having Herrad. I can not see how my life works without her. I do not want to decline into lonely old age and increased madness. I do not want to work for some jerk again after this experience. Fuck the future. I don't want it.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

I aint getting none!

How do you talk about this discretely? MS has robbed us of sex. Last try (a couple of years ago) caused Herrad immense spasms. It was obvious that sexual stimulation did not cause pleasant sensations for her. It was a shock for her- not feeling like a 'real woman' and such doubts- and thinking about my previous post about partners leaving. Sex was certainly one of the reasons we got together and a very sweet part of our life together. Losing it was painful but we have much more. Too much to lose.
I am not naturally inclined to chastity. I do not want an affair. I have too many friends who have worked in the sex industry ever to want to be a punter. Masturbation, the solitary vice as Baden Powell called it, is my only release.
I find the the commercial porn industry revolting and the amateur sites evoke pathos rather than Eros. It is not resolvable. I am just going to have to put up with it.
I had the offer of a good shag when I was still working- it scared the shit out of me. I nearly cried. I did not even want to but the idea was torment- just knowing I could. In the next month I put on kilos and I ran when ever I saw the woman.
So the spring is coming, the sap is rising and I look forward to another year with out a Donald Duck.
Herrad must miss it too and she is ill and feeling rotten and here I am whining 'cos I aint getting to do the dance of the chipolata like in the good old days. Men can be very sad.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Amsterdams finest hour!

Today I went to the market and history jumped out on me. On a wall I walk by every Saturday was this.

Feb 1941 The workers of Amsterdam stood up for the city's Jewish community and organised a strike to stop the deportations. Many workers were shot down. Many of the organisers were murdered and the brutes got their way.
The head of the Amsterdam police was a keen collaborator with the occupation and holocaust. He was the lover of the head of the Gestapo. They had met in Paris before the war at the meeting that helped set up Interpol.
With the state giving in to the invader it was real courage for the working class Amsterdamers to support their neighbours. This was the site of the home of one of the organisers of the strike and resistance fighter.
May we never forget them.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Very nice people around.

I have just looked at Herrad's blog and seen all the nice comments people have left for her. I know they mean a lot to her and I am so grateful people take the time. It is a very diverse group. Some friends who have known us before MS. Some friends we have made since MS and some friends from MS blogs. Now she gets serendipitous bloggers who find her via - via. What is really nice is the little group of triathlon and Iron man enthusiasts who have left such lovely comments. Herrad has a particular appreciation of what they are doing. We have looked at some of their blogs, Smashing people! The joy they get from making their bodies as efficient as possible has a great resonance for Herrad. Every morning I wake to hear her call out in pain as she struggles through a routine of arm exercises. For half an hour she battles spasms and pain to repeat each exercise twelve times. Often calling out in pain and using some industrial strength language but always finishing her routine. Today her physio was here and I could hear Herrad calling out as she battled to work her half kilo dumb-bells. She is my inspiration and the reason I go the last mile. She will battle to get as much out of her body as she can and enjoy every moment of life she has.
My Iron Woman

Twenty Years gone: Dom Behan

I left beloved Glasgow in April 89- after I left that year an old acquaintance of mine died and I feel some how that closed a period of my life. He was an obnoxious drunk to some people but he was always kind to me and gave me encouragement. His Marxist (Stalinist) beliefs probably mean he would not have liked to live long enough to see the Berlin wall come down. In his dreams it came down from the other side and the tanks of the Red Army came rumbling across to liberate the people of Europe.
Never the less he was a great song writer and a hell of a pool hustler. Last time I saw him I was with his old mate and fellow Dubliner Freddy Winters (poet and playwright) getting hammered. If I remember Fred was talking about the shared aspect of our career (hammer men on a rail track laying gang)when Dom could be heard raising his voice. "Sorry Richie man- the Behan fella has started on about dialectic materialism- time to get him home!"


Glasgow is a truly great city and worth getting to know. It has many problems, many faults but remains a great place with great people.