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

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OxWDI68CQFA

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!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ak5vYS0tvg

Sad

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.