I'll tumble 4 ya

11:21 pm : Saturday, 10 April 2021  |  ,

Almost 10 years ago we bought Hannah a tumble dryer for her then new flat. Hanging stuff outside is all very well when the weather is agreeable, but draping stuff on radiators is plain ugly, and clothes horses only succeed in getting in the way. Also, having moisture indoors only encourages mould growth. The couple living above Hannah dried their clothing on a rack above their bath, and the bathroom itself was just an absolute state in terms of mould. Having a tumble dryer is essential - even if your home does not provide space for one. We had hers in the bedroom, with the hose hanging out of the window.

That very dryer started showing signs of packing up about a month ago, when it appeared to only function on low heat. This made everything take longer, but we got through. Only yesterday did it decide to pack up, with ice-cold tumbling being all that was on offer. Outside was rain. Radiators were turned up and laden with underwear and socks. A clothes horse was draped in clothing and allowed to get on with it, while a basketload of wet towels and a just-washed bedspread had nowhere to go. Out with the credit card.

This afternoon a new 7 kilo dryer showed up, and finally allowed me to get on top of the backlog. How we got along with the old 3 kilo one, I will never know. Now I can dry a bedspread properly without having to hang it on the shower curtain over the bath. The satisfaction is immense. Hell, I can start washing pillows and not have to wait for a sunny day to dry them!

God rest, old bean

2:51 pm : Friday, 9 April 2021  |  ,

I know it was inevitable, but it is still a shock when it happens. Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh has died aged 99. Just shy of that magic number. My thoughts are now with Queen Elizabeth who has shared over 70 years of marriage with him. What a weight for her to bear.

As expected, Twitter is currently awash with ignorant and uneducated folk wishing him hell and damnation, all because he had a tendency to express the views of a bygone era. I also will not be surprised if The Sun newspaper decide to put the blame on Meghan Markle - or even Jeremy Corbyn! Nothing is beneath those b*stards.

Where do we go

3:39 pm : Monday, 5 April 2021  |  , , , , ,

I dedicate this post to Clair, whose estranged husband Braden died yesterday. He chose to take his life. Apparently divorce may have once been on the cards, but is now no longer a relevant course of action. Widowhood is the result.

Clair was from the UK. She lived in Manchester. She lived in Margate. Both places seemed to be pulling her in either direction. Where did she belong? That decision was finally solved in 2008 when she met Braden online - I assume through the once-popular Myspace. He was in the USA, and let's face it - how many of us are afforded the chance to toss aside the cold, grey, boring, conservative UK, and relocate to the Land Of The Free™? The UK had familiarity and predictability, and the same old motherfuggers day in and out! The USA is something else entirely. Bigger, stronger, faster, hairier, better! What's more, there was a thoroughly cool-looking guitarist with arms open ready and waiting. And an accent of course!

They married, and had three children over the years. Life was not always easy though. He liked his drink - to the point where it invariably came before all else. It is a situation that prompted my mum to leave my dad back in 1979, because when drink becomes that important to someone, there is just no winning. Wife and kids wind up taking a back seat. Duty and responsibility just became a millstone round the neck. As early as March 2009 he was starting to shirk responsibility, and leave her to wonder whether it was all worth it? Back in the UK, bearing their first child while he was p!ssing it up over in the USA.

I have no idea of the full brunt she bore during all those years that followed, but I only know there was unpleasantness. It only came to my attention recently that in November 2019 he subjected her to a vicious physical assault. For over a year he evaded justice, while all she wanted was civilised closure. What she got however, was a very final closure. Swift and shocking.

Now there are three children who will not be seeing their father again. I am sure that aspect of their life was always a bit of a lotto anyway. Would he be around when expected? Would he be reliable when present? Excessive drinking controls people and ruins families. She always had a difficult task raising three youngsters, and now that task has been made permanently hers alone. What's more, how the hell do you explain it to the kids? No one trains you for this in life. A child's mind is short and can only go so far. This is a lot for even an adult to consume.

Could he have conquered his personal demons? We will never know. What was it that made him choose alcohol over a beautiful wife and precious kids? Only he knew. Many questions will remain unanswered, having been taken with him. His inner workings were no doubt complex, but if he only took the time to stick around and share those inner workings in a responsible and safe environment, there would be fewer unanswered questions.

When my dad died, my mum felt a needless guilt. I have no idea why, because what could she really do for a man broken and unpredictable? They divorced, and he was his own responsibility. The fact that, before his death, he took a coach from London to Manchester and arrived unannounced on his sister's doorstep, dressed only in pyjamas - was not her damn fault! What could the poor sausage do?

I can only wish Clair and her kids all the strength they need in order to get through this rollercoaster of an event. I will also ask that - Clair - you do not blame yourself for his downfall. You did not push. You offered stability and sanctuary, and he strayed. You are not to blame.

Shed my skin

11:39 pm : Friday, 26 March 2021  |  ,

Last year we laid some paving in our back garden. There was a dropped section at the bottom of the garden that the previous resident decided to cover with fake grass. This was a poor idea as weeds only grew through those sheets of fake grass. These things will grow through concrete if they have to. Also the surface only got covered in leaves etc. so unless you are prepared to vacuum, it is not pretty.

Further, the drop in level is of no use to Hannah with her limited mobility, so we decided to raise the area and pave it. This saw us bring in four ton-bags of hardcore, three ton-bags of sand (with additional sacks when we ran out), numerous sacks of cement, and 120 paving squares. The picture above shows that lowered section before all the work began. The little shed was moved elsewhere in the garden. There now exists this house-shaped paved area there.

Once completed, we decided that a corner shed or summer house would look rather decent up in that corner created by the fence and the old wall. Only now are we able and prepared to obtain a suitable building. Only one snag - COVID. Because non-essential businesses have had to shut shop for the duration, there is a distinct lack of availability when it comes to shed providers. Go to Wickes, go to B&Q, go to Homebase, or indeed any other shed vendor, and the result is the same:

This product is not available for home delivery.
This product is not available for click and collect.

Basically, ye cannae have it. The suppliers are busy sitting on their hands, hoping they will still be able to trade again at some point, while the stores are bereft of any stock. Even as we are locked down, we are unable to find certain forms of entertainment/respite/achievement during it. The summer house is going to have to wait. This lovely killer-virus is busy chucking spanners into many a creative machine out there.

Scales of justice

10:35 pm : Sunday, 14 February 2021  | 

For the past month I have been on the weight loss tablet Orlistat - usually available under the brand name Xenical. This has been to (obviously) enable me to lose some weight - something that is difficult to do when your movement is hindered by arthritis and back pain. As much as I would love to walk for two hours a day, like I did in London, my body just will not allow that at the moment. That said, there may be a chance that the slimmer me would still be similarly affected. Arthritis is degenerative and shall not be cured, unless you are afforded joint replacements.

In this one month I have managed to say goodbye to a very decent one and a half stone (21 lbs/9.5 kg). My heaviest ever weight of 21 and a half stone is now down to 20 stone (280 lbs/127 kg). There is still another 7 stone (98 lbs/44.5 kg) to be lost, but I am utterly satisfied so far. My belt can be tightened three holes smaller.

Whether I make it back to being 11 stone (154 lbs/70 kg) again remains to be seen, but I am so glad that my doctor saw fit to put me on this tablet. It is by no means a miracle cure or a passport to eat what you like. Rules have to be followed. As it is a fat absorber, it will allow fat to pass through the body undigested, which results in oily stools and serious gas. Comsuming a lot of fat will result in severe urgency and possible leakage. This fact therefore ensures that you eat less fat. Adapting to smaller portions is also essential, and I am at last managing to eat a meal and not feel like I want a second helping.

It is a shame to have to rely on a tablet to undo my own evil creation, but then I did not bank on having arthritis. These ailments are never offered or even selected as a lifestyle choice. While the old-fashioned maxim of eat less, move more will always hold true, some of us are limited in movement. Nevertheless, here's to more lard being discarded.

We prick you

8:46 pm : Wednesday, 10 February 2021  | 

Yesterday afternoon we received our COVID vaccinations. It was the Oxford/AstraZeneca version, which apparently is not so effective in dealing with the Sarth Effriker variant, but so be it. Transporting vaccines at -70°C is not exactly practical. We were told of possible side-effects, and that we would be receiving our second jabs in 12 weeks time.

It was about 11 pm when my normally arthritic knees and feet were giving me grief, and my legs were becoming stiff and painful. Not to worry, I'll put on the heated underblanket and soothe away the aches as I sleep. Climbing into that toasty bed was just wonderful. I lay there thinking: "Yessss! Sooooothe me!", and the cat came and settled on the bed by my feet. "Let us drift off into the Universe, eh pud!"

Two hours later I awake, needing a pee. Such is the benefit of having an enlarged prostate. My legs somehow struggled to carry me to the bathroom, but I made it there and back, and eagerly got back into bed seeking relief once more. Trouble was, my legs now felt like they were being seriously cooked by the heated underblanket, so I turned it down, and then had the difficult choice of whether to have my arms in or out of the bedclothes! Arms inside I was too hot, arms outside I was shivering. Baking hot legs and a now restless head. This was fever time. In all of my 48 years I have somehow managed to never suffer a fever, so there was no preparation for this.

Seriously uncomfortable, I settled on the sofa with a blanket, which alone left me feeling too warm. It was then I started to feel as though I was on a peyote trip. It was just not pleasant, and I could not settle. Any sleep I did get was accompanied by the standard sort of dream I get when ill - where I am stuck in some kind of Tron-like world, forever condemned to spin plates or play chess. Clearly the vaccine was working its magic, and I was fighting it at the severe expense of all comfort and sanity.

All that has now passed, and it is great to once again be hobbling at my usual pace. One thing to bear in mind though - when I get the second jab, the side-effects will apparently be greater. So there's something to look forward to. More hot flushes and crippling aches. It's the price we must pay for safety.

Too many tweets make a tw*t

11:38 pm : Saturday, 9 January 2021  |  , , , ,

Twitter has managed to get two things right today. Firstly, after a four-month wait, they finally got around to lifting the restrictions on my account. This happened due to my being unable to verify my account by text, having changed phone numbers. Goodness knows how many times I contacted them to say: "Please! Lift the suspension already! I will verify the account when you LET me!" Only this morning did I send my first tweet in four damn months.

The other thing they finally got around to doing was banning that orange idiot Donald Trump. At long last the popular microblogging site is free of his rot and his lies. He pushed his luck way too far, and only got away with murder because of his status. My first Twitter account was suspended due to me quoting an already commonplace hashtag, while referencing the the radical feminist Valerie Solanas. You have to be so careful what you say on there. Unless of course you happen to be POTUS. Let us be thankful Kanye West did not run for POTUS and then get elected! Then there would be tweets about him being the black Jesus. Spare us the arrogance!

Hitting home

1:46 am : Tuesday, 5 January 2021  |  , , ,

Let us not pee about with the facts here - COVID kills. My partner has just lost her grandad to this f*cking virus. On Boxing Day he was admitted to hospital, and in all honesty, we thought we were going to lose him on New Years Day, which just so happened to be his 93rd birthday. Fortunately he did not slip away then, but it was only a matter of time. I maintained this hope that he and his body would somehow fight back and slowly allow him to return to some kind of acceptable comfort of living. It was not to be. He was given morphine to ease the discomfort of breathing, and he just slept and slept.

There is nothing that p*sses me off more than those who deny the seriousness of this pandemic. Those who refuse to wear a mask, making the same lame excuses as those who refuse to wear condoms on the basis that: "It's like swimming with wellies on". Being asked to wear a mask is not the same as being asked to paint India. When the Government tells us not to party on New Years Eve, they are not doing so to control us. They are doing so to SAVE us. As our elected Government, they have a duty of care to act in our best interests - even if they do happen to be staffed by the finest Etonian hoo-rays. This is not Belarus. Boris's surname is not Lukashenko. We do not live in a dictatorship. There are plenty of those in this world, and anyone who so desires is welcome to seek one out and live under its dictates. Believe me, singing We Will Never Forget in public will not necessarily get you arrested over here. Just don't make like Rachel Goldwyn and sing it in bloody Myanmar!

This has nothing to do with Bill Gates, George Soros, 5G or anything else. There is NO SUCH THING as a New World Order. Got that? Prince and Michael Jackson were not murdered by the Illuminati. Know why? The Illuminati does NOT exist. And if it does, it does not control anyone. Conspiracy theories achieve nothing, so just stop wasting your lives entertaining these crazy notions. The barcode/devil nonsense? That is exactly what it is - nonsense! When we bring something into our homes with a barcode on it, we are not inviting the devil into our homes! Stop filling people's heads with juvenile sh*t.

Right now we have better things to worry about, like the premature and needless death of a loved one. All he did was post a letter. There was no other way for him to contract that damn virus. It is so easy to catch it, and it will f*ck up your life and those around you.

Wear your mask. Get vaccinated. Be a f*cking adult.

Gammon for Christmas

9:09 pm : Thursday, 24 December 2020  |  , , ,

Well somehow or another, the shaggy twat Boris Johnson has managed to achieve a Brexit deal with the EU. Hardly comfort for those truckers all queued up outside Dover, spending their Christmas in their damn trucks. Naturally the Little Englanders with their gammon complexions will be celebrating this moment. It's no wonder Scotland is keen to break away from us and join the EU of their own accord. Unlike us, they have never really had a problem with the French etc. There was always a little "alliance" between the French and the Scots. Us, on the other hand, chose Brexit for reasons such as: "getting the Muslims out". Says everything, doesn't it! Separatist b@st@ards.

And as for the argument of: "If you don't like it, leave" - that has been taken away too. That old school friend who has been living in Portugal for a good few years - she is probably going to have a load of hoops to jump through, else face being sent back to this wet and windy sh!thole. We are not better off as a result.

Still, enjoy your Christmas any which way you can.

Tiers of dismay

9:15 pm : Monday, 21 December 2020  |  ,

It is going to be a horrible Christmas for so many people this year. While our area is currently under Tier 2, there is no ignoring the fact that our nearest city will be spending the festive period under the horrific and censorious Tier 4. Effectively, people there are being subjected to what we all were back in March. And with this new strain of the virus making its way around, life is about to become seriously unpleasant. There is no denying this whole year has been an almighty pile of horse.

My mum is safe and well in her care home, and while care homes are supposed to be among the first to receive the Pfizer/BioNTech jab, staff have admitted that things will not start to move until at least mid-January. Hell, even the Government doesn't have a bleeding clue.

Me and my partner had a COVID-19 test in late November, and thankfully tested negative. An old school friend of mine has had it, and has been suffering seizures since. This is just not a joking matter. Three kids almost lost their mother. Losing her would also have hurt me severely, as she was one of the very few in that school who could be bothered to treat me like the human being that I was, and was also around for me during my horrendous depressions in more recent years. She is a diamond, and the world still needs her.

I really do wish everyone a peaceful and hopefully enjoyable Christmas - as enjoyable as they can muster. Just wear your mask. When offered, take the jab. Show some responsibility. Behave like the adult that you are. This is no time for lies and conspiracies. This has nothing to do with Bill Gates, George Soros or 5G internet. The vaccine does NOT contain a microchip. You do NOT "get aborted babies injected straight in your vein". Face the facts. We all play an important part here.