Archive | February, 2014

A Treat For Doctor Who Fans

28 Feb

It’s about four years late but I’ve only just seen it.

Enjoy!

My Left Arm: The Story Of Crusty Scabs

27 Feb

You may recall I took a flying visit to the pavement some weeks ago.  My left arm bore the brunt of the impact but it’s on the mend.  The scabs have almost gone and would have been gone long ago if I’d stopped leaning on the Hub’s face with my elbow.

Although it still hurts to stretch too high or too quickly – – – sorry, short break for hysterical laughter while I corpse at the thought of me exercising  – – – it is fully functioning.  That’s why I thought I’d be okay to give blood from it on Monday [the Hub interjected with something about getting blood from a stone-hearted…butenoughfromthegallery].

I don’t have a favourite arm (does anyone?).  I have great veins, according to many nurses, and they can siphon it from either side, so I didn’t think twice when I sat in a left-handed chair (this post is beginning to seem weird even to me); and maybe it wouldn’t have made a difference but my left arm was not happy with the way the Blood New Donation Executive – BloNDE for short though, in actual fact, she was a BruNeETTE: Brutal New Executive Trying To Extract.

I’m not sure she was new, if I’m honest, but it’s the only explanation I can think of for the way in which she hacked at my left arm with the needle, came back several times to wiggle it about, and smiled nicely at me in the most terrifying way.

The blood eventually seeped out, reluctant though it was.  I don’t understand it because I’ve donated blood at least nineteen times and never had a problem. This time, the area around my elbow was tight and ached and my left hand went extremely cold.  I was told to report it if it still hurt after my orange juice and Club biscuit (two Club biscuits…I was feeling quite sorry for myself) which it was, so I did.

Boy, was I sorry.  Yes, I was.  They sent me to the nurse.  It was like being back at school, except I didn’t come away with a cloth brick and two safety pins at the end of it.

Forty minutes to go through my story, check for bruising, explain possible forthcoming symptoms, explain what to do in the case of possible forthcoming symptoms, explain what is on the other leaflet instead of the bruising leaflet which was all she had to hand but most of the possible forthcoming symptoms were the same on the one leaflet as the other and the advice anyway was to immediately phone this number and ask for advice about those possible forthcoming symptoms if I showed any of those possible forthcoming symptoms.

I didn’t have any forthcoming symptoms and I told the nurse as much when she phoned next day to check on me.  They really want you to go back and give more blood, you know.  Something about ‘saving lives’ and ‘helping research’. I’m not sure what exactly; I couldn’t hear her over the lump on my left arm.

The lump had almost disappeared by Wednesday evening and the ache had long gone, so I didn’t consider missing last night’s First Aid class.  My church applied for funding to provide this sort of education to the community and I thought it would be useful to attend, especially as it was free (I may be a Christian but I’m not made of money): if I ever deck a ReDHEAD (Really Doesn’t Have to Ever Ask DoesthiswhoppinggreatneedlethatI’mstabbingyouwithhurt?), it would be good to be able to revive her again.

The trainer was very funny and had us all singing Nellie the Elephant: half of the chorus sung twice amounts to thirty chest compressions.  First Aid has changed a lot since I took a course twenty-five years ago.  No more three breaths good/five compressions better; now it’s all assume-if-it’s-a-stranger-they-have-Hepatitis-and-don’t-give-mouth-to-mouth-unless-he’s-particularly-good-looking (though I might just have added that list bit to my notes without hearing it from the instructor first).

CPR was harder to do than I expected, especially the breathing; but I aced Burns – no butter!  No bandages!  No hot water! (how my mother once treated my sunburn).  Dealing with choking was easy enough to do on small dummies; however, I was the class dummy when it came to adults – bottom of a class of seventeen people.

The trainer put on a harness thing which had a large pad to protect her back when we whacked her – five times, having first bent her over our arms – and a simulated choking throat on her front (sponge in a bottle).  The idea was to stand behind her, make a fist and thrust up around the area of the diaphragm, five times; then go back to five whacks and so on.  Some people managed to expel the sponge fairly quickly, especially the men, who were stronger; but plenty of the women did it too.

I had a little trouble.  I have no strength at all and, although the spirit is willing, the flesh is as weak as one of my puns.  I grasped her from behind and looked for all the world like an enthusiastic Goldilocks desperately humping poor Papa Bear, and having as much success.

Jo is an excellent trainer and wanted to ensure that everyone went away knowing they could do this, so I kept at it until she’d have been long dead in real life – but I got that sucker out in the end!  Thank you, Jo.

Which brings me back to my left arm – nobody tells you that saving people’s lives is difficult.  Okay, perhaps they shouldn’t have to tell you that, it’s kind of obvious when you think about it, or doctors wouldn’t train for so many years so they could be sued for their BMWs;  but I hadn’t expected it to be so physical, and I could barely use my left arm last night.  Instead of using my left hand, I had to rest my right hand on my hypochondriacal damp brow.

I’m not sure I’ll bother using the skills I’ve learned (it’s not like I paid for them); it seems like so much hard work.  It might be okay for someone who I quite like, such as my children; but what if it’s an MP, or a telesales person, or the Hub? My arm really hurts as a result of all that being noble and brave guff.  I’d give my left arm for it not to be aching right now.

Talking Heads

24 Feb

Last Thursday, I gave another poetry reading at Walthew House in Stockport – my third.  They have asked me back for a fourth visit.   One chap (he’s a chap because he’s from the older generation; if he was my age, he’d be a man; Spud’s age, he’d be a lad.  Isn’t language funny?) told me that they had talked about me long after I left last time; then hastened to assure me he meant, ‘in a good way.’ Hmm.

It wasn’t me so much, but the poetry.  They are a wonderful, lively group called Talking Heads, and that’s what they do: talk.  A lot.  The poems I read caused much debate.  The group leader had asked for poems on the theme of ‘spring’ so I had prepared about forty poems (I was due to read for an hour), including some of my own.  The topics of mine varied from cleaning to seduction to dog poo, but all mentioned spring.

They enjoyed one poem so much – six lines on World War One military equipment – they asked for the name of the poet…which was me.  I was delighted to send two people home with copies of the poem – the first time that’s ever happened.

The chap who asked, Vincent, told us it reminded him of a poem he had written when his son was serving in Iraq during the Second Gulf War.  He wondered if he could read it to us, but the memory of his emotion at the time – the absolute fear from having a child in a war zone – choked him up so much, it was fifteen minutes before he composed himself enough to read it.  It was worth the wait: lovely; touching and heartfelt.

After some talk of Thomas Hardy (none of whose poems I had read, but that will show you the meandering nature of the discussions), Vincent mentioned that his son’s best friend had sent him a collection of Hardy’s poems, underlining The Darkling Thrush in the Contents as his favourite poem.  A couple of days after receiving the book Vincent, unable to stay in the house and listen to war news on the radio, had taken an evening walk and came across a lone thrush, singing a solo symphony in the evening air.  Vincent was entranced.

Returning home, there was a phone call around 11:30 that night.  Shaking, he answered.  It was his son: Dad, I’m home!  He didn’t have time to talk because there were several people he had to call with the news, but his Dad had been first on the list.

Next evening, Vincent took another walk and came across the same thrush, singing in celebration, it seemed.  Vincent said he yelled at it: You knew he was safe last night, didn’t you?  You could have told me!  Neither Vincent nor the thrush took any notice of the people staring at the barmy man yelling at a bird in the tree.

What a wonderful story, provoked by a poem.  And that’s why I love poetry.

Prompts About Prompts

19 Feb

Tell us about the time you threw down the gauntlet and drew the proverbial line in the sand by giving someone an ultimatum. If you’ve never handed out an ultimatum but secretly wanted to, describe the scene and what you would say to put an end (one way or another) to an untenable situation.

Really, WordPress!  Enough is enough!  Stop mixing your metaphors and going on for three pages to get to the point (that’s my job).  Give me better prompts or I stop blogging!

*

Imagine yourself at the end of your life. What sort of legacy will you leave? Describe the lasting effect you want to have on the world, after you’re gone.

She was the sort of woman who never followed through on an ultimatum. Consequently, WordPress walked all over her.  However, she knew when her time was up, so she played The Last Post on her last post.  She might have been weak but she went out in style.

*

Describe the one decision in your life where you wish you could get a “do-over.” Tell us about the decision, and why you’d choose to take a different path this time around.

I don’t believe in regrets.  If we like who we are, we can’t regret how we got this way.

However, I am sorry I have a weakness for the WordPress Prompts.

Not.

*

If you were involved in a movie, would you rather be the director, the producer, or the lead performer? (Note: you can’t be the writer!).

None of the above.  I’d like to be the person just off set, with the script.  You know…the prompter.

*

We all know how to do something well — write a post that teaches readers how to do something you know and/or love to do.

  1. Sign up to The Daily Post.
  2. Check your email inbox each day.
  3. Start a new post.
  4. Choose a prompt from your Daily Post emails.
  5. Make fun of it.
  6. Thank your lucky stars that you have never been Freshly Pressed because flying under the radar means you can scoff at the prompts until the cows come home to mock your mixed metaphors.
  7. Bask in the adulation.

*

Look in the mirror. Does the person you see match the person you feel like on the inside?

No.  Without slicing myself from that funny little triangular bit at the base of the throat to the unmentionable in a family blog bit at the top of my legs, I can’t get my hands inside my body to rummage around feeling what I feel like.  I’d have to be a particularly skilled surgeon to do that.  And insane.

How much stock do you put in appearances?

A lot.  I have to wear a disguise because the WordPress Prompters have put out a hit on me.  Something about ‘norespectforourhardworkcomingupwithideas-
every
dayjustsoyoucanmakefunofus.’

*

Snippets

18 Feb

Looking for poetic inspiration, I’ve been trawling my old notebooks.  I found some fun stuff which I’d like to share; but don’t worry – there’s not a poem in sight.  Let me worry about that.

From 2008:

Alec the paperboy passed the house as I opened the door.  I waved to him.  

Spud, 12, to Alec: ‘I’m sorry about my Mum; she’s a weirdo.’

*

Some neologisms of mine (you may recognise a couple but I share them again in the hope of one day having an entry in the Oxford Dictionary):

  • Smail: newsy email.  Obsolete now I have a blog.
  • Techneptitude: technical ineptitude of the highest order (my special gift).  I got a published poem out of this one.
  • Suburbani: modern wage slaves.  Another poem, sadly unpublished, even though it has a pretty font.
  • Weepiknees: crying, with trembling legs.  I inadvertently predicted my Toby Tale with this one.

*

From The Sunday Telegraph supplement, Seven, 11/05/08:

Anxiety: fear in search of a cause.

*

A Re-run

I’m sure I’ve shared this before but I find it so amusing, I have to tell it again.

There was a South African politician called Ferdi Hartzenberg; and a South African newsreader who shall remain nameless.

Journalists had a nickname  for Mr H and this particular journalist once, live on television, accidentally used it: Herdi Farts ‘n’ Burps.

*

If you like your politicians mocked, head over to Edwina Currie Made Me Start This Blog, my newest blog.  You’ll find more from my old notebooks.

(

Warning: This Blog Is About To Get All Soppy*

14 Feb

*Which is so out of character, I seriously considered starting yet another blog, for my weak days.

Today is St Valentine’s Day.  The Hub and I never celebrate it.  He’s thoughtful of and caring towards me.  He gives me love notes, flowers and little gifts all year round.   You’ve heard me boast about it.  He can also be a great big jerk sometimes, but that’s marriage for you.

The Hub doesn’t believe in St Valentine’s Day.  He thinks that people shouldn’t need a special day  to show their love; they should show it all the time.

That puts me in a bit of pickle: I’m not a romantic like the Hub and my way of showing my love is not spitting in his dinner when I’m mad at him.  He doesn’t think that’s particularly in my favour.

So, I did what I always do when I’m confronted with an emotional conundrum: I wrote a poem. Enjoy, and don’t think too badly of me.

*

What’s Love?

For Paul, the love of my life

 

What’s love?
It’s your hand holding the sick bowl, wiping my face.
It’s crying for someone who gave you a lifetime of grief;
because I loved her and you love me. It’s letting me hate you in
hormonal periods. It’s sitting, sweating in your undies
because I’m cold and won the fight over the central heating.
It’s playing taxi. It’s calming me on kitchen days. It’s buying
takeaways when the wallet can’t take it but soothing failed.
It’s tolerating my beliefs, so crazy to you. It’s your gift of two
beloved boys, knowing they displaced you, and not caring.
It’s golf balls at Christmas and Shakespeare at fifty.
It’s doing what I ask when you really don’t want to.
It’s putting me first.
It’s time, not money.
Sometimes, it’s money.
It’s the everyday ordinary and the occasionally sublime.
It’s blaming the world for my setbacks, when you know it’s
really me. It’s sending me to South Africa, France, Widnes.
It’s love notes in my laptop, my diary, the fridge.
It’s accepting my fat. It’s rejoicing when I’m slim.
It’s rocking a colicky baby all night then working all day.
It’s no sleep. It’s sore feet.
It’s working too hard, too long, too far away.
It’s coming home again. It’s trust. It’s not eating burgers
because there’s steak at home. It’s knowing what matters.
It’s hard times, unhappy times, tragic times.
It’s staying together.
It’s you and me, two kids and thirty years.
It’s you.
That’s love.

*

*

That’s got to pay off at least a year’s supply of hearts written on milk bottles, hasn’t it?

Cooking The Prompts

13 Feb

You’re at the beach, lounging on your towel, when a glistening object at the water’s edge catches your eye. It’s a bottle — and yes, it contains a message. What does it say?

Drink Me.  Oh, wait…you’re not Alice.  Damn rabbit!

*

Tell us about something you’ve tried to quit.

Blogging.

Did you go cold turkey, or for gradual change?

Cold turkey.  It was Christmas.

Did it stick?

What do you think?

What’s the one item in your kitchen you can’t possibly cook without? A spice, your grandma’s measuring cup, instant ramen — what’s your magic ingredient, and why?

The Hub.  If he’s not there, cheering me on and hugging me through my failures, I go to pieces.  I once incinerated a pack of chippolata sausages because he was in another country instead of my kitchen.  I have to burn food so I know when it’s cooked (I was one of the few people to take notice of all those safety adverts as a child).  I need the Hub there to tell me when ‘burnt to a cinder’ is too much.

What’s instant ramen?

*

You’ve been granted magical engineering skills, but you can only use them to build one gadget or machine. What do you build?

Star Trek TNG‘s food replicator.  

But then I wouldn’t need the Hub…what to do, what to do?

*

What’s the household task you most dislike doing? Why do you think that is — is it the task itself, or something more?

Previous answers refer.

*

Write a post that includes dialogue between two people — other than you. 

A True Story, almost

The Hub: Where’s your Mum?

Tory Boy: In bed.

The Hub: Where are the boiled eggs?

Tory Boy: On the ceiling.

The Hub: She cooked?

What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned from the person you’re the closest to?

To leave the cooking to him.

Actually, not any more; his M.E. means that he can’t cook these days.

So I guess the lesson is, marry someone rich enough to afford takeaways.

*

It’s January 26. Write a post in which the number 26 plays a role.

Hello?  I’d like to order a Number 26, two 14s and a 32, please.

*

Tell us about the nicest thing you’ve ever done.

Stopped cooking for my family.

*

If you could fast forward to a specific date in the future, when would it be?

The day the replicator is finally invented.

*

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