Thursday, 31 May 2012

Fresh Expressions

As worlds collide interesting things happen and having people who inhabit different planets sleeping under ones roof brings nothing but joy.

Earlier this year I played host to a Russian diplomat posted in Africa. En route home to Moscow he talked about the fall of the Berlin Wall as being the day "Russia gained its independence from the Soviet Union."

This week it has been my pleasure and delight to host a guest who talked of being "diagnosed as intelligent" at the age of three.

Language is most frightfully limiting.

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

More than halfway there

Daily blogging has been taking a back seat to the strange business of being fifty.

Party plans having been disrupted by the Right Royal Misappropriation of the usual Bank Holiday, it seems my half century will take at least a fortnight to mark.

Glorious family party last weekend.  Jollities at the bookshop on Thursday. The Necessary Octave of self indulgent indolence thereafter, all conspire to distract my attention.

The cat's disinterest in all of this is an example to us all.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

There but for the grace.....

The "Brains - Mind as Matter" exhibition at the Wellcome Collection in Euston Road rewards an hour or so of anybodys time.

Looking at the ECG machine from days gone by used at The Suffolk County Asylum for Pauper Lunatics I found myself grateful that my parents had left that fine county some years before I appeared on the scene.

Others were clearly not so fortunate.

Sunday, 20 May 2012

How to get sex on a Sunday

Sit in your garden in full view of passers by.

Look relaxed, calm and disinterested.

Wait.  Wait some more. And then some.

Pretend to do something else. Then wait some more.

Eventually a gentleman caller will pass by.  Glance. Look away. Glance again. Then wait.

The gentleman caller will turn round and come back.

Brief pleasantries will be exchanged and then Bang! Bit of moaning, bit of squeaking. All over.

Was it worth it?  I don't know. 

But I expect the cat will be out doing it again tomorrow.

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Understanding the Euro Crisis

In the interests of understanding the Eurozone crisis, and how it might be solved, I did a brief Google images search for "Sexy Alexi".

I found these two gentlemen.

I then got distracted and my economic understanding is no further advanced.

Friday, 18 May 2012

No, thank you.

My letter from UCH NHS Foundation Trust informing me of my follow up appointment after minor surgery this week included the following :

"If you are interested in exploring the option of private medical care you can contact......"

It's the first time the NHS has ever written to me suggesting I choose private medicine over their services.

It won't be the last.

Thursday, 17 May 2012

For the older reader

I have a delightful paying guest at the moment.

He hails from one of Her Majesty's former colonies.

Yesterday, he produced this. He asked what it was and what is was worth.

What should I tell him?

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Do we need Priests?

To be honest - I've no idea.

My own theological education was cut short by the need to have sex and to stop Cruise Missiles (in that order).

I do know we need people with the courage and commitment to wear one of these in their local pub.

Without one, I wouldn't have heard tonight's story. You can call it confession, you can call it banter, you can even call it drunken rambling if you wish.

It involved a convoluted confusion between the Suffering Christ and the Suffocating Brother. It was told by a person who had been carrying pain for forty years. Some of that pain was relieved tonight.

I did make notes but... Drink had been taken and my recollection is impaired.

Despise the Church until the cows come home if you will.

But it's real. It works. And at least, in part, it is good.

I'm not even going to start on the story of the people who 'Banged up Jesus'.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012


"Now you're absolutely sure?

Pressing this switch causes lightning to strike just east of Paris? "

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Hardraw Scaw

This is Hardraw Scaw.  It is the highest, single uninterrupted drop waterfall in England.

Thirty years ago, as a member of a fine parish chuch choir, I stood before it and sang :

"Cast thy burden upon the Lord".

At Mass this morning we bade farewell to a priest who has served us well in Bethnal Green.

She, and we, cast our burdens.

What will come of that?

Time will tell.

I've invested in single, uninterrupted drops.


Friday, 11 May 2012

Gay marriage or a plaster?

This post may ramble. I am currently self-medicating with a non-prescribed combination of Co-proxamol and Chianti. 

Let the reader understand.

Today I underwent minor surgical procedure in a brand spanking new facility - commissioned, built and paid for under the previous administration's budget. Golly me it was smart.

It was however staffed and managed under the current adminstration's budget.

Bit of background. Got bitten by a midge in Scotland three years ago. Bite went manky. Turned into something nasty - blah blah blah. Seemingly endless consultations, referrals and appointments resulted in being referred by Dermatology to Maxillofacial for lumps to be removed.

Turned up on time and was seen two hours later.

"Oh no" said Maxillofacial. "Wrong team, we have no resources. You must go away."

"Au contraire"  said I. "I'm here now, and here I shall stay until you find a scalpel".

Much discussion ensued - details of which, even under current medication, I shall not trouble you with, but needless to say, being middle class and articulate is often helpful.

The result was, the skin graft, the 'flap', the aftercare etc etc  previously recommended had to be foregone. Time and resources did not allow.

And so, in the twenty minutes remaining to us, the surgeon and I agreed that he should do his best. A quick excision and a few stitches were all that were on offer.

He managed to find a scalpel and took it to my arm. Shortly afterwards the helpful technician reminded him, stressed as he was, that as this was an invasive procedure he should perhaps tuck his tie into his shirt, thereby preventing it from dangling into the wound. He only took one mobile phone call demanding his presence elsewhere during the procedure. He was only interrupted four times by people coming into the room and asking "How long are you going to be?"  Some poor woman was apparently already anethetised, opened up and waiting for him.

Procedure was completed. He left. I presume to attend to his next patient, rather than have lunch.  Dressings were not available. (Budget?)  Fortunately, Bethnal Green was only a short tube ride away and I was able to purchase one at the very helpful pharmacy there.

Obviously it's a shame that gay marriage wasn't in the Queen's Speech. But never forget, the possibility of it provided a very handy smokescreen in the week that Health Service "reforms" passed their final hurdle in the Upper Chamber.

The Coalition are cunts.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Loch Awe

Three summers ago we spent a glorious fortnight on the banks of Loch Awe.

We ate a local goose - domestic not wild. We watched the nesting ospreys. We drank a little wine and talked with our friends.

We read some books and sat in awe of Loch Awe.

Whilst there, I got bitten by one of nature's less endearing creatures on my right wrist. The  result of that bite is to finally be excised tomorrow by a very handsome Spanish surgeon. I am told I should avoid my keyboard for a while.

Flowers and chocolates delivered to the Watch House will not be sent away and blogging will be resumed once I am told I can sling off my sling.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Matthew 6:28

“And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin".

Biblical exegesis tells me that the "lilies" referred to here are almost certainly plants of the genus Ranunculaceae. Mostly poisonous, often deemed weeds; we call them buttercups.

Tomorrow, I shall take no thought for raiment.  Toiling and spinning?  Let's see.

Life isn't too bad.  Considering.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Shit happens

Today revolved around shit - or - as I am learning to call it - faecal matter.

10am - 4pm.  Scraped it from the floor of a friends flat in the company of two jolly Ghanians, paid for from the austerity budget of Camden Social Services.

4.30 - 5.30 pm Discussed with medically qualified people how best to remove shit from said friends blocked bowel.

7pm - 8pm  Talked to my bank.

 I know who is the biggest shit.

And now I'm going to have my tea.

Another book

Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh

Gay catholic toffs -
what else to expect from a
man named Evelyn

The Confessions - St Augustine

This is just to say
I screwed around. Forgive me.
I enjoyed it so.

Kama Sutra - Vatsayana

Advice for those in
a difficult position.
First be flexible.

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Old things

This is a postcard depicting the Sphynx at Guizeh  purchased by my Grandfather almost a hundred years ago.

The postcard feels old in my hands.

This is a picture of the same Sphynx I found on the internet today.

It doesn't feel old at all.

The sphynx is probably four thousand years old.

Looking at both images I feel less distressed by present woes (four more years of Boris).

That is probably a good thing.

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Whisky Galore

Today I sold Compton Mackenzie's ten volume autobiography. Yes, you heard that right, ten volumes.

To those who ask, "What did we do before Facebook?" the answer is simple.

We wrote ten volume autobiographies.

I've never read a ten volume autobiography. Neither have I read anybody's complete Facebook timeline.

Were I to do either, I expect I would enjoy the former more.

Incidentally, the purchaser said he had heard of Facebook, but never actually looked at it.

I like my customers.

Thursday, 3 May 2012

I'll punch your lights out

This is Emily Davison.

She died under the feet of the King's horse at The Derby in 1913.

Legend has it that she did so, of her own volition, in order to secure free and fair voting rights for women.

Shortly after I voted at this Polling Station this morning, men began threatening to punch each others lights out.

My commitment to living and working in Tower Hamlets is rockier tonight than it has been for thirty years.

That makes me very sad.

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Electoral corruption

Here in Tower Hamlets, free and fair elections are a luxury beyond our ken.

It seems to me therefore, that with uniformed police officers to be posted at every polling station, the outcome of our council by-election likely to be challenged in the courts and all fraudulent postal ballots already cast, I can do no further harm.

Therefore, may I say to our Mayoral candidates:

If any of you are prepared to make a last minute commitment to providing a free one of these with every Oyster top-up;  my vote is guaranteed.

Rupert Murdoch

For three decades, Rupert Murdoch has undermined and corrupted the fabric of our national life.

Aided and unchallenged by his family and those who courted him, worked for him and enriched him for reasons of personal, political and financial gain he brought shame and disgrace on our press, our police and our politics.

The Queen in Parliament has today utterly discredited him, destroyed his reputation and ensured he will be remembered for what he was.

That is a cause for quiet rejoicing and must steel our resolve to declare, as in times past, never, never again.