trump, me, neutrinos and bargains

Donald Trump and I have a lot in common. I don’t really care about anyone but me. I have a thin skin, I can be a racist and a misogynist, I don’t read, I am not very intelligent, I am scared walking down slopes, I watch a lot of telly, I have a big mouth and I don’t know where Antartica is. Then again it doesn’t matter.

When the neutrino that just penetrated Antarctica escaped the super massive black hole a gazillion years ago it certainly didn’t matter that Donald Trump would one day emerge from a human birth canal and grow up to be a president. Presidents don’t matter, anymore than determined neutrinos. Nothing does. Except of course getting a Build A Bear at the price of your child’s age. Now that’s a bargain!

 

It always began with an object – Part 2

So I was wrong actually it sometimes starts with a place.

In this case it’s the place I was born and a slither through time from a nearby scenic hillside near the North Downs in Kent to the garden of a flat in Forest Hill.

I was born on a hill. It was posh enough to be called a ‘Rise.’ Across the road from us was a wood and until very recently I had no idea that during WWII the rise was a mooring point for barrage balloons. Despite never knowing this I repeatedly dreamt about them as a child and continued to  do so as an adult and yes they are the stimulus for several poems as well as a small collection of books and memorabilia – isn’t that wierd? Or rather – in a sincere but quizzical voice – is that wierd? Find out in an as yet to be broadcast episode of this blog.

Walk through the wood and up the hill like I did with my mum and our dog

turn L at this

and keep walking up as high as you can go – swivel NW and there is London. For me as a child this WAS weird. My home was the bucolic idyll in which roads were paths and pavements were verges. London was somewhere, someplace else, Dixon of Dock Green lived there and he got shot, it sure wasn’t ‘just over there.’

Travel 50 odd years by Tardis (more about that in a later episode). My youngest and his loveliest rent a flat in 2018. The flat has a small narrow garden and a sliver of a splendid view out toward Kent.

In the centre of the view is my hill

 

is that weird?

It always began with an object – Part 1

I suppose I have always had one foot in the past and one in a glorious imagined future. Boy was I/am I deluded. The present has always been a place to dream from rather than a place to do things in. To think about doing without doing is my greatest pleasure but also my undoing in terms of seeing my glorious imagined future through to fruition.

It always began with an object.

  

As a small child I Ioved old, solidly made things rather than toys. I particularly liked gadgets given to me by Uncle George (an ex army horse vet, marksman and collector of junk). Things like lighters, telescopes, musical instruments, oil lamps, cameras, radios, all the things I still love to play with now. He would just give them to me when we visited or send them to me for Christmas. I still have most of them. They had layers of dirt that were satisfyingly easy for an eight year old armed with a sharp screwdriver, a brush and a tin of Silvo to worry away at, to reveal polished brass, leather, silver, Bakelite and glass. I tackled dead insect grime, flints that had decomposed to a sticky grey dust, ancient hand-made screws that had not been loosened in 100 years, electronic components that had literally waxed away to a caramel gloop.  I was an avid and effective cleaner but I almost never fixed them. I could not be bothered to learn how, it seemed unimportant.

I still have this camera. It’s still broken.

I liked to peer into the viewfinder (very tricky you have to do a  sort of sideways glance into a magnified tarnished mirror) and see a future that starred me as its inventor. The fact that the camera had no film did not stop me taking pictures and I still have those tucked away in my head nowdays appearing as a mediocre pieces of poetic nostalgia for nobody to read. As I say my efforts to restore lost functionality were incompetent but that didn’t matter as the goal was to transform these objects into something magical, usually some device with no relationship to the original, utterly meaningless to anyone but me, or if things didn’t go so well, a tin of small disconnected parts labelled ‘parts’. 

Here are two survivors.The labels fell off.

I still don’t actually know how computers work and I certainly cannot fix them. I cant be bothered to learn how… but the dream to make a magic future-transforming-object out of old junk still motivates my computer voice work today.

Hence the phone box – ah so now it makes sense.

To be continued.

Smoked haddock syndrome

I have been avoiding blogging. I just went off it. You know how it is like you go off smoked haddock or mutton. I don’t think I am back on it yet but when the news of my health is generally quite good I do feel more like sharing. Numbers went the wrong way last cycle which pissed me off because I had been quite ill on the treatment (usually a sign that it is working) and quite hopeful that I could be done with it in three cycles. Now the numbers are going in the right direction but I might need another dose to send my light chains back down to where they should be. I collapsed a week or so ago, 999 and whatnot (aborted after a heroic and mumbling-I-am-fine-while-not-feeling-it crawl to the settee), bare arse in the air, Jeremy Thorpe style, in front of my daughter-in-law (she will never erase the image of her father-in law on the bathroom floor deflated, damp and pale like a forgotten sun bleached swimming pool toy) but generally the chemo course has not been too bad. It’s a long time since I haven’t been awake and up by about 4:00 am but I don’t really mind that because me and the no-longer-feral-cat sit on the loggia drinking coffee watching the sunrise. It a favourite thing to do actually, it feels quite Angela Carter. I expect the trees to bleed golden wedding veils in time with my morning yawning and the cat purring.

Here is a truly disgusting photograph I am rather proud of. I am not sure which is more disgusting the meat or the drugs.

It would be so useful if you could predict your response to chemo and plan ahead but you can’t. I guess your body’s response to each dose is impacted by so many variables you are bound to get different experiences each time. In addition it may be a cumulative effect as it does appear to have a bit more impact the more cycles you have. The first one can be a breeze while the fourth can make you quite poorly. Then again sometimes your body seems to get used to it. In summary nobody can prepare you in advance  so you rely on the patience of family, friends and colleagues to just put up with whatever monstrous mood manifestation the chemo presents. Daily chemo life is framed by the uncertainty of how you might feel that particular day but you have to avoid prefacing every plan, invitation, commitment  with ‘well I will… BUT ONLY if I feel up to it.” Quite rightly people think you are making a fuss. Actually chemo is a great excuse for not doing the things you don’t want to do. Despite the potential for overuse, the chemo excuse still carries a good deal of weight – I still find the inhibited in the community will flinch at its mere mention. For example, I am obliged at the Uni to report every sick day and when I return to work I have to meet with my boss and we both have to fill in a form (a stupidly bureaucratic process) so when I took two days off after the Jeremy Thorpe arse in the air incident I duly reported my reason as ‘side effects of chemo’ – I could feel the admin staff digitally splutter as they reluctantly churned out the stock response the uni requires to such confessions. I strongly suspect that what they wanted to say was ‘shit! I am so glad that isn’t me! How does he cope? And why are we making him fill in this stupid form. Anyway I didn’t fill in the form and no one complained. Little victories – stick it to the man!

I have a few other things I want to talk about but instead of a giant post I will do several short ones over the next few days and weeks.

In my crossest moments I confess I agree

“I’m exactly the opposite of religious, I’m anti-religious. I find religious people hideous. I hate the religious lies. It’s all a big lie”, and “It’s not a neurotic thing, but the miserable record of religion—I don’t even want to talk about it. It’s not interesting to talk about the sheep referred to as believers. When I write, I’m alone. It’s filled with fear and loneliness and anxiety—and I never needed religion to save me.”

Phillip Roth

Death by pie

I was feeling a whole lot better yesterday so I celebrated by eating lots and lots. I started with a two portion bowl of savoury mince washed down with a Magnum (the ice cream not champagne) then I hit Maria’s family recipe Easter Pizza, followed by another Magnum – an alternative flavour.

You are imagining an anorexic crust, a feather of rocket, a smear of Jamie’s fresh tomato sugo and a droplet of XXXXXXverginoil.

Nope.

It looks like this and we have two!

 

Last night I was up sitting on the sofa for four hours contemplating how appealing death was.

Today I shall have some more pie.

In the spirit of confusing my readers and more particularly Google I have relocated this site again.

The permanentish url for this blog will henceforth be https://www.gravityisahat.com

Google will take months to catch up – ha!

A newly Nutriblasted druggy

I miscounted its 34 pills – What is it like to take 34 pills each day I hear you cry. Well surprisingly annoying given that most of the tiny buggers are in individual blister packs. After squeezing out so many of them and retrieving quite a few from the floor (we don’t want vacuum cat on chemo) you actually end up with thumbnail ache – yes really. Then there is the consumption. No sorry an important overture. The reading and rereading of the dose because the days, dose and frequency can all vary. To a ‘Bear of little brain’  in the past this has required a spreadsheet compiled by her loveliness after i overdosed twice – but this time I am managing – so far. Consumption. In movies people throw dustbin loads of drugs down there throat and then wash it down with half a glass of Johnny Walker. I have a pint glass of water and another emergency one standing by. Chemo drugs really don’t taste good if they dissolve on the tongue. I am very woosie about taking them -I have to get into the zone before each batch. Its funny – if you think about swallowing you cannot, its the reverse of yawning. 

Must be a record. It’s 1:30 am and I am ready to run about – like the lambs I mentioned in my last post – that I am getting slightly obsessed by. They are so deliciously jolly it’s so sad. My vegan, vegetarian family and friends are so right – they are too nice to point it out but i am left asking myself, why am I so lazy, so stuck in the post war diet of meat and two veg that I cannot, cannot, cannot retain the sense of loving lamb care, beyond the flash of tiny white sprung wooliness that I observe in the fields, from the car window, on my way to buy some chops at Tesco. Anyway I have taken one tiny step. We have a Nutri blaster.

This is really just a glorified blender/pulveriser murderer of fruit and veg, designed in California of course, that makes it easy and fun to make and consume fruity and veg smoothies. Basically you drink it straight from the cup you blend it in. Hence reduced washing up and mega fresh. I suppose in theory you could pulverise clotted cream fudge sausage and Toblerone but you do need some liquid, so I guess that would be cream soda, but I digress – it makes consuming the things that woolly things graze on, as attractive as the woolly things themselves. It was inspired, nee purchased for Lisa who introduced me to the concept and my certainty that I would not like it’s output, is now matched by my certainty that it might be a personal dietary game changer for yours truly. I am a fan – big time.

Three things spring forth from this revelation. 1. I eat an incredible amount of good food. The Italian diet from Maria’s area is world renowned for health 2. I partner this with an incredible amount of bad food – for example – an entire tin of ambrosia creamed rice with jam (cold), Shreddies with double cream, a packet of Jelly Babies (jeez that make you feel sick – Nonna has them for an emergency diabetes fix – she calls them baby jellies – I find that so cute ), M&S stew and dumplings, Tesco knickerbocker glory ice cream cones, Werthers originals (not sugar free), Refreshers, Parma Violets, Caramac, Ginsters anything, MacDonalds (although the last one was my last) and  DONT LOOK…v..e..a..l. !! a habit picked up from Italy (reason enough to applaud Brexit) – from the health point of view I might as well be consuming John Players No6 cigarette sarnies. (btw i bought an empty packet of ten from Ebay – still looking for Consulate and Silk Cut) – Also I love animals insanely. I drive family mad by stopping in fields to admire cows. Pigs make me swoon. I thought I had run over a rabbit a few nights ago – i was really, really upset. I seriously contemplated getting out a rushing it to the vet (i didnt of course – dark expensive – scary – gruesome). This despite the fact that the cats regularly bring in a crudely amputated leg or a tail and it really doesn’t bother me.  So I am resolved that during this bout of chemo I will occasionally give the cuddly animals a break and my body a Nutribomb treat without depriving it of some of the other life enhancing but slightly bad goodies it has been accustomed to like Caramacs (seek them out if you haven’t tried them – a bar of hyperactivity and subsequent vomiting – no i am not joking – i did when i was about 7). The doctors wont approve – chemo deserves a good stuffing – i will never forget the nutritionists advice – ‘eat lots of everything.’ Actually i am trivialising her advice the key thing was lots of EVERYTHING – all food groups – not just lots of eclairs (they must be M&S btw – its the bitterness of the choc, trust me).

3.– gadgets are good. Without the nutribucket I would not be arsed with my partial detox, without this iPad (no clicky keys to disturb the beloved in bed) you would not be reading my pearls, without Facebook I would not have laughed at the the picture of an advert for recorder lessons with a tear off row of ‘no thanks’ (the seeing is better than the explaining I think one of my nieces posted it – so ask her). The fuss we make about digitisation being bad for you is not the fault of the digital gadgets themselves or their inventors most of whom seem to be cast as megalomaniac villains when the reality is simply that they are super smart at making stuff work. The villain in this case is the creed that we have had shoved down our eager throats like spring baby birds that the Market is the only way the worlds appetites can be sated. The market creates unnecessary desires which the Mark Z’s of this world satisfy. Without it it is highly probable that my nutribottom would not be on the kitchen surface but then again, the Shreddies and tinned rice pudding wouldn’t be their either so I wouldn’t need it.

My boys and girls are having lovely lives. Two of them appear to be writing brilliant things while dog sitting. The dog should be very happy to have them as they looked after seven mixed mutts in Spain so they are not your average incompetent lazy dog sitters. Anyway I have seen a photo and it is lovely and scruffy and not too big for the flat. The other two are completing an album, well one is and the other appears to be finding any excuse to wear his new suit. They do posh hotel gigs two nights a week where nobody listens, but it important that they look good enough to listen to should anyone look up from their lamb chops. Still I have heard bits of the album (funded in part by the non listeners) as work in progress. When it is out I will be insisting that you, my lucky readers, buy it. It is exceptional even in it incomplete state.

I am not even the tiniest bit tired. An hour has past. I think I might get up and make a cup of tea. It’s great that it doesn’t matter a jot as I am on the Easter break. Btw I gather that it’s almost without doubt that Jesus lived and died but as the Guardian reported the jury is out as to whether he died and lived. He didn’t by the way. I know this and so does everyone else. I think it would have taken less than 40 years for the first record of him having done so to come out. (Better than King Arthur though, that took 400 years). Imagine if twitter had been around then. We would have mobile footage of empty tombs and photoshopped stigmata. Apparently according to some mate of the pope, the pope has decided that hell doesn’t exist. All the bad people just disappear. Hope he is right as I am skating on thin ice knocking the son of the principal architect of the concept. Or was he? Theologians in my readership, did God make hell during those busy seven days (blimey was it seven I must read the story again ) of was it already there before he started? Boy and we think fake news is new news.

Tea time at 2:45 am.

So that didn’t work – i responded to some great work by my brother-in-law on nailing down a national education strategy with an anarchist diatribe about why we don’t need compulsory education at all – another one to be ashamed of later and added a load more stuff to the above. It is now 4:45 i have fed the cats and Mitch is keeping me company.

Talking of shame. In reconfiguring my blog I found myself reading through some random posts stretching back to my first diagnosis in 2014. Some were really quite good many were excruciatingly pompous – around about the Charlie Hebdo era I really excelled in the bogus revolutionary fervour – in another 4 years I will be embarrassed by some of tonights stuff I am sure. I was tempted to delete some of the posts but I think that would be cowardly and vain so i am patting myself on the back for courage and leaving it all to posterity. Maybe some psychology student in years to come will write a thesis on me and my presumption that anyone is listening or wants to listen to my nonsense. To top of the shame theme during a recent trip to Luigis my family dug out a poem I wrote a few years ago while in the state I am currently in (i hope-  goodness goodness i hope i was stoned). I cannot bear to reprint it here but it really is the worst poem ever written by anyone about anything. If only my intention had been a post-modern appropriation of kitsch but no, at the time I meant it. It is called Panetone Cat and can be found here http://fleet.universitylecturer.net/ – but you will have to search in the search box. Maria nearly wet herself when Arthur read it to the assembled. It is to be read earnestly at my funeral. That is assuming the pope isn’t wrong it haven’t disappeared. Oh but i will have done?

night!