The Last Dance

It shouldn’t have been such a shock.

Having announced that their 2016 album “The Story” was to be their last studio album, Runrig fans everywhere clung to the faint hope that every two or three years there might be a tour , where the old favourites might get an airing.

It’s all over now. Runrig will make one final tour “The Final Mile”, ending up at Stirling for “The Last Dance”, a final open air gig. Having been at the 30th Anniversary concert at Stirling Castle, the idea of one last hurrah at the last ever Runrig concert, flickered briefly but even with my rosiest rose tinted spectacles I knew it wasn’t a realistic option.  Even if by some miracle I could last out at the gig and enjoy it, the fact that my much better half didna see any of the concert until we got the DVD, since she is a bit short for crowds, was the clincher.

The tickets went in a flash. It was reported that there was no accommodation available within a realistic distance of Stirling (not even the bus shelter just off the high street; Big Gordie and Tam have claimed that already and no amount of Special Brew will tempt them out.

Tickets were seen at inflated prices on the net. The miserable, slimy, scumbag, ticket touts were in action. To give as many fans a chance as possible Runrig announced a second final concert on the Friday.

Our hopes rest on the (as yet unannounced) English leg of the tour…

I have one pressing problem. When I am feeling a bit down I listen to Runrig, especially live versions that feature a soaring uplifting solo by Malcolm Jones. If I listen to it now it reminds why I am sad…

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What I did this summer

WARNING SPOILERS!
If you or someone you know has Parkinson’s and prefer not to read about possible developments in their condition watch out for the warning and jump straight to the end.
********************

It’s been a long time between posts this last couple of months.

Missed me? [1]

Does anybody even notice?
Does anybody even care? [2]

Where have you been, I hear you asking.
Have I been reclining on a sun bed, on the deck of a luxury yacht, moored in a secluded bay on the Isle of Capri, while negotiating an offer to turn this blog into a movie?
No.
Have we been living in a mansion house on the Isle of Skye, exchanging witty comments with our specially invited guests. I won’t say who, not being one to name drop, just think of an episode of QI, with Stephen, Sandy, Alan, Victoria and David, (no not those two, think the wittiest, not the most famous!)? [3]
No.
Was there a fire at the shop in London, on the Isle of Dogs, from which I, in common with many other bloggers, purchase ideas for blog posts wholesale, causing the Great Blog Writer’s Block crisis of 2017? [4]
No.
The reason is so achingly prosaic, I am reluctant, even to mention it, let alone blog about it.

SPOILERS!**************

It is as dull as ditchwater. My Parkinson’s has been a total and utter, right royal pain in the ar.. neck.

Annoyingly I have been suffering from a doso situation (as nobody calls it). [5]
Delayed Onset, Sudden Off.
Perhaps due to my horrifically high levels of background stress (long and, as yet, unfinished story) or the fact that I have been on basically the same medication since 2006 and cannot really up the dosage any higher, I have for much of the summer, many times a day, been slumped, uncomfortably, unable to rise to a standing position from any seated position without help.
At this point I shall pause. Just think about things you do sitting down … yes that’s the one, and you can see how depressing and embarrassing this has been.
In my Off-state I need help doing anything you can think of. Dressing, undressing, moving.
Imagine lying in bed, in an uncomfortable position, knowing that if you could move your body just a centimetre one way, then you would be completely comfortable, but, instead, being totally unable to move…
Imagine a family meal in a busy restaurant, when you are in a delayed onset moment, unable to manipulate the knife and fork except v..e..r..y… s…l…o…w…l…y, so your lovely tasty meal will be cold by the time you eat it, so your much better half has to cut it up for you.
On the plus side of the DOSO, I have made my GP look like a miracle worker. Experiencing a sudden off my Parkinson’s Nurse fixed it for me to get an emergency appointment so my GP could see how bad I was, give me the once over and send off a blood test. I shuffled in barely able to raise each foot more than a nanometre off the ground.In the time I was in there my meds kicked in and I could have danced like Fred Astaire, but settled for striding purposefully through reception. In a film one patient in the waiting room would have turned to the person next to them and said “I want the medicine he is on.”
The second thing was my invention of a new extreme sport, especially for PwPs. If you take the definition of an extreme sport to be ‘an activity that provides an adrenaline rush and a frisson of danger’, then this activity fits the bill. Provisionally called SOStairDescent, it works like this. Stand on the upstairs landing. If you are playing the advanced level you have to carry a bag, weighted by the addition of a water bottle. Using the hand rail begin your descent of the 13 steps. Roughly halfway down you set of the house alarm. There is a delay before the alarm being activated and it going off – can you make it down the last six steps and key in the off code? If that doesn’t get your tremors tremoring I don’t know what will.

*********** End of spoilers alert

So if you are still wondering where I’ve been between posts this summer, I have been in the slough of despond, [6] near to the vale of tears [7] just take the A23 Croydon exit on the M25. [8] & [9]

Footnotes: how many quotes did you spot and how much of the trivia did you know
[1] Missed me?” Buffy in Season 2 ep1
[2] Does anybody even notice? Does anybody even care?” from “Once More With Feeling” the musical episode, the lyric comes from Dawn’s Lament.
[3] I refer to Victoria Coren Mitchell and her hubbie David Mitchell [wittiest] and not the more famous Victoria and David Beckham, although if they did pop round for a cuppa that wouldn’t be a problem.
[4] I can’t remember the author, I’m guessing Douglas Adams, who would tell fans who asked where he got his ideas, would tell them that he bought them.
[5] The Crystal Maze is back, which is nice. “DOSO situation” is a tribute to the new host Richard Ayoade and his ALIS.
[6]. Nothing to do with Slough, which I am sure is a lovely place. The slough of despond – was a deep muddy bog, It comes from The Pilgrim’s Progress, representing something difficult to get through.
[7] Vale of tears – life on earth before believers ascend into heaven. On Dave, the tv channel, there is a series where the comedian John Bishop has a conversation with a celebrity. Last week the guest was Jimmy Carr. If I remember right they were talking about Carr having been brought up as a catholic, but now he wasn’t. Then Carr said something very profound. He envied people with a faith, because it was comforting ~ no matter how bad things were here in the vale of tears, they would be rewarded in heaven.
[8] it is widely believed the M25 is the Road To Hell in the Chris Rea song. It might be, but it could be the A19 at Middlesbrough, in the part of the country he is from.
[9] Contrary to popular belief the M25 does not fully encircle London. At the Dartford Crossing both the northern tunnels and the southern bridge are designated as the A282, allowing vehicles prohibited from being on motorway to use the crossing.

Well what a mix of topics,all you have to do now is add Parkinson’s and shake well.
(That would make a good name for a blog…)

Yes, but could they… 2

‘Yes but could they do it on a cold, wet Wednesday in Stoke.” 2

In which I suggest a second alternative

Athletics: “Yes but could they do it on a cinder track on a stormy Saturday afternoon in the Southern League Division 5?”
A cinder track? The last time one of those was seen in the olympics was 1964, but I found a story about Crowborough Runners trying to get the local council to replace a cinder track with a modern synthetic track in 2014.
Here is how the fixtures worked. Five teams, two athletes per event (a and b) track (100m, 110m High Hurdles, 200m, 400m, 400m hurdles, 800m, 1500m, 3000m steeplechase and 5000m, plus a 4 by 100m and a 4 by 400m) and field (long jump, triple jump, high jump, pole vault, javelin, discus, hammer and shot putt.)

There is a passage about the ‘race is not to the swift’. I had to google it. It’s a rule of thumb that about 45% of such half remembered quotes come from Shakespeare, 45% would come from the Bible and the rest from everyone else who ever said or wrote anything memorable.
As an aside this one came from the Bible, Ecclesiastes 9.11 and I found this modern translation.
‘I also saw other things in this life that were not fair. The fastest runner does not always win the race; the strongest soldier does not always win the battle; wise people don’t always get the food; smart people don’t always get the wealth; educated people don’t always get the praise they deserve. When the time comes, bad things can happen to anyone!’
Now I just need to remember the comedian who said “the fastest runner may not win the race, but that’s the way to bet!”

Back to the athletics. Had Usain Bolt and Mo Farah been members of the team you’d have heard conversations like this.
“I’m the fastest runner in the world, why haven’t you picked me for the first team in Division 1?”
“Well Usain, Fred may be a bit slower than you, but he drives a 7 seater people carrier and your sports car is only built for two. With Fred running instead of you we can get most of the team in his car. Can you get to the second team fixture in Tooting?”
“Tooting?”
“When did you last long jump?”
“Long jump? What are you on about?”
“Have you ever hurdled?…”

“Mo obviously you’re in the 5k, how about the 1500m or the ‘chase, maybe, have you ever tried jumping the barriers? No? Every thought of trying them? Or the hammer throw, if Ray is busy?”
“The hammer? I doubt I can lift it let alone throw it!”
“Should try eating some proper food…” mutters the disgruntled team manager as he walks away, “if you want something do it yourself.”

The club I belonged to South London Harriers had a cross country background so we never had any trouble covering 800m to 5k. Everything else was the problem. That is where Ray, his brother Dave and me came in. The secret to winning matches or at least not finishing 4th or 5th was to cover events.
Ray and I could both hurdle. Only rarely did all four of the other clubs have both a and b runners in both 110m and 400m: as an added bonus at this level we could even beat people! I was a half decent triple jumper, for this level and either one or other brother could ‘get a jump in’. So useful points gained. Some fixtures I actually won. Five points, Kerr-Ching! The high jump was my next ‘couple of points’ banker, because of the rules. Everyone was asked to nominate a starting height. Anything around 1m was a popular choice. The league rules stated that the second height must be 1m 50cm. The High hurdles are 3’6″ or about 1.07m so 1m50cm was beyond the capability of most of the ‘doing it for a point’ competitors? Ray had learned enough of the flop method that he could clear 1.5m.
My method was less orthodox. Instead of the curving run up high jumpers traditionally employ, I ran straight at the bar and hurdled it. At one fixture I had to repeat my jump as the judges didn’t realise what I was doing.
Another time the cinder run up for the long and triple jumps were in such poor condition, they track had a distinct hole just in front of the board. It screamed ‘possible broken ankle’. We pointed this out and they were abandoned.
I also at numerous fixtures took part in all the throws, achieving pathetic distances, but gaining one or two valuable points.
One final indignity happened in a 4 by 100m relay. Normally you are at danger of a faulty changeover, because the out-going runner sets off too fast for the incoming runner. I was so slow as the outgoing runner that the incoming runner had to stop and wait for me to catch him up!
I bet Usain has never been in a relay like that, at least not since his youth. Relay competitions are big in Jamaica. I can just imaging him taking the micky out of his teammate.
By the way, the official opening of the new track at Crowborough is this Saturday! Enjoy it athletes of Crowborough!

 

Yes but can they do it…

‘Yes but could they do it on a cold, wet Wednesday in Stoke.”
This or a variation of it, is the comment, used by football pundits and fans alike, to imply that a great footballing team such as Barcelona or Real Madrid, might be able to run rings about their opponents when the conditions are favourable and the opponents obliging. It’s also an insult to Stoke, dating back quite a few years now, to when their style of play was best described as route one, their most creative player was the bloke with the implausibly long throw. He could be on the halfway line and the visiting defenders would be donning tin helmets and air raid warning sirens would be wailing in warning of the impending aerial bombardment. Meanwhile the Stoke defenders would be sharpening their elbows and preparing to kick anything or anyone that moved. This was the background to the cliche.
I want to start some new ones.
Tennis “Yes but could he do it on a windy afternoon in the rec with a racquet from Woolworths?”
The courts at Wimbledon are like a pristine bowling green, flat and even. The courts provide protection from the elements, even a blooming roof. Yet one tiny bad bounce from the grass court, a living and therefore not entirely uniform surface and they get all prima donna-ish. Well let Roger, Serena et al try playing on the courts at my local rec (recreation ground).

Congratulations to Serena Williams and Alexis Ohanian on the birth of their daughter. Apparently the baby is currently ranked just outside the top 100 in the WTA rankings. Also, during the birth, the midwife called out encouragingly, “the baby is out”, at which point Serena called for the umpire to challenge that on Hawkeye as she felt the baby was on the line.

I digress. The  uneven and totally unpredictable bounce of the grass courts is matched only by that of a sheet of corrugated iron. The ball from the courts either side of you may come flying over at any moment and instead of an endless supply of restrung racquets they had one from, Oh hang on, Woolworths went bust didn’t it, make it one of the shops where everything is £1. Add in the howling gale which at one end, playing into the wind, slows the ball so much your serve barely reaches the net, whilst from the other you are lucky to get the ball to land before it hits the chain link fence. Unless of course the gusting wind chooses that moment not to gust. Like profession golfers who find themselves on a links course in bad weather and start shooting plus scores, like mere mortals,the pampered tennis pros would find the conditions a great leveller. Speaking of bad weather I am frequently amused when we are told by the knowledgeable experts that cold, damp and drizzling rain will prove less of a problem for Andy Murray because he is Scottish.  Is this some kind of nature v nurture question? Or one of those logic puzzles. Andy is a Scot. It is cold and wet in Scotland. Therefore Andy is not worried by the cold and the damp.

Best wishes to Andy for a full recovery from the hip injury that has dogged him all season.

Anyway there is my Tennis ‘yes, but…’ cliche.

Yes but could they do it on a windy afternoon over at the rec, with a racquet from a £1 shop?

Room 101

Orwell’s dystopian novel 1984, it is a torture chamber in the Ministry of Love in which the Party attempts to subject a prisoner to his or her own worst nightmare, fear or phobia.
We stayed in Room 101 at the Journeycabin (name changed). It is the “other” accessible room at the budget hotel (Room 1).
Unlike Room 1, Room 101 is not right by the hotel entrance where late arrivals come in late and manage to make more noise shhh-ing each other than they were making in the first place. On no, Room 101 is a relatively long walk or to be accurate, shuffle for an ambulatory disabled guest with Parkinson’s and one has to pass through a reassuringly heavy set of fire doors.
Both rooms have a similar layout. They have, what I assume they think is an accessible bath, i.e. a standard bath with grab rails all round it. Ho hum. I can’t use a bath, grab rails or not, without making a pre-booking with the local fire brigade to get me out of the bath. Whilst this may go down well with my much better half, it’s not my favoured option. I can shower, but not by stepping up into a bath.
On the right of the sink is a grab rail. I am right handed, a trait I share with about 88% of people and brush my teeth right handed. You don’t need a PhD in ergonomics to highlight the flaw in that scenario. If I hold on left handed my arm is in the way, coming between my mouth and the basin…
There is a problem with the room. When my meds are wearing off, I become acutely aware of sloping uneven floors. I become ‘Gradientman” a superhero who was scratched by a radioactive spirit-level. Not much of a super power, “Be careful Ironman, this floor slopes towards the left with a gradient of 1 in 10000!” I suspect Captain America and Thor would look down on Gradientman.
Any way the floor in the room has some interesting variations in gradient.
Not only am I ambulant, but I am also tall. I don’t consider myself to be excessively tall, but am over six feet tall. The stylish yet strangely uncomfortable chairs are too low for me to sit in and be sure of being able to stand unassisted. When I tell you that the bed is lower than the chairs and also soft, your sympathies for my much better half will be awakened. Awakened being the operative word as my two options, if I feel the need to get up in the wee small hours, are either
A: Struggle about trying to get out of bed, waking her in the process and then asking for her help
Or
B: just wake her up straightaway and ask her for help.
You’ll notice that my long suffering, much better half gets woken up in either alternative. This is not a good thing…
One day we will finally find a perfect room, equipped with a chair, maybe a powered one that will launch me into an upright position or fold me into a comfortable position.
One day…

I have never been so insulted!

Another tale from my teaching days. It dates back to the late 80s or early 90s when, in an attempt to make it easier to become a teacher, the government decided anyone with a degree could be employed and they could learn on the job for a year.
Sadly they never rolled this idea out into other areas, I always fancied a crack at brain surgery (ironically enough). Anyway this particular year we ended up employing Will Lines (name changed). A former ‘captain of industry ‘ he had an opinion on everything and a very high opinion of himself. He had trained at another local school, which I’ll call Hillview. The minutes of our meetings were full of comments from him starting “at Hillview they …” followed by a statement praising Hillview or criticising our school or often both. One particular bee in his bonnet was Hillview’s extensive set of resources, worksheets linked to every topic, which he could use and save time by not having to write his own or see if a colleague had something suitable. He was reluctant to accept the Head of Faculty’ point that such a system took a while to set up and that for now we’d try having folders where we could leave a copy of any sheet we created. It didn’t work: either the sheet was not the right degree of difficulty, or it used the wrong method, etc, etc.
However this wasn’t his “greatest” moment. That was something he achieved in another meeting with to following statement.

“Of course as a good parent I made sure my children got a good education by sending them to a private school.”

How insulted was I? Let me count the ways.
1. We were teaching in a co-educational all-ability state school. By implication we were not providing a ‘good education’
2. By further implication we as individual teachers were not providing a good education.
3. Having attended a state school by his inference I had not received a good education.
4. My parents, who had been content to send me to the local school, where I had been in the selective stream, were bad parents for not sending me to a private school.

I was not happy. I was so not happy without a word I stood up, left the room and strode down the corridor. There I met an empty, black plastic dustbin. Off the top of my head as it’s not an Olympic event, I do not know the world record for kicking an empty, black plastic dustbin but I must have challenged the British record as I channeled every bit of anger this pompous, know-it-all, git, with an opinion of himself so over-inflated he was in danger of popping. I may well have screamed a very rude word to describe him as I kicked the bin, like a tennis player grunting as they seek maximum effort.

The empty, black plastic dustbin soared majestically through the air, until it remembered how intrinsically un-aerodynamic it was, when it flopped and fell to the ground where it bobbled along the corridor. I completed my circuit of the quadrangle and as wordlessly as I had left, I took my seat again. Will was just beginning a sentence “at Hillview they…”

Post script.
Will left at the end of the year, for a job at his beloved Hillview. He was last heard of by us when we heard on the grapevine that he was in trouble for refusing to attend the weekly worksheet writing meeting where they created and filed the resources of which he was so enamoured. He wasn’t going to use his valuable time writing worksheets for other people. Oh how we laughed, when the news was relayed to us.
Kicking the empty, black plastic bin, has not been made an Olympic event, so we will never know if I could have challenged for a medal.

Those who can…

As another year ends…
(What’s he talking about? it is July!)
Sorry, force of habit. In teaching you get used to an eleven month, year, September to July, with August acting as a weird buffer zone, where the past and future mingle.

My eye was caught by a letter in the Guardian. Responding to an article about “unqualified teachers”, the author of the letter lists her wide-ranging experience in independent schools, her Oxbridge degree, her MA and her PhD and the fact that she is also a published author.
However, lacking a teaching qualification, she would be described as an unqualified teacher. Now I am the last person to stick up for Ofsted and I have a rant about their box ticking, approach to lessons forming. My sympathies lie with the author of the letter. What nonsense that all her experience should go to waste.
Then she writes this.
… we learn that about “6,000 trainee teachers began courses after achieving a 2:2 or lower in their degree subject”. Just who do we want to teach our children?

My sympathy has just evaporated.
Just who do we want teaching our children?
Well certainly not her, that’s for sure.
I would have been one of the 6,000 when I trained.
Were my pupils disadvantaged by my “2:2 or lower” in my degree. As roughly 0.01% of the maths I had to teach at secondary school was from my degree, I would be confident in saying they were not. Instead they were , I hope, enthused by my love of the subject and my willingness to explain and be positive about my subject and their abilities.

For my music O-level our teacher found the aural paper, involving for example the transcription of a piece of 4-part harmony, very difficult to teach. He was gifted with perfect pitch and could just hear it and couldn’t explain it at all. Perhaps a teacher with a “2:2 or lower” could have helped us, understanding our difficulty.

I have observed lessons where very bright teachers gave their pupils a dull and uninspiring experience, where questions were discouraged and the method had to be followed, as if it were engraved on tablets of stone. This way, once The Method had been given, the class could tackle the exercise is silence: questions or observations were discouraged. This allowed the teacher to do her marking.
The question said ‘a car travels 15 miles in 20 minutes, what is the speed in mph?’
“So ,” I said, “20 minutes is one third of an hour so multiply 15 by 3 and we get 45 mph.”
There were a couple of blank faces. They were horrified. I wasn’t using The Method. You HAD to divide by 20 and then multiply by 60. No common sense, no feel for the context, but at least that teacher didn’t have a “2:2 or lower”.

I was constantly marking and preparing and I would love to hear how the author of the letter found time to write and become a published author, while teaching. I’m sure not one of her pupils was ever subjected to a less than perfect lesson, with a plethora of stimulating activities, because her mind was on her book.

From a different field, perhaps the letter-writer has heard of Arsene Wenger, who, as a professional footballer, had a less than stellar career. The Frenchman only made 64 appearances scoring 4 goals in the process.
Just who do we want managing our club?’
However he could read the game and now the Frenchman is the most successful manager in Arsenal history with 19 honours to his name.
Perhaps the name Jose Mourinho rings a bell. A playing career of about 100 games for four distinctly average Portuguese clubs.
‘Just who do we want managing our club?
As a manager in over 650 matches he has won 20 trophies.
One final football example: Sir Alex Ferguson. His playing career of 317 games and 171 goals sounds more impressive, but as he was playing for such giants of the game as Ayr United, Falkirk and Dunfermline for most of them, it isn’t a glittering CV.
‘Just who do we want managing our club?
With Aberdeen he broke the Celtic/Rangers duopoly with 3 Scottish Premier Division titles, 4 league cups and a UEFA Cup-Winners Cup
At Manchester United he notched 13 Premier League titles, 5 FA cups, 4 League cups and 2 UEFA Champions League titles.
Great players who made poor managers include Sir Bobby Charlton, Diego Maradona and Graeme Souness, who once as manager of Southampton, signed a player he’d never seen play, brought him on as a substitute but he was so poor he had to substitute the sub.
My point? Being gifted as a performer is no guarantee of being gifted as a teacher/manager. Equally, I suggest that having a “2:2 or lower” does not automatically mean you will be a great or a poor teacher.

Certainly one young lady who I first taught in year 9, wasn’t disadvantaged by our paths crossing. She had the reputation of being an able but unfocused student. She was doing enough work, but there was something missing.
I began to notice that once she felt confident that I would listen to her, she had a talent for asking very intelligent questions, often tangential to the lesson objective. “Up yours, Ofsted!” Her interest was rekindled. Having lit the fire, I watched it burn through the years, Oxbridge, a First, a distinction in her Masters, and currently a PhD. The young lady and her parents are convinced I made a difference.

Watching the Paint Dry

It is an overcast Sunday morning in the suburbs of the city. Across to the south-west,  Roger Federer and Marin Cillic are waiting to do battle in the men’s singles final at Wimbledon. Tennis correspondents at the pun loving tabloids hope that they get the chance to use their “Cillic – Bang and the title is gone!”
All over the country avid Whovians are battling to control their impatience, as they beseech the gods of tennis to make it a quick three set win for either player; they aren’t fussed who just so long as it is quick. The announcement of the actor who will be the new Dr Who is scheduled for after the final.
I am sitting in the corner of the lounge of my step daughter and her partner’s newly purchased flat. It is a hive of activity. Walls that were painted yesterday are being touched up or given a second coat, old locks are being changed for new ones by the husband of my much better half’s friend and swimming buddy. Flat pack furniture from the land of quirkily named flat pack furniture and meatballs, is being constructed.

Allen keys are being cursed; somehow an evil genius has created the universally useless Allen key, with its dimensions chosen to provide insufficient leverage, and here is the really clever bit, no matter who is using it! Young or old, strong or week, female or male, dexterous or clumsy: the human who can use this Allen key is yet to evolve.
Although I am having a half decent day with my Parkinson’s, I am not entrusted with any of these tasks, so I sit and chronicle events.
The air is filled with the potential for. tiredness-induced, snappiness. One word spoken in marginally the wrong tone and the peace could be broken.
Hang on….
Sorry about that, they found a job for me: could I swap the tie back seat cushions from the two old dining room chairs to two of the new, virtually identical, dining room chairs?
“Well, now, let me see? Do I think I am up to the task of moving the two cushions, which are Velcro fastened, so I don’t even have to tie a knot.” Inhaling through pursed lips, like a used car dealer who, having kicked a tyre, is about to make a low offer. “I suppose I can give it a try…”
That is not what I said. The time was not right for sarcasm. Like Ford Prefect in Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, who often failed to notice sarcasm unless he was concentrating, the others, tired from actual physical effort of painting, wouldn’t appreciate a snippy reply from me, who has literally spent the last two days watching paint dry.
“Of course I will” was my actual answer.
Exaggerated politeness is the order of the day. “Would you mind…”, “sorry to stop you doing what you are doing but could you possibly help me with this…”
For a few moments we wait with bated breath as very tired step daughter is interrupted for something like the hundredth time. She takes a deep breath. I like to think that she is giving serious consideration to giving into the urge to rip someone’s head off. Instead she rolls her eyes. Her reply is both instant and yet timeless. Clocks wait, motionless between ticks. During this ‘no-time’, an endangered species of voles slips into extinction, and someone somewhere reads “War and Peace”.

“Yes, Honey, what is it?”

Finally the clocks resume ticking. No one has lost their head, neither figuratively nor literally.
Dowel by dowel, screw by screw, funny circular fitting that pulls the cabinet together by funny circular fitting that pulls the cabinet together, the flat packs become 3D objects and we have a cabinet, 4 chairs and a table. The cabinet doors provide multiple opportunities for Game of Thrones quips about Hodor, and political humour about the incompetence of the PM and her cabinet.
Federer wins, Jodie Whittaker is announced as the new, 13th Doctor and the paint has dried nicely.

This and That

The only thing predicable about my Parkinson’s Disease is it’s seemingly unavoidable unpredictability!I’ve been using a different set of timings, which has helped a bit. Some doses last 2 1/2 hours, some just 2 hours. Then it can take between 20 to 40 minutes to kick. So I can be “off” for just 20 minutes, which is scarcely “off” at all, or, worst case over an hour.

I’ve just thumbing through the Summer edition of “The Parkinson”. What have we got…
Reports on Parkinson’s Awareness Week; my only contribution was to wear my distinctive Parkinson’s UK, T-shirt to yoga and to the gym. I got zero attention/reaction at the gym. I’m there once or twice a week on a Steps2Health scheme. My varying “off” episodes mean I could be fine or I could gradually come to a standstill on the rowing machine. I know that the gentle set of exercises is doing two good things, trying to keep[*]some strength in my core and doing some cardio, because. . . It’s good for you, something to do with the n-dolphins[**] it releases.
“What’s up Flipper?”
“Skwark, akak, squeak!”
“The smugglers have kidnapped the Park Ranger and plan to tie him up to to the jetty?”

An article about apathy; I can’t be bothered to read that.[***]

Ooh, Yoga and Parkinson’s. I can endorse the benefits of yoga and the different types. Some are modern interpretations, some claim a long history. Some are all about the stretch, some are more spiritual. As the article says you should be able to find a style to suit you. I just know our instructor Clair is excellent with our group

Parkinson’s and Prescription charges. I know Parky meds are expensive and the prepayment certificate is one of the most value for money ideas ever. That does mean we are still paying for our meds. Why are some conditions given free meds. Maybe it’s time for another letter to my MP. . .

[*] okay develop rather than keep.
[**] I know it’s endorphins
[***] the whole post was written so I could use this joke. If you enjoyed it half as much as I did, then I enjoyed it twice as much as you!

Job Description

“So I understand you wish to place an advertisement in our recruitment section?”
“Yes, I’ve made a few notes about what is required.”
“Thank you, . . . now let me see. Okay you are no longer able to drive safely.”
“That’s correct, my passengers have begun to complain that on a long journey they find it difficult to carry enough spare clean underwear to cope with their feelings of anxiety me pulling onto a roundabout causes them.”
“So you need a chauffeur, that’s simple enough.”
“Yes, but there are other requirements.”
“Yes, but they are very difficult to decipher, is this shorthand?”
“No, my writing gets like that over the course of a paragraph.”
“Well, if you could just talk me through the details?”
“Of course. ”

Some time later.

“So you need a caterer as you’re unsafe with sharp knives and hot pots and pans, a cleaner as you can’t manage to wield a feather duster or a vacuum cleaner, a chauffeur, a PA to keep track of your appointments, a pharmacist to order and arrange your medication, a Jeevesian gentleman’s gentleman to help you get dressed or undressed, depending on when you need the help, a motivational speaker to get you through the bad days and a best friend to share in the better days? Someone to laugh at your ‘jokes and to share a laugh when the alternative is to break down and cry. And most recently someone to help you up from low seats, which included the toilet. They need the patience of a saint and the ability to judge the exact moment to offer the help without making you feel totally useless or a burden. All of these are 24/7 tasks. Is that a fair summary?”
“Yes I think you’ve hit the nail on the head, that’s another thing by the way, they need to do basic diy”
” I’m sorry but the chances of finding a person to do this job must be a million to one.”

I am very lucky. I am married to my one in a million.