Friday, October 30, 2009


Ah, my favourite night of the year (I sound like Tim Curry in that old film version of The Worst Witch! Not a great film, but worth seeing for Tim, Diana Rigg and Fairuza Balk. The Bonnie Langford song could have been dropped though!)

Halloween (or 'hallowe'en' if we want to be pedantic!) has always had a special place in my heart. I love the darkness, the creepiness, the spookiness and the all-round silliness.

It's a day that always reminds me of my dear friend Alison as it felt like it was our day. Alison and I have always had a certain penchant for the occult and the supernatural (without actually being satanists, although we have experienced the occasional worrying look for conservative Christians in our time) and we often hung out together for the big night, be it a large fancy dress party or a small gathering of like-minded folk.

One of my favourite memories was one weekend in Bangor. Alison was there at university and I visited for the weekend. We were in the habit of giving each other gifts for Hallowe'en back then and I gave her a mutilated barbie wrapped in plastic and called it a 'Laura Palmer' doll along with a vacuum packed bag of cow's blood.

Ah, sweet Halloween.

Another year, back in 1992, it was an unusual year because I didn't have anything planned at all. My family were out that evening and I was staying in alone. I had a bath early in the evening and I went into my bedroom and switched on the TV. I sat on my bed, wrapped in just a towel and I began watching the BBC's Ghostwatch, starring Michael Parkinson, Sarah Greene, Mike Smith and Craig Charles.
90 minutes later, I was still in my towel and transfixed!
It was such a scary programme, there were rumours of people committing suicide (well, one rumour...) and many people genuinely thinking it was a live piece of television. It was compared to Orson Welles' War of the Worlds (not Jeff Wayne's - thank god!)
The BBC did get many complaints and got into a bit of trouble for it and so they promised not to air it again. It was finally released on DVD by the British Film Institute in 2002 and I bought it whilst in London visiting my friends Jamie and Kevin. Watching it then, older and wiser, I was still thoroughly spooked and I still get chills now just thinking about 'Pipes'.

Sadly, I have to also mention my dear friend Kirsty Steele who has since passed away. Kirsty was such a wonderful person with a gentle heart. She used to hold parties quite frequently at her home and hallowe'en night was no exception. Of course, they were fancy dress! One year, I went as 'The Dread Pirate Roberts' from The Princess Bride (although everyone thought I was Zorro) and another year, I was dressed as Frank N Furter from Rocky Horror (although people thought I was a whore). I even have a picture somewhere of my beautiful friend Rhian, tied to Kirsty's mother bed, dressed as Regan from The Exorcist ("Your mother's a biology teacher in Cheshire!!")
Kirsty passed away about nine years ago and she is often in my thoughts. So tonight, I shall raise a (non-alcoholic) glass in memory of her, of great nights in my youth and also to Alison, my dark-soul-mate without whom I would not be the same person today.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Dancing in Limbo

Having watched Julie & Julia for a second time, I began reassessing the nature of blogs and what it is that makes one more successful than another. My rather embarrassing need for attention, fame and approval is one of the reasons behind this rather inept display of prose which clamours for some kind of recognition out there in the infinite web.
Julie Powell had a raisin d'etre, a deadline and blogged far more frequently. I seem to embrace the true definition of random and I mill aimlessly from one topic to another.
Granted, I do not curse as much as Julie, but I don't think I am any less verbose or entertaining.

Reading back that last sentence to myself. I see the pretension some have witnessed in my personality before, but I believe in speaking my thoughts and if I do come across as a bit of a pranny at times, then so be it. Those who know me have an understanding of my true nature and welcome it like a jolly yet slightly irritating uncle at family gatherings.

Before I digress further into the psychoanalysis of my own personality types, let me return to my original point. Blogging. What makes it interesting? Over the years of writing my own personal diaries and - in later years - online, I have noticed a pattern in my style. I begin with great enthusiasm and futily attempt (and fail) to emulate some high-brow academic with awkward turns of phrase and misplaced witticisms. Over time, there appear to be days when I become rather lackadaisical and pore out the most tedious drivel stating where I went, what I did and who I met without any depth or colour to the scene. It's like having a TV marathon starting with I, Claudius and ending up with Neighbours.

One also has to be careful about what one writes. I have often deleted sentences, paragraphs and, on occasion, entire blogs for fear of being reprimanded by readers - but there I go again with the rather egotistical notion that people are reading and/or give a crap.
Does one ignore these little fences of security and express oneself to such a degree that followers bristle with vitriol or should one stay safe and post pictures of kittens eating brocolli?

Then I wonder how much of my soul I should convert into written text. I have been criticised before for thinking too much! Seriously? Can one think too much? I believe it simply makes me more interesting that I don't accept things at face value and that I like to plough through the depths of meaning that is layered before me.
It is far more fun to question things, expand the perspective and stand in another person's shoes. Sure, I may come to the most absurd and incomprehensible conclusions at times, but the journey is the most entertaining part.
Although I do tend to wear my heart on my charity-shop-purchased sleeve, I like to imagine it heightens the interest levels to a degree beyond 'tedious'.

So, to conclude, am I dancing in limbo? Is this a mere excercise for my brain and my qwerty-happy fingers? Will there be a satisfying denouement or will it peter out like a long-running TV show which has emptied the barrel of high-concept ideas?
Maybe someone will read this and leap back from their screens in a blissful act of serendipity after a misplaced Google 'I'm Feeling Lucky' search and scream from their luxury apartment that they have discovered the next Oscar Wilde (Well, while I'm being an egotistically-driven megalomaniac with delusions of grandeur, I might as well go whole-hog, right?) and the next thing I know, I'll be a household name, like 'Toilet Duck' or 'Durex'.
Or maybe someone will tap me on the shoulder politely and then, as I look around, punch me in the face for being a pretentious bumhole and subsequently break my fingers for the sake of humanity and literature.
I expect it will be somewhere between these two extremes. Until the day of revelation comes, I shall continue to do my quickstep across the keyboard and hope that this limbo is not for eternity.

Postscript: If, like with Julie Powell, someone wants to make a movie about my life, I quite like the idea of David Tennant playing me. He'd have to eat a few pies first though.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

He Never Mentioned Love

On Wednesday evening, I had a mad dash to get to my doctor's appointment. I left work early, but was stymied by cancelled trains, faulty pedestrian crossings and slow-walking idiots who take up the entire width of the pavement/footpath/sidewalk (delete as applicable for your country of origin).

I had to run the last five minutes in order to arrive in time, so I was all sweaty and provided evidence of how unfit I have become over the last few months.

Once in the GP's surgery, we began our usual chatty banter. I had already decided earlier in the day that I was going to attempt to find out his 'marital status' as my flirtation skills are bordering on retarded and I wanted to discover if my efforts were futile.
Well, before I could put my plan of truth excavation into action, he provided me with all the answers I wanted when casually referring to himself and his partner.

My heart sank.

Trying not to appear too winded, I aimed for a look of casual interest and asked how long they'd been together and all that sort of jolly chat. All this whilst dealing with stitches being ripped from my back and a swab dabbing at my infection.

Trying to feign nonchalance before one's crush is a hard task and I genuinely felt a little moisture build behind my eye, but I forced myself to be strong and told myself I was being daft.
Of course he's in a happy, stable relationship! He is kind, gentle, warm-hearted and beautiful. I shouldn't have expected anything else.
We did, during our talk, mention my life as a single man (it's been a few years now) and he said that one day some guy would sweep me off my feet.

What I should have said, rather than make the guttural sound of a self-deprecating 'guffaw', was "I just hope it is someone like you!"

It's not all sad. Yes, I may have an infection in my wound and yes, I may have discovered I have fallen for the unobtainable (again); but as my friend Dave says, it's good to know my heart can feel that flutter. For a while I thought my heart had turned to ice and I was incapable of feeling that thrill of connection and chemistry. Having this minor one-sided 'affair' for the past few weeks has taught me that I still have the ability to love.

All I need to do is find some reciprocation.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Things Happen

My Mum is arriving on Tuesday to stay with me for three weeks. I went out this morning to buy some odds and ends including a nice bright yellow litter tray. The litter tray is for my cat, not Mum.

The morning's expedition was a little fraught as I was in a bit of pain. Let me explain why.

Saturday was a nice day: to begin with. ("Marley was dead: to begin with.")
I went into the city first thing to buy some Yorkshire Gold tea and I met my friends Louise, Adam and Nick and we headed to my favourite cafe, Gordon's, for breakfast. Then we went to Chokolait for some superb hot chocolate drinks. I had been introduced to this shop by Adam's sister, Nicole. She has a nose for chocolate...
Then we all headed back to my place for a fun afternoon of tea, biscuits and The IT Crowd.

Everyone was more than happy to assist me in shifting some furniture. I wanted to rearrange the rooms in order to make the place nice for Mum's visit.
However, very early on in this venture, I pushed a unit a little awkwardly and suddenly, every move I made was accompanied by agonizing pain shooting from my lower back down my left leg and up to my neck.
This was rather bad timing as we were only half way through the job. Unable to move, I had to stand relatively still as the others shifted each heavy object between them to my rather useless directions. I was a little humiliated as I felt like a slave-driver.
My three amigos were incredibly patient and kind to do everything for me and I am ever-so grateful.

The trouble was, I was due to head out to a fund-raising Trivia Night that evening, but my lack of mobility hindered my attendance. So, eased into a chair and wedged in with cushions, Louise and co. stuck around and got me food and kept me entertained for the majority of the evening. We watched things such as Alan Partridge and the DVD of I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue. Laughter is the best medicine, but it can also be rather irritating when each chuckle aggravated my spine.

After my saintly friends left, I was too tired to stay up. I slowly hobbled like a crippled elderly gent into my bed and tried to get as physically comfortable as possible. The problem was two-fold because of a) my lower back pain and b) my healing, stitched-up shoulder. Knocking back painkillers, I lay in the dark praying for an early train to Sleepy Town.

Eventually I drifted off, but proceeded to have freaky dreams about me going to work without my trousers and being harassed by various enemies.

So, this morning, feeling a little better, I still had to continue chores getting the flat ready and shifting more furniture. I am luckily more supple today, but it does hurt when I lift too much, turn suddenly or sneeze.

This afternoon I intend to tackle the kitchen as the lounge is more or less sorted.
As I type this, I realise how incredibly dull this post is, but hopefully while my Mum is here, there will be far more interesting things to write about.

I also think I am going to struggle using Kirsty MacColl song titles for my posts as I continue to use them up. I may have to incorporate some Beverley Craven songs eventually...

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Fifteen Minutes

I am occasionally bamboozled by the things I read in newspapers or hear about through word-of-mouth. One of the things that makes me scratch my noggin the most is the articles which pronounce shock revelations in regard to recent research. It wasn't so long ago that some time-wasting students of the university of the bloody obvious released a study in which it was revealed that we, as a race, are becoming more narcissistic and egocentric due to the nativity of the online blog.

Are we not more shocked that some arse-faced numb-nuts are actually whittling away precious funding by coming up with such ludicrously tedious data? Why did no one just come to me or the nearest Betty Wallace or Jimmy Fishnet and ask one of us? It doesn't take a dedicated Mensa student to figure that one out.

I believe we are all a tad egocentric, for heaven's sake, that's what the ego is. The birth of the internet has just provided us with a forum to display it to a wider audience.

See, nobody is paying me for spouting such crassly blatant statements. If anyone would like to, let me know and I'll give you my bank details.

Oh, and while I am thinking about it - you may not see the relevance, but there's a winding path of stepping stones bravely transcending the raging torrent of thoughts which leads me to this statement - if a tree falls down in a forest, of course it'll bloody well make a friggin' sound even if there's no one there to hear it. Just the same as a mobile phone will ring its cellular heart out in an empty train carriage. One does not need an aural receptacle for there to be sound. Just as light exists without sight.

Rant over. Discuss at your own leisure. In a box. With a cat. And a hammer.

Now onto the main part of the post...

What an interesting few days it has been.

Let me begin by saying that on Thursday, post-operation (it makes it sound so grand, calling it an 'operation' when it was merely a slice 'n' dice in a GP's surgery, but grant me the option for melodrama if you will), I returned to work like a brave little soldier facing the front line with a severe case of 'limb gone AWOL'.

Probably not the best idea as I was in slight agony. After lunch, as I waited for my usual early-afternoon poo and found myself seeing pretty lights dancing before my eyes. The notion of being found by a work colleague passed out in the lavatory with my trousers around my ankles had me rather worried. Mainly because I was wearing my Doctor Who boxer-shorts.
Having regained some sort of composure and dignity, I took myself back to my desk only to discover I was feeling rather feverish, dizzy and not far from the nauseous bracket. Given these rather worrying symptoms, I decided that the best procedure would be to head home and rest like I was supposed to be doing in the first place.

On Friday, after an unsurprisingly uncomfortable sleep (that's two nights of bad sleep thanks to old Cysty McCysto) I had to drag myself back to see the doctor for a redressing. (No, not 'undressing')
When I entered his office, he immediately noticed my posture and told me to relax. Once again, I felt like shouting my catchphrase; "Have you MET me?"
He stood opposite me, grabbed me by the shoulders and began to shake me. Not in a '1950s-misogynistic-husband-beating-his-wife' sort of way, but more of a 'this-is-how-you-toss-a-salad' sort of way. It was friendly, professional yet casual.

I can't deny it brought a smile to my face.

Later during the date - er - I mean 'appointment' - I pointed out how I would also like to remove the unsightly little bump near my eye which graces my face as subtly as a rhino on a bouncy castle. He reached out, tenderly embracing my head with his tenacious fingers and staring into my eyes. Well, 'between' them is more apt, but it was a wonderful sensation.

Does this guy know how to flirt, or what? Damn that ethical code these doctors have.

Saturday (today), I attended a Tuppaware party. The last one I attended was over six years ago at my friend Tina's place and I still use the wonderful cereal dispenser to this day.
Today's party was being hosted by another superb friend, Michelle. I was not totally enamoured with the majority of the products this time as they seem to have been attacked by the Manic Pastel Monster of Doom. However, my name was drawn from the plastic jug to win the prize of a fancy cake slice - very handy should there be a zombie outbreak and I need something to fend off a pesky corpse or two.

Once it was over, Michelle and I headed out to see Julie & Julia.
Having read (and loved) the book four years ago, I have been looking forward to this movie for some time and I was not disappointed (although I would have liked to have seen the maggot scene as so beautifully described in the book. Then again, maybe not...)

For those of you that do not know, is about two women. Julia Child (Meryl 'Oscars-should-be-called-Meryls' Streep), who wrote 'Mastering the Art of French Cooking' and Julie Powell (Amy 'Eat-me-I'm-so-cute' Adams) who decides to cook every recipe from said book and blog about it. Both are very successful and the rest is history.

Coming away from that movie, I wondered what my niche could be. What is it that I could do to fulfill my purpose in life? What can I blog about that anybody would be even remotely interested in?
Do I blog my way through reading all of the 'Popular Penguin' titles as I once suggested to my peers?
Do I tell of the slightly hopeless attempts at finding love in this crazy old world?
Do I recount my exploits as I try to pay off debts and save enough money to visit Cuba?

And then we come full circle back to the ego thing.

Blog. The billboard of pretension. Flaunting itself in desperation for fame and approval. "Like me!" "Enjoy me!" "Tell me I'm talented!"

It's the twenty-first century's answer to the British Holiday Camp Talent Show. Only this time, the competition is larger and the losers don't get thrown into the icy waters of the outdoor pool... it's worse... it's the freezing ocean of obscurity.

The truth is, despite my slight yearning for that quarter of an hour of global recognition (Paraphrasing Mr A. 'hole a bit), I am quite happy if I can entertain just one other person with my trivial ramblings. Sure, it passes my time and is cathartic in a cerebral way, but part of me warms to the idea that out there, one person - any person - has read through and heard my voice.

No big ambition.

Just a glimmer of hope.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Sun on the Water

Saturday, the 10th of October, 2009.
Today would have been Kirsty MacColl's 50th birthday.

On December 18th, 2000, Kirsty was in Cozumel, Mexico with her two sons for a pre-Christmas holiday. Whilst out in a swimmers-only area of the sea, a speeding boat hurtled towards the family. Kirsty’s motherly instinct kicked in and she pushed her sons out of the way and she was fatally struck by the boat.

Celebrating the success of her brilliant album Tropical Brainstorm and looking forward to returning to a home decked with festive displays and presents under the tree, the happiness was torn apart.
To this day, there still has been no justice served to those responsible. However, that’s another long story covered in two biographies amongst much other media

Here I would like to tell my story of my love affair with Kirsty and her music.

To begin with, I had only a vague recognition of Kirsty MacColl. I had seen her on Top of the Pops with The Pogues and she had performed once during the second series of French and Saunders.
It wasn’t until the third series aired that I awoke to her brilliance.
In the first episode of that season, she sang Fifteen Minutes which alerted me to her sense of irony and wit. Later, she sang Don't Come the Cowboy With Me, Sonny Jim! which showed her versatility and pathos.
However, the song which will always be the catalyst for my devotion will be Still Life which is a beautiful reflective song which mourns the uprising of modern structures like Milton Keynes, destroying the memories of the past.

I bought the two albums which were available at the time, Kite and Electric Landlady (Desperate Character has sadly never been released on CD to date) and the former is still a favourite of mine for its lyrical beauty. It contains the sublime cover of The Kinks' Days which has been universally praised as being that rarity of a good cover version of a classic song. Even Raymond Davies gives it his thumbs up!. Electric Landlady is a brave album for its diversity in styles but also suffers for exactly the same reason and occasionally feels disjointed. This does not mean the individual songs should be denied kudos as the true brilliance of Kirsty still shines through. We'll Never Pass This Way Again is one of the most heartbreaking songs and it haunts me regularly.

The best track on the album is My Affair which has a tremendous Latin flavour and I recall saying at the time that I wished Kirsty would do an entire album in a similar style. Thankfully, my wish paid off, if not for nearly a decade later.

These two albums were my lifeline during a very hard period in my life when I first moved away from home to the horrors of college life in Bedford. I was struggling with my sexuality and was brutally intimidated by so many changes around and within me.

Luckily, it was around that time that Kirsty released Titanic Days on the ZTT label. Kirsty called it her 'divorce album' as it was in the wake of her split from husband and producer Steve Lillywhite. Although a melancholic album, it also displays the hidden depths to her talent. Raw yet mesmerising, the album to this day stands as one of my all-time favourites. I may not have gone through anything as rough as a divorce at my tender age of 18, but there was an affinity felt between myself and the heart worn on Kirsty's sleeve.

In the following years, there were a few compilations including the superb Galore and the collection of studio recordings What Do Pretty Girls Do? (which included a blissful acoustic version of Still Life). More backlist songs were released from her years with Stiff records including the hits that made her famous such as They Don't Know and the novelty song There's A Guy Works Down the Chip Shop Swears Hes Elvis but I was always enamoured with the jokey Eighty Year Old Millionaire. Also worthy of note is Kirsty's version of A New England which Billy Bragg re-wrote for her one morning as she cooked him eggs for breakfast.

It wasn’t until 2000 that Kirsty's opus magnum would be revealed. Having spent the past ten years flying back and forth between the UK and Cuba, Kirsty began to assimilate the Cuban music into her soul and the resulting album, Tropical Brainstorm is a tour-de-force of everything brilliant about her. The infectious beats, the steamy sensuality, the devastating; wit all combined to make a perfect album.
From the joyous opening songs (Mambo de la Luna, In These Shoes? and Treachery which will make even the most sour of pusses tap their toes), via the raucous melodies of the mid album trilogy Nao Esperando/Alegria/Us Amazonians to the heartache of Wrong Again and the pure magic of the song celebrating sexual chemistry, Head.

I fell head over heels in love with Tropical Brainstorm and it remains my favourite album of all-time to this day. I have since bought it for a number of my friends whom enjoy its bountiful frivolities.

The day I discovered about Kirsty's demise, my friend Louise was picking me up in the morning to take me to work. It was going to be a Christmas lunch at work and I had a coffee percolator on my lap all wrapped up as a gift for my colleagues. I was waiting for Louise to pull away from the kerb, but when she didn’t, I was curious. Then she told me the news.
For the rest of the day, I was in shock. Luckily, I had a number of Kirsty CDs at work and was able to listen to them on my computer.

Since her death, there have been numerous special releases chronicling her career including the superb three-disc From Croydon to Cuba and its accompanying DVD of music videos.

Nine years have nearly passed but I am still sad at the loss. Kirsty's sensibilities, humour and energy have been something which has touched my heart for many years and I shall never tire of her.

I had a plan to be in Soho Square, London this weekend in order to join the 50th birthday celebrations with a legion of other Kirsty fans, but finances forced me to abandon this dream, but I shall be there in spirit.

In an eerily prophetic twist, the last Song Kirsty recorded before her death was Sun on the Water which ends;

Sun on the water
Lapping around my feet
Sun on the water
Making it hard to see

I want to be the one to say
I'm happy here and here I'll stay
I won't remember yesterday
When I'm dreaming

It was the place where she felt free
And Heaven lies under the sea
Hell is just dry land to me
When I'm dreaming

Thank you for everything, Kirsty.
Happy birthday.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Butcher Boy

Today I had to have another day off work (what a trauma!)
For a few years I have been cursed with a sebaceous cyst on my back. I had it there once before and had it removed, but this feisty little bugger decided to rear its ugly head and torment me once again. I arranged for an appointment with my doctor to have it exorcised but as I had the morning free, I thought I'd make the most of my time and get a blood test done too. My doctor likes to keep track of my blood as I have ridiculously high cholesterol levels (can I sue Twix?) and he likes to keep well and truly on top of it. He said "Should we check for HIV too?" and I laughed. One needs to be having sex first... so I'm fairly safe there - unless you seriously can catch it from a toilet seat.

So I went to the pathology lab and awaited amongst a bunch of freaks until it was my turn. I don't think I am being unfair calling them freaks. One lady had not been able to dress herself properly with one arm missing the sleeve completely and another man kept doing an impression of a horse.
I live in a very odd area.

So, I had my blood sucked out of my arm and I am sure I saw a couple of seedy vampires lurking in the alleyway as I left. Neither of them looked like Eric from True Blood so I continued on my way home.

Now, the next image is of my cyst. It doesn't look too huge in the photo, but believe me, it is larger than one would like and is (obviously) slightly evil.

Now, I have had that nasty little blighter for going on for a decade.

As I have mentioned previously, I have a major crush on my doctor.
Well, it was embarrassing when I think about it how I got ready to head out. I showered, shaved, put aftershave on (thanks Tina!) and made sure my hair was reasonably smart. It was as if I was going on a date! (Chance would be a fine thing)
I felt ridiculous after the only intimacy was his finger penetrating my wound.

I arrived for my appointment and as I sat in the waiting room reading the same damn issue of GQ as I always read when I am there (nice interview with Jeremy Piven), I had this sudden urge to bolt. Maybe it was the memory of the previous exorcism 13+ years ago... maybe it was the fear of pain... but I pulled myself together and before I knew it, I was lying face down on a table with my shirt off.

I cleared the magazines off the table first and the other patients were a tad bemused, of course, who wouldn't be? When my doctor came out and asked me to enter the surgery, I thought it best to follow his advice.

Lying face down, once more, before my (beautiful) doctor, I began to tremble. When I am nervous, I do three things: Tremble, sweat and talk.
I talked and talked about anything my mind could think of. I am sure he was absolutely delighted to know the plot of Julie & Julia.

He told me to relax ("Have you met me?") and he began the procedure, butchering my back open and scraping out the vile monstrosity from within. First the anaesthetic needles went in all around the cyst, then he sliced it open and I felt goo and blood trickle down over my shoulder towards the bed. He spent a good few minutes digging out the dead crap.

It is at this point I would like those who have seen it to recall the second season Torchwood episode entitled Fragments in which a tumor turns out to be an alien which emits a noxious gas and kills everyone.
This scene rang bells with me as the stench was intense. I swear to God, it smelt like my cat's arse after she's eaten dairy.
This pungent odour permeated the room and engulfed everything around. I even saw a plant wilt - and it was plastic! Gross!!

The next image I took with my phone. It's the beast dissected. Not for the squeamish.

Thankfully, it has now been disposed of safely and has been shot into space to avoid further contamination.
My fantasy situation I had played out again and again in my head did not happen. The fantasy went like this...

Hot Doctor: "Are you all right to get home, Ben?"

Me: "Oh, I'll be fine. I'll walk it."

Hot Doctor: "Heavens to Betsy! We can't have that. Let me drive you home."

Hot Doctor and Ben head back to Ben's flat in Hot Doctor's car. They arrive.

Hot Doctor: "Do you need help getting upstairs?"

Me: "Hmm, maybe. And I might need help getting into my PJs..."

Oh, I shan't go on, you can guess the rest...

Sadly, I just had to walk home and pick up some painkillers on the way.

So, now I am back home, the anaesthetic hasn't worn off yet, but when it does, I'll knock back a few pills. I have had a nice mug of tea and a Twix as a special treat for being such a good, albeit talkative, patient.

This is what my back looks like now...

Thank you Hot Butcher - er, I mean 'Doctor'.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Good For Me

On Tuesday, I noticed a slight strain in my shoulder, by Wednesday, it was slightly more aggressive. By Thursday, it had affected my sleep pattern (which is less of a pattern, more of a shambles). So, due to the chronic agony which pulsed through my neck, I decided to do what's best and take the day off work.

Whenever I have a sick day, I always make it worse for myself by stressing over the decision. Who am I letting down? Am I really so incapacitated that I can't work? Do I have the sick days available?

I paced the kitchen for a good half an hour as I weighed up the options but eventually, I saw sense and I dialled the number and excused myself for the day. Oh, and I am so glad I did. I have had this 'trapped nerve' kind of issue many times before and if I don't look after it, the pain can be exacerbated by even slightly strenuous circumstances.

Hot showers, heat packs and painkillers can do so much, but there's no better remedy than time out. I have to admit, i have been rather stressed at work lately - not stressed in a "Oh my God, this patient will die unless I can remove the tumor from her brain" sort of way, but just the amount of work I have been doing whilst initially covering for one colleague for two weeks and then another for a further three, so that the past month or so has had me juggling more than my usual balls (the juggling analogy doesn't work somehow).

Don't get me wrong, I actually enjoy being busy, but my social life has also been busy too and time to myself (which I cherish) has been less frequent than I'd perhaps like.

So, Thursday was spent in my PJs, reading, having many cups of tea and watching many episodes of I Love Lucy. In the evening I ordered a large pizza which I am currently regretting.

When I am off sick and I am reading books which are work-related, I wonder if it should actually be considered a work day - just working from home?! No?

As I write this, it is Friday morning around six o'clock. I still have a slight ache in my shoulder, but I am going to work anyway for two good reasons. One; it's 'Briefing Day' and I hate missing the monthly briefings (I enjoy the company of my colleagues on that day and the communal lunch) and two; I would need a sick note from the doctor were I to have a day off next to a weekend. Who invented that rule?

So, any moment, I will get out of these PJs, have a shower, get dressed and head off.
Good for me!