Thursday, August 18, 2011

Worst Fears and All That

I might not have proper arthritis, but Jesus Harry Christ, do my bones tell me when it's damp and rainy, or what? Those of you who are always eager to read about my ails and woes will be disappointed to hear that since about April my general aches and pains have abated to the point where I even think of myself as being almost as fit as a man fast approaching 50 can be. I suppose the dry year has had a lot to do with it and that thing we talked about a couple of months ago - the special medicine.

However, I appear to have developed 'Tennis Elbow', despite not playing tennis. I know what it is, it's the same thing as is affecting all of my joints; the gradual degeneration because of wear and tear. it seems like a pathetic diagnosis really; but if you ask me, or my mate Wendy who also suffers from this debilitating problem, we'd tell you that GPs are as useful as using a jellyfish to clean your windows. What we really want is a miracle drug to stop the pain, or at least one that doesn't fuck us up in a not very nice way. No wonder people prefer illegal drugs to prescription ones - the fun ratio is disparate.

My elbow shows absolutely no visible signs that it feels as though I have bones grinding together like two Russians in a porn movie, but bone problems will always be viewed by people with massive scars or missing limbs as 'out of sight and not that bad'.

Ironically, I think the problem I'm having with my right elbow is directly linked to my problems with my left shoulder. Sounds unlikely I know, but if you consider the fact that I was using my right arm twice as much as normal during an 18 month period, then this not so sudden problem becomes easier to understand. Damp days like today only exacerbate it.


Walking the dogs down my usual haunt - Bradlaugh Fields - I normally, when I'm on my own, go round the perimeter of the south side of this sprawling wilderness. this involves skirting with the Morrisons' garage and walking along the security fence of the local allotments. For the last few days there has been a really horrid smell emanating from a copse of wild plum trees, surrounded by brambles and knowing that at least two of my dogs have a real thing about rolling on rotting carcasses, I've been walking passed this part of the fields at double pace, especially as the smell has been getting worse.

For the first few times, I just took it for granted that it was some dead animal, but yesterday I must have been in a wildly imaginative mood, because I suddenly thought that this part of Bradlaugh Fields was perfect for hiding a dead body. Parts of it are virtually impenetrable, unless you have heavy duty overalls and padded gloves. What if someone had dumped a body there? What would I do? How would I react? Do you know how you can sometimes convince yourself that your worst fears are going to be realised? Well, the closer I got to the pungent odour, the more I thought I was going to find a dead body. The smell of rotting flesh was unlike any I'd ever smelled before - it had a sweet tinge to it and this just heightened my fears.

I also don't know if my fear of this or my urgency to avoid the place on previous trips had some effect on the dogs, but they seemed to be uninterested in the smell and avoided this patch almost visibly; this further enhanced my belief that I was going to uncover a murder. The truth turns out to be almost a bizarre...

I decided that it was almost a civic duty to investigate; so I stopped at the point where the smell was worst and tried to peer through the brambles. I didn't see anything. the dogs were not interested in what I was doing, so I moved along a bit and used the dog lead I was carrying to help pull back the wild growth. Did I see something? I think I did and my stomach turned over. I looked again and saw something pink.

Deciding that I was right; I moved along and found a spot that allows you to move into the copse of plum trees without encountering the brambles; only Murray was interested in what I was doing and he was stuck to my heel like a wad of chewing gum. Was he as nervous as me? Then I saw it and at first it was the mutilated body of a small child. I almost screamed out. Then I looked more closely and my brain started to play tricks on me; it must have been. Lying about ten feet in front of me was the carcass of a pig. A pig? I shook my head. How the fuck does a pig get there? It was barely fully grown from my guess, possibly six months old and it had obviously been had by either foxes or badgers (my mind was not entertaining any thing else at that time); but how the hell did it get to Bradlaugh Fields?

All I could think of was that the allotments have some livestock; someone must have been keeping pigs and this one must have been captured and killed and then somehow dragged back to a safe place to chow down on. But the allotments are like Colditz; they have touch fences and razor wire running along the top. the only way for this pig to have got where it was was by being dragged through a tunnel. But it fucking freaked me out for a second!


It's cold and wet and while days like this spoil summers; I'm the first to realise that a) the gardens need it and b) it propagates the return of mushrooms. From the weekend on, keep your eyes open, you'll start to see an abundance of potentially gourmet offerings popping up in the unlikeliest of places.

I've already found my first wild mushroom of the year; it was in my garden, growing amongst the old lilac tree that has turned into a weed. it was a parasol and it had been eaten to buggery by insects. They grew there last year and were just another of the many things I ate for free. So, I've been keeping an eye on this patch of the garden and giving it some extra water, despite not really needing it now as the strawberries have all died back.

Then the day before yesterday I saw a little nub poking out of the ground. It looked like the start of another parasol and it also gave me the opportunity to see if a theory of mine is correct - that parasol mushrooms stop growing once they've been seen (because my experience suggests exactly that). Yesterday, I checked on it again and true enough it hadn't changed. I moved the leaves to one side and touched the cap; then had an awful case of stupid realisation. It was a stone. It wasn't going to get any bigger and it certainly wouldn't be an added bonus to a culinary dish. I chuckled at myself over that one!


I've been pleasantly surprised by two albums over the last couple of weeks. The first is The Horrors new CD, Skying, which is just remarkable. It sounds like an album from the 1980s with 21st century production. I can now understand why the press were so amazed by this album, because the little bit of The Horrors I'd heard before this made me want to put drills in my ears!

The other album is the new one from Bon Iver, which is pretty much indescribable - it's a mixture of prog, folk, chill and dream like melodies that are not like the boring stuff the band did in the past that have made them firmly no where near my music radar. There are a few moments in it that make you think you're listening to some MOR US Rock band from the 1980s, but I'm forgetting that bands now a days are all influenced by everything, even the shit we used to avoid when we were their age.


I have irons in the fire again. Keep your fingers crossed that something positive comes from this round of applications!

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