Friday, August 14, 2015


The story so far…

July 1st 2014: lifting Marley onto a vet’s table there was a pop in my shoulder – a very painful pop.

October 2nd 2014: the doctor tells me I’ve probably ruptured a tendon and refers me to a specialist.

August 1st 2015: Mr Divyang Shukla re-enters my shoulder via a keyhole for the second time in exactly 5 years.

It wasn’t as bad as he thought it might be, but my bicep needed a lot of work and the rehabilitation is going to take a long time because my muscle isn’t there anymore; it's just a flabby bit of fat and flesh.

Typing has been tough in the last week; typing one-handed is a bind when you’re used to typing almost properly, so I limited myself to the occasional Facebook post. I’ve also been going through a period of reflection when I haven’t been rushed off my feet by the new puppy, and the wife took last week off to essentially help me but also discovered her inner-Percy-Thrower and transformed the garden from a rather rustic looking place to something I said my dad would be proud of and anyone who knew my dad knew he loved his gardens.

I’ve been in a sling for most of the week because gravity sucks, but I drove a couple of miles yesterday and have declared myself able to cope because frankly I don’t do enough with my left arm when I drive apart from change the gears and that isn’t a problem – even reverse. The major problem appears to be my biceps – now that I’m using them again my arm doesn’t just complain, it sends a 50,000 word letter of complaint dipped in salt.

The reflection was due to my inability to do anything proper and because in the coming weeks there will, hopefully, be nothing to stop me from actually getting a job. My shoulder has been a bit like an invisible elephant in the room at the few job interviews I’ve had and has been an underlying reason for my horrid year of depression and the reason was because it was the thing that reminded me that functioning physically well wasn’t going to happen until it was fixed, so it dampened down any optimism because it was there like a devil, reminding me - except it wasn't allowed to sit on my left shoulder.

Doug the dog has been an exhausting revelation. The girls have accepted him and when that happened completely the entire house lost the melancholia surrounding it since Murray. Last week, despite the fact my incapacity made me edgy, was the best week of 2015 by a country mile. The stress headache that had been plaguing me for the two weeks up to the operation was gone and the new boy just took up time in the best possible way. Sleep would have been nice, but he’s a baby and he needed us to be aware to help him in his training. He’s 70% house trained, we just need to keep him focused against slip ups – wees only – and teach him that the dog flap isn’t something to be frightened of.

That said, we had one of those ‘events’ at 1.20am this morning… Imagine The Hangover and sit back and enjoy…

6:00am – the alarm goes off and the wife gets up, does her daily morning stuff and returns to the bedroom to retrieve the puppy for his morning ablutions and his first meal of the day. I only have her word for what followed but my mind keeps thinking of Cell Block H and not the kitsch Aussie soap. She was greeted with shit – runny stinky shit – all over the kitchen floor, in the conservatory and some had made it into the living room onto the carpet. The wee was just like club cards – something extra. I was oblivious of this and it wasn’t until about 7:10 that I had any idea what had happened.

The wife threw back the bottom of the quilt and looked at my feet, then threw it back over me. I had the puppy curled up next to me fast asleep, “I don’t know how you didn’t walk through all that shit,” and disappeared off to work.

“Huh?” I was puzzled; there hadn’t been any shit. We’d had one of those ‘rush jobs’ at 1:20; Doug had been fast asleep next to me on the bed when he got up and jumped off and onto his own bed. The wife woke up almost instantly, but I reassured her; but less than a minute Doug was standing at the top of the stairs whining; as I jumped out of bed (as fast as one can with one arm), Doug started down the stairs. Instead of doing what I should have done, especially given that the dog is now two weeks plus older than he was when we got him, was grab my dressing gown, but mild pooh panic had hit me so I just ‘ran’ after Doug, stark naked in the middle of a night that soon became obvious wasn’t as warm as some August nights.

I was delighted with the boy; he was sitting waiting for me by the door, I opened it and he went straight out and I started to shiver. I thought I heard a very farty pooh taking place, but my teeth started to chatter and because of my COPD, plunging me into a cold environment has the effect of shocking my system into forgetting to breathe – yes, I know it sounds odd but it’s probably the worst symptom of this disease and the one that is the most difficult to bring under control, because even when you warm back up your breathing hasn’t caught up with the rest of you. I was starting to panic – not the aforementioned pooh-panic, but a new scary I-Can’t-Breathe panic. Doug was now just sniffing around the picnic table, so I called him in, shut the door and shot up the stairs and into bed as quick as I could. Doug was obviously behind me…

No, while I was trying to regulate my hyperventilating and explain to the wife how he’d just had a shit and I couldn’t bet my life on him having had a pee. He came back up, curled up on his own bed and went to sleep. The wife mumbled something about having to stop him eating windfall apples and then the alarm went off – it was 6:00am.

Obviously what had happened was in the three minutes or so it took me to explain what had happened, Doug decided that not only did he now need a wee, but that rather farty pooh I’d heard was just the start of it. Suffice it to say for a little, wiry dog he could shit for England. I can only blame myself.

I’ll tell you what else is covered in shit, the Labour leadership race and the way the Triptych of Twats just seem so anodyne and divisive, especially in the way they have no real policies, sound like right wing Liberals and just appear to constantly attacking the only candidate that appears to be treating this as a serious discussion about where the party needs to go. I have reservations about Jeremy Corbyn, but he’s done a Nicola Sturgeon and got people talking about politics and ideology again and where the party has gone wrong; oh and he’s anti-austerity therefore doesn’t represent the establishment. God, no wonder everyone sounds scared of a 66-year-old moderately left-wing man.

If Labour eats itself in a frenzy if and when Corbyn is crowned leader then it won’t just lose the next election, they’ll probably just self-destruct, lose all credibility and I’m moving to Scotland so I’d probably just shrug and think that people probably got what they deserve.

I'm growing a coquina squash and it's working.

Just recently I mentioned Shenley Hospital and next Wednesday I intend to return to my home of three years in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Sadly it is to attend a funeral, of someone I haven't seen for 33 years (and obviously I won't see again), a chap called Pete Skelley - he worked for my dad behind the bar at the social club and him and Wendy, his wife, were great friends outside of work with my folks. I also worked with Pete behind the bar - a genuinely affable and lovely guy...

There will be a number of people from my long-ago-past there next week; it will be ... unusual.

Sunday, August 02, 2015

Pups and stuff

Memories... weird things, especially for me. It lead me to believe that something, on the surface, as happy and life-changing as getting a puppy dog, is actually utter madness and a complete drain on resources and a massive stress bringer - it has to be, otherwise you'd remember all the fantastic days you had playing with your new dog.

That said, Doug is fantastic. Doug is also a puppy and therefore it is like juggling jelly - literally. But he is an absolute darling and I cannot believe that in six or seven years time we won't remember half of these days. Did I say 'half'? I meant most. Both of us have been struggling to remember just what Murray had been like when we first got him. He was much younger than Doug (by about 6 weeks) and we seem to recall he was a very chilled and laid back little man (who whinged a lot). Memories of Ness when we got her seem to consist of a black ball of hate picking on everything with four legs - but in reality she wasn't really like that.

Do real parents of actual children have this problem?


If it arrives on terrestrial TV then I have to recommend Mr Robot. Don't ask me what it's actually about because I have no idea, it's just excellently made, reminds me of Repo Man crossed with something contemporary and the closer you figure you get to coming to some understanding, the further away it takes you.

It's by Sam Esmail, who I believe is possibly the luckiest git on the planet, for completely unrelated reasons.


Anarchist moment: social media apologies. I find racists, wankers and antisocial quite abhorrent, but I have always argued that anyone who is a citizen of this freedom-of-speech preaching country is entitled to their opinions and equally entitled to voice them and in the event of this should accept any criticism as long as it constructive. Equally, if someone wants to show their misogyny on their Twitter, or display some kind of ism on whatever social media network they use, I find it offensive on two fronts to demand public apologies.

The apology appears to have become some kind of throwaway and pointless hairshirt, especially if someone offends someone else, or, heaven forbid, an entire section of society. I wonder if the woman who got her tits out on top of a volcano in the far east was really sorry for doing it? Was she really upset because a bunch of savages thought she was responsible for a natural disaster? I reckon she can sleep at night.

This Palmer guy, currently being hounded on social networks and proper media for killing the lion in Zimbabwe (which, incidentally, is the only country in the world not showing outrage at this hunting catastrophe,) he's issued an apology, but he's also got a photo album with him holding the carcasses of everything from a snail to a fucking blue whale, so he's really sorry, isn't he? But he's apologised and the outrage has decreased by 30% since that apology (although he'll still end up killed by a nutter, you watch).

I have always been of the impression that the decline of Tiger Woods as the world's best golfer had nothing to do with the fact he liked shagging anything with a hole and everything to do with having to apologise to a load of people who had absolutely fuck all to do with anything. If Woods' sponsors didn't like his dick antics, surely that's for the boardroom and not for the media?

This is just an extension of 'being offended' and a bi-product of the madness that is the social network system.


Tomorrow I enter the hospital to have my shoulder fixed (again). The timing is odd as it will be exactly five years since the last op on the same shoulder and I've been suffering from anxiety/stress headaches because of the possibility of having to stay in overnight. I hate being away from home, simple as that.


Next week I will be a one armed man and it is time to do the 3rd rewrite of The Imagination Station. I've been gearing myself up for it by doing nothing at all. My writing output for the last few weeks has been pathetic and there hasn't really been much excuse for it apart from the last week of having Doug the dog.

I feel confident about it; so much so that when this version is finished I'm handing it to the wife to read and critique.


I realised a few minutes ago that the weather has been so meh for the last month this is the first time in July I have sat outside and done anything apart from gardening. We shouldn't be surprised this has pretty much been the pattern for years now; it's like Mother Nature is vindictive and wants school kids to get damp and moldy and be stuck inside with exasperated parents.

Summers are often disappointing, especially if one is old enough to remember 1976, but because I have a lot of time on my hands I do lots of reading and I've been looking at weather history (thanks to a book that RnB bought me and dozens of useful and nerdy websites.


(this was written before my shoulder operation)