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Posts archive for: April, 2006
  • Summer's here and the time is right for dancing in the Streets

    Except I'm not!! For the first time in about 7 years May Bank Holiday weekend hasn't seen me dancing at the annual Sweeps Festival in Rochester with Wolf's head and Vixen. Even if I hadn't been ill for the last two weeks I still wouldn't have been dancing because i haven't been to practice for so long.

    29-04-06_1450

    We went down to Rochester on Saturday and we will be back there tomorrow after getting up at 4am to go and greet the Beltane sunrise up on Bluebell Hill. It's odd because I don't know how I feel about not dancing with the side - I expected to get a feel for it when i saw them but I didn't. Hmm more thought about this is obviously needed.

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  • My head (still) hurts

    So my recurring headache problem enters it's third week. I've been off work now for over a week and have been to the doctors five times including once where Sarah was so worried she called an ambulance. It finally seems to be easing a bit but I still haven't had a decent nights sleep in two weeks.

    It started on Good Friday and I made my first visit to the out of hours doctor on Easter Monday. They presribed anti-biotics which I started taking on the Wednesday. Sarah found me on the sofa at 7am Friday morning after I'd spent the whole night there in pain and phoned the doctors again. He doubled the dose of the anti-biotics and prescribed Co-codamol for the pain and a nasal spray.

    On the Saturday night I was once again in agony and Sarah phoned the emergency doctors again. This time I was prescirbed different anti-biotic and a stronger pain-killer. I started taking these on the Sunday. I saw my own GP on the Tuesday and she prescribed another nasal spray and said she would refer me to a specialist but didn't hold much hope that I would be given an appointment.

    I suddenly realised at 2am on Wednesday morning as I was throwing up in the downstairs loo that I was getting worse instead of better and wondering if I was having some sort of reaction to the anti-biotics. The following morning I didn't take any medication and felt much better. I phoned my GP and told them how I was feeling and they said to not take the anti-biotics that day and see how I got on.

    I felt great all morning and when I picked Sarah up from work I suggested that we go and get some lunch. But as we picked up Ben from the child minder I started to get the tell tale burning in my nose and by the time we got home my headache had started. In a few minutes I was writhing in agony and Sarah suggested I take one of the painkillers. That's when it all went wrong. The pain didn't go away and I started getting palpatations as well. Sarah couldn't phone our GP as they were closed for lunch so she phoned the emergency Doctor but before they got back to her she decided that 999 was the best option. I ended up going to the hospital in the ambulance.

    Once again I saw the emergency GP service and this time I actually felt that they took me seriously. The Doctor gave me a really good examination and prescirbed another anti-biotic. It turned out that it was the painkillers rather than the anti-biotics that were causing me to fell unwell. It was suggested that I go back to the Co-codamol and he prescribed a strong anti-inflamitory but as yet I haven't taken them.

    At present I'm still getting the headaches, usually after being asleep for an hour or so. At the moment though it's controlable with steam inhalations when the pain starts. At least I can get some relief if not sleep. I can barely keep my eyes open at the moment. It's a bugger because everything I like doing hurts, music, computers reading etc are all too painful to do.

    One of the things that strikes me about this situation is that the health service is so reactive and not pro-active enough. I've had these headaches for the last six or seven years and the Doctor has always treat the symptoms and nver investigated the cause. They will spend money giving me drugs to get rid of the infection and pain but won't even try and find out why I get it in the first place.

    I'm going to have to stop typing now cause my head is starting to hurt again. I haven't even got to mention how my company has reacted to my absence!!

  • Eng-ger-land!!

    England 4 - Austria 0

    20-04-06_1942

    I went to my first football match in 21 years tonight and my first ever international match. I only found out about the game tonight when Sarah rang and asked if I would like to take her eldest daughter. And it was only down the road in Priestfields Stadium.

    Anyway it was a good game with England taking the lead thanks to an own goal just before half-time. England had much of the game and in the first half the goal in front of us barely saw any action. It looked like staying 1-0 (especially after England had a goal disallowed and there were even one or two moments when an equaliser was on the cards but suddenly with five minutes to go England scored, then two minutes later scored again.

    Then with the final kick of the game they made it four - or did they? The referee wandered back to where the Austrian goalkeeper was lying on the ground, waved his hands around and then blew full-time. I thought for a moment he'd disallowed another one and it was only when we got back that I discovered he hadn't.

    So England are 3 points nearer to qualifying for the world cup in China next year and England's women head their table over rivals France and Holland.

    I have to say I enjoyed the game, the women's team seem to put more effort into it than the chaps, going for balls that the men would leave for dead, fighting every step of the match and not giving up in the second half and at least you don't have to put up with the antics of Brylcream Boy Beckham and his mates!!

  • My head hurts

    Typical!! Been ill all over the easter weekend with my recurring sinus problems. Started as soon as I got into bed on Thursday night - agonising throbbing pain above my left eye. I've been up two or three times every night since. I've slept sitting up on the sofa more times than in bed. We went away at the weekend and there is nothing worse than being ill in someone elses house!!

    The problem was that the drugs don't work (catchy title for a song that) until the pain starts and then I've got at least 30 minutes of agony waiting for the drugs to kick in. It's mostly at night but sometimes early evening too. I went to the emergency doctor yesterday and they gave me anti-biotics but the last two times I've taken them it's cured the sinus problem but gave me a really bad back (not that the doctors believe me) - so far today I've been ok so maybe I won't have to take them.

  • It says Morris on the door, the G.P.O. owned it before

    A few weeks ago we went for a day out to Brooklands Museum where they were holding a Morris Minor day. We were talked into going by some friends who have been going for years. In fact there were a number of people heading across from Chatham so it had the makings of a lovely day out. There was of course the weather and the day before we went it was very cold, so much so that I wondered about the wisdom of spending a day outside.

    In the end we did go and the weather was nice enough to sit outside and eat our picnic but the high point of the day was the cars. It hadn’t dawned on me what a trip down memory lane the day would be. You see Morris cars were the first cars I ever knew after my dad passed his driving test in the mid sixties.

    I don’t remember the order in which he owned them but if I recall correctly there was a Morris Oxford, Morris Minor and several Morris Travellers. These cars took us everywhere in the late 60’s - all round Scotland, to the Orkneys and the Outer Hebrides. He would later swap to Vauxhalls, probably because they stopped making Morris cars but there has always been a soft spot in my heart for the loveable moggie.

    19-03-06_1437

    The car would be loaded up with camping equipment and my brother and I would be in the back seats sitting on piles of sleeping bags with pillows stuffed in around us. We’d be given the collection of “summer specials” that my mum had been buying in the weeks running up to the holidays. They were to keep us occupied and probably to stop the constant refrain of “Are we there yet”. It probably took us ages to actually get there because the Morris Traveller had a top speed of about 70mph – hardly surprising as it only had at best a 1000cc engine and fully loaded it wouldn’t have been the fastest thing on the road.

    It wasn’t just the engine size and top speed that were from another era, the cars still had starting handles! They did have electronic ignition but had a crank handle just in case. The earliest car we had had a split windscreen and pop out indicators. I also remember that if you opened the boot and unbolted the back seat you could get inside the car that way. The style of course was from a bygone age too especially the Travellers which were probably the last in the line of the traditional Shooting Brake.

    19-03-06_1030

    It’s not as if they were without trouble, the first car we had leaked! If it rained the passenger side footwell would fill up with water!!. Those stick out indicators would never work – they’d either pop out and not go back or more likely stay resolutely stuck inside the car. On the way to the Orkneys the front wheel fell off the car as we turned into a garage meaning we had to get a taxi back to the campsite and stay put for 2 days while a part was delivered from the south. In those days they used to lift the cars onto the ferry and when they did my dad was horrified when he saw the amount of rust underneath the car. On one famous occasion my mum, brother and I had to get out of the car as it wouldn’t make it back up the hill.

    Once in Scotland my dad had parked the car on the side of the road while we went walking to St. Mary’s Loch. When we returned to the car my dad went to drive it onto the road and both front wheels fell into a drainage ditch. In the gathering gloom he tried to get the car out again but it didn’t have the traction to do it. We ended up sitting with a blanket wrapped round us while my dad cursed and swore as he jacked up each wheel in turn and stuffed bricks under them. Eventually it was free but not before he threatened to throw a brick through its windscreen and leave it there!!!

    DCP_4469

    So it was great fun going round looking at the different cars and remembering times gone by. We got to sit in one of the Morris Minors and got a ride in a Morris Minor van after the parade. Even the smell of the car was beautiful – a heady mixture of leather and petrol. Cars might have come a long way since then with all their technological advances but they don't have a soul like a Morris Minor.Oh Happy days!!

  • Living on an Island

    Sue Lawley

    It’s been announced that Sue Lawley is to stop presenting Desert Island Discs after 18 years – shit I still think of her as the new girl!! Can I have the job please?

  • In the Beginning was Sound

    I caught the first of this year's Reith lectures on Radio 4 last Friday morning. On the face of it the lecture series sounded interesting as they are being given this year by pianist and conductor Daniel Barenboim under the title "In the Beginning was Sound" and promised to discuss the interplay between music and society.

    However after listening to the first lecture from the Cadogan Hall in London I was sceptical about them because despite Mr Barenboim saying right from the start "It is with some slight trepidation that I do that, because I firmly believe that it is really impossible to speak really deeply about music. All we can do then is speak about our own reaction to the music" which sounded promising and then went on to say that he would investigate why it is that we are neglecting our ears so much, and why we have become such a visual society, and why it is that the eye seems to have so much more power than the ear.

    However I was disappointed to hear that although he claimed that he wasn't elitist or high brow he went on to disparage certain forms of music such as pop music, opera (which he dismissed out of hand) and even some classical composers. It appears that he only wants to consider a very narrow section of classical music which he says has the power to move people but only if they are able to understand the music.

    Well I would beg to differ - while I agree in principle that music has a power to move people in ways that defy explanation I don't think that power is limited to a single genre. I've already written on many occasions about my feelings toward music of all styles. Music has the power to lift you when you're down, make you smile, make you cry, transport to other places, make you think or let you switch off.

    It will be interesting to see how he develops the lectures in the following weeks. In the second lecture he plans to talk about his dislike of muzak and how he feels the visual sense has become dominant in recent years with the rise of TV, videos and the internet. He feels that people have lost the ability to listen and have been desensitised to music by hearing classical music in lifts etc - sounds interesting.

    On the subject of music I caught the BBC Radio 3 World Music awards tonight - two acts caught my ear - The Armenian Navy Band and Fanfare Ciocarlia, a Gypsy brass band from Romania who are reputedly the fastest band in the world!!

  • Dust? Anybody? No?

    We went to see Little Britain on Friday night at the Brighton Centre. We bought the tickets almost a year ago and it was well worth the wait. We had great seats - just off centre 13 rows back which meant that we could clearly see their faces which added to the enjoyment.

    Despite having been on tour for almost six months already David Walliams and Matt Lucas are still clearly enjoying themselves parading their series of bizarre characters in front of a live audience. And what a list of characters - Andy & Lou, Marjorie Dawes, Vicky Pollard, Dafydd, Sebastian and Emily Howard all come to life in front of your eyes. It was obvious that some of the characters were more popular than others due to the reaction of the crowd.

    The show is two hours of sketches in front of a huge screen which projects the backgrounds and videos that fill the gaps while they change costumes. The props slide on and off on rails while the voice of Tom Baker introduces the next sketch "...in the village of Cuntington" cue laughter... he then interjects again and says "it's alright it's spelt with a K".

    There are so many highlights that you struggle to pick your favourite bit but if you twist my arm I would pick David Walliams as Sebastian stripped naked with his knob stuffed between his legs bouncing around the stage shouting "look Prime Minister I'm a girl" ah classic comedy!

    Ad libs and cock ups abounded but only added to the fun - Andy fell up the stairs running back onto the stage and this incident was mentioned by Kenny Craig and Marjory Dawes later in the show. Roy was asked by Mr Mann "Is your moustache really faulty or are you hiding a laugh" "I hate you" replied Roy!! Denis Waterman mused about why a bee was bigger than a dog and what the real Denis Waterman would do to them if they ever met him. When he was told he couldn't write and sing the feem toon the audience went "awwww" and he shouted "don't you patronise me".

    There were great special effects Maggie puked, the incontinent grannie pissed, Ray McCooney played his pipes and talked of the magic tellybox with mischevious sprites that came out and cavorted while you play with your magic wand!! The jokes just kept coming untilthe grand finale with Daffyd's song I'm Gay with lines about burgling turds and packing fudge!! Thankfully a lot of it went over the head of Sarah's youngest who at 10 was probably the youngest member of the audience.

    Very few of the supporting actors from the series are on the tour - no Myfanwy or Anthony Head (who was too expensive) - Paul from Fat Fighters being one of the few - but on two occasions audience members were dragged onto the stage. Des kaye brought up two people to play "hide the sausage" before trying to shag a poor Australian!! Marjory Dawes came looking for a new member for a on stage weigh in. She got to the end of our aisle and my kids were trying to get her to pick me. In a classic couldn't care less moment she asked on of two large ladies behind us if they would like to come up. When they said no she said "I suppose just coming out tonight was humiliation enough"

    Pictures from the live show can be found here

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