Here Comes the Rain Again

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August bank holiday, generally scorchio, as appropriate for the Notting Hill Carnival, and we’ve dived straight into autumn without a thought for due process.

Rainy grey light on the Lea.

Some people don’t care either way.

And what have I been doing since last we met? Well, the usual lot of nothing. I’ve been experimenting with coming off medication, eating my body weight in blackberries, and not getting my Have A Word thing written…

I’ve been picking a few blackers most days when I’ve been out with the dog. It’s always amazing how different really fresh things taste to – well, less fresh things.

Blackberries.

It’s been hot, and I am chronically underslept. The rain brings a certain quiet, but also makes me creaky, so it’s swings and roundabouts health wise.

Have A Word is a thing m’friend Ellis has been doing in Brighton for the past few months – there’s no website as such, just a rolling series of HAW fb pages. It’s a monthly spoken word evening in aid of Sussex Beacon and it’s just gone into profit. Ellis is one of those people who ‘just does’ things. A couple of years ago he picked up a camera and within a few weeks had an exhibition – still showing regularly now. Similarly, he ‘just’ decided to host a spoken word event, and now he ‘just’ does.  I love that. Inspirational!

So, of course, without really thinking about possible consequences I asked if I could do a spot, and now I have fifteen minutes to fill on September 11th. I have *something* written, but not 15 minutes worth of something, and I’ve been quietly panicking away here. I had a couple of false starts, but have settled upon doing a sort of jazzy noodle version of a ‘book report’. It’s not a book review – I am barely talking about the book that kicked me off at all, but I quite like calling it a ‘book report’ because that’s what we did at school. And I was quite good at it. But it’s not really one, it’s just me starting off with some of the elements of a book and noodling off with it. The book in question is Pattern Recognition by William Gibson. My ‘report’ features blackberries quite heavily, which the novel does not. And fashion branding, which the novel does.

In other news I have been looking at swapping flats again… not sure whether it will happen or not, but I’ve seen a few now, and am narrowing down my focus – I’m not in a fit state to be moving just for the sake of it, and the Riviera has it’s plusses. But sometimes I start ‘shopping’ and contact a whole slew of people and then some of them get back to me and I think – did I really think I could move to Kilburn? Was that a thing?

Two current front runners involve a flat just off Brick Lane and one just north of Victoria Park – so, areas I’ve lived in before and not just mad night time digital ramblings. Now I have to write to someone and tell her I was QUITE MAD to think I could move so far away from ‘everything’.

And finally, here’s a GPOY of Pops.

relaxypoo

Holiday Snaps

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The photos to complement previous posts When in Spain and Work, Rest, and Play

everything was labelled. when she ran out of these she simply used biro.

because you will never be able to work out how to use a light switch for yourself.

wheat and olives in the bathrooms. wrong.

flowers like opal fruits!

walter hottle bottle came along for the ride.

pool. looks nice, but took me an hour to get in it was so cold.

coffee on the beach. like a boss.

not everything was derisible. the garden was well planted and there were lots of pretty succlents.

garlic so fercund that it even had an extra ring around the garlic of more garlic.

view from the balcony. it was pretty nice. though you could see benidorm from the beach, which was terrifying.

one of only two pieces of graffiti in el portet.

no domestic animals. perhaps bring your cows?

sorry graf.

Four and a half Months, 500 Likes, and a Book Review

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HecTOR is 4 1/2 months old now. We think.

Anyway, it’s a fortnight since we got him, and I have NO BRAIN LEFT. What I do have, now, though, is a new respect for parents. Okay, I do have one or two neurological conditions which make me predisposed to being super tired, but at least I get sleep, even if it’s not the super good quality sleep, the M&S sleep of the healthy. HECtor spends most of the night snuggled against my head, neck or face, which is sweet, if a bit non-breathy.

I only call him Hector some of the time. He never answered to ‘Ben’ which is his ADM adoption name, but I am aware that a new owner will want to name him themselves, and so I call him ‘puppy’ a lot as well as just squeaking *HEY* at him. (And growling NO!)

I note ADM have added a whole bunch of Ian Morrison’s fancy pictures to his profile – the main one being a black and white shot for all the world like an actor’s head shot.

Moody.


They also have him down as a staffie mix, which I am not sure he is. They might know better, or they might just be hedging their bets, since the trademark body type and triangular head won’t arrive for some time yet. What I notice is his paws are nice and big, and his legs are as long as Popsy’s already. And he walks like he had balls the size of tennis balls, even though they are no bigger than marbles. Also, he has a lot of spare skin on his head which makes him look like he is frowning – I think the spare skin is for his triangle head. But I could be wrong, so don’t quote me.

Here’s one which reflects his Scrappy Doo ness.

scrappy doo

Ten’s observation that young Hector has a touch of the Scrappy Doos about him reminds me of a statue in Kew Gardens called The White Greyhound of Richmond which, tragically, Wikipedia fails to illustrate, so you’ll have to click here to read about it after you have looked at the stupidly arty picture on the English Heritage site. When I first saw it I just thought SCOOOOBYDOOOOO!!!!!! But this was pre digital camera, so I don’t have my own image of it. And Kew is bloody miles away from here, so I doubt I will be snagging one soon.

Still! SCOOBYDOOOOOOO!!!!! No?

***

I fail to have much news to impart due to all the parenthood but I will do my best, since I love my blog and I love you reading my blog, my dear readers. I have just passed 500 likes, apparently, so that’s NICE and LIKEY.

***

At night I like to listen to Radio 4 plays and stories. There’s been a serialization of The Bell Jar lately, there’s always the Afternoon Play to catch up on, and I like The News Quiz, which is a satirical offering hosted by Sandi Tosfig and featuring Jeremy Hardy, both of whom I LOVE. What I didn’t love, the other night, was Thinking Allowed, which is hosted by sociologist Laurie Taylor. It’s not my favourite programme, but I do have a passing interest in things sociological, having done a postgraduate course in that area. Usually it’s pretty inoffensive. It’s not very challenging, but it sometimes airs some interesting things, and this episode promised a look at ‘neds’ – a sort of Scottish version of ‘chavs’, and for my American friends ‘white trash’ or for Grady – ‘zefs’. So far so predictable. Then he had another guest on, one Simon Harding, who has authored a book called ‘Unleashed’… a £70 tome about “attack dogs” and their owners. Priced presumably to catch that niche market ‘lawyers prosecuting dog attack cases’ he revealed his position to be an example of what, in sociology, we call a “common sense argument” – that is to say, ill thought out bollocks.

Relying mainly on statistics, Harding found that it was hard to get any qualitative research done since his interviews, designed to highlight these dogs owners as having ‘status deficit’ resulted in him having to RUN AWAY in the middle of them. Quel surprise.

What pissed me off was that my going to sleep cozy gravy of programmes had been RUINED by a spike of adrenaline as I listened to this smug tosser opine about the uneducated working classes.

He managed to make a strangled coda of ‘well, staffies are different’ but it was rather too little too late for my liking. My only hope, which presumably is his hope, is that having become an ‘expert’ in ‘attack dogs’ he will be asked to act as expert witness in dog bite cases. What will happen then is that the jury or, more likely JP, will discover what a total tosser this guy is as he reveals his ‘research’ to be merely prejudiced opinion.

You will hardly be surprised to discover that I wrote an Amazon review PDQ – although I had to fillet out all the swearing I had so creatively used in my facebook update on the same topic.

Goodbye to All That, New Year Navel Gazing, and PhD or Poundland

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Okay, Christmas is over, people, lets get on.

Diane Arbus, Xmas Tree in a Living Room, Levittown, L.I., 1963

It’s December 29th! Lets do a little Navel Gazing!

Year on year I don’t really seem to make many advances migraine wise. Yet I wouldn’t go back. So… something is good. Or better. Maybe increased insight is worth having even if the net result on migraines is actually nil. I do feel like I am getting somewhere. And little things matter to me. And if you can take pleasure in small things then life is a LOT sweeter. Frinstance, yesterday I blogged about Die Antwoord which is something I have been meaning to do for weeks, and changed up my tumblr theme – again something long overdue. AND I changed all my links on this blog, twitter, and tumblr to #2c749e which is a lovely blue – replacing a hot orange (so last year, my dear). I haven’t done a tumblr post for a long while – I should rectify that – but I am pleased to say that at some point wordpress decided to Xpost to tumblr, and my wp posts have been reblogged several times, which means possibly new readers – fingers crossed!

I also hoovered and mopped, which left me with a bad back, a difficult night and a migraine in the  morning, but with Ten gone the sitting room is READY for me to do stuff. The stuff I have to or want to do includes boring paperwork (urgent), painting (haven’t done any in a little while, need to get into a rhythm with that) and AND and a PhD application.

That’s right, you read it here first. Or second, I’m pretty sure I have mentioned it somewhere already. Anyway, I was in conversation with someone on twitter, and he was promoting a funded PhD. I said it wasn’t quite my thing, but I’d share and he ended up encouraging me to apply. The deadline is end of January, so I will have to look sharp. Thing is, that I had really given up the idea of doing such a thing some time ago but in practical terms it could be the very get out of jail free card that I need. At any rate, I will write a proposal and see if it flies.

So, the way they put it was about ‘Creating the Sustainable Digital City’ which, from the blurb looked like it would be rather about politics and hardware.

It’s being hosted by the department of “The Built Environment” at Heriot Watt university. Not somewhere I would naturally think of applying. I like that I have a month to get it together, though. Plenty time, but a short enough deadline to get me moving on it. If what I come up with loses steam quickly I will know it’s not for me – and same goes if they reject it. If, however, I got in, not only would I not have to live in Edinburgh, but I wouldn’t need to stay put at all, and I could go all global and travelly. Always assuming I got through the next firey hoop – applying for AHRC funding for a grant. It wouldn’t be do-able otherwise, and the great thing about being on a grant for three years is I could get out of this hell hole of being on benefits during a Tory hate campaign against the disabled.

Whether I would be up to the job is a whole other question. PhDs seem to make people ill and mental, but given that I am starting from that point things could either be just fine or go horribly wrong quite quickly. A better option than waiting to be sent to work at Poundland, anyway.

Lovely hyenas, No sleeps til Ken visits! and Spoonie Springcleaning in Autumn

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Following a discussion on facebook where an evil friend posted this picture;

this photo, without the caption, is by one piet hugo, who has a whole exhibition of pictures of men with tame hyenas. click on the pic to see more of his work.

Which made me want a hyena SOOO BADLY!!!

(for Poppet, you understand, not *me*). And then anotherfriend cruelly posted THIS picture;

look at the smiley face! also, even poppet wouldn’t ignore cats like that boo boo.

which just makes me want one even MOAR! Aaargh! The taunting!

Can you imagine how proud Poppet would be to be seen around the Riviera with a boyfriend like THAT? Also, it would really shut up the naysayers who like to criticize staffies!

check out *my* teeth, yo!

If you click on that little cutie you can read how hyenas laugh at mealtimes because they are nervous! Not the horrid beasts of our Disneyfied imaginations, then.

***

NO more sleeps til Ken visits! He arrives on the Riviera around 7pm by my reckoning. He’s requested vegetables for dinner, so we are having stir fry.

Well, he’s mostly going to a tea convention but whatever, we will be conferencing nevertheless. IF lucy’s football had a searchy thing on her blog, or a tag cloud or SOMETHING! I could link you to her exciting pieces where she writes about ken’s (fictional) bon vivanting. However, failing that, lets take a look at the time when Ken stowed us away in his rucksack when he went to Berlin and visited the zoo. Here’s the storify he wrote. Or collated from our twitter clamourings.

***

So what else is going on in the elaine4queen house? Well, I have mostly been sick as a dawg. BUT, recently there has been a little bit of housework going on. Oddly, I discovered that another spoonie had been doing the same. (Two is not really a sample size, but it’s all I could rustle up, so bear with.) We  wondered whether it’s because it takes us 6 months to get around to doing what other people do in the spring time.

While that may be true, since it takes me a living age to get around to anything that isn’t a total emergency, but I’ve also come up with an alternative explanation (based on a sample size of one – me) because this is the time of year when I still have a bit of summer in me, so I like to tackle things before hibernation season comes upon us.

On the other hand, it could just be that I’ve got Ken coming, closely followed by Wills and Grant all the way from Scotland for a few days, and on one of those days/evenings we are having PEOPLE over. I know, not something I do lightly, but, Gentle Reader, yet another of my friends died this summer. This is obviously something that happens now. I don’t like it. Anyway, I made it to the funeral but a lot of people didn’t – it was rather sudden and in August, so people were away or just couldn’t come. So we are going to have a little remembrance here  next week. I will certainly be putting the hoover round. I also need to source nibbles and whatnot.

letter from poppet, birthday pics, and richard o’dwyer extradition petition

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Migraine Awareness Month #25: “Through My Children’s Eyes.” Write a letter to yourself from your children. 


i don’t have children as such. of course, i do have my lovely dog, poppet. she doesn’t care about migraine though she does like a cuddle.

der laine,

i laik the fud. also walk in park. is saf to et squirls? i’m nevr sur.

party yestiday was kite gud. not sur abot dog, she laiked eting from thi bin, and that is mine.

nao can i go bak to slep? yu intruptx a god drem.

lov, popit.

“National Migraine Awareness Month is initiated by the National Headache Foundation. The Blogger’s Challenge is initiated by www.FightingHeadacheDisorders.com.”

***

now then! birthday!

happily, i had a proper photographer on hand, because i am not one for taking pictures in company. ellis took these. pictures of people mainly came out blurred – damn camera was probably on manual, it’s an awkward beast. still, he got some good shots of CAKE and so on, which is the main thing.

i asked stephen from next door to bring in his piano since we had so many musicans handy, and he brought in a couple of guitars as well. so we had sing songs which was lovely.

i had the best day. i love bringing people together. it was a nice mix – nearly everyone knew more than one other person and everyone had lots in common. i had a little lie down about threeish, and then rallied. in the evening stephen, ten, poppet and i watched limitless, which was just the sort of tosh we were fit for.

***

this kid is being threatened with extradition to the US

“Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales has made a rare political intervention to call on Theresa May to stop the extradition of British student Richard O’Dwyer to the US for alleged copyright offences.”

click through here to read the full article and sign the petition – pretty please!

drink more water, accepting an award, and a quote

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Migraine Awareness Month #11:  “Say What?!” What’s the most ridiculous thing ever said to you about Migraines, who said it, and under what circumstances?

for me, it’s not just the STUPIDNESS of the thing, but also very much the context. a lot of the time i am interested in people’s suggestions, just because it’s usually simple things that are helpful (and i have fibro and possibly? a stand alone mental health condition, so i need all the help i can get) but there are some times when the “helpful suggestion” is just so annoying. and it’s usually when i think someone should know me better.

the time i am thinking of, in particular, was when some helpful soul suggested i drink more water. now, depending on how this is put or the timing of it, this can be a good idea. HOWEVER! in the ten years plus that i have suffered from chronic migraine i do think i have tried drinking more water. really, it’s not an obscure idea.

what pissed me off about this incident was that it was when i was involved with the buddhists in such a way that i was in a close knit group. you’d think that buddhists would be quite mindful and, adding insult to injury, this person had chronic pain issues too. i do understand that people often can’t bear my pain, most especially the fact that it is unlikely to go away. i get it, but the way i was told “drink more water” was so dismissive. as if i were a naughty person who deliberately didn’t drink water in order to give myself constant migraines! I’LL SHOW THEM HAHAHA! – let me be ILL ALL THE TIME! WHAT FUN!

no, it doesn’t work like that. thank you for your input.

“National Migraine Awareness Month is initiated by the National Headache Foundation. The Blogger’s Challenge is initiated by www.FightingHeadacheDisorders.com.”

***

and, breathe.

missus tribble offered me this award yesterday. thank god! i thought. not because i was desperate for recognition, although i am a fiend for praise, but because, crikey bongo! isn’t blogging every single day hard?

so having a TASK is a relief. only thing is that this one is a bit un-tasky because it requires me to tell you seven random things about myself, which still leaves a lot to me. however, it does at least let me extemporize in a way in which i might not have felt free to do otherwise. isn’t it weird, we have this space in which we can put pretty much anything, and yet we can still feel some sort of pressure. i don’t know when i became a monkey on a unicycle, i really don’t.

anyway, at the risk of having my precious award whipped away from me, the other half of the award equation is that of passing it on. DO YOU KNOW HOW MUCH EFFORT I MADE DOING THIS THE LAST TIME? DO YOU? loads, is what, and i think a grand total of zero bloggers accepted the award. so this time i am keeping the damn thing to myself.

so! on with the show!

seven random things. let me see.

1. my dog just grunted. she does that a lot. it’s the sound of contentment.

2. i need new glasses. these are totally wrong for my eyes now. this task involves going to an optician and having an eye test. neither of which mix and match well with this perma migraine i seem to have had the last fortnight or so. but having the wrong glasses on could easily be giving me headaches, so BLAH.

3. i will be 50 this month. i have mostly asked for cake, but my friend lottie asked me what else i wanted, so i sent her a list. mostly of things i wanted someone else to come with me to do. and we are going to do the first thing next friday, which is swimming in my local pool. AND what is more, friday is her day off, AND it is also a women only time at the pool, AND there is a poolside steam and sauna. mixing it UPUPUPUPUP!!!!!

4. ten claimed he found a wart on my side. i said ‘how do you know it’s a wart?’ and he said BECAUSE I HAVE BEEN WATCHING WITCH PORN. reader, it’s just as well i have a sense of humour, is all i can say.

5. i officially resigned from the buddhist things i was doing just after i moved here, in september. i am still more or less a buddhist, but probably in the same way as someone who says they are “C of E” is a christian. for those who are not in the UK, C of E is short for Church of England. saying you are C of E is more or less an admission of being fairly comfortable about not going to church, though might well marry in one.

6. when my mum visited recently she tried to help me hang the laundry. i let her, but it took ALL my restraint. odd thing, perhaps, but i like to hang my laundry myself. it’s not exactly a work of art, but i find it very comforting.

7. i like silence. i hardly ever listen to music. i used to love music. i think it’s the fibro. i especially can’t bear more than one sound source at a time.

***

My personal hobbies are reading, listening to music, and silence.

Edith Sitwell
English biographer, critic, novelist, & poet (1887 – 1964)

tea for two, goslings arrive on the lea, and les mis, the film

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Migraine Awareness Month #2:  Tea for Two. If you could invite someone (any living person) to your home for tea for the purpose of explaining Migraine disease to them so they would truly understand it, who would it be and why?

okay. i can see that i am going to hit a brick wall with some of these prompts. if i could invite someone, any living person, to my home for tea WHY THE HELL WOULD I WANT TO TALK ABOUT MIGRAINE??? i’m sorry, disease, i’m just not that into you.

of course, i’d like doctors and benefits agencies and the NHS and the Govt who are currently hurting disabled people so much to understand what a chronic condition actually means, and it would be great if employers and public places and trains and buses could do something about their evil lighting, but really, do i want to EXPLAIN myself again to anyone? no. no, i do not. if someone, any living person at all, were to come to tea i would want to talk about anything BUT migraine. i really really hate explaining why i can’t do things. it’s boring as hell and i won’t have it. so, come to tea, whoever you are, and lets talk about any subject you like apart from ill health. that is all.

“National Migraine Awareness Month is initiated by the National Headache Foundation. The Blogger’s Challenge is initiated by www.FightingHeadacheDisorders.com.”

***

NOW! baby wildfowl! at LAST!

this morning i woke up with a recently persistent sense of dizziness and sicky feeling and so ten offered to take the dog out. it’s usually my job to do the first outing, but i felt yucky and not really up to wrangling the dog. but while he got dressed and pops got excited i thought, “but i would like to go too.” so i got dressed and we all went out en famille.

over the past few weeks i have been a bit alarmed at the lack of ducklings, goslings, and cygnets on our stretch of the lea. i’d heard that the olympic related digging that has been going on on the marshes has released a lot of toxic crap that had been buried for a long time, and i also saw a foxy boy on the opposite bank surrounded by a glum looking phalanx of geese the other night, and i wondered what was the cause of our dismal lack of spring chickies, considering we have, what? 30 swans? 20 odd canada geese? a few other kinds of geese, many ducks and a few random others who are regulars on this stretch.

a twitter correspondent reassured me, however, that she had seen babies in the reeds where she was, and not on the canal, so i dared to hope a little, while secretly thinking DEATH! DEATH! DEATH!

but my misgivings turned out to be all wrong. or at least, on our way back from the park i saw two canada geese with many many chicks between them in single file enter the canal like a little military flotilla.

hurrah! now, come on all you others, bring your babies, i need to see them. STAT.

***

ooh! did i forget to tell you? les miserables is going to be a film (again). this time with the west end music in it.

i am unreasonably excited about this. i worked on the west end show many years ago. i was a ‘stage showman’ which is a fancy term for stage hand, and i also made a prop before i left. i always liked the music and was grateful to work on a show that didn’t grate on the nerves too much.

the prop i made was a big ivy to disguise the fact that the same gates were used for the factory scene in the first act, and jean valjean’s house in the second. i went to see the show after i finished, and, reader, my ivy was beautiful.

of course i don’t have a photograph. damn the analogue days.