the brilliantly leaping gazelle

Of mice and man. This man. But not for long..

There are a great many things I’ll miss about this house when I leave it for the last time on Friday.

But one of them won’t be the mice.

This morning I was woken up the sound of something’/s making a noise my bedroom. At 2am. The thing with it being all dark and everything is that whilst I could hear them, I couldn’t actually see them. That’s when an ancestral throwback kicked in, telling my brain that the source of a noise that I couldn’t see, but could hear scampering about, wasn’t good. And that’s the thing about the dark. It amplifies whatever noise there is.

Turning on the bedside light didn’t help either. As soon as I turned it on, they stopped. The fuckers. So I turned the light off, tucked my feet under the duvet so there were no gaps – I have a morbid fear of something getting under the duvet and nibbling my toe, or something more precious – and tried to go back to sleep. The chances of that happening were inversely proportionate to them returning. I lay awake, my ears primed to detect any sound, and sure enough, some time later, I don’t know when, they returned. Searching for whatever, doing whatever, but making a noise as they did it. Cue a repeat of before. Light on. Noise stops. Me encasing myself like a mummy in my duvet. And wait for the noise begin again.. A few times

Then when I did get up, I was greeted by the sight of mouse hairs in my toilet sink. Sadly, not the first time, but hopefully one of the last. Then I got dressed and went into the kitchen, made myself a cup of tea, and as I drank it, reflected on the irony that everyone knows we have mice, but because all their rooms are on the first floor, it doesn’t matter what state they leave the kitchen in.

Or left, because something has in the last few weeks awoken in Joe a hitherto dormant cleanliness gene. The kitchen floor, usually a recipient of crumbs and other rich pickings for mice, is now mopped seemingly every other day. He’s bought a handheld hoover thing to help him in his obsession. No surface in the house is safe. Part of me wonders if this is a wind up. At the time when the house is at its most dishevelled and most untidy, he decides now is the time to go all OCD?

As I sat drinking my tea, I was able to get a good look at the skirting board next to the kitchen. Furniture has been moved so it gave me a great view of the large gap, wide and long, from which the mice have been launching their foraging expeditions. It made me think of the time when Marge had for some inexplicable reason decided to leave food out – yes leave food out – for a mouse. Because something. Anyway, a few days later my mum was visiting, saw the mouse just calmly eating away, and did what any girl brought up on a farm in rural Ireland would do, and stomped on it.

So no, I won’t miss the mice.

Sorry to drag Brexit into proceedings, but did the news that the talks between Britain and the EU to sort out a deal have been extended, shock anybody? Is it just me, or does it seem that every set of talks to resolve a dispute, be it either between unions and management over pay etc, or between two sides in an armed conflict, or talks between the G7, the G20, or the Dave Clark 5, are always extended?

Boris’s Johnson is voter apathy made flesh.

I’ve long argued that anyone that can understand the power dynamics of a family unit – the temporarily unspoken alliances based on mutual gain and the fluctuating nature of power within it – basically the way a family operates, possess the skills to understand how politics works. It isn’t complicated. Able to follow the travails of the residents of Albert Square? Westminster is just the same. Bigger issues, more at stake, but essentially just the same.

Paul Begala once said that ‘politics is show business for ugly people’, which certainly offers one explanation as to why Boris’s Johnson is our PM. To misquote his political idol, Churchill, with regard to the 2019 election and his subsequent catastrophic mismanagement over Brexit, ‘Never in an election has one man promised so much to so many but delivered so little. ‘

As looks increasingly likely the UK will leave Europe without any deal. You know, the deal he repeatedly assured voters he could deliver.  The one he claimed was ‘oven ready’, that one.

I explained to Marge last night that Boris’s Johnson is really no different to a man who on a first date makes a series of fanciful promises to woo and win unlucky girl. Perhaps even as he makes them, he believes them, who knows? It doesn’t much matter, as they never happen, and months later, when there haven’t been flowers every week, no swanky meals out, no sun drenched holidays, no being treated the way he said he’d treat her, she regrets ever meeting him.  She trusted him, and he did what men do.

Well if that man is Boris’s Johnson, yes. It’s not like he hasn’t got any previous, is it?

Actually, much as it pains me to admit it, Boris’s Johnson isn’t the real villain here. Yes, he must take his share, but as I wrote on June 2016;

No the real villains were those who didn’t vote. There was a turnout of 72.2%. Which means that 27.8% didn’t vote. How that figure is calculated I don’t know. I mean is it people who were registered to vote but didn’t, or those that weren’t registered in the first place? Either way, the result is the same. I hope that what they had to do instead of voting was more important than deciding our countries future.

And after the 2019 Election, the same thing happened, or near as damnit. As I wrote then:

At this election Conservatives got 43% share of the vote, on a turnout of 67.3%. Which means that less than ¾ of the adult population voted and of those, less than half voted Conservative. In what possible universe does this mean they’re ‘A people’s government’ as Boris’s Johnsons podium outside No.10 boasted on Friday? OK, yes, the people who bothered enough to vote Conservative, but given more people voted against them than for them, it’s not exactly what you’d call decisive, is it?

Boris’s Johnson is merely voter apathy made flesh. If the consequences of that apathy was only suffered by those who didn’t bother to vote, care I would not. At least ‘Leave’ voters voted.

It won’t be a happy new year.

Are ‘Remoaners’ just copycat Robert Mugabe’s?

I knew I wasn’t in an especially good mood the other morning and therefore, on reflection, I shouldn’t have risen to the bait. But it was impossible not to. Marge had repeated her often-heard refrain that the result of the Brexit referendum vote was null and void because, according to her, people voted Leave in part because of lies and misinformation. Now any sentient adult would be forced to conclude that every election that has taken place anywhere in the world has suffered from those two drawbacks. Even something as inconsequential as an election to become a member of a schools Parent Teacher Association is prone to them. Perhaps moreso.

Anyway, in this information age, when information is available on the Internet, if one isn’t informed, then whose fault is that? This argument fell on deaf ears. Or at the very least, ears that didn’t want to hear it.  My problem with any election is that if people don’t lack the most basic curiosity needed to acquaint themselves with easily findable facts, but despite this, still feel entitled to vote nonetheless, then who is at fault?  The day after the referendum result, the most googled question in the UK was ‘what is the EU?’/

I really wish I’d made that last sentence up. But I haven’t.

The irony is that I voted to Remain. But sharing a house with two Remoaners who are not shy in declaring the result somehow  undemocratic has had the effect of making me even more resolute in my opinion that the democratic will of the people should be respected. That’s what democracy is. Regardless of whether or not there should have been a referendum in the first place, regardless of how the question was framed, regardless of who spent what and where the money came from, the important thing to bear in mind is that more people voted to Leave than to Remain. It’s a fact that seems to bother a lot of people.

As I’ve noted on this blog before, one can imagine the chaos that Remoaners would wreck at a school sports day. If they came second in the parents’ race, Remoaners might insist that it was run again until such time as they won. It does strike me as ironic that they very people who are gesticulating about Donald Trump’s refusal to accept the outcome of the US election are the very same people who find no difficulty in seeking to negate the democratic will here.

I suppose there is a difference between the Remoaners and the way the tyrant Robert Mugabe carried on when he was the president of Zimbabwe after an election as he refused to accept the result of. You know, involving the courts – as the Remoaners did – and claiming that voters were influenced by foreign actors interfering n events – as the Remoaners did – and calling into question where the oppositions funding came from – again, as the Remoaners did.

I suppose it is different at home. Of course of there are loads of different circumstances. None of them leap to mind at the moment, but I’m sure there are.

As it changes, so it remains the same…

For most of this year I’ve been consciously avoiding news, for the simple reason that the more news I’m exposed to, the more I tend to worry. Worry about things that are out of my control and whose outcome I can’t influence. Worry for the sake of worry. Unnecessary worry. From one standpoint, this has been the best of all years to do this. From another, the worst.

Because not in my lifetime has one issue dominated the news agenda, had so much of an effect on our lives, and, for good measure, costed the taxpayer hundreds of billions of pounds to help mitigate these effects, as coronavirus.  (Well, aside that is, from the increasingly likely ‘No-Deal Brexit’.) Sometimes modern life feels as if it has gone all full ‘Six Degree’s Of Separation’ on us; the way in which every conversation seemingly finds it’s way back, ultimately, not to Kevin Bacon, but coronavirus.

 Perhaps I should’ve devised a coronavirus game for Christmas. Less ‘Snakes and Ladders’ more just ‘Ladders’. Then Rita Ora could’ve played it at the party she had, the one she regrets now having, not just enough not to have had it in the first place.

I saw this story on the BBC News website, which is still bizarrely my homepage a couple of days ago, and because she’s a ‘celebrity’ and has been on the telly, what does is considered newsworthy, especially if she’s forced to issue a statement apologizing for it.

Pop star Rita Ora has apologised for a second breach of the UK’s Covid-19 restrictions, after failing to self-isolate following a trip to Egypt.

The same day, the BBC website carried a far more alarming story, which was given the prominence it deserved. Given as how it didn’t involve a young and photogenic celebrity, her apologizing for something from which the rest of us could criticize from the high moral ground.

Snowy winters could become a thing of the past as climate change affects the UK, Met Office analysis suggests.

Both highlighted one of the many paradoxes that make up modern life. Well, they did to me, anyway. That whilst we know what we should be doing, but we’ll only do it when it’s convenient for us and only when.

So Rita knows what the restrictions on gatherings are, but thinks ‘I fancy a birthday party and if I have to issue an apology after, so much the better. Keeps me in the news.’  Is what she did really that different to what many thousands did last summer when they flocked to the beaches? In a word, no

Same with climate change. We’ve known for decades what to do. Not you and me, but people who could’ve ensured tangible and meaningful change happened. Politicians, business leaders and corporations. But they didn’t then and now we’re fucked.

Because we are.

Only when he’s playing cricket, does this bounder respect boundaries.

To anyone who read yesterdays post and thought to themselves ‘He’s crediting his bladder with a consciousness now, how arrogant is he, imagining that his organs are capable of thought and can act independently,’ here’s the proof.

Proof that my bladder is up to all sorts behind my back. Literally. It has persuaded the pores of my skin to join forces with it in what can only be described as corporeal crappery.. The spot had lain dormant, rather like a volcano, biding its time waiting. It knew it was situated on a part of the body I couldn’t access so it was in no rush. It was just there, doing nothing until eventually, out of sight became out of mind.

(There should be a large ‘photo Julie took of it, nestled right in the middle of my back. But seeing as how it’sbig and yellow. with a hint of green, probably best that I haven’t got to grips yet with wordpress’s editor thing. Oh yes, this blog was written yesterday evening, in case your wondering)

Then it got a message from my bladder. And it erupted with painful fury, all the more painful because I can’t squeeze it. I can’t even tell if it can be squeezed and even if it could, that’d be no fun. No drawing a target on the bathroom mirror with my Mums lipstick to aim for get a pusy bullseye for me. In fact, it was only after I persuaded Julie to take a ‘photo of it with her iPhone, that I was able to look at it. I toyed with the idea of asking her to squeeze it, properly squeeze it, where you carefully manipulate the pus in the surrounding area into a head and then go all John Belushi on it.

But alas, it’s only when this bounder is playing cricket does he respect boundaries. Even if shortly after that ‘photo was taken we had a chat about having a threesome. Not that kind of threesome. I have to choose my next few words carefully as I know she’ll be reading this. Can one be offended, insulted and yet feel good about themselves all at the same time? Possibly yes, possibly no, and I’ve no wish to find out which one it is.

We were talking about possible new support workers I might employ when I move back to North London. Julie had the idea of sounding out a few of the volunteers at a drop in/advice/therapy centre place another of her clients goes to. She used the word ‘happening’ to describe them. Bet they’d be chuffed with that. Possibly not as chuffed as if had she called them ‘groovy’. And nowhere near as made up as if she thought they were ‘with it’.

Anyway she said I might like to see other people, you know, see how it felt and all that, and if it felt right, then she wouldn’t feel hurt….at which point I had to interject that this was the sort of conversation that takes place within the confines of an altogether different type of relationship.

As in an altogether in the altogether type relationship!

On being back in the saddle!

Despite yesterday getting off to a bad start, somehow I managed to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. I write that I managed because I did. I overlooked the fact that I’d been rudely woken up from a sleep that wasn’t. I was the bigger person and so by the power of Castle Greyskull, roused myself into a creditable impersonation of someone eager to go for a ride.

Not that kind of ride!

Get your minds out of the gutter and stop being so juvenile! A bike ride. Now stop it! Not a bike ride that’s a rather ostentatiously bizarre sexual act, the kind of thing that that might simultaneously appear in an episode of ‘Black Mirror” and get one sectioned at Broadmoor. But one that involved the rather less questionable practice of cycling up to St.James’s Park via the very easy cycle route over Vauxhall Bridge.

On the one hand, it was wonderful. We – Marge and I – managed to get out whilst the sun was still shining and we both curbed any impulses to throttle each other. And on the other hand, it was proof that Sods Law exists. I have a side-by-side adult tricycle, so finding an easy way to navigate through London, was extremely galling. Because whilst I’m going to North London, the tricycle is going to Swanage. Typical that just at the last second, you discover what you’ve missed out on. For a variety of good reasons, we – me and Marge – didn’t go out on the bike during lockdown, which is an abiding regret, as the streets were deserted!

Heigh-ho!

On the way back we stopped off for some tea and cake and I was enjoying myself so much that I overlooked the fact that I was bursting. I hate using public toilets. Always have. Only if it’s absolutely necessary will I use one – and the last time I used one, I got locked in it. So no, I didn’t mention it, and no, even though Marge used one in the café went to relieve herself, I styled it out.

Not enough though, to fool my bladder. It bided its time. It knew when I’d arrived back. And waited. Waited till the tricycle was locked up in the garage. Waited until I was back in the house and then it was almost as if my bladder was possessed by a demonic version of “it’s a Knockout’ and the more urgent my haste to the toilet was, the more I could feel my bladder itching to ruin my jeans.  Punishing me for calling its bluff, showing me who was boss and in so doing, reminding me of my own frailties.

But when I got to the toilet, it went up to 11! The frantic urgency, the fumbling fingers versus of unhelpful zips and fabric didn’t exactly help matters. Then I hurriedly sat down – it’s just more efficient – and suddenly I was pissing like a king and making sounds more suited to when one riding.

Yes, that kind of riding!

The Vampire Diaries

This morning I had a rude awakening. No, not the one at 2.47 this, from which I only managed to snatch odd bits of sleep, but the one an hour ago. The one where my skylight blind was opened, with such speed that the blinding light hit me like I was a were a fucking vampire

As you can tell, I’m really in raring to go and embrace the endless opportunities the day has to offer. If it offers the chance to go right back to bed, right now.

“What’s in the box?”

As is clear from my blog, I’m in the process of packing things up and preparing to move house. And as also clear from this blog, I am finding this process incredibly difficulties. One of the main difficulties occurred yesterday afternoon when I was packing my Christmas holiday box. Moving, it seems, is moving.

But the real kicker came when I was putting the drugs and the one’s I want are not the one’s I will need into the box.. It was a bit like ‘Se7en’, but without the head. Obviously. What you want in it isn’t, and what I don’t want in there is. The one’s I need are prescription drugs for my depression and to combat high blood pressure. The argument that the best way to combat my high blood pressure would be for people not to annoy me and thus negate the need for blood pressure medication is not a universally welcome idea. The one’s I want are wanted now more than ever, but one of the problems with getting older is that you no longer know someone who knows someone who can sell you some drugs.

I remember Christmas Day in 1993 – or was it 1994?, It’s all a bit hazy, anyway, they point is I was living in Brixton close to Coldharbour Lane and I had popped out to the shops to get something. Milk probably. In the course of a five minute walk to the shops I was offered hash by three different drug dealers and I thought ‘What a testament to entrepreneurialism.’  Here were hard working drug dealers plying their trade on Christmas Day, sure in the knowledge that people will have grossly underestimated their holiday stash and will need extra supplies. They had identified a need and were there to meet it. Fortunately, my own stash was nowhere near running out.

But those days are long gone. Gone are the days when getting the drugs in for Christmas would involve a copious amount of skunk, possibly some ecstasy, and if I was very lucky some magic mushrooms.

I remember those days.

Well actually I don’t, that’s how good they were.

Original Concept

Not really been feeling it today.

Well, I am feeling it, but it isn’t a good feeling.

Molly

As I write this, I sit on a sofa in a sitting room surrounded by rolls of bubble wrap, gaffer tape, and boxes that have been assembled and filled with things. Mainly my things, it has to be written, as every other potential storage area is, or is about to be used. Earlier on we finished packing away the last of my records. The writing it is less of wrench than it actually was. When we had finished, Paul, who was helping me, asked ‘What next?

That’s a good question.

Because what I wanted to do was to be transported back to the warm and cosy moments of bliss my body found just before I got out of bed this morning. And stay like that, for as long as I could. But I couldn’t. Paul is on the clock. So we had to continue packing. It’s a complete and utter head-fuck this packing malarkey. Aside from the physical practicalities –my brain damage means I can’t do the packing myself – there is also the emotional fallout. Which is a new thing.

Before my brain injury, I was pretty much always able to keep my emotions in check. But now? This move feels like I’m caught up in a tsunami of grief, never quite knowing when the next wave will engulf me, but knowing there will be a next one. I described packing up the records to Paul as like running up the steps to the guillotine.

Now rationally, I know it’s the very opposite of that. Moving in to share with Nosferatu will be an unquestionably good thing for me. Not sure about for her though. It’s just that I want to be at the point where the move has been done and is a memory, where everything is not like this. This I can do without. I hate these feelings and yet seem incapable of stopping them. When was last time I thought, ‘And I woke up from a coma for this? When I finished packing up my records. That’s when.

Before then, not for a good while.

So what next? Well that’s up to me, isn’t it?

(Or not, as according to my iTunes playlist it’s ‘Molly’ by Michael Nyman)