Erik the Red


Friday 29th December 2017

Who on earth would consider going outside in this icy weather? If it was me I surely would have wimped out on my appointment, but, being the stalwart just like Erik the Red the Norwegian did in 983 AD, old Mr diehard, (my trusty neighbour) will head out, deep into the arctic conditions. I’m only too pleased I have this nasty coughing bug which surely has been my escape card from todays activities.

At 6am there was an almighty clap of thunder, to be honest, never heard the first or the follow-ons quite as loud as ever before. Poor Bertie who had been struggling with his first night shift whilst the family from above had arrived late, was certainly on tenterhooks with every noise, the rattle and clattering of corrugated iron sheets being shuffled as in a game of cards was certainly getting his hackles ruffled, once he had realised there was nothing he could do, quickly nose-dived into the safety of the arc in the small of my back, often, a small grunt of “I can still hear you” was muttered.

The brief thought of creating something Hygge ( a term now ‘Fasjonable’) and lighting a candle to watch the lightning display disperses as squickly as it arrived in my mental canyon. Pulling the duvet back over my head, surely and steadily the cacophony of the heavy rain against the rear window sends me back to whence before when I was enjoying a blissful sleep.

Slept for an hour again midday, and managed to keep my breakfast from popping up like a meerkat, I doze yet again and after texting ‘the King of Winter’ for some Benylin to ease the inconvenience of this barking. The Viking retorts a text upon his return, inviting me for refreshment and a butter shortbread back at his lair with flaming torchieres. In the blink of an eye I accept, wrapping myself up warm, with track suit sloggies and a Navy style blazer which kept the biting north-west wind from icing up my essential extremities. I meander the treacherous path, one rather large terrier runs between my legs whilst i carry the other like a fake Pravda handbag under my right arm, it tries to escape. Such a pity I didn’t put on my newly gifted wooly hat, you know the ones that look like you are wearing a duffle-bag?

Yes, one of those.

This evening the constant need for sleep is dragging me right down, it’s as if I were wearing a rucksack filled to overflow with half a dozen extra red bricks stuffed in the outside pockets, my neck and back need straightening, but, just cannot seem to find a position to allow my vertebrae to align. Now devoid of any sustenance I sit here writing gibberish whilst listening to “Diamonds” by Elton John and only in just another thirty-two minutes, Siri, with her nauseating American accent will remind me that its medication time yet again. Just as if i were an inmate in The Oregon State Hospital where ‘One flew over the Cuckoos nest’ was filmed, it’s quite apt really as these tablets im taking to ease my mental stress are taking their toll, almost to the point of I dont think I can take any more of this.


Cupcakes for fuck sake!


Thursday 23rd November 2017

I guess I started to realise something was wrong quite recently, finding out that a dear neighbour and friend actually was far much older than I had estimated. Suddenly the reality dawned on me that this person was not immortal, and nor was I. At sixty-one and with my checkered health, both past and present, it registered that the application to extent my own badge of immortality was never going to pass through the fine fins of my letter box.

The second thing, I read on Facebook that my Dads friend had passed away, strangely I had seen Silvia a few weeks previous walking along the roadside looking very tired and out of sorts. I mentioned this to my mate and I went around to see her, all a bit of a nightmare, as she lives next door to my dear Dads old house, that being a heart and gut wrenching experience in its self.

I was greeted with the passion of a long-lost friend, having known her for almost fifty years. Her male companion of even longer was there also, but, somehow, I felt she had things to say but couldn’t in his presence. Enquiring of her health, she shunned it off by shoving a Tupperware box full of rock buns and sweet sugar fruit cake onto me, I asked her to promise to call me. We said goodbye with a huge warm hug and a kiss, all very awkward, and at eighty-one years young and a spinster of the parish, somethings were just still awkward. Five days later she was taken, returned to her maker, marked unopened and still oozing the charm and love she always gave to people, not necessarily for anything in return, I guess she probably was as much surprised as we were, as to how quickly she had gone.

I left early the morning of the funeral, oddly, in her church, she laid North to South in her solid Oak overcoat, adorned with a small posy of pinks from her cousin, the only surviving family member. Behind stood a lectern and yet no sign of an Altar. Inquisitively I’ve done some research since, and as her chosen faith often not furnish a table, however, they do tend to have both podium and lectern instead. Some Ministers walk around wearing Madonna style headsets and microphones. The one who officiated this particular service did not. He had the bad habit of continually tapping the microphone head, it became similar to a routine often performed by a comedian in a Northern Working Mens Club. Most annoying. Of course, during, he reminded us all that everyone had a specific memory about her.

I couldn’t but help the time I first heard her swear, shockingly, just like a trooper I might add. I was only 12 years old and she had no ideas on how to reverse the car into her garage, her driving was appalling, something she admitted to.  Often she would just aim it, the car that is, and pray, but still suffered the same problem getting out. The many times we use to hear the car scrape the wrought iron gate all became part of daily life, same routine, get out to inspect it and mutter the same words of “FCUK IT” quite loud. Often I would hang around in the front garden most evenings waiting for her to park the car. When she caught sight I had heard her, she just said “Silvia doesnt swear” and would smile wryly. She was good at that, then simply disappear indoors and return and toss me a fruit cupcake, still warm, in a pleated paper cup, simple. The elephant would be there the same time the next day, without fail.

It was a good idea to get a seat early, as the church was heaving with mourners. As for the wake, it was held in the communal rooms next door. Fresh tea and coffee were served in the finest china, some slight chipping and staining was noticed. I had a modest silent snigger as I helped myself to a good few items of food. A wonderful choice of Ham, then Cheese, and Egg with Cress sandwiches, Sausage rolls, fruit cake amongst other things and of course, a staple of any perfect get together, the famous foil wrapped potato hedgehog with cheese and pineapple sticks. Most of the culinary delights were probably made by Silvia herself and deep frozen as she was a commercial cook, even right up to her last few days, she would laugh at that I am sure.

And a damn good one at that.

This Christmas I shall be one card short. RIP dear friend. x


‘Hey Siri’


Tuesday 5th December 2017

Sunday was an unregognisable blur, pushing my boundaries with a bottle of Cava Rosado from the Co-Op on the Saturday evening helped my tortured soul to have to listen to the toxicity of the banal judges on Strictly Come Dancing, the run of the mill performances and having to endure the cheesy off tone singing. My live heckling via the WhatsApp app with one of my less often seen BFF’s, was the high-lite, he understands. I’m such a bitch.

Ridiculous as it sounds, drinking when I shouldnt as, A) I’m not supposed to, period! and B) I couldn’t have cared less, any numbing of my brain was going to be most welcome. Goodness knows what my Slimming World advocate, Lisa, and my many supporters would say to that, perhaps best not add it to my food diary. Actually, if I had decided to complete one of those pesky “keeping an eye in the sky for the forbidden pie” weekly spreadsheets, I doubt extremely if all the extras I have consumed would have been remembered. I blame myself, but really I don’t care, not today, not yesterday, nor any part of last week.

Trying to balance a wobbly brain, two dogs, house makeover and abstain from any confrontation from my neighbour has been as hard just as a juggler taking centre stage in a fast filling pool of water without wetting any of his toes.

If I hadn’t already made definite plans for today and a decision to have brunch out I would surely bow out with a piss poor lame excuse, being awake still at 04:26 is not good.

I think il try to rest, put my trusty device down and pull the cord, the light goes off. Last words muttered “Hey Siri, please set alarm for 8am” of course, he has to have the last word ….. I hate that.

Freedom & The Prince of Darkness


Sat 16th December 2017

Yet another ridiculous night of nocturnalism, continually dragging up files up rubbish stored deep down at the bottom of my head space, like an estuary been sieved and drained.

Tell me, who on earth wakes up with the ear worm “Freedom” clearly resonating, apart from myself the only other person possibly wishing he could, most likely, is that of the great music maestro himself, Mr George Michael. Sadly, another mixed up genius whisked off to the parallel universe which in my opinion works backwards to ours, it’s not such a strange idea when you think about it, only yesterday, 15th December 2017, NASA were pontificating about a Solar system not dissimilar to our own had been discovered.

Perhaps our time here on earth is just a short lesson on how to become greater beings for greater things in the future, not necessarily ours, I might add. I wonder if Mr Aryabhaya, one of the earliest recorded Astronomer-Mathematicians in the mid sixth century ever once shouted up at the heavens … “Is there anybody out there? in desperation.

Pre cursing a few words which I am also trying to eradicate from my notes, or at least starting sentences with, are ‘basically’ & ‘so’ In my defence, I will try to use less often, I notice from a Facebook feed. I am guilty of such crimes. I will attempt to do better.

So, basically, (that’s for you Colin) an unusual feed of the dogs this early is not part of my daily routine, however, as its silly season and eights night to sleep before the big day arrives, my intentions are to be in Sainsbury’s for 7:15, it’s going to be a bit of a juggle as my bank statement and credit card are not on the friendliest of terms with myself, and there is no Bank of Mum & Dad to fall back on, as that particular branch closed a long time ago, but, ….. I have a cunning plan, ‘thinks long and hard” … NO, that wont work either!

I’m also conducting an experiment this morning, where two of my favourite authors, Mr Dickens used to & Mr Slater still, write under the flicker of the magic candle light. I’m giving it a go. If it wasnt for the reflection off of my screen illuminating the keyboard, this malarkey would be put down as pants, however, I quite like it, and it seems to be working, perhaps my times of inspiration are within the hours of darkness after all, just look at how much shit I’ve written down on the magic papyrus already.

I hear no comments …. apart from a distant muffling disguised in a white noise ….“yes”.