Sunday, 31 July 2011

The Artists Studio Is Under Refurbishment. No Admittance. Sorry.

This hideously decayed, run down, leaky roofed, holes in the floor, former holiday mobile home is my 'studio'. I call it my 'studio' because it is the place where I paint my masterpieces, and also because I am a pretentious old fool who suffers from delusions of grandeur.

It is a good idea to have a 'studio' if you are a painter, so that when people ask you if you have your own 'studio', you are able to say with complete honesty as you hand them a gold edged card, with the words 'The John Bain Studio' embossed upon it, "oh yes, absolutely".
Of course if as an artist you have a propensity towards pretension, the fact of having your own 'studio' is an absolute must. Even if it looks like this one of mine.
What you must not do under any circumstances, especially the circumstance that your 'studio' looks like this one, is allow anyone, other than your closest friends, to visit your 'studio'. The artist whilst knowing the value of a 'studio' should also be well aware that people can smell bullshit from a long distance. He, or she, must therefore have a ready list of excuses as to why the 'studio' is not available for visits.
My favourite all time excuse is the good old, "it's being redecorated at the moment". This excuse is also good when used in conjunction with the highly pretentious word, 'refurbishment'. It is important to use the word 'redecorated'. This plants in the mind of the potential visitor, the seed that the 'studio' must once have been decorated. This too adds to the sense that you do indeed have a very nice studio. Therefore you must be a proper artist, which is why you charge such high prices.
Another acceptable excuse, particularly useful in the colder months is, "the heating has broken down". I do not let the fact that there is no heating to breakdown, deflect me from using it as an excuse. After all I might one day have heating installed, which might break down.
It is though, a bit of a pain that I have to lug all my equipment with me, in the event that I am required to paint a portrait from life. So I have decided that I will build another, nicer, more salubrious 'studio'. One which I will be able to be properly pretentious about. One that I can invite visitors to. One that does not require the use of quotation marks whenever I mention the word.
There are problems involved however. In order that the new studio can be built, the old 'studio' must be demolished. In order that the demolition can take place it must first be emptied of stuff. In order that the cleared stuff has somewhere to be stored, the old shed, which is also full of 'stuff' will have to be cleared.
Problem number one, or is it number four, I have lost count, would appear to be, where can I put all the stuff from the old shed? Happily the answer to this is close at hand, because right next to the old shed is a stable. The stable is a bit decrepit, but with some attention, it should be good enough to store the stuff from the old shed. I can't put my stuff from the 'studio' straight into the stable because it is not dry enough for my paintings and sundry art materials. The stuff from the stable will have to be stored outside under a tarpaulin in the meantime. Right! Good! O.K! Sorted! With a bit of luck, and a fair wind, I reckon I should be able to begin demolition work in a couple of years time.
My 'studio' has been described as, "untidy". It has been described as "interesting". Friends have taken a look inside and described me as "a typical artist". At least I think that's what they said, but people do tend to mumble a bit when they see it. I am sure they are being kind.
I tend to think of my 'studio' as, "a bloody awful mess, which I shall tidy up tomorrow".
Which leads me to the main problem I have encountered. I just don't know where to start!
Perhaps I'll leave things as they are for now. Maybe a lick of paint might improve things.
If anyone wants to visit, that's no problem. I'm sure I'll be able to come up with an excuse as to why they can't.

Saturday, 30 July 2011

A Blow To My Blog Statistics.

It has occurred to me that not posting anything on my blog, risks losing some of my readers, who are very important to me. Also of course, it tends to decimate the stats, which I have worked so hard to build up, and which I now find are also important to me. The problem is, that when I feel poorly, I sometimes just can't muster up the enthusiasm, and I've been below par for over a month now.
Another thing is, that if I mention I am unwell too often it makes me sound like a whinging hypochondriac, which I am not. So rather than sound what I am not, I just don't write anything.
I have been lucky healthwise, so far in my life and I count my blessings for it. Also I am sure that you don't come here to listen to my health woes. I want my blog to welcome you. My purpose in being here is to entertain, inform and occasionally, hopefully make you smile. Even if it then sometimes brings a tear to your eye.
This morning I am feeling better, which hopefully is the start of a continued improvement. Although I am still coughing badly, which is strange because I have been practising all night.
From this day onward I will not be mentioning my health, except to let you know how I get on with the head jerking physiotherapist. Which treatment I have had to cancel yet again. However it is now scheduled for Monday morning. If it works, and I am quite hopeful it will. I will be back to my usual happy, confident self. Perhaps the words will once again tumble profusely from my untidy mind via my grubby unmanicured fingers. Oh how I do hope so!
They are there, I know. I can hear my Mother calling now, "what lies are you going to tell about me today?" Jimmy is right beside me also. He is not saying much. He was always a man of few words, but I shall find more. Fergie hasn't been around for a while. Perhaps he has been drinking again.
There are stories there. Any amount of anecdotes are waiting in the shadows. They are just a little reluctant to reveal themselves at the moment. But when I am fully recovered they will be back.
In the meantime I shall just sit at my keyboard and write. As I am doing today. I need to get those stats back up again, but more importantly I want you to keep coming back. I don't know if I have mentioned this before, but you, you especially, are very important to me.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Man Flu. The Worst Case Ever Undocumented.

The last couple of days have been really horrible. Sniff. I have had the worst case of man flu to ever not be documented. Cough, splutter.
Today I feel a little bit better, but please, that is not an excuse for you to not feel very sorry for me. There might yet be a relapse. Also don't forget that I have been suffering, and I don't use the word suffering lightly, or very often, I have been suffering, suffering I say, from extreme head spinning. Sniff, cough. Not literally of course. That would be fatal. Achoo! Excuse me.
I've had to cancel my appointment with the head jerking, dizziness removing, physiotherapist. It's just one thing after another. Sniff. So I'll have to keep spinning away until the man flu has gone.
If you were to combine just a few of my symptoms, sniff, including, the running nose, the sneezing, the coughing, the excruciatingly painful sore throat, the current headache, the iron band squeezing my skull, cough, the popping in my ears causing recurrent deafness, - although strangely enough I can still hear the popping - the loss of appetite, excuse me, while I blow my nose, the tendency towards extreme grumpiness, and the hot one minute, cold the next fever, you would realise that this is not just a common or garden head cold, as some unfeeling people have suggested. You would also realise what a martyr I am being, sniff, cough, splutter, in calling by here to write this blog post.
Mind you, those are just some of my symptoms. There are others which I have tried to look up on the internet. Without success. It would seem that I am a bit of a medical phenomenon.

Some people have suggested that it is a miracle I am still alive. Some have suggested that I re-write my will, and leave my body to medical science. Although quick to add, that any monies I may have left to them. Achoo! Excuse me. Should not be interfered with, unless to increase it. They have got some hope. There is no way that I will be wasting the back of another envelope.
It is at times like this that I begin to wonder if living alone is a good thing or not. Sniff. There is no one here to answer my call for a hot whisky toddy. Splutter, cough. Or to bring me a cold flannel to ease my aching head. Cough. No one here to tell me what a brave boy I am being. Not that the last one is really necessary, I already know how brave I am. Sniff. But you know what I mean, we all need someone with us when we feel poorly. If only to pass on whatever it is we have got.
This man flu has even caused me to have a double chin!
Not that I would want anyone to have this what I have. Which is bad, very bad, as you may have gathered. Sniff, cough. Not that I am the kind of person to make a fuss about things. Cough. Even though it is terrible. Sniff.

Just leave me! Go! Let me do my suffering in silence, and let me tell you I don't use the word suffering lightly, or very often. Cough.
No! I'm sorry. Don't go. Please. I didn't mean to be nasty. It's the illness. It makes me grumpy. Are you still there? I need a hug. Splutter, sniff, cough, sob!

I just had a thought. Cough. Suppose it's swine flu. My last post was about pigs. Can you contract swine flu just by writing about pigs?  What if some enormous coincidence has taken place? I'm going to check out the symptoms. Sniff.
I couldn't get through on the swine flu helpline, all I got was crackling!
Anyway, enough about my problems. Cough. How are you? I hope you are well. Sniff. I just thought I'd drop by and cheer you up. Cough. In case you were feeling a bit down. Mind you, I expect you were fine before you read this. Splutter.
Did I mention my bad back? Achoo! Please excuse me.

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Bluebell and Snowdrop. A Curly Tale.

It was two years ago that I had to make the decision that the two Gloucester old spot pigs, Bluebell and Snowdrop had to go. It wasn't an easy decision, and I was worried what George would think about it, because it was his idea to have them in the first place.
I have to admit that the idea appealed to me too. I had seen pictures of Gloucester old spots. They looked so happy, living an idyllic life in their little orchard.
I forgot that I don't have an orchard. Not for the first time where animals are concerned I allowed my heart to rule my head.
The thing is they didn't remain as cute little piggy wiggies for long. They grew enormous in a very short space of time.
They were free ranging, and this plot of mine was beginning to look like a battle field. They just love to dig.
They looked so sweet and innocent when they first arrived.
When it rained they churned the place up so much that a lot of the time they were knee deep in mud. I know pigs are supposed to like mud, but I was worried about their welfare.
We made them an area of hard standing and confined them to it when it got really wet, but it didn't seem right to keep them confined. They had to go.
When we first got them the intention was that they would be slaughtered when they had reached the appropriate size. I know how nice free range pork tastes, and looked forward to being self sufficient in meat.
Really it is not a good idea to give a name to any animals which are destined for the table. It is not a good idea to take them for walks. It is not a good idea to bath them. It is not a good idea to tickle their tummies. It is not a good idea to introduce them to visitors who say, "aaah".  It is not a good idea to start thinking of them as family pets.
Despite the fact that when we first acquired them, it was on the strict understanding that eventually they would have to go for slaughter, somehow, when I mentioned it was time, the rules were suddenly different.
Apparently what I had agreed to was that Bluebell and Snowdrop would be brought to the boar, and that the resulting litters would then be sold for meat. I cannot recall saying this but it seems I am quite forgetful at times.
So they stayed for about four years causing havoc. Luckily I was able to avoid them meeting with the boar. The thought of lots more little piggies adding to the battleground was too much to even contemplate.
Eventually though my commonsense prevailed, and George and his Mum saw that I just did not have enough space, or money, to keep them. Yes success!
No not really. I had to agree that Bluebell and Snowdrop would not be killed, and that I would find them a home where the new owner would not kill them either. In other words I had to find them a home where they would be able to live out their lives in free ranging happiness.
Who is going to agree to give a home for life to two of the biggest pigs you ever saw? Who is going to be that daft?
Well, there was someone, and Bluebell and Snowdrop are happily ensconced in their new home on a small holding not too far away.
They have both had litters. It is wonderful to see them so happy. It is wonderful to know that they are not on my plot.
Do you know what? I am ever so glad that I never got to eat them. I am ever so glad that I am what is commonly known around here as 'an old softie'.

Friday, 22 July 2011

A Few Head Banging Erection Problems.

Last night I went to an open mic night for the first time in three weeks. The thing is, they, the ladies that is, have been missing me. Pining actually. I felt that it would be wrong to deprive them any longer. So, despite the fact that I am having difficulty staying erect, hey stop that! I mean upright. Oh dear! Just as bad. Anyway I fall over a lot at the moment. No, it has nothing to do with alcohol, it's because of this labrynthitis thing. Anyway, I went along and sang a few sexy love songs for them.
They all went home happy at the end of the evening, so obviously my charms are still working. The husbands were happy too, pleased that I had got their wives in the mood for love. They all thought they were on a promise. I like to think that I am doing my bit for mankind. Helping my species to survive. I am truly altruistic.

So it was a late night. It was also an early morning. I had to be up early so that I could go to the house and wake my extremely handsome Son George up for work. His Mum was away overnight and thought he wouldn't get up in time, so I was designated. He was up and about when I got there. Oh ye of little faith. He loves working in the woods. Of course he was up. I have no idea why I'm telling you this bit. Rambling again.
The dizzy spells came back with a vengeance today, just as I was trying to solve my television reception problems. My thought was that the aerial needed to be higher. So I have tied the existing pole to a long hazel branch, which in turn is tied to a post which is in turn nailed to the shed. As erections go it is not very strong. Hey! Stop that. But it is very high now, about thirty feet, and my reception is better. Of course it will probably snap off next time the wind blows. Unfortunately all that difficulty in getting it up. Hey! Stop that. Keeping it up. Hey! Stop that. Looking up, and pole balancing made me very dizzy indeed. Feeling a bit worried, I made an emergency appointment with the Doctor.
After chatting with him for a while, he managed to convince me that I am not going to have a heart attack. He thinks that I might have been standing too close to the loudspeakers at the open mic night. He thinks this, because I told him that is what I did. Self diagnosis really. It's just a theory I came up with, because I have been standing too close to the loudspeakers.
He now thinks that there is a piece of loose debris in my ear. Not half a brick or anything like that. Just bodily detritus which we all have apparently. Oddly enough, bizarrely even, he has referred me to a physiotherapist. She is going to jerk my head about in an effort to dislodge the debris. I'm not making this up! It is a tried and tested method which has good results.
Someone has to come with me to ensure I get home safely. It seems that all the head shaking can leave you feeling a bit disorientated. Ha! Never did me any harm in my punk rocker days. I always managed to get home then. Oh really, what am I saying?
He also gave me some more tablets. They're a bit stronger than the last ones. I see the physio next week. Should be interesting.

Despite my spinning head, I managed to mow the paddock when I got home. Yes I know it was silly, but it needed doing badly. No, not badly. It needed doing goodly. Oh blast it, lets just say it needed doing. It looks much nicer with the grass cut.
I took one of the new stronger tablets at 3 o'clock. I woke up in my armchair at 7 o'clock. Four hours zonked out, and very dizzy. I won't be taking anymore of those!
That's the story of my last twenty four hours. I couldn't get my head cleared enough to think what else to write about, and I hate letting you down.
Especially the ladies.

N.B. I have a few more followers. I want to thank you. It means a lot. You are all important to me. All you dear readers. Don't you forget it. Cheers.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Barbara. The 'Fishwife' With A Heart Of Pure Gold.

In the days before quota's ruined everything, Aberdeen in Scotland, was a major fishing port. Hundreds of trawlers, drifters, purse netters etc, all used to work out of there, and make a living.
My Mother sometimes worked in the fish trade. She was an expert fish filleter. Actually, if you wanted to earn enough money you had to be an expert at it, because it was all piece work in those days.
It was when she was in the fish trade that she first met Barbara, another expert fish filleter. Despite the obvious differences in their characters, they became good friends, these two 'fishwives'. Probably due to Barbara's innate ability to see the good in everyone.
Barbara and my Mother could quite easily be among these happy women
The term 'fishwife' is, or was, often used in a derogatory manner. Mostly entirely wrongly in my view. These were hard working women, of great character, struggling to earn enough to supplement their fisherman husbands uncertain pay.
In it's worse sense 'fishwife' was used to describe a woman of dubious moral standards. In that respect, and though it pains me to say it, my Mother would  probably qualify at times, although there were some nicer aspects to her character, which made people like her. At least initially. When she was good, as they say, she was very, very good, but when she was bad, she was horrid. Barbara on the other hand most definitely did not qualify. I loved her.
A short woman of large proportions, she was nearly as wide as she was tall. What a face she had. Open, smiling and pleasant to look at. Full of joy. Full of contentment. Full of hope. Full of love.
Love for Bob, her trawlerman husband. Love for her three beautiful teenage daughters, Elsie, Alice, and Jean. Love for her friends. Love for her friends children.
Things were beginning to go wrong at home between my Mum and Jimmy her new husband, and I would often be sent to stay with 'Auntie Barbara' at her home in Aberdeen.
She and her daughters would spoil me rotten. Barbara and I and her border collie, Lassie, would often get up early and go for coach trips to Braemar. I think it was on these days out that I would develop my love for the mountains.
Of course I loved all the attention. Especially from the girls. At twelve or thirteen I was rapidly developing an interest in the fairer sex. Not that I let them know it of course, they were older than me. Besides which, I was far too shy.
I was in seventh heaven, when Barbara and the girls would sit in company with me, playing board games or cards. Alice, who just edged it, as my favourite, with her long red hair, would give me lessons on the piano. My word it was hard to concentrate, with her sitting so close against me on the piano stool. Especially when she had to lean across me, to show which key to hit, or to turn a page of the music.
Bob was often at sea, but when he was home I would watch Barbara and the girls fuss around him. It made me realise how good family life could be. There were no arguments or fights in their house, at least not that I could see. Occasionally I would see one or the other of the girls looking sad, but that was as a result of boyfriend trouble usually. These lovely girls were not without an interested suitor for long though.
Elsie, the eldest daughter was always wanting to take me shopping for new clothes. Perhaps I was a scruffy kid. I'm certainly a scruffy man.
One day, lovely Elsie spent almost a whole months wages on buying me a suit. She just did it out of pure kindness. Truly a daughter that Barbara and Bob could be proud of. Despite my unhappy childhood, I think it was remembering times such as this, that ultimately saved me from going even further down the wrong path, than I actually did.
Where money was concerned, my stepfather Jimmy was, what would kindly be called 'careful'. Money was probably what he and Mum argued about most.
I think Barbara and the girls felt sorry for my Mum, and thought she deserved some help. Buying things for me was one way they could help ease her financial woes.
Jimmy wasn't poor. In fact due to his 'careful' nature,he was quite wealthy. The trouble was, that after a lifetime of struggling along on very little, Mum was profligate with cash, and after the brief honeymoon period, Jimmy had tightened the purse strings.
There were other reasons why they argued almost constantly. These reasons will become apparent as my story unfolds. They are for another day.
One day Bob did not come home. He had died of a heart attack at sea. Barbara was devastated by the loss of her childhood sweetheart, and she too had a fatal heart attack a few months later. But to my mind she simply could not adjust to life without him, and succumbed to a broken heart.
The girls all married and went their separate ways. Mum and Jimmy argued on. I ended up back in 'care', in a children's home.
The circle of sadness and longing for a normal life had briefly broken. I had experienced happiness. Now the ragged ends had met again.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

One Man Went To Mow, Went To Mow A Meadow.

This horrid looking scythe is one that I bought for a couple of quid at a car boot sale. The young fellow holding it somewhat reluctantly is my extremely handsome Son George. I would not recommend holding a scythe in this way, especially with one hand in your pocket. However George was a bit grumpy this morning because I had asked him to come out and pose before he had his breakfast. I didn't want to upset him further by asking him to look interested in his mad Fathers latest daft project. Normally he is a very happy youngster, and he is a good help around the place. Thought I had better put that last sentence in.
The blade is in a terrible state and I have decided that it is not worth the effort of restoring it. But I am going to use it today to illustrate why it is important to pay heed to warnings about sharp implements.
Here comes another anecdote from my time with my stepfather Jimmy.

Come haymaking time and several of Jimmy's friends would turn up at the croft with their scythes, ready for a days work. They did not get paid for their labour. It was a common reciprocal thing in this area of Scotland. At haymaking or harvest time all the neighbours would help each other out. In those days before the ordinary man could afford machinery to do the work it was a good thing to stay on friendly terms with other local crofters and farmers.

Have you ever watched an expert working with a scythe? They make it look so easy, and even enjoyable, as the cut their way through the long grasses. But it is not easy. It takes a long time to become proficient at mowing a meadow with a scythe.
I was keen to have a go, but I was not allowed. Not because I might injure myself. Oh no. But because I might injure the scythe. More precisely, I might damage the blade. Jimmy treated his scythe with a reverence normally associated with religious icons. Indeed the whole business of looking after the scythe took on an air of ceremony. It had it's own special place in one of the outbuildings. Where it was hung from it's very own hook. It was cleaned and the blade sharpened, before being oiled and wrapped in hessian. Which hessian was also soaked in oil. When taken down for use it would have the oil carefully wiped from the blade and then sharpened again. All through the working day it would be regularly honed, so that it was always working at peak efficiency. It would be fair to say that Jimmy was very fond of his scythe.
It was fascinating to watch how he used the sharpening stone on the blade. This too was a great skill. His stubby hand holding the stone seemed to move at lightening speed over the whole length of the blade. It was without exaggeration, razor sharp. It fact it was sharper than a razor. He showed me how by lightly touching it with his thumbnail, he could send a ripple along the sharpened edge.
I was expressly forbidden from going anywhere near his scythe when he was not around, but I was mesmerised by it. It became an obsession with me. I wanted to have a go a scything the grass, but most of all I wanted to have a go at sharpening the blade, with the stone, the way that Jimmy did. It surely wouldn't hurt to have a go. It looked so easy. I waited my chance, till one day when Jimmy was at work and my Mother was busy indoors.

Mum became hysterical when she saw all the blood, and all she could do was scream and throw a towel at me. I was in a bit of a state myself, but wrapped the towel around my hand and ran down to the nearby farmhouse. Mrs Gilbert the farmers wife, had a stronger constitution than my Mum. I had cut my thumb and forefinger through to the bone. She cleaned the wound and staunched the flow of blood as best she could, before pouring on a good splash of whisky, and bandaging my hand tightly.
After a nice cup of hot sweet tea, the usual panacea in those days. I was able to clean up the scythe and put it back on it's special hook.
If Jimmy noticed anything amiss he never mentioned it. I just had to make sure he didn't see my bandaged hand for a few days.
Do you know, I never even felt the blade cut me, it was so sharp. If I hadn't looked down when I did I might easily have sliced my fingers clean off.
The scars are a constant reminder that I was young once, and thought I knew it all.

The even mead that erst brought sweetly forth
The freckled cowslip, burnet and green clover
Wanting the scythe, all uncorrected,rank
Conceives by idleness, and nothing teems
But hateful docks, rough thistles, keksie, burs,
Losing both beauty and utility.

    Shakespeare, Henry V
After 50 years the scars are still clearly visible on my finger and thumb.

Monday, 18 July 2011

English Is Also Spoken But Nae As Ye Ken It.

It is 1959. I am twelve years old, and have been in Scotland for less than a day, having spent my life so far in a children's home and with various foster parents, in London, England. My Mother, who is a virtual stranger to me, has brought me to her new home, a small croft of seven acres in the quiet Aberdeenshire countryside. She has just remarried, and her new husband Jimmy is due home from his work at any minute.
I am feeling nervous about meeting him for the first time. Mum tells me he is a 'fine manny' and reassuring as that sounds, I think I will wait and make up my own mind. I have met quite a few 'fine men' in my few short years on planet earth.

We shake hands politely Jimmy and I, as Mum looks on, smiling in the proud way Mothers do.
He is smiling too and I notice that he has extremely white teeth. Obviously false, and a little bit loose. There is an enormous jagged scar down one side of his face, stretching from his temple to his chin. On his rather large head is a flat cap, which in those days all men of a certain age wore on weekdays and Saturdays. I can't say for certain but I suspect that quite a few men also wore them in bed. On Sundays, and for funerals trilby's would be worn. There is evidence of a short back and sides haircut under his cap. Beneath his faded navy blue boiler suit is a white shirt and a tie. In those days, even a lowly labourer would wear a shirt and tie when working. It was not unusual to see a road mender wearing a suit either. Jimmy is not a tall man, but he is well built and looks tough and powerful, and I already know from Mum that he was once a good amateur wrestler. The hand that grips mine firmly is strong and hard, a product of his work in the local granite quarry.

"Fit like Loon," he says. "are ye fair waabit? Hiv ye heen a fly an a piece?"
I don't have a clue what he has just said and stare at him blankly, transfixed by his loose teeth, and strange language.
"He disnae ken fit your saying Jimmy," says Mum in her soft highland brogue, and they both look at me and laugh.
Jimmy tries again,"how are you?" He asks, speaking slowly and deliberately, in what he probably imagines to be an English accent, "are you tired? Are you hungry?"
"I'm alright thank you," I say, in what I think is perfect English.
"awright fank you," mimics Jimmy in a poor attempt at a cockney accent. Mum joins in with his laughter. It is apparent that he and I might have some communication problems. He seems nice enough though. At least he has a sense of humour.
"Tell Jimmy what you've been practicing," says Mum, adding, as she notes my nervousness, "he's been practicing specially for you Jimmy. Go on John."
I am embarrassed, "do I have to?"
"Yes. Come on you can do it."
I take a deep breath, "It's a braw brecht meen licht nicht the nicht."
"Aye nae bad," says my new Dad, "nae bad a va."
As far as I'm concerned, he might as well be speaking a foreign language. Mum explains, "he's impressed,"
Oh dear! I have an awful lot of learning to do.

manny:  man
Fit like Loon:  how are you boy
fair waabit:  very tired
have ye heen a fly and a piece:  have you had a drink and something to eat
disnae ken:  doesn't understand
braw brecht meen licht nicht the nicht:  nice moonlight night tonight
aye nae bad nae bad a va:  yes not bad at all

Sunday, 17 July 2011

The Lazy Lovers 'Waist' Of Time.

I've never been one to worry about gaining weight but it has to be said, my waist measurement has slowly and remorselessly crept up over the years. This fact was recently brought home to me when I decided to buy a new suit.
When the salesperson, a thin, anaemic, spotty faced youth, enquired my waist size I told him, thirty four inches. At which point he raised his eyebrows, appeared to smirk patronisingly, and reached for his tape measure.
"Sir has gained a few inches." He said smugly. He is very lucky that the shop was full of customers, because I wanted to punch him.

The first time I can recall my waist size meaning anything to me was when I was a snake hipped twenty nine inches.
After I married it suddenly became thirty inches, probably as a result of having regular meals for the first time since childhood. Although I would have thought that being newly married, and forced against my will to indulge in lots of lovemaking, would have kept me slim. But it didn't. Perhaps my technique was wrong. Maybe I shouldn't have let her do all the work.
Being a lazy lover, sitting watching lots of television, and yes, I'll admit it, being spoilt by my wife, gradually added another two inches, and there it stayed for a good long while. That was all right though. I didn't mind it being thirty two inches. I knew plenty of men my age who were a heck of a lot bigger round the middle.
Suddenly though, one day I found that a thirty two inch waistband seemed a little tight on me. How did that happen?
Maybe when my wife began to call me cuddly she was trying to point something out to me. Perhaps I was wrong to take her words as a compliment. Should I have taken her frequent references to my love handles as a warning? Could she have simply been trying to avoid the word fat?

You can't buy a pair of trousers with a thirty three inch waist. At least not off the peg. So I had to have a thirty four inch size, Which to be perfectly honest fitted nicely and were very comfortable to wear.
I wasn't happy with the extra inches though and silently promised myself that I would cut down on the cakes and biscuits which I blamed for the morbidly obese condition I found myself in. Thirty four inch waistline. Ugh! Disgusting!
My new resolution was short lived. Actually it was never really born. The truth is it evaporated into thin air the very next time I smelt the aroma of freshly cooked doughnuts in the local shop. Which time lapse was about two hours. I have always been a man of steely resolve. Still not to worry though. These resolutions always take a little time to really get going. Besides thirty four inches is not so bad, is it? The trouble is though, that if you feel comfortable in your larger trousers, it is easy to forget why they were necessary in the first place.

I am shocked and saddened to have to tell you that this, my latest attempt at trouser buying has left me mortified. A thirty four inch waist will no longer suffice. The smug salesman was right. The skinny, condescending little bastard!
I hold my head in my hands. I sob, albeit in a discreet, and manly way.
My waist. No! The word waist is a falsehood. It is no longer a waist. My girth. There I've said it. My big fat girth measures thirty six inches. Thirty six inches! That's a metric yard. Blimey! Never mind a yard, that is big enough to be a backyard! A girth is also the name of the strap which holds a horses saddle on. It goes all the way around the horses middle. That says it all really. I am a fat man.
If that is my waist size how big must my backside appear. No! I'm not going to look. It will be far too upsetting. It must be horrendous.
It is not entirely my fault though. The disappearance of my waist is due to me having big genes. Or should that be big jeans. Never been too sure how to spell that word.
Perhaps I should have taken more notice when I realised that I no longer felt comfortable in medium size underpants, and was having to buy the large size. Oh the ignominy of it. I had put it down to the Chinese, who seem to have cornered the market in these articles, being quite small people.
Thank goodness for supermarkets. At least they make it possible to buy big underpants without having to ask for them by name.
I will not be trying to solve the problem by wearing tracksuit bottoms, or trousers with an elasticated waistband. No way. I have seen men who have adopted this solution, and they look like they have given up the battle of the bulge. They look like losers. Not losers of weight. That is not for me. I am going to fight like a man. Oh dear God! Now I have just had a vision of a fat man fighting. It is not pleasant. I have no intention of gaining the proportions of a sumo wrestler.
What a weak willed, burger scoffing, cake munching fool I've been. Not much wonder I can't find a girlfriend. Women must run a mile when they see me waddling towards them.
Oh well. Nothing else for it. I shall starve myself for a couple of weeks. Soon be back to my skinny self. After which, with my track record, I shall probably begin to lose the fat fight all over again.
What a good thing I'm not one to worry about gaining weight.

Saturday, 16 July 2011

My Dear Good Friend Sheriff Hamilton Takes My Side.

There had been a bit of an altercation at the Saturday night dance. A bit of a ruckus. The occasional punch may have been thrown. The odd, so called 'Glesga' kiss', might have been bestowed. Usually the result of too much beer and whisky being taken. Oh! You know what I mean. Or you would do, if you had been to a Saturday night hop in the 1960's.
I was a stranger in this little town in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. Fortunately I was not alone for long. My charismatic persona, handsome chiseled good looks, and flowing black hair, had, as always, attracted the girls. It was ever thus.
Perhaps one of the local lads had become jealous of my success with the local lasses and kicked off. I had this problem a lot in those days. It was something I had learned to live with.
Well anyway, a fight had started. There were only about twenty of the local lads against little me, so it was a foregone conclusion that they would come off worse. I mean come on, twenty small town youths against me, a nineteen year old merchant navy deckhand, who had fought in some of the roughest bars and dance halls known to man. What chance did they have?

The first plane I ever flew in was a de Havilland Comet. The worlds first commercial jet liner. It was only a short flight, from London to Aberdeen in Scotland. I remember a slight trepidation as I boarded. The weather was awful. Blowing a gale and pouring with rain.
Somehow we managed to take off and stay airborne. It was a bit of a bumpy ride. I believe the captain referred to it as slight turbulence. That however is not the description I used at the time. We were also struck by lightning twice as we descended towards Aberdeen. Apart from that it was pretty uneventful. Even so I was relieved when we landed safely, and I made a silent vow not to repeat the experience if I could help it. I think the detective sergeant I was hand-cuffed to at the time, was also quite pleased to be safely back on terra firma.
Now if I'm any judge of character, you are probably sat there, avidly devouring my words, wondering what I was doing on an aircraft. Well, I am just about to tell you all about it.
What's that? Oh the hand-cuffs. The detective. Sorry I nearly forgot. I'll tell you about that as well.

It had all started with the aforementioned dance hall fight. The local police had been round to see me the next day. There had been a complaint, - honestly some people! They were keen to hear my version of events. Actually, as it transpired, they were keen to put their version of events to me, and for me to confess that the whole thing was all my fault.
After they had left to frame a case against me, sorry, I meant to say, further their inquiries, I decided that it would be prudent on my part if I left town. I hitchhiked down south.
Which is how I came to be in London at the shipping federation offices, looking to sign on for a long voyage on the first available ship. Which is where I was, sat patiently on a bench in the outer office, when two officers of the Metropolitan police force arrived and arrested me for evading a summons. Which is how, dear reader I found myself hand-cuffed to a detective, being rocked and jolted violently by turbulence, in a de Havilland Comet jet liner on my way back to bonny Scotland to face the wrath of the Sheriffs court.
To tell the truth I got a bit of a kick out of the situation. I could see the other passengers looking at me and wondering just what sort of criminal I was. I bet some of them got a kind of vicarious thrill about being sat next to this violent bank robber, this international drug dealer, this notorious jewel thief. I was quite pleased that they did not realise I was only in this position for a lowly 'breach of the peace'.
There was a nice meal served on board. Because of the handcuffs it was a bit difficult to eat. My detective escort made me promise that I would not attempt to escape if he removed the cuffs. I had to remind him that we were at thirty five thousand feet and I did not have a parachute. He saw the humour and laughed at my joke. He was a nice guy actually, and I think he was as bemused as I was by the situation we found ourselves in. He had quickly and correctly decided that I was not a real bad person.

There was hell to pay when I finally stood in the dock. Hell to pay! But not for me. Oh no! The Sheriff, Lord Hamilton, a judge whom I had been before frequently during my unhappy teens, unleashed his fury on the justice system, namely the police, who had wasted their time and everyone else's in bringing me back to Scotland. By air! From London! Ridiculous he said. The lad had not even received the summons. I agreed with his Lordship of course and sagely nodded my agreement, feeling extremely self righteous. It was true I had left before the summons had arrived.
Of course I plead not guilty, and my good friend the sheriff was of a mind to agree with me. Indeed he even told the police to issue me with a rail warrant,so that I could fulfil my original intent and ship out on a voyage from London.
Justice. It is such a marvellous thing. Especially if, just for once, you are on the right side of it.
Fighting? Who me? Never!

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Safety Boots? On Your Bike!*

The good news is that George, my extremely handsome son has fully recovered from his knee injury and subsequent operation and has now been discharged by the physiotherapist.
College has finished for the summer holidays and he has decided to return to his part time job working in the forest.
In these days of rampant health and safety rules a pair of steel toecapped boots are a necessity. No boots, no work, is the mantra. George is a growing boy he needs new boots, and hereby hangs a tale.
Which is good news for me, because I have something to write about, and hopefully good news for you because your visit to 'don't unplug your hub' has not been a waste of time.

Let us go back to Saturday last. George and his Mother Tricia, drove into the beautiful West Sussex cathedral city of Chichester. Their purpose was to buy a new pair of work boots for George.
If only they had told me they were going. I could have persuaded George to try the new boots on. He tends to listen to me. His Mothers entreaties on the other hand tend to be overlooked. I have no idea why, except that it is a boy thing. I was a boy once, but it was a long time ago, and I have forgotten why boys don't listen to their Mothers, if I ever knew.
The boots with which the intrepid duo returned home were, as boots go, quite beautiful. Black matt leather uppers with polished toecaps. The soles and heels were sturdily crafted from the finest rubber. Designed to deal with all kinds of situations. The uppers where they encased the ankle were softly padded. Blisters would not be a problem. Personally I thought they were a bit overpriced, but I think everything is overpriced these days. All things considered though they were good boots. But in the end whether good or bad was academic. They were the wrong size.
Disappointing? Yes, but a situation such as this is easily rectified. Simply a case of returning to the shop and changing them for the correct size. But not today. Nobody feels inclined to take another trip to town. Remember it is Saturday, the traffic will have built up by now. Trying to park will be horrendous. It will have to wait now, until Monday. Which as it happened, turned out to be a good decision.

Look at the notice I saw in the local shop window when I happened past later that day. Brand new work boots. Still in their box. The right size. Best of all, only fifteen quid. An absolute bargain. Perfect!
Tricia was in such a hurry to go and buy these bargain boots, that as she rushed to get into her car she was inches away from colliding with a cyclist, who in trying to avoid her was almost knocked off his bike by a passing car. The driver of which told the cyclist what he thought of him in very unpleasant terms, at the same time as the cyclist was telling Tricia what he thought of her. Which was also uncomplimentary, and certainly no way to talk to a lady. Which Tricia is. Occasionally.
Unfortunately, another incident involving the same cyclist occurred further down the road, when as she was overtaking him, another car coming from the other direction, forced Tricia to cut in sharply, and without warning, across said cyclists path. Tricia does not lip read but she thinks from the expression on his face, as viewed in her rear view window, that he may have been saying rude words to her. She didn't stop to find out. Or apologise. She wanted those boots.
She got them too, and they fitted my extremely handsome son George perfectly. So all is well that ends well.
Except. As she returned home Tricia forgot to check before she opened the car door. Just at that moment a cyclist was passing by. He had to take swift avoiding action. Forcing a car coming the other way to brake sharply. The driver of which wound down his window and told the poor man exactly what he thought of bloody cyclists. It was the same hapless cyclist who had already had two unfortunate encounters with her. Apparently his language on this occasion was even more appalling.
Tricia was quite ashen faced as she related these incidents to me. I dread to think what colour the poor cyclists face was. Or his trousers!

* 'On your bike' is similar to the American expression, 'get outta here'.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

John Bain Is Unwell. He Is Off His Spinning Top.

The inbox was really full up, so I decided to delete all my emails. That was about an hour ago. I have just checked my emails again. There is nothing there. It's been an hour. No emails. Not even spam! Why did I delete everything. Now I know for certain that nobody loves me.
Maybe I have too much time on my hands at the moment. Too much time for introspection.
Actually I am unwell. Have been for a couple of weeks. The Doctor has given me tablets. Sometimes I think they are working. Sometimes I think they are not. Right now as I sit here writing this, they are most definitely not. My head keeps spinning. Not literally! I am not an extra from the film 'The Exorcist'. Oh dear oh dear! Why did I say that? Now I have to look up how to spell exorcist. It doesn't look right to me.
I'm back! That is the correct spelling. Anyway as I was saying. My head is spinning. The Doctor thinks it is a condition called 'labrinthitis'. An inner ear infection. I'm not convinced. I bet it is something far more serious. Besides, everyone I talk to has had labrinthitis. Which makes it far too run of the mill for me. Far too common. If I'm going to be ill I prefer something a little more exotic. But easily curable of course.
Start in the centre. Quickly follow the black line with you eyes. That's how my head feels.
The word 'to' or 'too' is bothering me now. I am having trouble knowing which to use. Ah yes! That was the correct usage in the sentence before I said 'Ah yes'. Excuse me while I go back to the beginning of the second paragraph and change a couple of to's to too.
I have just changed two to's to too, which is not something a lot of people have to do, or say, very often. Another unique moment in my life.
Are you still there? That is so kind of you. I know I have been rambling on a bit.
I have just read the leaflet that came with the tablets. They are called prochlorperazine maleate. They are for treating dizziness or balance problems. One of their other uses, it says here, is to treat, over active behaviour or thoughts. Fortunately that is not something that bothers me. They are also used to treat schizophrenia. Do you think the Doctor is keeping something from me? Maybe he is trying to tell me something. Well it's not working if he is.
Oh my word! I have just had a read of the possible side effects of these pills. Scary stuff. Wish I hadn't looked.
Two hours. Still no emails. So it must be true then. Nobody loves me. Hey! Wait a second. This isn't schizophrenia. This is paranoia. Hey! I'm on the wrong tablets. I had better get back to the Doctors. Wish my head would stop spinning, so I could determine which direction his surgery is in.
Perhaps I had better give my blog a bit of a miss today. Yes, sorry everyone, no blog today. I'm not thinking straight. It would probably be a lot of rambling rubbish. You deserve better than that.

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Danny Boy. From Glen To Glen And Down The Mountain Side.

The first time I set eyes on him he was involved in a tug of war with a pretty young veterinary nurse. She was losing the war and being a gallant young sailor with an eye for a pretty face it was only right that I should go to her assistance. He was a big German Shepherd and extremely determined not to go through the door into the Vets surgery.
Between the pretty nurse and me we managed in the end through a combination of tugging, pushing and cajoling to get him halfway through the door, at which stage this big dog made a beeline for the examination table and cowered underneath it, panting, and wild eyed with what looked like total panic.
My eyes now prick with tears as I recall and relate this tale, because it turned out that the reason this magnificent animal was at the Vets in the first place was to be put down.
The pretty nurse told me what had happened. Just a short while before I came along, a man had left him there, instructed the Vet to put him to sleep, paid the euthanasia fee and quickly left. Luckily she was holding tight to his lead because the dog had tried to run off. Maybe the big dog was panicking at the sudden loss of his owner, or perhaps he knew what he was there for. Whatever the reason it was heartbreaking to see him eyes wide and scrabbling with fright on the polished floor.
It is difficult to remember exactly how it happened, but a short while later, having let my heart rule my head, and after the Vet had given the dog a thorough examination, and found him to be in perfect health, I walked out from the surgery with a new friend. I think the Vet had already decided that he would not put the dog to sleep. I was there at the right time.
Danny Boy. 1967. My Magnificent Friend.
The year was 1967 or thereabouts. I was on my way to catch a bus to visit my Mother, having just disembarked from a ship in Aberdeen docks, and it was quite a struggle to get this giant chap to come along with me. It was more tugging and cajoling but eventually we reached the bus station and boarded the bus. Where the big fellow headed straight for the back and hid under a seat, still shaking with fear. He didn't like it when the bus began to move and started to whine nervously. I did my best to calm him, stroking and talking to him constantly, but I am sure from the amount of hard looks I got and the tutting of some of the other passengers they thought that the dogs nervousness was down to me.
After an hour we got off the bus, much to mine, and I'm sure the dogs, relief. But there was still a walk of several miles to Mum's place. He was still reluctant to come with me though and there was more pulling and cajoling. Add to this the fact that I had a heavy kit bag on my shoulder and it made things very difficult.
There was a point in the walk where by crossing diagonally across a couple of fields it is possible to shorten the journey and also avoid a dangerous bend in the road. I took this option and this is the place where a miraculous change in the dogs behaviour occurred.
We were off the road, the fields were clear of livestock, and I decided to let him off the lead. At first I thought that I had made a dreadful mistake, because he went haring off down the hill like a bat out of hell, and just as I thought I would never see him again, he turned and came haring back up the hill towards me. What a relief! Of course I made a big fuss of him. He wanted to play. We ran down the hill together and at the bottom he plunged straight into a stream and ran splashing along it. He seemed to revel in his freedom. He was a different animal. I cannot explain this change in his behaviour, but this is not a made up tale. It happened and he was transformed. From that happy moment on he was my dog.
Up until that moment I had it in mind to leave him with my Mother. I knew she would love him and he would give her a sense of security, living as she did on her own in the middle of nowhere.
It did turn out that way in the end, but not before my new friend, whom I named Danny Boy, and I had enjoyed an adventurous time together, tramping and wild camping, in the highlands of Scotland.
Danny was of a sweet, and gentle temperament. However he had been highly trained and I sensed that he had abilities which I never got to find out about.
I can only imagine the reason why anyone would want to have him put down. Perhaps his real owner had died and nobody could take such a big animal on.
Whatever the reason, I am so pleased that I happened along that day to help a pretty veterinary nurse, and give Danny Boy a new lease of life.

Saturday, 9 July 2011

How Not To Succeed In Business And Be Really Trying.

I've been lying in the bath for the last couple of hours. It's been very pleasant. I was having a nice read of a magazine, 'Private Eye'.
There was a little article in there about an artist who has started a small business sharpening pencils. It's true! People send him their pencils and he sharpens them. His unique selling point is that he sharpens them in the old fashioned way, using a knife.
Modern pencil sharpeners are a complete no no for him. Apparently he is able to get the pencils to a really sharp point. So as not to get the point damaged in the post, he then puts the pencil in it's own snug fitting tube. This service only costs $12. It sounds crazy but he is doing a roaring trade.
It seems that once sharpened people are reluctant to use them for there intended purpose, and instead give them as gifts to others. They come with a little certificate to prove they have been hand sharpened.

So as I was lying there in the bath, my thoughts turned to rusty nails. Specifically, as to whether I would be able to make any money from them.
I have a great heap of rusty nails, mostly garnered from the embers of the occasional bonfire I have, and also from burning wooden pallets and packing cases in the fire in the cold winter months. I suppose I ought to reclassify them as burnt rusty nails.
If I had a welding machine I could make little sculptures and sell them for lots of money to art collectors. That would take up a lot of my time though, and in the end they might not even sell.
Because they have been in the fire they have lost their temper. No, I don't mean they are angry about being burnt. I mean they have gone a bit soft and bendy. Obviously they are not going to be any use for their original purpose.
What I have decided to do, is to sell them individually, mounted on their own little wooden plaque. With a label stating that they have been burnt in a genuine Sussex bonfire. They can be supplied in original burnt and rusty condition, or polished, or a choice of three colours.
I'm going to charge £9.99p for them. My reasoning being, that people will notice that they cost less than a tenner and think that they are getting a bargain. Which of course they are. This money making idea cannot fail. I shall probably become a millionaire.
Amazing that this has all stemmed from reading a magazine whilst sitting in the bath. Next time I'm going to put some water in the bath. It might relax me a bit. Stop me from being such a bloody idiot.

Thursday, 7 July 2011

The Online Dating Non Events Of An Indecisive Old Man.

Some of my regular readers will be aware that I have recently joined a couple of online dating sites. Listen to me! Regular readers indeed! I'm beginning to think of myself as a proper writer. Anyway I did promise to keep you updated on my progress. Or, as it turns out, lack of it.
There is in fact very little to tell you. I had one date with a very nice lady. That's it. One date. But that one date, pleasant as it was, convinced me that I really and truly enjoy my life the way that it is.
I have to be honest with myself and freely admit that I am selfish and unwilling to change. Probably, as I am being brutal with myself, I should also admit that I would be unable to change anyway. Because, if I were to share my life, full time, with another, it would inevitably require some changes.
Although I am alone, I am not lonely. I have some very good friends. Indeed I have built up quite a social life for myself lately. In fact it can be too hectic at times for this old guy, and I have to step back and take a rest from it all.
I think what motivated me to join the dating sites was the lack of an, ahem, intimate side to my life. Hey! I'm getting on a bit, but I am not dead yet. There still courses, well, flows, oh alright then, dribbles, through my veins the blood of a passionate man.
However, if I'm not prepared to put the effort into a relationship I can hardly expect anyone else to. I will just have to soldier on, alone but happy. Until such time as the miracle occurs which sends Miss Wonderful, the perfectly understanding woman into my life. I am not holding my breath.
My subscriptions to the dating sites have been cancelled. I have seen the light. I am free from the need to be constantly checking my email inbox. No one will be contacting me. I will no longer have to suffer the indignity of not being tall enough, or solvent enough, or hirsute enough. I no longer have to feel guilty because I do not particularly like eating out, or going to the theatre. The inside of my car can go back to looking like a dustbin, and smelling like a dog kennel. The iron can go back into the cupboard where it belongs, and I can go back to my happy crumpled self. I don't care anymore. Because I am what I am. Not what I want some improbably perfect woman to think I am.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Old Nurse Reid, Rhubarb Wine And The Truant Boy.

How long does a person have to live before they are qualified to be known by the prefix 'old'? A long, long time I would think.
Years ago, actually it would have been 1960, when I was a boy of thirteen, and living in Scotland, I had a lovely friend. Everyone referred to her as 'Old Nurse Reid'. I have no idea just how old she was but to my young eyes, and despite the twinkle in hers, she looked fairly ancient. She had served as a nurse in the first world war. So in the 60's she had certainly been around for a while.
Old Nurse Reid's hair was short, straight, pure white, and brushed back in the no nonsense kind of way, that seemed in those days to be the badge of the professional woman. Her face had a happy plumpness about it. She shone with that rare look, which made you want to confide in her.
Despite having retired from the position many years before, she was nearly always to be seen in the uniform of the District Nurse. Which in those days was a job that carried authority, and great respect. She must have had a good supply of those uniforms because she always had a freshly starched look about her.

By the age of thirteen I had just about given up on school. I was always sent off on time in the mornings but sometime between leaving the house and reaching the school yard I would somehow or other manage to get sidetracked. Often it would be in the company of my friend Doddy, another inveterate truant.
On these occasions we would spend the day fishing or shooting things with air rifles or catapults, or collecting birds eggs or butterflies. Anyway, whatever we got up to, it generally involved some carnage to wildlife. Thank God that most of today's youngsters are taught to respect nature. In my childhood we were nowhere near as aware.
It was on the day's when I was on my own, that I would find myself gravitating to the area of Old Nurse Reid's house. Where I would hang around idling the time away, in the way that only kids can. Climbing trees, balancing on walls, scratching rude words into any surface susceptible to my penknife, seeing if it would be possible to hit that greenhouse with this stone. Oops! Sometimes it was. All those kind of things which I see kids doing today and frown disapprovingly at, before remembering that I was young once.
Eventually Old Nurse Reid would see me loitering by her gate and invite me in. Which was what I had been waiting for. The usual routine on these occasions was for me to be given a broom and asked to sweep the path or maybe take a wet chamois leather and a bucket of water with vinegar in it, and give her kitchen window a clean. I loved doing odd jobs for her. Strangely I had entirely the opposite reaction when asked to do a chore at home.
When I had completed my tasks, Old Nurse Reid would bring out the cake tin and we would share a slice or two and a cup of tea, while she told me stories about her life, and listened to me complaining about mine. After a while she would ask me to fetch two glasses from the polished oak sideboard, whilst she fetched a bottle of her homemade rhubarb wine from the larder. It was so nice to sit at the table in her cosy little parlour sampling the wine and looking at her collection of photo albums. Where every picture was brought to life by her powers of memory and description.
The rhubarb wine was potent stuff and she would limit my consumption of it, but not before the alcohol had reached my brain and bathed me in it's warm glow.
Today Old Nurse Reid would no doubt be castigated for giving alcoholic drink to a child. Indeed I don't think I would be pleased to hear that my children had been given any, but I liked her and felt good in her company. I like to think that she felt the same about me.
Looking back now there was a conspiratorial air to our little wine sampling sessions, a touch of secrecy. I was all for being rebellious in those days. Maybe Old Nurse Reid felt the need to rebel also. How old do you have to be before you can say with authority, "stuff convention!" Certainly ancient enough to have earned the prefix, 'old'.

Saturday, 2 July 2011

Ibuprofen, Rocking Chair, Ibuprofen, Garden Tractor, Ibuprofen Weeds, Ibuprofen, Paving, Unguent, Massage And Back Pain.

A few days ago I hurt my back while lifting a rocking chair I had made out of sticks. As I was lifting it I remember thinking to myself,  'this is a bit heavy, perhaps I ought to get help'.
Unfortunately, as it quite usual with me, being the independent type of man that I am, I did not heed my own advice.
The result is lower back pain. Actually the pain is so bad that I have resorted to taking painkillers. Namely Ibuprofen.
Because I don't take tablets as a rule, their effect on me is quite fast when I do. That's why I forgot about my bad back when I had to push my heavy, and malfunctioning, garden tractor down the drive and onto a trailer.
As the painkiller wore off, I felt the results of this act of stupidity when the pain returned with a vengeance.
My answer was to take a double dose of the Ibuprofen. They are very good, and the pain went very quickly. Which is why I forgot about my bad back when I made the decision that I could no longer bear the sight of all the giant weeds, thistles,, nettles and docks which have taken advantage of the mowers recent breakdown and subsequent lack of action.
My solution to this problem was to take the strimmer to the paddock and spend a couple of  hours at war against the invaders. Of course as the painkillers wore off I began to regret this impulsive display of horticultural frenzy and my poor back regretted it even more.
Luckily I still had some Ibuprofen left and three tablets later my back pain had subsided sufficiently enough for me to be caught off guard when my dear friend Elizabeth phoned and asked if I could come over, and lift and move some paving slabs for her. Of course I was only too pleased to help. Elizabeth always provides a very nice lunch, and, in line with my simple and frugal lifestyle, I hate to miss out on a free meal. Well to be honest I never know when I might eat again.
Oh! Perhaps I ought to mention that my large tummy is as a result of my genes, and nothing whatsoever to do with over eating. That is the truth!
The pills were rapidly wearing off when I had finished at Elizabeths and my back reminded me of it's fragile condition. Causing me to let out a groan of pain as I slowly and carefully climbed into my truck.
Elizabeth who was about to wave me goodbye was concerned, "oh you poor dear," she said. "Would you like me to give you a back rub?"
"Oh yes please. Shall I go and lie on your bed?" I answered hopefully, as I jumped, gazelle like, from the truck.
No such luck. She had me lean against the kitchen counter while she massaged some foul smelling unguent into the small of my back. The result is that I not only have a bad back but I smell like a horse.
I don't have the option of more pills. I daren't take four. That would be silly, and one pill would be just a waste of time now. So I suppose I shall just have to suffer until my back rights its self. Which hopefully will be soon. Just as long as I remember not to take any more pain killers.
Ibuprofen are marvellous though. Is Ibuprofen a brand name? Do you think they might pay me, if I say it often enough?
The morale of all this is: if you make a rocking chair. Just sit in it!