March 2010

Working back through time, but definitely not importance. The critical stuff will be at the end.

Just sprayed fixative on the banner I have painted for the St George’s Eve Show

Before that I was in Rafters. The bad news is that it is shutting. Leaving two pubs on Little Horton Lane. There were, I think, ten or more when I moved here in 88.

I talked to lots of nice people from my past. Richard Graham (a man I did a birthday card for, which was my drawing of a Graham tartan, that was a learning experience!), I also talked to Gabriella, who was a bright ginger girl I taught at St. Joseph’s Primary School. She is less ginger, but her boyfriend was very keen to come to the Great British Redhead Festival (I suspect he will not be allowed to come on his own).

Before that I did more debt counselling. I am helping, more with use of english than with the English legal system, and I do not mind that my reward may be in heaven, I am making a postive contribution of happiness (though probably not to the bloke who owes hundreds of quid).

Before that I met Sam for another working breakfast, though in Wheterspoons this time. The breakfast in the Acropolis is better, much better, but it is almost two quid more expensive, and Weatherspoons’ certainly fills you up.

We sorted out a lot of important stuff about my next two shows, but they are both now less than certain.

Important news I got a call from Basil telling me that dad has suspected kidney failure. Things needed to change at my parents. Whether they need to change as drastically as Basil fears depends on confirmed medical news, and the resulting discussions. I doubt that things will remain the same. Whether the centre holds, or things fall apart, is beyond seeing, but whatever happens this may be a blog that marks a shift in the wind.

Did the French roast chicken yesterday; spent time dressed as Dr Evil protesting about the plan to knock down the Odeon; and had my snoring confirmed.

No real news of dad, but when Basil went to see him yesterday he was shivering, though he denied being cold. It took the medic taking his blood pressure to notice to get action, after two tests showed his temperature was a degree below normal.

Ma’s infection has given her some fever, but not for long.

Basil has been keeping on top of the stress by cleaning and sorting; this is not a trait shared by all the family.

I have, however, been doing a massive amount, for me, of domestic stuff, including a shop weighing 16kg (I weighed me and the shopping, then just me).

I was up fairly early this morning ready for a phone interview with BBC Radio Newcastle’s breakfast show about red hair.

The first call though was from my brother Basil to tell me our father had been taken into hospital. Ma had used their panic button when he came downstairs to declare he was very ill. Basil has gone to Crawley. It seems unlikely it was caused by a diabetic event, but the doctors do not know what did cause it. It may be just panic. He is being kept in because lots of issues have been found. Basil will hold the fort for a few days.

BBC Newcastle sent me an e-mail yesterday morning but `I did not pick it up until the evening so no ‘fixing what I’m about’ until the producer rang just before the interview. I had to be out of the house by 9.20 to get to the dentist so it was all a bit squeezed. I talked just a little about the science of red hair. They framed it as though I had rung in, which I can understand, but it was still a little strange.

If you click the above link you can listen again for a week (today is the 26 March). Richard of the Redhead festival (who put them on to me) was on at about 8.20 (a bit less than two hours) and I was on at about 9.15 (after 2,45 hours, after the travel news).

The dentist had one look and declared it healed. I am not happy but did not argue. I cannot believe that there is not some decay issue that caused the infection.

In the afternoon I moved a computer for a neighbour, did some IT teaching and more debt counselling.

I should be on BBC Radio Newcastle being interviewed about red hair tomorrow, Friday 26th March, at one or more times between 08.20 aND 09.30.

This is because I am a featured artist at the Great Bristish Redhead Festival.

I signed on today, and made a phone call about the issues I had mentioned in previous blogs. The young lad at the job centre went away and gave me an answer, the woman at the 0835 number, which is the only way of asking questions about ones dole claim, was as much use as a woman having to shout a limited number of possible answers from a script, in a call centre were you can hear other people shouting, can be.

Later I had a long meeting with Sam in Titus Salts. He is in Witness for the Prosecution at the Bradford Alhambra.

The next show, after the red head one, will now probably be, thanks to Les’ suggestion A Knight with St. George.

Once I was left on my own I got talking to a really nice young couple drinking a bottle of wine and going to see Alice in Wonderland at the museum. Maliki was the blokes name. The lass was a good looking red head in denial, wearing a mix of blond and dark dyes. If I have helped her raise her scarlet standard high, as I sung at her, then the day will have been more than blessed.

The important news from the last few days is about my father’s health. Ma called a doctor to she him because he had crippling swell in the leg that he has been dragging for years, and which both me and mother have talked about to his doctor, while he is claiming nothing is wrong.

The diagnosis is that he has bad arthritis. In the short term it just confirms the obvious that he is housebound; and because I was ill Basil has codified the existing agreement that if I cannot go to the parents in an emergency then he does.

For myself I am recovered. I had my first coffee for a week and my first beer for more than that. I had another lunchtime meeting in the Acropolis, and had a small breakfast, and ended up at Turls Bar for a couple of pints, with coffees in between. It was nice.

I have registered to work the local and national elections, and came home to discover a letter confirming payment on my loss guarantee for Walburgas.

It is with immense relief that I can claim that my alimentary canal is at least doing a job now.

Strangely I feel more exhausted in some ways than when I was sleeping 20 hours in the day (Friday or Saturday). I suppose you can only notice you are tired when you are awake.

In the afternoon I did something I have not done for years, listened to Radio 4 in bed. Earlier I had been surfing about radio shows, and discovered there was not a single reference to the revelation that the ‘contestants’ on Radio 4’s 20 Questions were told the answers beforehand. It may not be true, but all the evidence suggests it; especially the fact that the panel almost never got it wrong; with Anona Winn being especially annoying at ‘just knowing it’.

The thing is that whether it is true or not, the fact all the web articles make no mention of it is a nasty process of rewriting history. All Eden Garden golden age of broadcasting, with all trace of suggested fakery and poison wiped away.

Poached a chicken leg and chopped leeks in apple juice for my tea, served with noodles cooked in the stock. Biggest meal for 6 days and mush enjoyed.

My only and overwhelming desire at present is to produce something solid!

I have been ill. The few hours I was not in bed asleep on Friday I was in the bathroom, very much awake. Yesterday the top end of my digestive system was not in revolt, but other things were, if anything, worse.

t may just be Winter vomiting virus (which is a form of food poisoning) but I suspect it was food poisoning on top of a cold; not helped by me talking antibiotics for the gumboil. Whatever it was I am virtually certain of the poison; and the only role I had was eating it.

I am still weak but have managed to launder my pyjamas and do a small shop (though I forgot the yogurt). Once a pair of pyjamas are dry I am back in bed; and if they are not dry it is shorts and vest time.

I had a massive amount to do this last few days. Shows, Tax, Social Security, letters. It will wait.

As I am writing this I am listening to a Coral Evensong, from Dublin Cathedral, broadcast by BBC Radio 3. A pair of wood pigeons were mating in the sycamore near my window, as the Gloria Patri was being spoken:

As it was in the beginning. Is thus and ever shall be.

I have a head cold. Not much of one but enough to slow me up.

Did a Martha’s Story – My Mother’s Escape from the Red Army talk (my Finnish mum’s adventures) to the Methodist Ladies of Saltaire last night. It was in one of the member’s houses, and was raucous and really fun. I got a lot of laughs. At the end when we were having tea and biscuits I was talking to one lady who had been to Finland. She said The Finns can seem a very dour people. I was agreeing with her when the most raucous member shouted out You must ake after your Welsh dad then! The thing is my mum come from Karelia, which was (before the Russian’s took it after the War) the least dour bit of the whole country.

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