Journal

Shared Thoughts Past, Present and Future, and a bit about Motor Neurone Disease (ALS)

Tough Discipline, again ….

Tough Discipline, again ….

Following the last blog post, other examples are: The same 1972 university course but this time teaching in Spain.  We TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) trainees were sent to Barcelona for a couple of weeks and were allocated a school each. Mine was in the...

Tough Discipline …

Tough Discipline …

Well, the memory bank was triggered yesterday by a report on the unruly behaviour of some students, partly or wholly as a result of boredom during the lockdown.  Unusual punishments from my dodgy background came to mind.  Here are a few: It’s 1972 and I’m at London...

Findings …

Findings …

No change on the health front.  Still much the same, so let’s move on.  Something along the lines of “That reminds me of when ….” The local residents’ association here, which I used to run, covers six streets and has a voice at our local Marylebone and wider...

Here we are again …

Here we are again …

Hello again.  Back blogging, in a way. In the DP world these last two weeks certainly allowed a lot of staring - see the last blog entry if you don’t understand that.  The walls the windows, the garden, all provided rest for the spirit. TV, which I watch rarely these...

Time for a lull …

Time for a lull …

Now, six days since the last blog entry - possibly a record.  Why wasn’t I tapping the keyboard? It’s been a tough few days, health-wise.  The MND is advancing: balance, walking, breathing, left side muscles, hand strength, saliva control, head support, all are...

Oh the embarrassment!

Oh the embarrassment!

The other day I read about a conversation between a novelist and a historian.  They were disagreeing about a health problem.  Suddenly a breakthrough, with deep embarrassment and laughter when they realised that one had consistently misheard the other.  The topic was,...

Media over for now?  Hope so!

Media over for now? Hope so!

Well, Tuesday 3rd was definitely interesting.  If you haven’t read the blog that day, click the amber. The BBC included the short version of the interview on its TV London local news. It also had it on its website as mainline news, and for much of the day and the next...

On air and ether …

On air and ether …

BBC London News Friends, if you’re interested but haven’t found it, the short version is on the main BBC News website here:  https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/uk-england-london-58014609  It also featured on BBC London TV news in the morning, noon and evening news. The...

BBC: the latest …

BBC: the latest …

Time: 09.00.  Moving on hastily from whiskers, here’s the latest about the BBC broadcast where I might have a part.  It’s scheduled for tomorrow, 3 August, but could be postponed if last minute news items take precedence.  On 21 June I said I’d let you know as soon as...

Whiskers!

Whiskers!

Well that was a surprise! Four days ago I wrote about the difficulty of living with an increasingly paralysed left arm and hand. To demonstrate, there were a few mildly humorous suggestions.  One was that men who wet shave might like to try it single-handed.  What...

Left hand, right hand for example …

Left hand, right hand for example …

I’ve been quiet for a few days. They’ve been rather difficult health-wise. In one sense it’s ‘more of the same’.  Each weakness that I described in the last State of Play document has worsened.  Head, mouth, throat, neck, lungs, left arm and hand, left leg and foot,...

Airwaves …

Airwaves …

On a grey and windy afternoon four weeks ago I was interviewed by the BBC in my little roof garden.  Ellie, from the charity Dignity in Dying, had proposed it, having already got The Daily Telegraph to ask me to write a short article which it then published.  So on 22...

Read and read again?

Read and read again?

Does anyone read books more than once?  It seems so, when people quote their favourites and the pleasure they get from re-reading them. I was thinking about this the other day after a faithful follower of this blog reminded me that in August last year I had written...

Well served!

Well served!

Yesterday afternoon.  Wimbledon.  Men’s semifinals.  Six hours of pleasure in front of the TV.  Later today, Ladies' Finals.  Much pleasure this afternoon, for sure. Ah, the memories.  For years I entered the ballot for a couple of tickets to Centre Court and No 1 ...

Three days ago ….

Three days ago ….

….. it was a significant day again: the 4th of July. I was going to write about it but then decided not.  I was getting maudlin and couldn’t find the right tone. That’s still the case but rather than let it go unrecorded I invite you to read again the 4 July blog...

Just a little …

Just a little …

Not much to say.  I’m having some quiet days.  It’s been rather tiring getting through recent events: the rush to produce the Telegraph article (published); the preparation for the BBC interview and the interview itself (to be broadcast end July / early August); and...

I am not responsible …

I am not responsible …

… for my blogmaster’s strange hobbies. I’m definitely not responsible for his quirky sense of humour. I refuse to take responsibility for his weird taste in music. Any antics are certainly not my responsibility. I reject any responsibility regarding his peculiar...

Two busy days …

Two busy days …

Today is Wednesday. The last two days have been busy, or at least busy for me, ‘cos with my low energy levels life is quite slow. Monday: 1. Summer solstice - nice to know. 2. Global Motor Neurone Disease Awareness Day - same, and as it happens I am aware of it. 3....

Chaperones and more …

Chaperones and more …

With the Peacemobile and the horn, this Formula One wheelchair ace is looking forward to many adventures.  Be ready for them! I’m leaving it for now though.  Other things to talk about in the days ahead – perhaps another favourite book, or something else from the DP...

But not in the rain …

But not in the rain …

Thank you, young P, for your sponsorship of the Peacemobile efforts in the 21-mile challenge (see ‘Comments’ at the top).  Thank you to others who’ve given money direct to the Fund as a general encouragement to make it.  And thank you to everyone who has recently...

Rolling on ….

Rolling on ….

I decided to cheat.  On June 5, two blog posts ago, I wrote about the imminent Global MND Awareness Day on June 21 and the challenge for anyone to run 21 miles before that day, even if they only do a couple of miles at a time. That’s not too difficult, surely. ...

Hip! Hip! …. Boo!

Hip! Hip! …. Boo!

What’s this strange title?  Well, it’s because for an hour a day I’m experiencing the rest of humanity at its hip height. It’s the Peacemobile of course.  Rolling through the streets of London and into Hyde Park or Paddington Basin or round the blocks and the lovely...

1 ½ miles a day?

1 ½ miles a day?

Something new, or at least new to me: June 21 is ‘Global MND Awareness Day’. Around the world the International Alliance of ALS/MND Associations organises fundraising activities to boost interest and turbocharge research.  I had never heard of this until a newsletter...

Liberation Day ….

Liberation Day ….

The Peacemobile arrived yesterday morning, fully charged. Range of 15 miles on one charge. Four speeds and a tiny, tinny horn.  All I have to do is sit in it, turn it on, choose the speed, hold the joystick, and glide on. So yesterday afternoon I ‘drove’ for half a...

No rest …

No rest …

... for the wicked.  Yes, despite the name I’m as wicked as the rest of you.  And this ain’t a complaint. After 14 months of blogging I was thinking of slowing down a bit, and had been doing so, and frankly had been rather struggling with ideas and energy levels.  Two...

Media surprise …

Media surprise …

Friends, this was unexpected. In the last couple of weeks Ellie, at Dignity in Dying, has been talking to me about using my ‘story’ in their ongoing campaign. You might know that on Wednesday their Chair, Baroness Meacher, introduced an Assisted Dying Bill in the...

Wheel Appeal …

Wheel Appeal …

It was a bit of a struggle to write the last two blog posts.  Authors talk about ‘writer’s block’, where inspiration and the flow of words just disappear.  Blogger’s block hit me but I cobbled a few things together.  Surprisingly they generated a number of interesting...

Milestones …

Milestones …

There’s been some discussion in the press about the superior value and usefulness of Imperial measures - stones, pounds, ounces, feet, yards, miles and so on - compared with the metric system.  And plenty of arguments the other way round.  Tedious!  Calm down: this...

Happy families?

Happy families?

Prince Harry is in the news again, and again at his own instigation.  He’s now talking about emotional pain inherited from his parents, and presumably pain they inherited from their parents, and so on.  Well, it’s a pretty unique family, coping throughout their whole...

Voice rediscovered – again!

Voice rediscovered – again!

Another big, very welcome, and somewhat embarrassing surprise! Last week, out of the blue, a link arrived by email. It was another recording of my voice, this time from eleven years ago but this time not only the voice.  A video.  I think the DP memory must be...

Pigeon posts and more …

Pigeon posts and more …

Looking for anything to hang a blog entry on, yesterday I noticed a small story in the press about an English town that is so tired of pigeon droppings that it is going to trap the birds and transport them to an aviary 250 miles away where, after a time, they’ll be...

Bland, boring and Boris …

Bland, boring and Boris …

Ah, the memories!   Those following the news in Britain will probably know that at the moment our Prime Minister is being investigated by three different official organisations.  Why?  Because allegedly up to £200,000 has been spent on redecorating and refurbishing...

A result …

A result …

Two days ago, after watching the APPG discussion, I wrote, "Whether the meeting has moved anything forward I doubt.  We'll see." There was a result.  Given that assisted dying is illegal, Matt Hancock asked for more information on suicides by terminally ill people. ...

APPG. Worth it?

APPG. Worth it?

Continuing one of the items from the last blog post, at 2pm yesterday afternoon I received an email from Dignity in Dying.  It said that they had just received permission from Matt Hancock's office to live-stream the online All Party Parliamentary Group discussion on...

Bits and pieces …

Bits and pieces …

A small catch-up and a little news. The DP Fund:  started on 2 December to support MND research via the MNDA.  From all sources - single donations, recurring direct debits (annual value), and the MND Art Challenge - total now over £19,000.  Very good.  Thank you. The...

Lawn Order ….

Lawn Order ….

Here in Britain we’ve had a week of public anecdotes.  TV, radio, newspapers, social media (which I don’t do) all telling stories of Prince Philip.  Individuals reminiscing of the time, any time up to 70 years ago, when “I met him, and I said this and he said that”. ...

Wall? Elephant? Both?

Wall? Elephant? Both?

Hello. I’m still around.  Quite pleased with making the target of 200 blog entries. Quite pleased with the April Fool jape.  Quite pleased with the discovery of that short recording of my actual voice ‘in concert’, even though it was oration rather than natural...

Prince Philip

Prince Philip

Prince Philip died yesterday.  Whatever one thinks of the British monarchy, or of the concept of constitutional monarchy in general, I hope few would disagree with my view that he has served the nation, and his wife, well.  It’s amazing that peoples around the world...

Voice Rediscovered ….

Voice Rediscovered ….

This could be heavy, or heady, stuff. It was 1538 when the young Thomas Tallis arrived at the massive Abbey of the Holy Cross at Waltham, the wealthiest Augustinian House in England.  Apparently the abbey offered him excellent musical resources where no doubt he hoped...

Smile …

Smile …

I hope everyone is enjoying the weekend, and for those who observe such things, Happy Easter. Also, a confession.  The last blog entry ... the expected honour ... written on April 1st, please note.  Couldn’t resist it.  Sorry. Hope it raised some smiles though...

A Year On ….

A Year On ….

Has anyone sensed a slight acceleration in blog entries in the last few weeks?  For the first hundred days there was one a day.  Then after the 100th on 9 July last year I said they’d be occasional: perhaps one or two a week.  That’s what happened. Recently for...

What’s in a name?

What’s in a name?

Yes, the Bard got it right: “That which we call a rose / By any other name would smell as sweet”.  Perhaps then, the name isn’t so important.  On the other hand we know the care that most parents take in deciding their child’s name.  Family favourite?  Nationally...

Script and scripture …..

Script and scripture …..

I think the first time I saw Arabic script was probably during that memorable student trip to Turkey in 1968, being also the first time I’d entered a prison.  Interested in the prison story?  If you haven’t read it, it’s in the blog entry of 29 April 2020 and here....

Another purpose …

Another purpose …

A reminder to myself: the blog is multi-purpose. Triggered by the illness and a life shorter than expected, it gave me a hobby and a focus.  Time to tell stories from my life.  Time to say things I’ve not said in the past.  Time occasionally to comment on current...

Comms and Alerts …

Comms and Alerts …

Two days ago I had the pleasure of a Zoom chat with Professor Tony Watts who set up the MNDA Fund in my name.  It was a general catch-up call and Tim joined us, partly to translate my growling.  I also did some text to-speech typing, generating the e-voice that you...

No floppy brims ….

No floppy brims ….

If you check the Comments you’ll see that Meriel asked if I was Spring, Summer or Autumn.  My reply: “Summer”.  Read the entry of 21 March and it might make sense. Some rummaging through the Peace archives had produced that little case of 30 fabric swatches, shades of...

Colours and more ….

Colours and more ….

This is topical.  This is risky.  Could get me into trouble.  It’s about skin colour.  And differences.  And how to deal with the differences.  Dangerous territory.  Have to tread carefully. It’s actually about a memorable Christmas present. We’re in the early 1980’s,...

Sleepover …

Sleepover …

What a pleasure to be in hospital just for one night, knowing that nothing unpleasant is going to happen, with very friendly staff and a specialist ward doctor prepared to give a lot of time to the patient. I wrote the previous blog at about 8pm on the 17th.  Two...

A Night without Alice …

A Night without Alice …

I’m  writing this from the hospital bed on the 17th, yesterday. Since arriving in the chauffeured Mercedes - thank you again, NHS - they’ve looked after me well.  It’s a large room with just two beds. Tim, in the role of carer, is in the other one. Medics galore:...

Odds and Ends …

Odds and Ends …

Today, for want of anything better - or rather, for want of inspiration - here are a few random bits and pieces in the immediate DP world. Sunday’s 7am self-administered Covid swab test kit was collected at 11am.  The result came through yesterday morning, 24 hours...