It’s All Downhill From Here

In case you are thinking I’m becoming maudlin, don’t worry. I had a dream, now it sounds like I’m about to start a speech. I had a dream last night in which I was off-roading… in my wheelchair! Unusual, no, impossible more like. I was on my own up a mountain, I say a mountain, but it was a very large hill with rocky sides. I was enjoying myself, whizzing along, wind in my hair. The long dark brown hair blowing behind me; it was a dream. Even though it was a muddy and rutted path, I didn’t notice; it felt smooth. I was looking left and right over the scenery. Swinging my shoulder length hair around; it must have been the 1970’s. Mind you, I was the age I am now, 25ish. I could see the sea over one shoulder; that’s one of those sentences you have to see written down. The other side was miles of open fields. Then I came to a gentle slope downwards so I started to descend.

You need to understand something about a power wheelchair. Well, about my power wheelchair anyway. It is heavy, it weighs around 250kg with me in it. I think it’s around 240kg on its own. Wake up! So, my quarter of a tonne wheelchair was gathering speed down this muddy slope. The incline increased and so did the speed. It increased more as the wheels slipped and I was suddenly at the point of no return. It was too steep to try and turn around, the chair would have tipped over and stopping the power did not stop the chair. I was on a ride to the bottom of that slope. I increased speed and anxiety. The chair picked up mud and rocks. One way or another I was going to the bottom of that slope; it was all downhill from there; don’t you love it when a blog title makes sense? I was terrified and the earlier joy had disappeared. I think we can call it a nightmare.

The funny thing was that as I descended that hill, uncontrolled and rather fast, I did not get hurt. The wheelchair did not turn over or crash. It was as if I was the hero in a comic book movie, I survived. I would say I walked away from it… but hey. It wasn’t a nightmare after all, it was a fun dream.

I don’t normally dream about being in a wheelchair. Even though I have had a wheelchair part time since 2007, that’s 24 years and full time since 2012, that’s 9 years. You would think my mind would see me as a wheelchair user and I would dream of being in one; but no, I dream of me walking. Actually, I dream of running, swimming and even flying; not in a plane. Funny thing the unconscious brain. I wonder if this is the beginning of a series of wheelchair adventures. Where to next? Wheeling along the bottom of the ocean? Flying in a wheelchair with ET on my lap? Wheeling through a deep, dark forest? The sky’s the limit. Actually, it’s not. Wheeling on the surface of the moon? Wheeling around the rings of Saturn? Let’s not get carried away.

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Sorry

Some people think us Brits are far too apologetic. I’m sorry, but that’s just not true. I hardly ever apologise. In fact, and I do apologise if this offends you, but for me I’d much rather be blunt and to the point. The idea that Brits go around saying sorry all the time is quite frankly silly and I’m sorry if that offends you. I was chatting to Mary the other day, I said, “Oh sorry, is that your foot, I think I’m going to write a blog about the idea that Brits are too apologetic.” Mary said, “I’m sorry, you’re going to write about what?” Which I think about proves my point.

Now if you will just bear with me for one more minute. Is that OK, I don’t want to hold you up unnecessarily, do say if it’s too much? My last point is that we have been very unfairly portrayed in movies. We haven’t? Oh! Well in that case, I’ll leave that point. I feel like I have made my point strongly, hopefully not too strongly, I don’t wont to be offensive and clearly. It was, I hope you will agree, a point well worth making.

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Blondes Have More Fun

I don’t know if it’s true that blondes have more fun, not being one myself. I have a fair bit of fun and I have dark brown hair. Stop it, you can go and stand in the corner for that comment. I have lots of thick dark brown hair left, it’s just hiding at the back of my head. I can see it in great clumps on the floor, well maybe not great clumps, but little clumps, whenever Mary cuts my hair. I have asked if Mary she could be more selective in her cutting; but apparently that’s not possible. For some crazy reason, hair trimmers cannot differentiate between grey and coloured hair. There is a massive market opportunity there for an entrepreneur. I am assuming ‘The Apprentice’ on BBC will be back next year? If so, you have your product range ready, or maybe you could pitch it to ‘The Dragons’. Are they still going? Of course you can always just sell it down the market. “Miracle ‘air cutter. Seein’ is belivin’. I won’t sell it fer fifty, I won’t sell it fer forty-five. Once in a lifetime deal, just for you darlin’ twenty-five nicker, come on, get ‘em before they all go.”

There is a perfectly rational reason that got me thinking about blondes and, no, it wasn’t that one. So go and wash your mouth out with soap. It was a computer card game. Well, I say it was a computer card game, but actually it was on my tablet. I was playing a free card game. I have discussed this before, if they are going to call it ‘free’ make it free. I would rather pay a small amount than be bombarded with adverts. Most of the time I have to watch some poor king trying to escape impossible traps. Or a lady leaves her husband and set up home on her own with a baby; it feels like a daytime soap. Today, I was treated to a submarine full of zombies; no, don’t ask why, you’ll only encourage the game makers. Then there was an impossible puzzle. I say it was impossible, it actually looked quite easy. But the caption claimed, “Only 1% of people can complete this puzzle.” I looked at it and thought, “Good luck to them, looks boring, I reckon blondes have more fun.”

Now don’t ask me what made me think that. Something about what a dull game it was, matching patterns on a massive puzzle. I was probably thinking, “who would want to do it,” or “how do they find 1% of people who can be bothered?” Either way, I guess I thought blondes had more fun than anyone doing that puzzle. But then how would I know. Maybe blondes have a very boring life. It could be that the expectation of having a fun life as a blonde, is so high, that all they actually find is disappointment. Perhaps all the blondes out there are sitting doing this very shape matching puzzle, because it’s the most exciting thing they have done all year. Maybe blondes have a saying, “red heads have more fun.” I have no wish to cast any nasturtiums, no wait, that’s a flower. I have no wish to cast any dispersions, still wrong, I have no wish to say anything wrong; that’ll do. After all, blondes are just like the rest of us, well, except being blonde of course. They have their good days and their bad days. If they want to do a puzzle; I will leave them to it. After all, I could be wrong, it’s been known. Maybe that boring looking puzzle is a lot of fun and the blondes doing it are having a lot of fun.

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When Did I Become Old?

We had Mary’s niece and children visit yesterday. Two wonderful lads, 8 and 5 years old. As I watched them play, chatted to them and saw their excitement at discovering new things, it brought back memories of our children at their age.

I remembered, being a young dad, rushing around, caring for our children, playing with them. I also remembered the times we visited elderly relatives. How they used to sit looking on and how extremely old they seemed. Yesterday, I had a moment of realisation, I am now the elderly relative, sitting, looking on. I was quite taken aback. I adjusted the blanket on my knee, put the hearing trumpet to my ear, rearranged my dentures, and thought, “I am nothing like they were.” I don’t really have dentures, just far fewer teeth than I started out with.

When did I become old? It has rather snuck up on me. Age seems to be like a stealth plane. You don’t see it coming and then, without any warning, it’s there. I have been merrily pootling along as a young man for years, many years, years and years. Then without a by your leave, age dropped on me like a ton of bricks. I wouldn’t mind, but it gave me no warning. It’s not as if I gradually showed any signs of age. I have kept my youthful good looks, my full head of hair, my wrinkle free skin, my toned body, my imagination and sense of humour all this time. Then overnight I wake up to being an old man. I call it unfair, grossly unfair. How can I possibly be old?

It seems that now is the time. I have held it off long enough. All the old men did it when I was younger. Time for a comb over and Grecian 2000 hair dye. Not sure about the couple of wrinkles; Polyfilla maybe? Actually, not sure what I can comb over, I don’t have any hair left; details, minor details. Do they still sell Grecian 2000? Still, I’ve heard it said, “age is just a number.” Now where did I put the Pollyfilla?

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Saving The Best ‘Till Last

I realised the other day, why I was always picked last in sports at school. Yes, it’s that recent I can still remember it. The team captains were saving the best ‘till last. Why had I never realised this before? It’s so obvious. I have gone through my life feeling inadequate, as if being left ‘till last meant I was no good at sport. Now, I have finally recognised the truth. I am an Olympian, a champion. I should really be in Tokyo or at least the Paralympic Games. Where do I sign up? When do I leave? Wait a minute, all those emails and letters I have binned or deleted, that tell me I’m a winner; they were right. There was me thinking they were spam. The world has turned right way up at last. What a great relief, I can finally see my full potential. Who needs weeks of counselling, years of feeling inadequate and useless? If you were picked last at school then you are also the best, the crème de la crème, the bees’ knees, the top of the list, head of the heap, the king of the hill, those little town blues… why does everything have to turn into a song? You get the point; you are fabulous, amazing, brilliant, a winner. Come on all of you, join me in the winner’s enclosure. Crack open the champagne, leap up onto the podium (virtually in my case), get ready for the accolades.

You won’t believe this, but it has been suggested to me that I have a silly sense of humour. I know, daft, eh? Well, all I can say is, I’m off to get ready for the awards ceremony. Or do I need to compete first? Actually, while I’ve got your attention, how do you play tennis, or high diving, or sailing, I think I remember about cycling. Mind you, I can’t actually do that any more. Come to think about it, I’ve never taken part in any world class sports before. Still, that doesn’t matter, because I can’t physically do any sport anyway, I’m sure they will just reward the thought and passion. I have a positive attitude; that counts for a lot. By the way at what point do I get awarded the gold medal?

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Changeable Weather

The other day I was struck at how changeable British weather is. I know, I am a genius and should be awarded The Nobel Prize.  Perhaps you could nominate me. I’m sure no one has ever noticed this before. It’s like the observation that British people like to talk about the weather or that we often have fish and chips on a Friday. These are all unique observations I have made. “Well blow me down with a feather!” I can hear you say, or as my Granma used to say, “I’ll go to the foot of our stairs.” You are all so astounded at my observations you can hardly contain yourselves. Perhaps I should turn the comments off on social media. I don’t want to be inundated with praise.

I made this earth shattering observation, because one minute the sun was shining, the next we had a thunderstorm with hail, the next such heavy rain I could barely see over the road out of our window. Then it was back to sunshine, then overcast. Typical British summer really. In fact when you see the average British holiday maker going away in summer, they will have a huge lot of gear with them. If you are from another country you probably assumed us Brits were carrying sandwiches or swimwear. Perhaps you thought we just had a beach tent or wet suit? Maybe you thought we were carrying a tent ready to stop the night somewhere? Well, no, you see when us Brits go on holiday in summer we understand the weather over here. So we pack: A change of clothes, an umbrella (essential all year round), a waterproof mac, wellington boots and sandals (you have to cover all possibilities), a sun hat and a rain hat, a waterproof bag to put things in, then all the normal beach things, sun cream, towels (to lie on, wrap around and dry with), wet suits (this is the UK), water shoes, bucket and spade, beach tent (wind proof, storm force), ground sheet and pegs, food and drink for the whole day (possibly a kettle), football or beach ball, of course all this is too big for a bag. Someone came up with a brilliant invention, I wish they had them when our kids were young. A wheeled trolley to carry all your necessary beach gear; essential UK beach gear. It’s the size of a small truck, 7.5 tonne probably, and it looks brilliant, six wheeled and articulated.

I didn’t write this blog to advertise push along HGV’s though; as brilliant as they are. All this changeable weather, don’t forget I noticed it first, has another implication. When you are in the midst of troubles, when things seem dark and impossible to bear. When life feels like a very dark and forbidding place. Remember, light will come again. It doesn’t feel like it; I know. If anyone has a right to say this it’s me. I do understand what it is to have everything pulled from under you. Not just the rug of your life; but the floor itself. I do know what it feels like to lose the life you were living. To have your job, your health and what feels like all hope and future snatched away. Read some of my biography blogs if you want to see what happened. But the sun is still behind the clouds. The weather keeps changing. Life is like that too. We have terrible things happen to us, illness, bereavement, job loss, family break up, all sorts of things cause us pain and heartache. That darkness feels like it will never end; but it is like the storms we keep going through, the sun comes back.

There is hope and a future.

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Crash, Bang, Wallop

I’m sure you’ve all seen ‘Half a sixpence’ and if you haven’t, will now be rushing off to look it up. “Crash, bang, wallop, what a picture, what a photograph,” is a line from one of the songs in it. Which has absolutely nothing to do with building work. Although, they do have a house built; well beginning to be built.

What am I talking about? I have spent the last two weeks in a room below and beside a lot of building noise. Crashing and banging and walloping. Builders seem to find it easier to drop their tools than put them down. To throw things rather than place things. They are hard of hearing and need radios blaring. For some reason van engines often need to be left running. They trip over all the stuff they leave lying around and then off course they have the actual building work. Drilling, sawing, banging, angle grinders and general building noise.

We have been having DFG (Disabled Facilities Grant) adaptations done on our house to make it more accessible and generally much better for me. The garage has become a room, mainly to house the through floor lift which will go into the bedroom above; my bedroom. But as a result of being adapted it gives me a room to put my excess stuff into. My bedroom is already one of the smaller ones. By the time you have to leave room for the lift, a hospital bed, two doors (entrance and wet-room), wheelchair, wheeled shower chair, small wardrobe, and bedside table there isn’t room to swing a cat or for the rest of my stuff; if cat swinging isn’t allowed. Where will my collection of teddy bears go? What about my collection of antique sports cars? Then their all my suits of armour and my extensive collection of old phone boxes. I am of course kidding, but I do have more things than just clothes. So those things will be in the room below, it’s on the sunny side of the house; should be a nice place to sit as well, when you visit for coffee. You’ve not had an invite? It’s in the post.

I have already hinted at the other part of the building work; directly above my head. I am currently sleeping in the lounge. That’s a very appropriate name for our front room/sitting room, because I lunge around in my hospital bed. Anyway, something was happening directly above my head; what was it? The ceiling hoist? No, that just sits there until used. Ah yes, the wet-room conversion. They have taken a small en suite from the larger bedroom, swapped its entrance into my bedroom. Then extended it into the larger bedroom, which is now smaller. Are you still with me? I wish I was; I’ve only seen photos so it’s hard to really grasp what it looks like yet. The result is that I will have a large enough wet room for two carers and me; sounds like there ought to be a song there. Apparently due to my condition, care companies in this area will only give me a shower with two carers. No, not because I am so large, that’s just rude of you. It’s because I can suddenly go like a rag doll and even though I have a reclining shower chair with seat belts, its best to be safe. Shower time is therefore going to be crowded. Don’t worry, I know we don’t all have a shower. Not unless I happen to splash them, accidentally; which I would never do. Having said that most of the time it will be Mary giving me a shower, we haven’t got a rule about two carers, Mary knows the signs well enough to see ‘rag doll’ time coming on.

Back to these really quiet builders crashing about above my head. I appreciate what they are doing and I am looking forward to getting upstairs to my bedroom. I’m especially looking forward to the sea views from our balcony room upstairs. I just wish that they had learnt to be a bit more careful with their tools. Is it really necessary to throw a hammer on the floor after use? When I was on my feet and doing houses up, I had a tool belt and a work bench. My tool box was on the work bench and I put, not threw, tools back in that. Tools I was using all the time went on my tool belt. As for tripping over everything, that is just bad practice. The HSE would not be happy; mind you they often look unhappy. An HSE (Health & Safety Executive) Inspector doesn’t smile a lot, but then I guess they have little to smile about. If they came to see what our builders are doing, they might giggle on the inside, but they would have to be stern on the outside. A clean work area is a safe work area, no I have never been an HSE inspector.

Oh, the joy, the deep, deep joy, when 3.30pm comes and the working day ends. Yes, you read the time right; 9am to 3.30pm. I was in the wrong job when I used to work in an office. Anyway, the deep joy at the end of a long working day when the crashing, banging, walloping and general noise ends. The end is now in sight. Friday we are told, most of the work will be finished. Then all we have to wait for is the glass for the windows. Apparently, Brexit, Covid and Suez all worked together to hold that up, very co-ordinated of them all. Then we have to wait on the through floor lift; that was on an 8–12-week delivery from 24th June. The same three well co-ordinated suspects may be holding that up too though.

Crash, bang, wallop, what a picture the finished project will be. Well, it will be once we can get it decorated. The builders leave it with bare plaster walls; apart from the part tiled we-room of course. But once it is all done, it will be amazing.

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The New Hoisting Diet

I have discovered an amazing new diet. But, let’s not rush into my world changing revelation. Let me not spoil the moment. I don’t want to jump the gun and get you all placing orders for my miracle diet before I have even told you about it’s wonders.

But where do I even begin? Well, I was a poor lad, born long ago without a penny to my name… too far back? OK, let’s jump on a bit. The winter was harsh and cold, help just wasn’t in sight… still too long ago? You are a hard bunch to please. Straight to the point it is then. Speaking of which… alright, straight to the point.

Have you ever noticed ‘middle aged spread?’ It’s not a type of margarine. It’s when your middle decides that it wants to spread beyond your waste band. I consider that to be a betrayal of trust. After all, you have nurtured that belly all your life. Kept it hidden and tucked up cosy in a belt. You looked after it, never let it down or said anything bad about it. Then one day, without any notice, it just decides to burst out of your trousers and make an embarrassing show of itself to all and sundry. I wouldn’t mind, but it’s so undignified. It doesn’t even respect the outfit you’re wearing, trousers, shorts, PJ’s, skirt (not me of course), kilt (not me either, slacks (if you’re one of my American readers) or joggers. Whatever you are wearing it overspills them like a waterfall of flubber.

This ‘middle aged spread,’ flab to you and I, after all we can speak straight, can’t we? We can be honest with one another? This fat! Well, it just hangs there, wobbling and generally being silly. Not behaving itself at all.
Today an OT (Occupational Therapist) visited. You didn’t know they did diets; well, they don’t. She was here to bring me a new sling for use with my ceiling hoist. A toileting sling; I will leave it to you to decide what that is for. Mind after I had tried it on, she said, “do you want to use the commode?” That’s a mobile toilet by the way. I said, “not with an audience.” Actually, I only thought that, I was just embarrassed, after all there were three people present. I’m not in the habit of using a toilet in public, even a public convenience. Being disabled is embarrassing, but there are limits.

Back to the sling, it has a Velcro strap around the middle, it goes around your ‘middle aged spread.’ The OT had brought two sizes, medium; I know, I laughed too, and large. Hang on, why did you laugh at medium? Well, the large was tight. But the OT said, “don’t worry, they are always tight, until you are hoisted.” We are coming in fast on the point of my blog now. Get your credit card ready to buy this almost unbelievable diet.

As I was hoisted into the air a miracle occurred. My ‘middle aged spread’ disappeared! Will wonders never cease? Something about being hoisted, gravity, physics, bottoms hanging out of slings; even covered bottoms. Whatever the logic, your belly becomes slim. It’s a wonder diet; instant and reliable. We won’t mention it reappearing on being lowered; let’s gloss over that. There are slight down sides to everything.

So, if you are suffering from ‘middle aged spread’ all you need is a sling and a hoist; hey presto, a slim tummy. Simple, eh? They should package it up as ‘The New Hoisting Diet’. Then in small print, “Only effective while in the hoist.” Aren’t you glad that you stuck it out till the end?

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Flipper

“OK Flipper, show us where he is.” When I was growing up, in the early 2000’s, sorry that just slipped in there, 1970’s, animals on TV were really clever. Lassie, Flipper, Silver, Black Beauty, pretty much any animal could talk to humans either in English or at least be understood. They so loved humans, especially the kids, that they spent all their time playing with them and rescuing them. You’d have thought they would have had better things to do. Leap around in the water, run in a field, chase sheep.

Reality on the streets was often very different, of course. Any animals I spoke to said, “yeah, hang loose man, be cool.” Rather than offering to help. Actually, that’s not true, they never said, “be cool,” I added that bit. In fact, as a child my mates and I formed an animal rescue group. I say we, but I had a bit part. We all had a medical kit on our bicycles and we road around our village looking for wounded animals to rescue. Just as well we never discovered one, as none of us would know what to do with them. We didn’t have any veterinary training. Looking back (I was only about 8 or 9, no wonder I wasn’t a vet) I realise that the founder of this group was not exactly ecologically sound. He had a draw full of blown birds’ eggs!! Oh yes, reality on the streets was different, most kids hurt wild animals rather than played with them.

What got me thinking about Flipper was events of yesterday. No, I wasn’t drowning and a Dolphin rescued me. Nor was my motor boat stolen by thieves and Flipper directed the police after them. Mary was out for a walk on the beach and phoned me. Where does Flipper come in? Be patient; she saw a flock of, is that the word, gathering, group, pod, is it a pod like whales, a pod of dolphins. They were a way out to sea. Mind you they were having a rare old time, leaping and swimming and generally cavorting around; do dolphins cavort? She phoned me to say… I was at home in my hospital bed… to say, look at the cameras in the upstairs bedroom. Well, not look at the cameras you understand, but look at the images of the sea on them. I’m not sure if you have used Wi-Fi HD cameras, but the HD bit is a misnomer. The image of the sea and pier were a bit grainy. By bit I mean, very. So, all I could see was the sea. A very poor image of the same. Mary was describing amazing images of leaping dolphins next to a fishing boat. I have a good imagination; you may have noticed. Which meant that I was able to see Flipper leaping out of the water, over the boat. I heard him clicking and whistling, saw him waving his fins. It was all very exciting; almost unbelievable. Anyone looking at the camera image would have been forgiven for thinking all I could see was a blurry dot where the fishing boat was bobbing on the water.

Fellow Marine Pointers, did you know I lived on an estate called Marine Point? Well I do, fellow MPer’s have seen dolphins much closer; as has Mary. I guess I shall have to wait till Lassie tells me that they are back, leap onto Silver, shout Hi, Ho, and away to the beach to catch Flipper as he performs.

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Getting To Know You

‘Getting to know you…’ Any fans of ‘The King and I’ will be in full voice by now. I of course have not reached, ‘…your cup of tea.’ There is a purpose behind the lyrics of course; Anna was introducing herself… no I mean in this blog. Mary and I have recently moved to Hartlepool; how did you miss that one? Go and sit in the corner. Which means, everything is new. Well, not quite everything. But I have to get used to a new house, new area, new equipment, new doctor, new OT and new carers. I am getting to know them.

Fortunately, I already understand the local dialect. Which reminds me, when we last lived here many years ago, I didn’t understand it. One of our sons went to a new school here and after school, went home with a friend. He rang me to say that he would need collecting later from the friends house. So, I needed an address and directions. You’re a clever lot, so you already know what’s coming. The friends mum took the phone and gave me the address. Well, I couldn’t find it on the map, not the way she said it. I am not going to give their address out here, but there are some ways things are said up here, that take getting used to and her accent confused me. The road name did not sound the way it looked to me on a map, when she spelt it out. A couple of examples of local dialect that I have come to love are: moower (elongate the first part), is a moor, and twoast (say it as one word quickly) is toast. But I am assured by many locals, that they don’t have an accent in Hartlepool. Anyway, our lass was seeying, away with ya hinny, they don’t talk like that, flower.

You do realise I am going to be in trouble now. I probably will upset all my carers. Actually, they are a lovely group and have a wonderful sense of humour. Just as well really; with me as a client.

I was thinking the other day. A very good habit pooh bear. Imagine, walking in to meet me for the first time. After getting over the shear joy of meeting me and the wonderment at my muscular physique and taut svelte body. They then have to deal with my humility. How do they keep from fainting? I’ve known me for years and I can’t stand in my presence; no, wait, I just can’t stand.

Being serious for a moment… that’s long enough. Let’s have another try. It’s always difficult getting to know new people. Both for me and them. Carers are a whole other case. I won’t go into all the reasons now, but if you read my blog “Care, a unique relationship.” You will understand more about why. In brief a care to client relationship is both professional and personal, distant and yet somehow close. It’s hard to quantify, because when someone gets to know you well over time, they can’t help but understand you well. Of course, what makes it unique is that understanding is one sided. In most relationships where you are known intimately, you know the other person just as intimately; not so with care. Carers are like friends and yet not friends, a strangely intimate, yet not intimate, professional, yet close relationship. I don’t know of any comparable relationship. It is not like your doctor or a nurse, not like family or friends.

Here we are again… I’ll resist ending that ‘happy as can be.’ Starting that process over again, getting to know a new set of carers. Eeee, I’ll be off now flower, our lass is bringing me a stottie.

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Where’s It Been?


I gather the football is coming home. But, where has it been and why didn’t the neighbours throw it over the wall a long time ago. When we used to play football as kids and kick the ball over the wall; something that happened a lot. Either they threw it back with a shout of, “oi, don’t do that again.” Or, if they were out, we would nip round, scout out the neighbours house and run like the billy-oh to fetch our ball back.


So my question remains. Why has it taken so long for our neighbours to throw the ball back? Is it to do with Brexit? Now that we are leaving Europe have they decided there is no point hanging onto our ball any longer? Or is the ball so old and deflated that they think we might as well have it back?


Somebody please explain. I just don’t get all this singing. “Footballs coming home, it’s coming.” Where from? Why, How? While we are on the subject how do people know it’s coming back? Have our neighbours given us a heads up? Did the German’s say, “Vee have finished vith it now.” Or the Danes say, “pay us some geld and you can have your ball back?” Is it even up to them, haven’t those Italian’s got it? I’m sure I saw an ice cream seller singing, “just one balleto. Keep it for me.” Was he just teasing? Will he have a say in the matter?


Anyway, you know me, I would never step on any holy cows, nor tackle any thorny issues. I certainly wouldn’t upset any football fans. Football is far too important. One thing is obvious to me; the football is coming home, whatever that means. Watch out Italy, England are going to win on Sunday.

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Confused, you will be

I can be easily confused and moving to a new house may be the straw that broke the camel’s back. Wondering why? Let me explain: The lounge is going to be my temporary bedroom, but will then become a dining room and a music room (well Mary’s piano will be in it.) Our dining room, which is actually a kitchen/diner is going to become our lounge at one end and stay a kitchen at the other. Just as well, I don’t fancy Mary trying to cook food on the sofa or fry an egg on a coffee table, “extra soft-boiled eggs anyone?”. One of the bedrooms is going to be an upstairs sitting room (it has sea views). The garage will become a lift room, and also a computer room (my bedroom will be too small for my computer after the lift access is added). Don’t worry I haven’t returned to the 1960’s with room sized computers, I just mean my PC will be in that room.

Just imagine the confusion all this changing around will cause. The car won’t know where it is, we may well find it in the kitchen one day or sitting on the sofa reading a paper. Herbie rides again, here we come. I might lose Mary completely. Just imagine, Mary might say, “lunch is ready,” I will be sitting in my wheelchair in what was once the dining room, while Mary and my rapidly cooling lunch is somewhere else entirely. Or picture what could happen if a visitor calls around for coffee. Mary says, “take a seat in the lounge”, they glance around, decide on the appropriate room. Mary makes the drinks and starts searching. The drinks could be cold before they are found. Years could pass before we find our visitor covered in cobwebs and dust.

I’m thinking of labelling the house East Wing and West Wing; is that too ostentatious? At least that way we could say, “meet me in the West Wing lounge.” I’m making our house sound far larger and grander than it is. As I said to the butler the other day, “if I write this blog people will think we live in a mansion.” He laughed and said, “just wait till I tell that to the 2nd under maid.” I just wish we could find enough footmen for house. The gardeners are always complaining that 100 acres is too much for them to manage alone. We really have a very ordinary house.

A note for my readers from the US of A. We no longer live in Somerset, so this obviously isn’t true. It’s only true of every Brit who lives in that county, as is shown in every American Movie. The people of the south live in mansions. We now live Up North, and I wear a whippet and take a flat cap for a walk.

Anyway, I must go, the maid wants to set the fire in this room.

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Good Morning

Good morning from sunny Hartlepool, don’t check your weather forecasts, they are not always accurate. Besides, it was sunny, when we arrived. Hartlepool greeted us at the border, yes when we were getting our Southern passports stamped, with glorious sunshine. Actually on the subject of borders Teesside is a funny place. It technically doesn’t exist; by which I mean you never reach a sign that says you are entering Teesside. But you do get signs that tell you have many miles away it is. I wonder if it’s like a rainbow and if you find it there’s a pot of gold?

The county we live in is actually called Cleveland, unless you are entering the address on some systems, then it’s Durham. Anyway, back to arriving on Teesside, I mean in Hartlepool. The effort of that display of sunshine was a bit much and by lunchtime a few drop of rain made an appearance. But I maintain that is merely because we were in the car at The Headland waiting on the house keys. As an aside, The Headland has really changed since we were last here. Verrills Chip shop has an ice cream parlour at the side. What else are you expecting? The rain knew that we were staying in the car, had it seen us exit the car it would have stopped immediately. Because the moment the keys were available, mid-afternoon and we headed to our new house, the sun popped its head out again. Which was good as it meant we were dry and warm when our lovely new neighbours came out to say hello. God has blessed us with wonderful neighbours, just as he did in Wellington.

Now about the elephant in the room. A few of the comments on my previous brief post, suggested that it is cold up here. I don’t know what they mean, it is June after all. Let me make this absolutely clear for the naysayers: We did not go to the house the day after we owned it in a howling gale and heavy rain. Mary certainly did not struggle to stand up as she went around the back of our house to check on the plants. The plants were not huddling together shouting, “why did you bring us here? We’re southern plants, not hardy northerners.” Plus, we have not been glad of the heat being on full in the hotel. So, any thought of the cold up here is totally wrong. Besides, weather is up and down anywhere. The odd drop of temperature in June can happen in the south too. The forecast is for a balmy 17 degrees centigrade tomorrow. I might even take a layer off; I was finding the furs a bit heavy and I never liked smearing whale blubber over my skin. Actually, from our experience living here 11 years ago, this is unusual for June. I remember days in summer I could take my coat off. Not for later in the year though. But we do have a warm house to shelter in.

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Take Two

There seem to be so many re-runs I’ve decided now is the time to join in. Not because it saves on creativity; that’s why everyone else does it. No, my reason is that most of you have never been in my basement; metaphorically that is. You have not trawled my archives, looked through the back issues, read my history, asked about my past. To be honest I’m a bit hurt; don’t you care about me? But I will forgive you if you read this.

The following series of blogs carry a Government health warning:

Don’t operate heavy machinery while reading them.’

I feel that I must add that warning as one of my carers was reading one of my blogs while walking along the road; she walked into a lamp post. Just imagine what would have happened if she had been operating heavy machinery; it doesn’t bear thinking about. If you are wondering which post she was reading it was: “Not so public convenience.” Actually that blog should carry it’s own warning. In fact I think it does. My blogs are at: howcaring.com just in case you want to see why she walked into a lamp post.

Don’t expect a copy and paste of archived blogs. If you want them as they were, you’d still need to read the unadulterated version. These will be adulterated; that sounds as if I will be doing something illegal! In fact I’m not. These will be the all new, singing and dancing versions with added commentary. After all, I know what happened when I posted them. Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but reading back into events with added commentary is even better.

For example, when I posted about elves in Amazon devices and how Amazon were going to take me to court and prove elves could not get into their Echo devices. It was only afterwards that I can look back at the spirited defence mounted on my behalf. Looking at those generous hearted comments, we can laugh at the folly of one person saying: “I don’t know much about elves.” When I pointed out it was a farce. Or appreciate the tongue in cheek fun of those who continued the serious debate about the rights and wrongs of Amazon suing me over the alleged elf infestation. All matters relating to the legal issues arising must be referred to my solicitors: Ms Ery Guts at May, Hew, Makemoney & Partners, 1 Gold Row, London.

Let me not tell you too much before I give you the first re-run. There are those who wonder at the picture I use of myself on the Website and its tag line “Shall we get dressed now?” What better place to start than at the beginning and don’t worry I will avoid singing any Sound of Music songs as we Start at The Very Beginning, a very good place to start.

My first ever blog was:

“Shall we get in the bath now?”

“OK, shall we get in the bath now.” This was said by one of the two young ladies who were preparing my bath at a nursing home.

In case you’re wondering, and I know you are, nursing homes only have a couple of nurses at most. The rest of the carers are the same as in a standard care home. The two young ladies mentioned above were carers, not nurses. I don’t need two nurses to bath me. Although that does take me back to when I was 28 years old (The full story is in the blog “Ambulance Transport.”) I was in hospital with a severe electrical burn. Only one arm was working. A nurse, yes it was a nurse this time took me into the bathroom for a bath. She said; “shall we get undressed now?” I was too shocked and embarrassed to notice at the time. I just said I could manage fine.

Anyway back to the original blog. These two young ladies are probably tapping their feet by know waiting for an answer, much like you. So let’s hear my reply:

“Is there room for all three of us?” I asked innocently.

Can I just make an aside here. Yes, another one. There have been those who have suggested my comment may not have been innocent. I assure you, it was. After all, she did ask if we could all have a bath. The bath looked too small to me; perhaps I was wrong.

I had noticed over the previous few days that “we” was used by carers a lot. I guess it was to be encouraging or they just hadn’t thought of it. But once I zoned in on it, I realised that carers were asking to join me in the bath, in the shower and even in bed “shall we get into bed now?”.

Now you are just adding your own interpretations here. They only wanted to get into bed with me.

They were wanting to eat my food, wear my clothes, although I think my clothes may have been a little baggy on them, get into the sling before me and even sit in my wheelchair! “Shall we get into the wheelchair?” I suggested they might be heavy on my knee. There were a couple of them looked light enough.

When I got home from the nursing home, I was so focused on it I noticed my carers at home similarly wanted to eat my lunch “shall we eat now?” This seemed a little mean, I only have small portions; yes I’m big boned. Of course, once I pointed it out, they started to catch themselves saying ‘we’. 

The one that inspired the name of my site is, “shall we get dressed now?” Is probably the most common and one I have to bite my tongue not to respond to the most. Having pointed it out, one of my regular carers has become so aware of this that she will occasionally joke “We! Are going to get dressed now.” Waiting for my eyebrows to raise and then we both have a good laugh.

I had never noticed she was undressed either.

Then again it can be two ways. I’ve become much more aware of saying to Mary on her return, “We’ve tidied up.” Taking credit for the carers work. 

Language is such a funny thing; we say things without meaning to and of course it’s so easy to distort meaning. But it’s also important to be aware of what we are saying and why.

Since I wrote this blog it has had the biggest effect of all my blogs. It has been read world-wide and by a lot of people in the caring professions. I’m not boasting; just telling you how wonderful I am. Oh I see, I am boasting. A tutor at a teaching college in the USA contacted me after reading it and asked if I would mind her making some of my blog’s part of their course reading material; it’s a course teaching about Continuing Health Care. Of course, I said no, how dare you use my material for such a worthy purpose. OK, so I was honoured as this was the reason, I started writing the blog. I’m still waiting to be flown out first class as a visiting speaker. If you are reading this, I’m ready to go, bags are packed.

If you have carers or you are a carer, take note of that ‘We’ it is still used so much. I do realise why it’s used. The idea is to help people feel comfortable and included; it’s meant to be friendly. But I think you’ll agree that it sounds far too inclusive and far too friendly. Anyway shall ‘we’ finish this blog now?

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So Long, Farewell

To anyone who has not seen The Sound of Music, the title of this blog will be lost on you. Let me give you a fuller part of the song:

So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, good night
I hate to go and leave this pretty sight
So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, adieu
Adieu, adieu, to yieu and yieu and yieu
So long, farewell, au revoir, auf wiedersehen
.

You can almost hear me singing it. What a treat. I was chatting to someone at the Creech Shed Cafe the other day. Having heard me speak online via YouTube during a Creech Baptist Church meeting, she can now hear my voice whenever she reads my blogs; poor lady. Perhaps you are with her in that, or you are now going to rush to YouTube (see below) and try and find that talk, just to hear me speak. Is that tumbleweed passing down Wellington High Street? I have been told that I have a very distinctive voice. There was somebody who used to say, “Hello Mike,” whenever I answered the phone. Perhaps I need to stop answering the phone, “Mike speaking.”

The reason for this blog, as I always have a reason, is to say goodbye to Wellington. Put those tissues away. Stop! Don’t jump off that cliff; life is still worth living. There is life after Mike. It may be a greyer and…. wait a minute, you don’t have to lose touch at all. I may be a million miles away, all the way up in the North East of England, but I will still share with you all. No, you had not got rid of me. I am still here by the wonders of social media.

We are moving to Hartlepool. I know, I also asked where it was when I was offered a job up there back in 2005. You all have no excuse; it has been in the news so much recently. But for anyone still puzzled; it’s in England. More specific than that?! OK, it is to the right of Durham and just below Newcastle. But whatever you do, don’t say that their accent is Jordy. They may sound the same to an untrained ear, but not to them.

Just like Scotland you can get your Mars bar deep fried in a chip shop there; why you would want to… The stotty buns, baps to me, are as big as dinner plates. My mum and her whole family come from the North East so it feels very cosy and warm; not literally of course, going back up there. On the subject of heat, when I first went up there in Winter 2005, I got out of the car, the North East wind slapped me round the chops and I got back in. I wouldn’t have minded so much but I hadn’t even been introduced to the wind; most rude of it.

Mind you, the local lads and lasses are obviously made of much stronger stuff than me. When I used to drive through the town centre to pick our sons up from the train station at night, we passed the Town centre clubs. All the lads and lasses were stood out in the icy winter winds in their summer wear. In fact, what they wore would be a bit chilly on a beach in Lanzarote. But they all looked happy enough.

Our new house is a beach front property. Given its location in Hartlepool, we will spend more time looking out at the impressive skies and waves. I am looking forward to writing while looking at the drama of it all. Best of all the house is accessible to start with and being made more so. We are moving from a house I can barely move in, to a home I will be able to fully access. I won’t know myself. Literally, I won’t know myself. I will see a bloke in the bathroom mirror and think; who’s that?

You may think I write for my own amusement a lot of people would miss me. Wait, I always tell people grammar is so important. Let me try that sentence again. You may think, “I write for my own amusement.” A lot of people would. Miss me? Language is so confusing. Someone on one of the disability sites said, that they were hanging around naked, instead of standing up transferring from their bed to their wheelchair. Wait bare and weight bear, confusing, eh?

So, my starting farewell, is really just a cheerio. I will be practicing extreme social distancing via my writing.

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If you want to hear me speak, in the flesh so to speak: https://youtu.be/7tyQ-BX1lpY

(I start speaking about 53 minutes into the meeting.)

 

 

Hello, My Lovely

The phone rings and a pleasant female voice says cheerily: “Hello, my lovely, how are you this evening?” Either you have developed an amazing, magnetic personality, or they are trying to sell you something. I know which I plumped for. I was wrong, she was trying to sell me something:

“Have you got an electric and gas smart meter, my lovely?”

My response:

“What has that got to do with you?”

I can be as sharp as a new pin. My granny used to say I might hurt myself. But the lady on the phone had an answer, not a good one. It was obviously outside her script; it must be listed under ‘reply to all other questions.’

She said:

“I have a job my lovely, so I have to ask.”

What did I do:

1/ Say, “that’s OK my lovely, how can I help you?”

2/ Ask how she was doing?

3/ Lead her around the houses with a long chat?

4/ Hang up?

Anyone who said no.4 is right. Normally I just hang up when people say what company they are from and I don’t recognise it. She caught me out with such a strange question; I had to throw a question back first.

I know many of you will say, it’s just her job she was doing; don’t be rude by hanging up. But my answer to that is: I never asked her to phone, yes, it’s her job, but not a good one. Why should that company cold call people pressurising them to change energy company? Even if you think they have a right to do that; why use such underhand tactics? After all her opening question about smart meters was irrelevant. She was only asking about that to get a conversation going. Whether I had a smart meter or not was not her real question. What she wanted to know was, would I change to her utility company. I have deliberately missed the company name off this blog. There are many others that use this technique.

Then there are also many companies that employ people to actually lie on the phone. Companies that phone you and say: “I am calling about your accident Mr Nevin.” What accident, when? Or “This is Microsoft Technical and we have monitored a fault on your PC.” No, you haven’t. I hang up on all of these. I am not here to be lied to or cheated or robbed. I have no time to spend arguing with them; I just hang up. Now many companies like these use automated messages. There are also a whole new raft of automated phone messages giving dire warnings, that sound so real. Amazon, HMRC, etc. You just need to hang up.

Obviously, it’s up to you, you can have a long and fruitless conversation about your utilities, double glazing, insulation, solar panels or whatever; but I find it easier to just hang up and block the number. With the automated phone calls, unless it’s your GP surgery, or similar, telling you about an appointment; hang up. Even if it was genuine sounding, I would hold back on pressing on numbers, unless you are absolutely sure it is genuine.

As for the manned phone calls, feeling sorry for the person phoning, might just lead to you buying what you don’t need. They are not beyond emotional manipulation, after all what is all this, “hello lovely,” about, more and more of my cold calls start that way. They are trying to make you feel special, so that you are open to their sales patter. OK, my lovely?  

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Quick, Quick, Slow

In days of yore, when Blu-Ray was first invented. Actually, was it around in ‘days of yore’? Anyway, it was a long time ago, because I still had use of my legs. You’ve distracted me now, oh yes, Blu-Ray was newly invented, they took forever to start-up. I would turn it on, wait, not started yet, so I went upstairs to get something. Still not started, so I’d hoover around; I know, I was amazing. Then check the Blu-Ray, no, still not started, so I’d do a bit of washing up. I’m really a one off you know. Then back into the front room; cup of tea in hand. I’d made that after washing up; is my halo glowing? At last, the Blu-Ray symbol was coming onto the TV.

All this took my mind back to those early days of television; that I heard about from my great grandparents. Switching it on and waiting, the hum of valves warming up; so, I’m told. That exciting moment when we… they saw a dot of light appear in the centre of the screen and wavy lines formed on the screen. Then slowly, very slowly, oh so very slowly, a picture appeared. Black and white of course. Ah, those were the days; not days you would want back of course.

It all gets me wondering about the way things work. I will not fall into the trap of suggesting that elves have anything to do with the internal workings of televisions or Blu-Rays. I got myself in enough trouble suggesting that elves were messing around in Amazon Alexa devices. Once bitten and all that. Besides, I know that elves don’t like televisions or Blu-ray devices. Now if we were talking about fairies…

The real reason that things have become faster is technology of course. Faster processors, better operators, I mean operating systems. There are no little creatures inside pressing buttons. That’s all very last century. Now it’s all voice activated, biometric etc. You can’t have just any creature running your high-tech equipment; they would mess things up unless they were highly trained.

Why do you think Apple called their company after an apple? Steve Wozniak noticed every time he left an apple on his work bench overnight, in the morning a bite was missing. He mentioned that to Steve Jobs and the rest is history. I don’t need to explain why Raspberry Pi named their computers that. I do, oh, well they found that their OS’s would only work when fed Raspberry Pies. So, they came up with name. What are OS’s? Well, they are obviously not Operater Sprites, that would be silly.

You really are running off on a tangent. I wanted to talk about the rapid development in the Blu-Ray. What’s Blu-Ray old man, did you say? Are you suggesting that all disk technology, except maybe UHD is defunct? Well, I won’t admit to having a VCR in that case. If you think discs are old, you will not think much of tape. I have it for historical research and because I am waiting for the re-emergence of video tape. Just like vinyl records; it will come back. Purists will one day say: “You cannot experience video, unless you see it in poor definition, complete with lines and dots. It’s the fuzziness that makes it real.” My VCR will be worth a fortune and all those old video tapes you threw away will be like gold dust. Won’t you be kicking yourself then?

Look you’ve got me off on a tangent again. Rapid technological development. It’s all so fast I can hardly see it. One minute you have time to make a cup of tea while your TV starts, next minute your TV makes you a cup of tea; whatever next? A TV that you speak to? Oh, we already have that.

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The Wrong 50%

Have you noticed that percentages are broken? Today it was noted by the BBC weather app that there was a 43% chance of rain. I am looking out at the rain hammering down; I know the garden needs it. But my point is what happened to that 57% chance of no rain?

You see whenever I see a percentage about rain I think: “The BBC weather app is going to be right.” I believe it more than my own eyes. If I look at the app and it says 4% chance of rain, then I look out and there are a few drops of rain, I think: “I’m safe from rain, no coat needed.” After all, percentages are there for our protection and safety, I absolutely believe in them. If there is 94% chance it is going to be dry that is a certainty as far as I’m concerned. So when they are wrong; there is a big problem.

In fact, and here is my reason for the blog, even 50% is half/half. We should be able to go out safely with a 50% chance of rain. You are in doubt? Let me lay out the proof for you: If I had 100 chocolate treats and I gave 50 to you, then I put 50 around the room, you have half of my chocolate treats. Are you still with me, or have you started to salivate and head off to buy chocolates? Concentrate, this is important. I don’t just make things up you know. If I then said: “What are the chances of you finding those other 50 chocolate treats?” what would your answer be? Pretty good, eh? I think you’ll all agree with me that if you have half already, finding the other half, hidden around my room would be a cinch. I wouldn’t hide them in difficult places. Don’t you just marvel at my mathematical genius? I bet you wish I had been your maths teacher? Yes, I would have given out sweet treats and healthy treats too. OK, so the BBC weather app says 50% chance of rain, I have just convincingly demonstrated, I think, that this means there is little chance of rain. How come then, that on a day when there is only 43% chance of rain, I am looking out at rain? Percentages are broken.

I don’t wish to continue blinding you all with my mathematical genius. As an aside, I failed maths at school. They were unable to see my natural abilities. The way I see it I was too advanced for them. Back to the sweet’s theory, I think.

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Call Thames Valley

Watching ‘Call the Midwife’, yes I look away a lot. Not sure why I watch it really. I have realised that the writers were very clever. If they had called it ‘Nurse Jennifer’, then it would have ceased to make sense very quickly. By being broad they have enabled lots of changing characters. I noticed that they are even calling the voice over, which is Jennifer in her old age, or was, the voice of wisdom. The credits still say it’s Nurse Jennifer, it’s the reviewers who say its the voice of wisdom.

 

It got me thinking, if they had named ‘Morse’, ‘Call Thames Valley’, they need not have started a new series named ‘Lewis’. Just think how convenient that would have been. None of this explaining how Morse’s slow side-kick became a detective genius. Plus, they could have just carried on with detective Hathaway or any other likely person the public took a shine to. They really missed a trick there.

 

Of course, Agatha Christie understood, she called her ‘Poirot’ mysteries things like ‘The mysterious affair at Styles’. But ITV tripped up by calling their TV series ‘Poirot’, they left themselves no wiggle room to carry on after Poirot’s death. Just think, we could have had Hastings suddenly becoming a detective genius or Miss Lemon getting out from behind her desk and showing her sleuthing skills. Instead after Poirot’s death; the series ended. Not even a chance for Chief Inspector Japp to prove he wasn’t a hapless idiot and take over where Poirot left off.

 

What about Miss Marple? Her nephew was just waiting in the wings. That’s not even counting her various maids. She must have imparted so much knowledge to them; they can’t have just done the cleaning, surely. If only they had called it, ‘The St Mary Mead Mysteries’, who knows what delights we could have had. ‘Midsomer Murders’ knew what they were about, although strangely they still stuck with the Barnaby family; even though they had complete freedom. Poor old Troy, he could have shown his true colours.

 

I know what I shall do when I write a murder mystery. Actually, I have no plans to write one. I don’t know that I would even write a drama. I’m not sure why I watch them. Part way through, when I am holding back the tears; big boys don’t cry of course, I think: “why am I watching this?” That’s a good point, why do we put ourselves through dramas? I guess it’s cathartic; gets all those feelings of angst out. Plus, I suppose there is that feeling of relief we get that our life is not that bad. Is there also a bit of nosiness, people watching? Drama is always so popular though. Perhaps I need to re-think. My mind is fertile with ideas; no doubt one with come to full term soon. I am really watching far too much ‘Call the Midwife.’ Push!

 

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Laugh and the World Cries with You

Some of you may get the impression that I watch a lot of films; wrong, I watch a lot of everything. I have just watched the series, ‘Genius’. No, it’s not about me, but that’s very kind of you to say. Remember Albert Einstein, relatives, I mean relatively, I mean relativity, well actually ‘the general theory of relativity’. Now you’re asking; it has something to do with the sun, gravity, time and a big white mesh that the sun sat in. There was lots of writing on blackboards, lectures, imaginary flashes of brilliance. It was all so wonderful. E=MC2, there you go, it’s all explained now. Energy equals mass times the speed of light squared; it’s all clear as day to me. If I understood correctly; can you doubt it? Mass and energy are the same thing and can be changed into each other. That makes perfect sense. Let me explain it all by the use of thought experiments, Einstein used these all the time. You just imagine things and I will explain really complicated physics to you; honest.

Picture the scene, a large flabby man sitting on the sofa watching TV. The doorbell rings; it’s the Pizza delivery. Suddenly the whole of his physical mass is converted into energy; the man springs from the sofa and dashes to the door. Before you can say, ‘deep pan with extra cheese’ he has paid, grabbed a beer and is back on his seat by the TV, almost at the speed of light; E=MC2. There has even been an increase in his mass; perhaps he picked up some extra energy on his trip around the house. Not convinced? Here’s another thought experiment. Imagine the scene, you’re probably getting good at this by now. It’s a beautiful sunny day, a family are enjoying a picnic. The children have finished eating and are running around. Mum and dad are lying on the picnic rug checking their social media on their phones; this is a typical family. A wasp lands on mum’s arm; she doesn’t notice. You thought she’d scream. It moves on, upset at the lack of response; just like you. Trying its luck on dads’ nose; there it finds success. The seeming inertia of his immobile mass, is instantly converted into screaming energy, as he leaps to his feet. We need to pause here for a moment. Because there is another of Einstein’s theories to look at; nuclear chain reactions. Don’t worry, all will become clear; you can put your exercise book away. Back to the family at the picnic. Not understanding why her husband leapt up in shock; mum joins the affray. Seeing their parents running around excitedly, the children don’t want to miss out on the fun. Soon all four are leaping and running around, screaming and batting their arms wildly. I don’t know what nuclear fission looks like close up; maybe like a family fighting off a wasp. But then again perhaps not, who can say? Will all the physicists among you please calm down; I am joking.

Is it time we looked at Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle? No, I don’t want you to rush off and get lost in my explanation and me not be able to find you.

You are all wondering why I called this blog, ‘Laugh and the world cries with you?’ So, am I, whatever came over me? I must have been having a bad day; or was there an idea floating around that just floated off? It does happen you know. Of course, there’s always the possibility that it started out as one thing and then changed into another at the speed of light squared. Or that laughter and tears are also the same thing just waiting to have the potential to turn into the other. I give up; why did I call it that? Anyway, I will be back with more lectures on physics and chemistry in the future; or the past, or present.

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