Sunday, 31 May 2020

Sad bloke in the kitchen. Sugar during lock-down.

Fret not, you do not need bags of different sugars. All you need is unbleached granulated sugar and the following tips:

1. Caster sugar: Bung granulated sugar in a blender and blitz.

2. Icing sugar: As above but blitz for longer then sieve.

3. Brown sugar: Add some gravy browning.

4. Sugar cubes: Cowboy up cupcake and get over it.

Sorted.


Auto Dontist's breakfast amuse bouche.

























Ice cream

Strawberry & black pepper
Mandarin orange & pineapple
Passion fruit & Pommegranite
Vodka & Ginger beer

Cummins, driving and eye tests.

Cummins could have walked from his cottage at Dad's place to the golf course next door to check out his driving ability or failing that walked a little further to the Driving Test Centre, where they have an eye chart for that very purpose.



Electronic Social distancer, Marcel Marceau and cctv


Saturday, 30 May 2020

Sad bloke in the Kitchen. Led by the roof.

A lovely day today up on the roof mucking about. The roof dictated dinner:

Omelette fines herbes. 

2 eggs beaten, salt and black pepper. Nothing else.

Heat an omelette pan, chuck in a knob of butter let it melt and sizzle. Eggs in, muck about with a fork a bit. 

DO NOT LET IT COOK TOO MUCH. 

when nearly there, ie when you still have runny bits, chuck in a child's handful of herbs, I had parsley, chives and thyme, straight from the plants chopped roughly.

Fold it, plate it, eat it. I had homemade bread and a bottle of Valpolicella to hand so that did. Garnished with JJ Cale.

So simple, so quick and so redolent of that cafe lunch on the trip south to Bordeaux in 1973 with the woman you loved then but later hated & now find yourself thinking of fondly.

Strawberry and black pepper ice cream after that.  Ten minutes between Strawberries leaving the plant and hitting the freezer. Sounds like an odd combination but Try freshly ground pepper on strawberries and cream and you'll get the idea.

I was going to post a photograph but didn't.

My cheats ice cream will remain a secret until patents have been granted.

What crisis?


Two tales of a city.

It was the best of times if white and privileged, it was the worst of times if not.

A small quiet street in Notting Hill, once, until gentrification, a no go area for all save the MP's and socialites looking for drugs, kicks and low escapes. Now an expensive enclave, gated at each end by the sheer will of the parvenu residents.

Picture this:
One daylit evening during lockdown a local guy, working on a repair job on a restaurant close by, a restaurant he looks after during this crisis (I often see him watering the planters late at night) needs a hammer. He goes home to pick one up. On his return to the job he is stopped for no reason save that he ain't white and middle class and that The Police have declared that the area be bounded by a Section 60 order, allowing them to stop and search without reason. He is surrounded by police officers, I counted 12 at one time. His hammer is bagged for evidence, you bet he got pissed off, so would we all but when have you ever been threatened with a tazer because you were going about your job with the tools of your trade.

Having been handcuffed, arrested, vanned to Charring Cross police station, banged up, then finally released with no charge, he gets home in the early hours the next day.





Compared with:
Just metres away a few nights later a bunch of over privileged white folks hold yet another party in the street complete with ping pong table and chairs blocking safe passage. I called the police at 9.00 ., Nothing happened. I called the police an hour later, nothing. Yet both times (I have the reference numbers) I was told that an officer would attend and advise the revellers that they were in breach of social distancing rules. I then went online, reported it again, nothing.



When I tried to talk to the revellers they sneered, even the guy my age who told me that the rules were too difficult to understand (I kid you not) even the woman who told me that because they all lived in the street it was OK. What she wanted to say was 'because we own our homes and are rich we can do as we please, Boris and Dom say so). I told them they were killing their parents generation with their selfishness. They sat there in scornful silence, mentally counting the inheritance once daddy was dead. Inheritance spawned by empire and slavery.

I went home to let this all sink in, to write about it, to write about it close to tears. Tears of horror at what England has become.. A country in which the poor pulled together and the wealthy pulled apart like wolves at a carcass.

Thinking: Anywhere would be a far far better place to go, anything would be a far far better thing to do.

Kill me now. I'm sick of my country.

NOTE: I have photographs of both occurrences and know the names and addresses of those concerned. I shall photograph them all in the light of day  then publish them on this post. The only way to deal with irresponsible idiots  is by being responsible, remaining cautious and  pointing out why they are potential killers.




Thursday, 28 May 2020

Dream.


Like Ginsberg's cougher
singing in his dreams
I dream of filling lungs
diving deep

to listen to the mermaids singing.

Simple guide to BBC political bias.




















The BBC, Formed on 18 October 1922 by a group of leading wireless manufacturers including Marconi. It was established by Royal Charter in 1927.

The license fee was introduced in 1946. Issued by the GPO which was the regulator of public broadcasting at that time.

Now, the fee is collected by the BBC itself and is primarily used to fund radio, television and online services of the BBC itself. 

The money does not go directly to the BBC, it is paid into the Govt's Consolidated fund and passed back to the BBC after the annual vote on the Appropriation Act, to pay for the running of the BBC's services free from  advertisements.

CONCLUSION:

We, the license fee payers, own it having paid for it. We pay the wages.

The Governors of the BBC must pander to Government demands regarding content and bias or lose funding
.
The Governors therefore are inclined towards a Government bias.

The journalists, producers, announcers etc who work for the corporation can and do think what they like provided they do not voice their opinions. If they do they are punished.

Anyone over the age of 70 currently makes no financial contribution to the BBC, is therefore beholden to the fee payers and should have no say in policy. Giving over 70's the vote in General Elections allows them a say in BBC policy and should be stopped immediately.

Alternately the BBC should be freed from Government control of freedom of speech and propaganda and allowed to speak to,and advise, us of the facts. 









Wednesday, 27 May 2020



Dealing with Chronic lung disease.

PLEASE DO NOT MESS WITH YOUR PRESCRIBED MEDICATION WITHOUT CONSULTING YOUR GP.  I talk to mine and I spent years researching my condition.


If you are looking for a new age vegan organic macrame prophylactic, move along. there is nothing for you here.



Photo: David Petch.  He was hoping to shoot a Warholesque death bed scene. I was obliged to disabuse him of that notion.


I acquired a chronic lung disease ten years ago. To this day neither I, my GP nor specialists have a clear idea of what it was, but whatever it was it reduced my lung capacity by 70%, stripped me of my immune system and left me permanently exhausted, breathless, stressed and occasionally hospitalised. I also have a morbid fear of flu in winter, a dose of which would kill me without touching the sides. They tested me for AIDS.

Hospitals, those places designed to cure are for me a threat; bugs lurk there. I try to avoid them but the advice from my GP is to dial 999 rather than calling him when I get a flare up. I prefer to sit it out with a combination of drugs and CBT.


I know my eventual killer well, I have been studying him for the past ten years, I know where he lies in wait, in dark damp places, we meet from time to time, play Russian roulette with an air gun ( one chamber of which is empty) before moving on. My GP recognises my knowledge of my condition and allows me the driving seat in prescribing, changing or stopping medication.

 Although in itself it will not kill me, pneumonia will do that, stress is my biggest enemy, it is the finger-post for my piper at the gates of dawn. Stress causes breathing difficulties which exacerbate the stress which exacerbates the breathing difficulties leading to collapse, sometimes in public places which is uncomfortable as passers by frequently mistake my condition for 'social problems'. In the early days I would call an ambulance, get put on machines and oxygen until things calmed down.

These days, being wiser, I do nothing of the sort.

I call a good friend who drops everything, picks me up from wherever I am incapacitated, tells me I look shit, drives me to a calmer place, invariably offers his personal panacea (a beer and an appalling bad joke) then lets me get on with stressing in.

After having been drawn graphs and charts by specialists ten years ago I gave up smoking. I kept that up until stress got the better of me. I now self medicate with a cigarette.

Stress is the enemy, keep it at bay and there is a good chance that: A. The hyperventilation will not start, or B. The hyperventilation will abate... Fuck brown paper bags give me the fags.

After a chat with a GP this course of action was quietly endorsed but not officially. I asked him how much longer I would live by quitting smoking and would I have that extra time at the beginning of the rest of my life or at the end, bedridden and artificially aspirated. He told me: 'The latter'. Pass me a fag.

I was prescribed anti-depressants for the stress after I found myself living in the shadow of Grenfell Tower at the time of the Government backed arson attack by cost cutting councillors waging their social cleansing campaign ( a story for another time). Once prescribed I was left taking them for years.

My new regime, which works for me, is as follows:

I kicked the antidepressants into touch a few weeks ago, I weened myself off them, having spoken to a GP, slowly over a period of a few days, Yes, during lock-down, replacing them with a request for Diazepam, which was happily prescribed. I would take one or two now and then as needed. I've given them up now but keep a stash in case of serious problems. I must take the daily steroids and bronchodilator for the rest of my life.

I have a rescue pack of serious Steroids and antibiotics at hand.

I have given up the blue inhalers synonymous with asthma relief... I do not have asthma so why do I need it. It is prescribed as a matter of course for anyone who's condition is dumped in the COPD file. I take a drag from one from time to time, I like the placebo buzz. The remaining inhalers in my possession I shall use to fill balloons come Carnival's return to sell to unsuspecting seekers of incremental brain cell death. Or hand out to children at Halloween (they all seem to have asthma these days).

I no longer worry about anything outside of my control. I don't give a shit about shit. I take half my originally prescribed drugs but take half an hour for them to kick in before even considering action, smoke, write poetry in my head and no longer attempt any physical exertion that might have my lungs rattling like an ebb tide on shingle. Friends know the score and do not mark me down for it.

I've been in solitary lock-down since just after Christmas, the past twelve weeks of which have been spent in a delightful friend's equally delightful house. I cook, eat, water the roof garden and write in rotation and feel healthier than I have done for a long time. I experiment with arcane ice cream recipes. I'm ready for Hell.

Lastly, I like myself these days. Enjoy my own company, laugh at my jokes. Living alone in isolation is difficult unless you are happy in your own company and can look yourself in the eye. I'm lucky my head is full of stories, anecdotes, memories and poems, I awake mentally reciting unwritten verse then pounce upon paper and pen. I am in part my own best medication. It took a long time to find out and I aim to take my time enjoying it.

I no longer wake up and smell the coffin.







Tuesday, 26 May 2020

Coronavirus. Projected path.

A guest post by Professor Jan Nieupjur of the Institute for predicted pandemics. Barnards Castle.

After much research on the part of myself and Dominic  Cummings; Doctorer of predictions.Westminster, I can safely predict the following events might occur:

Ist wave. Already here as predicted with 2020 hindsight by Dr Cummins.

2nd wave. Next.

3rd Wave. After that.

Marcel Wave (France only)  Apres cette.

Royal Wave. By Royal command.

Mexican Wave. (USA only). Whenever dude.

Elite's prosecution Waiver. Immediately.

Severn Bore. Monthly.

Pub Bore. Constant.

Flat calm in conjunction with the alignment of Uranus and Swan upping.




Jan Nieupjur, Gloaming, marshmallow dreams and a bonfire of Tory vanities.

Rudely awakened from my, post liquid luncheon snooze, by an helicopter chattering overhead like an Inuit naturist's teeth, I peered, in an old fashioned fashion, from the front door only to notice old friend Jan Nieupjur, standing on the corner, looking nonplussed, in a myopically challenged kind of way, at a discarded tailors dummy.

'What ho! Jan'. I cried in greeting. 'What ails thee?'

He limped, his Zimmer frame rattling like a pox doctors clerk, over the cobbles to the six foot perimeter barbed wire.

'Just taking my post Covid libido out on a test run. Judging by my groin's response to that charming young thing on the corner and her reaction to my Seventh Avenue come on, I am fucked... Or not fucked. If you get my drift'.

I handed him a glass of the funeral sherry I keep to ward the barflies off my good stuff and pointed out that she was, in fact, a dummy.

'You bet'. Ejaculated Jan. 'I have three florins in my pocket itching to be spent. Enough to get her back to Estonia and still have change'.

I gave him the address of a wonderful sex therapist in Barnard Castle I had once had the pleasure to consult.

We talked on into the burgeoning gloaming of our lives. Toasting marshmallow dreams on a bonfire of Tory vanities.










Taurus Trakker. Auto Gigs.

Taurus Trakker, Martin Muscatt & Allison Phillips along with Wigsy* on bass (they have had more bass players than Spinal Tap) are THE local band. Before this shitshow Coronavirus started they could be seen and heard often in the neighbourhood (as well as further afield), especially in Mau Mau; a bar on Portobello Road, the last of the real live venues round here. Mau Mau closed a few months ago for refurbishment, whether it ever opens again is now very much in the air but I was told that it would only be featuring DJ's with their dansettes. Who knows.

The band have started playing live gigs in their car during the crisis. They are 20 odd minutes of pure joy, fun and rock & roll. It is streamed live on facebook HERE Catch them, it is well worth it.


The bands website is HERE

Bandcamp thingy HERE

I could tell you more about the band but it is all on their website in glowing technicolour. Their CV is impressive.

I'll update this in a day or so.

*Wigsy used to run 'Loco'; an often chaotic weekly music pub thing. The scene of many of my poetry intermissions. See earlier blogposts.


Notable dates in History. !2th April 2020 Dom Cum Dur.

On April 12 2020:

My 65th birthday

Dominic Cummins' wife's birthday

Dominic Cummins whilst suffering from the Coronavirus drives his wife and child 30 miles each way to Barnard Castle to 'test his driving skills and eyesight'. What a curious and thoughtless birthday present for the missus, a potentially lethal drive whilst suffering from the virus and no doubt pilled up to the eyeballs. Surely one tries out this kind of thing alone in order to protect the lives of one's loved ones.



I spent the day, like many others abiding by the lockdown rules set by Cummins & co in order to protect myself, protect others and help the NHS, missing friends and family and missing the glorious sights of Barnard Castle.

If I were a conscience I know who's conscience I'd rather be...




Monday, 25 May 2020

Borth. The end of it.






Be quick my aching feet
and rid this place of me
flat matt black smear of sullen land
wedged between rugged beauty
and liquid gun metal sea

the only road a stair rod of leaden hopelessness
finialled with village namesigns
umbilical from way in
giving life to a way out
that veers off, set square true
between graph paper fields of
itchy footed mobile homes
rooted in their own unhaphazard nightmares.
Towards a horizon beckoning relief

Borth beach slate grey
skid mark on the unwashed underpants of Wales
caught between a hard place
and unforgiving sea
grey upon grey upon grey upon grey
populated by innocent children, whom, having seen no better
assume that this is what life is and
gaggles of Whistler's Mothers;
arrangements of grey on black.

the tides are bullied in

hang around like a bored teenage
goth dreaming of Whitby
on his last family holiday ordeal...

then race away with glee

Of all the beauty of this Principality
what brings me here to this
to triage at the waiting room of romantic health tests
sitting, beach benched, uncandyflossed
as you walk out into the limp bara lafwr mor.

Watching and willing you to keep going
Knowing the prognosis to be terminal.

Knowing that I no longer want you in my life
nor me in this unhappy place.












Sunday, 24 May 2020

That Johnson Cummins conversation in full.

Many thanks to Andrew Ryser Szymanski for this:


BJ: "I'm sorry Dom, but you know I've got no alternative. This is going to bring the whole administration down. I'm afraid I've got to let you go".
DC: "No you haven't fat boy. You know I've got the full file on you. Everything. The lot. Do you think I
 didn't know this moment wouldn't come one day? Just call it little me taking precautions".
BJ: "You wouldn't. Surely you couldn't sink that low. I'll deny everything. That's bloody treason".
DC: "Your choice, fat boy. Less than 6 months from hero to zero, my little Churchill.
BJ: "But you just can't. I'll deny everything".
DC: "I've got it all fatboy. Photographs, emails, corroborating statements. You're toast fat boy".
BJ: "Look Dom. Be sensible. We can spin this. I'll make a public address. Greatest regret at losing you and all that, doctor's orders, ongoing condition post Covid forcing your brave resignation. Heroic service re Brexit, possible knighthood. How's that?"
DC: "Do you want to see these emails and photos"?
BJ: "OK, OK, I'll tell 'em you did nothing wrong and have my total support. I'll tell Baker and anyone else making trouble that they're finished. I'll do that today. You the boss, Dom, baby".
DC: "Excellent Prime Minister. A man just has to know his limitations".

Boris' Coronavirus advice (In parentheses).

Work in progress...


Gonna get up in the morning
Gonna take a drive up north
to see my dead dad in Durham
or my gran in Perranporth (weather permitting)

Boris says it's fine by him
(for I went to Magdalen* too)
Boris says don't do what I say
Boris says doo be doo be do (don't bogart that joint)

Boris says cut me a line
says hey man bring out the pot
Gotta persuade the country I'm high on drugs
before my career is shot (got any downers?)



*True fact.The rest is fiction.





Peter Rachman's library steps.



Mein Kampf:- Adolf Hitler
10 steps to a better body:- Charles Atlas
On Narcissism:- Sigmund Freud.





The Dominic Cummins Coronavirus trip inconsistencies.




So far I am able to ascertain that the following statements are true:

Cummins is not telling the whole story. No surprise there.

Mrs Cummins did not tell the truth in her Spectator article of 25th April regarding her and her husbands Virus experience.

Grant Shapps defended Cummins' actions before even talking to Cummins or ascertaining the true facts.

The Government described stories of further Cummins breaches of the lockdown rules as 'Innacurate'. Not 'false' or 'untrue'.

Cummins must go but Boris must be saving that until he has some nastier news to hide.



to be continued

Saturday, 23 May 2020

Transport of delight.

I'm going to heaven in a handcart
I'm going to Dedham in a wain
I'm going to Paris in a tumbrel
there to meet my darling Louisette.
I'm going to Nashville on the last train
to Frisco on a street car named desire
having crossed America in a Conestoga
with Cat Balou, but have not set out yet.

I'm going to a fire in a Green Goddess
I'm going to church in a yellow Rolls Royce
I'm going to Alexandria in an aeroplane
with John Mills, to drink an ice cold beer.
I'm going my own way with Mick Fleetwood
I'm travelling light with JJ Cale
I'll send you postcards from each destination
All saying: 'My love, I wish that you were here'.








Cummins Durham Coronavirus saga.


I wrote a silly ditty on the subject of the Cummings idiocy:


Kids, stay home, stay mum about Dad.

Play candy crush saga on your mum's iphone
while she's drunk amid pots and pans
not Covid cruise saga on Dad's spy phone
as he drives up to Durham to Gran's.



I sent it to the conservative party fb page. Their reply is priceless.





Friday, 22 May 2020

Extra Bank Holiday announced in UK.




The UK Government has announced that an extra Bank Holiday will be created later in the year in order to give weary Brits a day off after months of days off.

It will be named All Virus' Day.

Street parties will be compulsory for all UK residents save immigrant workers and their families who will be obliged to service the nation for the day prior to fucking right off to where they came from. Priti Patel will be excluded from this condition.

Yellow flags and bunting will be flown to signify both the Prime Minister's cowardice and the state of quarantine that the entire country will be obliged to live in until the Chernobyl environs are safe for habitation.

It is hoped that the day will kick start the second hand spam industry as well as provide a use for  High Streets, empty since the failure of all retail outlets throughout Britain save Poundshop and Greggs.










Pentimento.

If asked: Should he have the opportunity
to live his life over again,
what would he paint over,
what would he change?

He'd say: Nothing.
Despite the pain, the hardship, the mistakes.
Nothing,
that life brought me here
to what and where I am now.

Grateful for the memories
content and at peace with my demons.






The ripening of the pods.




It was a glorious day, one redolent of impossible childhood memories. I took the old dog for a mutually laboured stroll on the heath, each of us wheezing, lungs rattling, ebb tide on shingle.

We stopped to rest on a well remembered bench, not one of the popular seats on the hill frequented by  crowds but a shaded seat on the path to Ken wood beside a strand of enormous beeches with their elephant skin bark, pock marked with the initials of generations of lovers, the ground felted with a thick layer of beech-mast. A majestic stand of trees, one of nature's cathedrals.

As the old dog panted in the shade of the bench a man a little older than myself approached and seated himself. We traded good-days. He placed a blue and white canvas bag at his feet then opened it, removed a Tupperware box.

Opening the box he proffered it  and said: 'Have a broad bean'.

The beans were peeled and coated in mint sauce. I told him thank you, took one and added: 'I can only eat them peeled'.

'Me also'. He said with a sigh. I sensed that there was more he wished to tell me so I presented the opportunity by saying: 'Go on'.

He looked at me, smiled then started his tale:

'In my youth my parents and I lived on a farm in Kent, an idyllic place, surrounded by oast-houses strawberry fields, cherry orchards and hop gardens. In a cottage beside the un-metalled lane to the village lived the farm manager, his wife and their daughter Tilly. Tilly was tall, as tall as I and had a jumble of perpetually errant golden hair. We became good friends, we went to the little primary school in the village and walked there together daily. We explored the surrounding countryside, sometimes walking miles, chattering away. I spent a good deal of time at her home, in the kitchen with Tilly and her parents or in the vegetable garden.

One summer, quite early in our friendship, she offered me some broad beans, the first of the season. She was sitting, podding them at the kitchen table. I told her, rather precociously, trying too hard to impress, that I could only eat broad beans that had been peeled by a virgin princess.  She laughed, her parents eyebrows raised, then soon handed me a small bowl of peeled broad beans. She added a dollop of mint sauce.

This became something of a ritual each summer upon the ripening of the pods. My virginal peeler of beans. My accomplice in dreams.

Years passed, we moved on to different secondary schools but remained close friends. Met daily.

Just before my fifteenth birth day tragedy struck.

Tilly's mother was diagnosed with a tumour. It was savage, voracious and quick. She died three months later and everything changed.

Tilly's father became withdrawn and unwelcoming, his clothes dirty, he smelled of whisky and tobacco. He didn't actually chase me away but Tilly and I chose to meet elsewhere. In the barn when it rained; the beech hanger behind my house or her garden in good weather where she would innocently, knowingly, peel me broad beans. She changed too, less talkative, less unbridled. Sadness crept in.

The following summer we sat in the garden podding broad beans. She said my name, I looked up, she told me in a foreign voice and with full eyes  that she could no longer peel my broad beans. She ran then, ran into the house and I walked the quarter mile home. Telling myself I was confused but I was not confused, just sad, angry and disappointed. I did not see Tilly again.

A few days later a rumour spread through the village quicker than the tumour that took Tilly's mother. Tilly and her father had done a moonlight flit. I went to the cottage, it was empty. The owner of the farm called in at our house to ask if we had seen them. Apparently they had left one night, left most of their belongings. Had vanished. No forwarding address. Someone from social services visited to ask if we knew where they had gone.

Since then I have had to live with my guilt. I knew what was going on but said nothing, did nothing. I was afraid of the grown up enormity of it all. I should have told someone, anyone, or confronted him, done something.

I have trawled telephone directories ever since.

All I have of her are memories of broad beans'. He pointed at the beeches. 'They remind me of those days'.


He proffered the Tupperware box again, I took one, then he closed it, placed it back in his bag, stood up, doffed his hat. We said goodbyes.

After a few steps he turned, stood for a moment as if deep in thought, then said:

'I should have killed him you know'.

Turned and walked away..



















Wednesday, 20 May 2020

Coronavirus nonsense for children of all ages.

Ware Container


Ice cream for breakfast
porridge for luncheon
elevenses in the afternoon
all day sprinkles to munch on.

Fruit soup for dinner
more ice cream for supper
sherbet for a late night snack
I keep it in a tupper


ware container.

Tuesday, 19 May 2020

Garden lament.

.
The bugs have eaten the cherries
the birds have eaten the bugs
the cats have eaten the birds
but nothing is eating the slugs
damn things
nothing is eating the slugs.
Gonna catch them at midnight
catch them in a beer filled trench
gonna force them into empty snail shells
and sell them on to the French
damn things
I'll sell them on to the French.
They will cook them with garlic and parsley
add some dry breadcrumbs for a crunch
for a tasty Parisienne hors d'oeuvres
or a chic low calorie lunch
damn things
a chic low calorie lunch.
My true love is eating the cherries
As we indulge in Parisienne honeymoon hugs
She's just ordered a plate of escargot
but I know the fuckers are slugs
damn things
I know the fuckers are slugs..

Sunday, 17 May 2020

All the ships that pass have black sails..

Isolated in exile I am my own Napoleon
but longing for no Josephine
and confusing my Arras with my Elba as
waiting and watching The Empire Strikes Back ad nauseam
talking loudly to myself, reducing this island's population of donkeys
to sad creatures dragging themselves along
by their front legs.

All the ships that pass have black sails.

I turn my eyes inward
scan that horizon
whilst indulging in fantastic orgies with hope, faith and patience.











Friday, 15 May 2020

London nature note


Dawn. Pigeons are everywhere, no longer fed by tourists in Trafalgar square and elsewhere and, no longer able to find the detritus of streetfood, they are having to revert to medieval practices; they have eaten the unripe cherries and figs, they congregate like extras in a Hitchcock film waiting for Tippi Hedren to pass by. Blue tits visit the bird feeder I have put in an olive tree outside on the street, unthinkable 3 months ago. The parakeets no longer fly en mass overhead at dawn and dusk, again no tourists to feed them in parks and squares.Morning coffee outside is serenaded by birdsong. No traffic noises, no planes, and then churchbells taking my mind back to Rupert Brooke and Grantchester and his sentimental cynicism.. Eerie if I did not know why.Foxes are around as ever, having to work harder for food. I leave them scraps at night which are always gone in the morning. I hear their barking often. There are reports though of cubs dying due to lack of food.Magpies are taking advantage of the crisis. They stalk the mews here for pigeon eggs and chicks, the pigeons are nesting in places that they would not dream of in normal times and being less cautious.
We have a proper dawn chorus reminiscent of my childhood. It wakens in me the idea of thinking of my mother in long past gardens where the sun always shone, no-one had coronavirus and there was always honey for tea.

Heaven in a handcart. Thinking of Thomas Hardy and an as yet unmet travelling companion. work in progress.

I'm going to heaven in a handcart
I'm taking a piglet in a poke
gonna trade it with the mayor of Casterbridge
for his wife and a lime green mini-moke.

I'm going to heaven in a handcart
leaving worldly hell well in my wake
gonna sell my mini moke to the angels above
any blessing that they offer I will take

I'm going to heaven in a handcart
I'm waving to Lilith...... Lil  goodbye
gonna wrap my new companion in a handkerchief of love and
tell her when and try to explain why...

We are going to heaven in a handcart
the mayors discarded wife and me
both of us were victims in our own ways
both of us victors now we are free

both of us were victims in our own ways
both of us were victims that is sure
she was bullied by the mayor of Casterbridge
I was bullied by myself    but no more

We are going to heaven in a handcart
the road is long and goes on for evermore
because heaven is surely in our journey to come
and the handcart just a handy metaphor.






















Thursday, 14 May 2020

Sad bloke in the kitchen.No 5. Goldbait

                                       

















Donald Trump.


Get drunk.

Scoop goldfish from bowl

Dredge in flour. This can be messy, they kick.

deep fry.

Eat.

Sit back and plan the lies for the kids in the morning.

NB. Probably best to starve the fuckers for a day or two before you try this, less likely to be full of shit.

Sad bloke in the kitchen No: 4. Memories of scampi provencal.




When I was in my teens we would go often, as a family, to La Cantina di Capri; a restaurant in Oxford. Three memories of those visits remain: The wonderful Maitre D,  Campari & soda and Scampi Provencal. This is my lockdown take on the latter.



 Peel and dice finely one small onion. Chuck it in a shallow pan with some olive oil. Let it sweat at a low heat until softened and translucent, add a clove of garlic (bashed with a rock and finely chopped, garlic presses are a nightmare and take longer to clean than this takes to make) sweat it until you get an admission of guilt.

Open a bottle of white wine, no need to be up yourself: Wine, white, that'll do. Decide how much you want to drink then add the remaining half a glass to the pan. Crank up the heat and boil off the alcohol. (Top tip: put your face over the pan while doing this and you get a hit of evaporating 100% proof).

Turn heat down.

Peel a couple of ripe tomatoes. Easy to peel, just nick the skins with a sharp knife then drop into a bowl of boiling hot water for a minute. Remove from the water and they peel like a redhead's back in August. Remove the seeds and hard white bit in the middle and chop up. Add to pan. you might want a bit of sugar... Suit yourself.

Simmer for a moment, I like the freshness of almost uncooked tomatoes.

Season with salt and white pepper.

Add whatever seafood you have. Scampi is perfect, uncooked prawns are good, Lobster to die for and failing all of those Monkfish tail diced works brilliantly. Works with cod and sticklebacks too. All I could get hold of today was big prawns.

Cook until the fish is cooked, no longer, seriously, overcooking ruins it.

Turn the heat off and add some chopped fresh oregano. Thyme will do at a pinch if you don't have oregano. Let's not be pedantic' or Pedante as our Italian friends would say.

Serve with plain boiled rice and Zucchini fritti (which is actually a piece of piss to make perfectly if you take your time. I'll write about it another time).

Open another bottle of wine.

Eat and drink.

Feed the Lert.


NB. I do not have time for quantities or temperature or exact times. I rely on the fact that you possess an instinct for what is needed.








Brown rice and Joy. A vegetarian fairy tale.

Brown rice and Joy. A vegetarian fairy tale.

Joy lived with her mum on the edge of the village. Joy was 13 and had a faint memory of a father who disappeared years before leaving her and her mum with a little cottage and a field of pigs.

Joy's mum tried to make a living as a pig farmer but it was difficult, most of the other villagers were vegetarians and didn't like pork and whenever her mum tried growing vegetables in the field the pigs ate them. Times were hard.

One day Joy's mum gave her the last of their money and asked her to go to the market to buy vegetables so that they could invite some neighbours round for supper.

On her way to the market Joy met a man leading a cow. The man with the cow asked her where she was going and when she informed him of her errand he said: 'Look no further young lady, I have just the thing for you.'

Come off it said Joy. If you think I am going to buy a few beans from you you are mistaken! The man with the cow explained that he had just traded his last few magic beans for the cow with a young lad called Jack but that he had the answer to all her problems.

He pulled from a sack a cage, in the cage was a small brown mouse.

I could spend an age describing the haggling that took place but you've heard it all before… Joy walked home with the mouse who she decided to name Regret.

Joy's mum was, of course, mightily pissed off and sent the girl to bed without supper… No hardship to Joy who was fed up with her daily intake of pork products.

The following morning Joy rose early and went down to her chores. she was surprised to find that all the pig scraps lying around the kitchen had been cleared up and that there was a pile of brown rice on the table. She scooped the rice into a bowl before going out to feed the pigs. The mouse slept in his cage in the corner.

When Joys mum arose she showed her the rice and declared that there was enough for a proper banquet for all their vegetarian friends.

The banquet of course was a success, a mound of steaming brown rice infused with herbs from the hedgerows and vegetables borrowed from neighbouring gardens had all of the guests singing its praises. The brown rice had a flavour previously unknown to them. It was magnificent. It was heaven.

By the end of the evening each of the guests has put in an order for brown rice which Joy's mum accepted while secretly wondering where it was going to come from. She need not have worried for the following morning there was a mound of brown rice waiting on the table.

Over the following weeks Joy and her mum discovered that the more pork they left in the kitchen the more brown rice appeared on the table the following day.

They made a lot of money from selling that brown rice to the village vegetarians and lived happily ever after apart from one small glitch when the inspector from the ministry of food tested the rice and declared it 98 percent pork and 2 percent mouse spit but by then it was too late, the village rabbi had already koshered it as fit for vegetarians.

And the mouse… Joy changed it's name from Regret to Regretta who lived long, fondly watching over her burgeoning family shitting on the kitchen table as it grew fat on pork products.

Wednesday, 13 May 2020

Exile, bananas and crysalides.




I left these bananas on my dining table 9 weeks ago before going into exile. Last night, on paying a hasty visit, I discovered that the bananas had flown leaving the desiccated husks of their crysalides behind.

Tuesday, 12 May 2020

Coronavirus musing. Intentional infection?

This may sound bizarre but I am absolutely serious. Due to my situation (high risk, shielded, total isolation blah blah) I could, like many others, be forced to self isolate for at least a year.
It occurs to me that it may become an option to intentionally catch the virus during any lull in Hospital occupancy and hope to survive it (40% chance I'm told) and achieve immunity.
Seems rather extreme but at the moment due to the lowered pollution and a rather better lifestyle/diet I'm feeling fitter than I have done for years and I'd rather catch the virus when in this condition than next winter during the flu season.
Just thinking aloud.

Shielded self isolation: A cell on death row.

To use Government speak, The 12 week self isolation period for those of us in the high risk category is quite frankly not fit for purpose.

In three weeks time my 12 weeks isolation ends. What then? Due to the floundering and dithering of the Government during the period of my lockdown nothing will have changed and I suspect that I will be advised  to self isolate for another 12 weeks and again and again ad infinitum. My feeling is that 12 months is a more realistic timescale and even then only a vaccine will make a return to any semblance of normality possible.

As far as I am concerned I can cope with this, at present I am in a friends wonderful house while she is stuck overseas, I can sit on the roof among the plants, I have kind neighbours and friends. When I go back to my own home in June things will be harder but I do have a balcony for getting some outdoors of a kind. More importantly I was an antisocial bugger before this all started and enjoy my own company. I also have sufficient IT to video chat with family and friends around the world.

I feel for those who are older and more unwell than myself or less used to isolation. To them this situation must be starting to feel like a cell on death row. Imagine the horror of contemplating a future that only comprises of isolation followed by death.



This is not acceptable.

Coronavirus what have you done.


For Victoria.

Coronavirus what do you want
what have you brought
what damage have you done
what havoc have you wrought

A daughter close
grandchildren too
impossible a year ago
now impossible to undo

Clean air and clearer lungs
traffic stopped in its tracks
mornings filled with birdsong and
jasmine jasmine jasmine

mankind re-humanised
neighbours sharing names
and bread and good wishes
some rekindling old flames

Coronavirus what do you want
what have you wrought
what good you have done
what heaven you have brought...






Monday, 11 May 2020

Auto-dentistry during lockdown.

Not for the squeamish.



I'm one of the many who are designated 'Shielded' and under strict self isolation. One side affect of the medication I need for my underlying condition is that I have a greatly reduced immune system and over the past few weeks my teeth have been under attack and have become the source of great pain.

It was necessary to remove two rather mobile front teeth. Of course I cannot visit a dentist. The process went as follows*:

1.  Eat 3 paracetamol washed down with copious quantity of Vodka.

2. Wash hands for length of time it takes to sing 'All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth'.

3. Wrench tooth from jaw ditherlessly.

4. Sigh with relief.

5. Drink Vodka to celebrate.

6. Receive call from kind dentist who took the time on a Sunday afternoon who advises that I have done exactly the right thing under the circumstances.

7. Start course of Amoxicillin.

8. Eat two Diazapam and 2 paracetamol washed down with Vodka.

9. Sleep like a filmstar.

* I AM IN NO WAY ENCOURAGING ANYONE TO SELF MEDICATE IN THIS WAY. I took advice before proceeding.



Sunday, 10 May 2020

STAY INERT.

Politicians are lying, stay alert
Advice not worth buying, stay alert
Too many of us dying, stay alert
The NHS is crying, stay alert
Conspiracies are flying,
as are planes
accusations
drones and
speculations.

To save more of us from dying,

Stay INERT.



Psychic portrait that got it right.



Photo courtesy of Chalkie Davies.
 Little Boris in Pink With a Goblet Filled With Coronavirus by Joshua Johnson 1805.



Johnson was the first and only member of the American School of Psychic Portraitists. Founded by himself in 1803.

This portrait shows his great great great Grandson Boris in 2020.

Coronavirus questions answered: What is a 'Lert'?


Alert Lert.


A Lert is a small, stupid, non swimming mammal imagined by Boris Johnson to have no idea that the Prime minister is even more out of his depth than it is. Closely related to the Lemming and native to the UK.



Not alert Lert.

Books for self isolation. Pincher Martin by William Golding.



Pincher Martin is a novel by British author William Golding, first published in 1956. Recognised as an early example of British existential writing and for its minimalist style, it centres on a Naval lieutenant named Christopher Hadley “Pincher” Martin who is knocked off his ship. After nearly drowning in the freezing North Atlantic when he comes across a strange, misshapen rock that doesn’t appear on any map. On this rock, he finds enough food and water to survive, and attempts to carve out something of an existence for himself until he is rescued. As the days drag on with no company, Martin tries to figure out how to keep his sanity and uncover the truth about the strange situation in which he finds himself. Exploring themes of mental stability, the nature of life and death, and how far people will go to survive, Pincher Martin was Golding’s third novel and is one of his best-known. It was praised for its unique style and compelling—though unreliable—narrator. 

Saturday, 9 May 2020

Wartime Hero Harry Nieupjur. The man with three eyes.




This time of V  E day celebration reminds me of My old friend Jan's Uncle Harry.

Harry fought in both World wars but it was in the great war that he acquired a certain notoriety as 'the man with three eyes'.

He lost an eye in the trenches of Ypres, then, while convalescing lost a testicle in a brothel in Arras. The circumstances of which he never disclosed. He was repatriated to Britain for treatment.

The doctors soon replaced his lost eye with a glass one but prosthetic testicles were not available at that time, however a sympathetic surgeon opened him up and popped in another glass eye.

Harry was thereafter subject to much ribald teasing in the mess hall and his tales of what his inner eye had seen became legendary.

Friday, 8 May 2020

State of the Nation report. Bring out your stupid.




While Boris and co dither in the Downing Street bunker the Government fed tabloids scream at the thick, the stupid and the poor that lockdown is over in order that as many as possible contract the virus  while the Times reports that lockdown is here until July.

To the Government the economy is far more important than lives. As in America, the sums have been done and decisions made. It does not take a rocket scientist to see what is coming next.... 

Today is VE day. I am having to park a German car in front of the house to protect myself from the combined forces of the Queens Own Stupids and the Boris Yout who will be out in force napalming the country with every Coronavirus laden victory exhalation. Is that irony?

The sane have two options today: 1. We can bunker down and sit it out.    2. We can attempt to fight them on the beaches, in the parks, at the street blah blah blah.  I'm opting for the former. Never in the history of Britain has so much stupidity been displayed by so many to protect the wealth of the few.

The plague carts will rattle over the cobbles once more and the air shall fill with cries of:'Bring out your stupid'.

Meanwhile in America Trump sits in his counting house trying to decide who to go to war with in order to distract the Nation, whilst they die in their Tens of thousands, from his Venal, narcissistic and callous stupidity.


Give me strength.

Thursday, 7 May 2020

Love in the time of Corona.





















The first time I saw her
I thought
She has been unlucky

She was the most beautiful girl in the clinic

The second time I saw her
I thought
She had been careless

The beautiful girl in the clinic

The third time I saw her
I thought
She was promiscuous or worse

That girl in the clinic.

The fourth time I saw her
I thought
Stupid me, she is a doctor.
I approached her then and said
'Doctor
You are the most beautiful girl in the clinic'.

She replied:
I'm not a doctor
I'm unlucky
I'm careless
I'm promiscuous
or worse.
But I feel that is about to change.

We left the clinic hand in hand
Separated by the thickness of two surgical gloves.

Later, much later the night before lock-down was lifted 
as we lay
Her head on my chest her hair in my face
the scent of hibiscrub filling the white room.
I said 'I love you'

and she said don't love me
I am unlucky
I an careless
I am promiscuous
or worse

And nothing has changed.

Men With Ven... 0 to 60.

Trump will urge Supreme Court to strike down Obamacare


A clear and succinct summary from Ilya Ruvinsky of St Louis.


As 2,000 Americans die and 25,000 are infected each day, the Trump administration is actively working to strip healthcare away from 29 million Americans in the middle of a global pandemic. Even Attorney General William Barr believes that the Affordable Care Act should NOT be dismantled in its entirety, but couldn’t convince the administration to back down from its extremist position.
A recent report estimated that if the unemployment rate hits 15%, nearly 18 million Americans could lose their employer-based health coverage. Over 9 million workers have already lost it.
In the middle of the worst pandemic outbreak in the world, the Trump administration is actively working to deprive the most vulnerable Americans of access to healthcare over the objection of its own Attorney General. LET THAT SINK IN.




Wednesday, 6 May 2020

Sad bloke in the kitchen No: 3. Zen relish.

This relish can only be made when the fridge Chakra are in perfect alignment.


Firstly you need to find the sacred, almost empty, pickled cucumber jar in the fridge.

Pour some of the pickle juice into a small pan and add some brown sugar, boil it up until syrupy. It will not take long, don't burn it.

Peel and dice ( having removed the seeds and hard bit in the middle) a couple of tomatoes and put in a bowl. Add 4 inches of cucumber diced, some onion diced, the solitary pickled cucumber from the jar diced, salt, pepper, chilli if you like, I use chilli powder but fresh or dried is probably better. Add the syrupy stuff from the pan and stir. you can add a bit of white wine vinegar if you like.

Try it and see what you think. Adjust seasoning but remember things are going to change over the next couple of days.

Now take the empty pickle jar that appeared to be at the end of its useful life and destined for the recycling bin, wash it out and fill with the relish. You will find that you have made exactly the right amount to fill the jar and that the jar lives again.... That is the Zen bit.

Leave it in the fridge for a day or two to macerate.

Great with burgers, kebabs and the like.

Time to re-evaluate how we measure wealth.

1.  I am a rich man. I have a great deal of money, many employees but no friends. I own many houses, two yachts and a helicopter. whilst self isolating in one of my houses I must contain myself to one room in order to protect myself (I care not about the welfare of the others in my house, it is my house after all). I am obliged to self isolate in my bedroom because it is the one room which has en suite lavatory and bath facilities. I have gold taps. Everything I need must be left outside my door by others, when I retrieve these things I must worry about whether the person leaving them there has the virus or wants to give me the virus and for that reason I wash everything with surgical spirit. I wash my hands constantly.  Having never lived in my own company alone before I am ill versed in the art of isolation. I am bored to tears and suffer greatly from insomnia, I count the sheep that huddle in the corner ostracising me. I do not want to die.   But I am a rich man.

2.  I am a rich man. I have little money but it is sufficient. I have good friends, no yachts, cars, houses or helicopters. I have a studio flat. Whilst self isolating I am happy to contain myself to within this safe bubble. I have my bathroom, a sleeping area, a kitchen area and a table on which to work. Kind people bring me the things that I need to survive, I do not need to wash these things because I trust those who bring them. I do not have to concern myself with constant hand washing. I cook what I want when I want. I sleep when I do and rise when I chose. Insomnia is not an issue, I count my blessings. I have a small balcony on which to grow herbs and from where I can stand at night to watch the moon and by day to fill my lungs with air no longer polluted by motor cars or burning coal. I'm writing daily, videoing friends, content to die at my own pace...  As I had been before the pandemic. I am a rich man.

Hmmmmm....

From the archives. Memories of Moll the bag Lady.


 

What a weird few days.

Spontaneous pole dancing to the London Gypsy Orchestra in a church on Ladbroke Grove followed by a spontaneous party at my favourite Dutch girl's house.

My favourite dutch girl has a dog that fits into a bicycle basket and a record collection to die for... She makes good coffee and talks sense.

I also learnt from Moll the bag lady this weekend that a smiling woman is not necessarily an honest woman. Frequently a smiling woman is just a woman trying too hard to disguise the fact that nothing has gone to plan... the brighter the smile the greater the sadness.

Dysfunctional women have no time for happy, content men... There is nothing to manipulate and from the man's point of view, after a few shags, there is nothing there apart from a future consisting of fault, blame, psycho-sexual counselling, transference of doubt and the realisation that we are to blame for the ageing process, loss of looks, lack of orgasm, stretch marks, dead children, lack of children, unhappiness, family feuds, the price of cosmetics and the depth of wrinkles. Oh, and getting FAT.

For fuck's sake let's all take responsibility for ourselves.

Fortunately for dysfunctional women there are plenty of men out here who will buy the bullshit or ignore the bullshit just for a casual shag.

Imagine going through ones entire life presenting oneself as a sex object (and lying compulsively) in order to feel wanted.

I saw Moll the bag lady trawling through the rubbish bin of humanity the other day... Looking for an admirer.

Sadly she would not recognise an admirer even if he saved her life... she is too busy looking for trash.

She'll find it.