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31 Mar 2013

Post 390: More happy thoughts


I will get round to the re-read and comment on my older blogposts, because I need to stop thinking about the future. Even if the past makes grim reading – at least I’ve survived that. I am terrified about the future – everytime I think about it I want to scream. Life is about making things happen and it’s very hard to make anything happen when you are someone who has no energy, little independence, can’t walk and has no physical attributes anymore. They say there’s more to life but feeling happy and well are physical attributes, not a mere state of mind. Being mentally tough only lasts so long, it is eroded by lack of change. One of the things that requires a different type of mental strength was just on Telly – the Boat Race. I really couldn’t give two shits about it these days, although it is fun sticking it to my parents, who both went to Cambridge. I applied and went to Oxford just to wind them up – I am not a natural antagonist, it just creates this artificial fizz – it is funny, because none of us really cares but it serves to elevate the partisanship. There’s probably some simple psychology that explains it, but I’m f*cked in the head, the apathy is strong with this one. Anyway Oxford won –HAVE SOME OF THAT!
Before that, I took my friend Frog out for lunch at the Bear. Now Frog and I got in touch when she saw one of my gumtree adverts for a carer many moons ago, she has helped me look for housekeepers/carers in the past and has always been honest with me, making me acutely aware of how important it is that people know how much they are appreciated if they give me the time of day. Being friends with anyone is about give and take and when disability severely reduces your ability to give in return for people helping, then it is through a complex combination of gratitude and friendly support and material shared things (ie lunches, gigs) that you do your giving. Frog told me last time we saw each other in 2011
That she had felt ‘a bit taken advantage of’ –well, I was mortified, I never want anyone to feel like that! But I guess I am grateful for her honesty and that she still gives me the time of day.
In other news, I think I may be ahead in the battle with Alcohol, by realising that drinking is only ever a sociable activity, I tried a few weeks of putting a double Scotch in my coffee and having the odd double bloody mary and I’ve nothing good to report. It’s not more enjoyable, it’s lots of extra money and calories and it’s no bloody good for you! I don’t understand how you can get physiologically addicted to a substance that gives you no immediate tangible benefit? It’s probably just my constitution that allows me that luxury. There are people out there who I know really wrestle with it. I will only ever be a social drinker – thank goodness! Social drinking will always be one of my favourite pastimes, in fact looking back at pictures of most of the social events I’ve been too since my stroke I’m hard pushed to find a single one where I don’t have a drink in my hand! Alcohol is a social shared pleasure (very rarely not in red wine form). FACT. The only exception I’ll make to this is taking a hip flask of Cherry Brandy to gigs – it saves on money and needing the loo which is a big victory!
On the subject of swigging from my hip flask at gigs the comedian at the gig I went to last night at the 140 capacity West End Centre in Aldershot, comedy Welshman Lloyd Langford, said to me from the stage ‘I can’t help noticing you slugging back something from a hip-flask – what you rockin? ‘ So I had to sheepishly admit Cherry Brandy, which met with his and the crowd’s approval. I’ve been to some really good things at the West End Centre in the last few years. It is stand up comedy at it’s visceral best, it is 5 minutes walk from Jose’s house so in future I’ll always try and get three tickets so he can meet us there.
Still on the subject of appreciating damn fine red wine, I have been fortunate to know Christian and his wife Terri (the Cheds) who come here (by train) approximately once a month for red wine, cheese and 3 episodes of Homeland. It is how grown-ups should enjoy themselves.
It feels vaguely sad being so gripped by TV drama series. Tomorrow, the 3rd Season of Game of Thrones starts, and I would challenge you to find a single ‘Thrones’ enthusiast who hasn’t planned their entire life around it. Sad, yes, we know. My mate Isabel, has even booked a babysitter so she can round here and watch it!

28 Mar 2013

Post 389: It can be a crazy mixed up wordl


So said master of the one liner Milton Jones at a sold out Guildford G-live on Tuesday. Thankyou Brian for taking me. I’m not surprised it was sold out. Guildford is the most middle-class place in the Universe and Milton is clever and doesn’t swear. I’ve got tickets for Bill Bailey in a couple of Months. That too is sold out. It seems like a reasonable time to post this up – I’m feeling a bit like the underdog in life in general and this has probably been my favourite rock track of the last decade, it was quite a good thing to be at I do wish that life could be all about going to these things and the success of my 36th birthday though but it’s not! The annual event to mark another year of this mortal coil was rather wonderful and life-affirming. In pre-stroke life and post-stroke life putting on something like this was always tricky but let me just say for some reason I was etching a Gordon Ramsey style worry line in my forehead this year because it’s the kind of thing people can take our leave. Luckily, it’s getting to be something where people see people they don’t get a chance to see and it is more for them than for me. It is unfortunate that this happened to coincide with some crippling and interminably dull self doubt ie Thinking that I’ve become one of those pathetic needy people who people say ‘not him again’. I will never take the generosity of busy people with their time for granted. I rely on bloody facebook and I worry that some people stay off facebook because ‘Pardey might ask for help’ and ‘we’re just too busy’ – this is probably some tedious construct in my head but there have been some examples where people just ‘can’t be arsed’ and I get how busy people are. Anyway, enough – it was great to see so many old mates and getting a proper photographer alleviates so much stress and makes for a proper record of events – many thanks to Nick Wild. One of the things that sticks in the memory was telling an old mate of mine that I was quite fond of my new coffee machine and having my coffee a certain way and him saying ‘that’s a bit gay’, now given he’s in a civil partnership with a chap called Stephen I thought that was a bit rum!
Well, I suppose the subject should present itself – my housekeepers Gary and Gwen are going back to S Africa for a month from mid April and I can’t really cope on my own. Government social care won’t cover me because I’m not destitute (and therefore deserving enough) so I will need help – either an evening hither and thither to cook a meal and chat or a weekend. My ability to do the planning/logistics for all this is already worse than pathetic given my lack of energy. I already hate the lack of dignity doing this feels like. It feels like I should just shut-up and die quietly! I guess what I am saying is that offers of help will be so much more constructive rather than the indignity of me asking. I apologise for this being pisspoor. I’m afraid this is what happens in the brain damaged head. It’s a bit sh*t.

24 Mar 2013

Post 388: Is it really that time of year again?


Not that it’s likely to make any difference to anyone, but the main bit of this post is likely to be a few days late because on the Sunday during the time I’d normally post this I will be having the annual buffet lunch in my local pub ‘The Bear’ and I’ll probably be back home trying to sleep off what is one of the most uplifting, whilst simultaneously being one of the most exhausting events of my post-stroke life. Someone last week said they weren’t going to ‘bother with me’, if it looks like ‘I’ve given up’ – I thought the effort I made to stay in touch with people, meet new people, the myriad shows I go to with people to say thankyou for helping me, the gruelling physio I put myself through to maintain my abilities (that most toddlers would outperform or sh*t on (probably literally) (and at least their brains actually improve))

- I thought all this was not giving up, but clearly some people think otherwise. Sadly, it appears that my brain damage is too great, my chronic fatigue too serious (and too tedious to talk about) and after 8 years the odds against me making forward progress is up there with finding intelligent life on the sun! Bloody mindedness and straight up stupidity are two different kinds of wasted energy, Bloody-mindedness is tolerable – stupidity is not, so I may have given up on being stupid but I try and get on with everything else no matter how futile it seems.
Anyway, this is the fifth time I’ve tried to sort out some sort of birthday gathering to recognise (or is that celebrate) me somehow making it through another year. The fact I’m 36 and now in my late 30s (by virtue of being nearer to 40 than 30) is not something that fills me with joy. I challenge you to find anyone over the age of 30 that’s thrilled at the prospect of getting older. In my 20s I was looking forward to my 30s. Little did I know how sh*t they’d be. I was looking forward to settling down with the girl of my dreams, having 2.4 children, living a well above average life, exploring the world, getting up in the morning and having the energy and the wherewithal to make the world a little less sh*t. That was then, this is now, and the general aims are the same although ‘well above average life' has become ‘endurable life' because every day post-stroke is an endurance and I am pretty sure that a lot of the people who were my friends now ‘suffer me’ if that. I have become this sort of ‘line in the sand’ – ‘as long as we’re doing better than that our lives are OK’, I think I called it ‘Schadenfreunde Psychology’ a few years back. Seriously, that seems to be the most positive difference I make to people these days, there are probably people on Death Row who have more hope for the future than me. I can appreciate that that isn’t the happiest thing to say but I’m not much of a ‘pip pip diddly-dee, my old man’s a mushroom’ type. Well I’m basing that on how I feel every bloody morning. Medicine should be about making people feel better everyday of their lives, improving quality of life not just keeping people alive. Wellbeing seems to be about the efficient and fast transmission of electrical impulses in the brain, that is all it is. Creativity and intelligence appear to be about how axonal fibres meander in the brain. I got this from a BBC TV ad about some horizon program the other evening. Man, as a species, has done some clever sh*t, we’ve split the Atom, worked out innumerable cunning ways to kill, spy and communicate. Isn’t it time to work out how to safely make ourselves feel better/happier?! And I’m not talking about the way I’m trying to do it (which as a wheelchair bound stroke survivor is so very difficult).
Anyway my actual birthday was on Wednesday 20th and this week has been a bit of a mixed bag. On Tuesday my mate Isabel took me to Guildford to go and see grouchy deadpan yank musical comedy legend Rich Hall, now I’ve been to see Rich several times and he pitches his act just right to appeal to the slightly ‘harumphed’ UK middle class who feel that just surviving in modern Britain is an uphill grind, it can feel like you’re walking the wrong way against a travolator and the only way to get some temporary relief is to have a laugh at the absurdity of life and the ridiculousness of the systems we have put in place to try and regulate our existence. Rich says that comedy is about saying stupid things intelligently or intelligent things stupidly, he’s not sure, nor am I?
He taps in to that most basic root of humour, confusion, or is it doubt? I’m really not sure either! We just need to put ourselves in that kind of environment every so often, it’s not rocket surgery (he says). Isabel is a bit of a hero and is taking part in her second triathlon in two years to raise money for the trust which pays for a lot of my physical therapy. Speaking of which, my therapist Jose, has with his partner and baby daughter, been away this week, and it has been a real struggle without him. So as much as I haven’t missed the torture, I have missed the structure, chat and the laughs.
Anyway – like I said, a mixed bag of a week, on Wednesday I was convinced I was supposed to see the stand up talents of much-maligned quixotic pseudo-mockney Russell Brand with my friend, the lovely Gaelle, but she had to pass because motherly duties called, she sent over Michael who although ‘less blonde[her words]’ is a staunch mate and co-conspirator of mine. We were about to leave when it appeared we were short of one crucial detail, the tickets! A panic call to the Albert Hall later and it appeared I’d put the event in my diary but neglected to buy tickets. Piss-up, Brewery basically, I blame the brain damage! We salvaged the evening by opting to chat and slowly sample a bit of my Sloe Gin. Poor chap needs a bit of counsel after his dad had a serious accident and is not in a good way in Hospital. Poor Mike, not only that but lumbered talking to me. Still, his dad is in good hands.
So that was Wednesday, the last two evenings have been on plan, going to the next two gigs in the teenage cancer trust series at the Albert Hall to see Kasabian on Friday with Ched and Noel Gallagher last night with Olly. I think I’ve now seen Kasabian six times in the last five years, here's what I wrote on youtube to go with this clip

Kasabian being brilliant live as usual. I call it football terrace indie-rock and I don't even like football! The atmosphere was superb even in a place as stuffy as the Albert Hall for a charity as sobering as Teenage Cancer Trust. Charity is what makes the Human Race great and the fact that an event like this exists shows that despite being a cynical misanthrope I am happy to be proved wrong (sometimes)
Some might say doing all this activity is deleterious to my state of fatigue but I would simply argue it makes no real difference. If I’m exhausted anyway, I might as well be exhausted out of the house!
Last night I went with my friend Oli to see Noel Gallagher
used to tar Noel with the same brush as Liam but Noel has the talent and what I would call an epic voice. Some of his solo stuff is superb. Makes you believe great things are true
Another great gig and listening to this song made me miss going to a gig with a girlfriend and having someone to really hug and Kiss at the end of a song like this!
Anyway, my birthday lunch was magic! Pictures and words in a couple of days, despite the Baltic weather about 60 people showed up, it was bloody lovely!

17 Mar 2013

Post 387: Some grovelling by the end


I reflected on Friday night that I’m glad I’m a person that does things and not just someone who sits at home because he is too scared to try stuff. I admit I’m lucky that the stability of my financial position thanks to my pension and my non-reliance on state support (which feels like it’s about zero anyway) enables me to get out to a couple of gigs a week. I was sitting at one of these gigs on Friday at the Shepherds Bush Empire which as a venue I love, but as a wheelchair user I hate. I think the reason people who can walk sometimes don’t like these places is they feel a bit crowded in and they have their ‘freedom of movement’ restricted. You should try being in a wheelchair for a day, better still, imagine what it would be like at one of these things! I took the following video to give you some idea. In the Empire it is pitch black and once you get to this position you’re in, you can’=t move for two hours! Now I thought, if I was a precious little princess about this I might kick up a fuss but I don’t because I don’t believe in making the already difficult even more difficult than it already is. That’s why I save complaining about it to a medium that will cause the least fuss (ie here) The Empire couldn’t (and wouldn’t) do anything about it even though it probably should – it’s already enough of a challenge getting access (the temporary ramp they put out so I can get in through the side is awful)and tickets to the place are bloody tricky to get. I’m not a campaigner. I leave that to wheelchair users and people with energy. Before I had my stroke I might have been an effective campaigner. Someone who had the energy and get up and go to be shunted from pillar to post. Some of the more mundane tasks at my old job involved tracking down people who were responsible for random irrelevant things that had been forgotten about for sometimes ten years – important sh*t then – and then the person involved would make up any old sh*t excuse as to why it hadn’t been done, not unlike male West African health care assistants who would literally make up ANYTHING to try and shift culpability, and before the PC brigade try and score points by shouting ‘racist’, I’ve seen it first hand – 2 odd years in London’s hospitals will do this, Proper racism is awful, this is merely playing with race
Anyway, I digress, despite the Shepherds Bush Empire being something of a challenge like any venue that’s putting on a ‘once in a lifetime’ event I’m going to have a go at going. It’s a fulltime therapeutic exercise for me to get the tickets and organise the logistics. Possibly the most important thing these days is to try and match the event to the person taking me. As the Friday event was Smith’s guitarist Johnny Marr, I had planned to take my friends Ched and Champ, both lads in their forties who would have lived and breathed the Smith’s in their formative teens and twenties, the time when the Music you listen to really defines you. I was a bit young for the Smith’s but I am familiar with their work. A couple of weeks ago Champ had cried off saying he was at the Cheltenham horse racing festival probably wagering obscene sums so I asked Ched if his wife Terri might be up for it – she was, so everything was hunky-dory and surprise surprise it was another brilliant (seminal, dare I say)gig even if the Friday night London traffic was a horse's arse! Luckily we left approx 2 hours for a one hour journey. I always feel terribly guilty that it is my fault that friends of mine are forced to sit in traffic because they are helping me out. When I try and communicate this I am invariably told to SHUT UP, anyway, another success of an evening – Terri saying ‘she wished she was 20 years younger’ – well I took that to be a good thing to say about the gig as getting nostalgic is one of the few benefits of getting old and Ched said on facebook:
Great night out, many more of those please !
So mission accomplished I think!
This blame business, it’s clearly the problem with being brought up in a household where it’s ‘always someone’s fault’ and penance is always ‘guilt based’ – it is vital to be able to blame someone, maybe it’s more important to avoid being blamed. Hell, we’ve all got a little west African about us!
Taking into account what I said about finding the right person for the job if I’ve got tickets for something, I’d seen that ‘The Stranglers’ were on in Guildford on Tuesday, for those unfamiliar with them the salient part of their Wikipedia description is:
"the most continuously successful" band to have originated in the UK punk scene of the mid to late 1970s.
So this was a job for Graham,a friend of a frirnd, now a great mate in his own right, a self- confessed Mod, we have been to some great stuff. I was a little worried that G-Live might be a bit of ‘sports hall’ atmosphere but it worked rather well , the Stranglers have got an amazing repertoire - I said to Graham a couple of times ‘The Kaiser Chiefs sound IDENTICAL to this and it wasn’t just because I saw them cover ‘No More Heroes’ at Brixton Academy two weeks ago. What was amusing was I was wondering how the most middle-class place in the world, Guildford, would react to ‘Punk Rock’, my question was hilariously answered when the lead singer of the awful support band ‘the Godfathers’ shouted before they started ‘COME ON GUILDFORD LETS MAKE SOME F*CKING NOISE, only to met by a wall of stony silence (hmmm, a stone wall even) made me chuckle a bit, the vintage of the crowd was probably a factor, 'they don't need a mirror ball' Graham said ' just shine a light on top of the crowd, all the bald heads should do it'. Graham has obviously been folically blessed. Because I can I’ll finish with a picture of my cats ‘Ham and Cheese’ looking irritatingly sweet.
It is probably the most important event for my mental health next weekend, my 36th(!) birthday – if you should know about it but don’t, please email me. I hope it’s a good party.
I am also faintly terrified of how I’m going to cope when my carers are going away for a month from mid-April. They’ve got things to see and people to do (something like that ;)) in South Africa, and I would have thought they are dying to have a break from how tedious I am! Don’t be surprised if you get a panic call to do me an evening meal mid-April to mid-May – if you are happy to do an evening or weekend please either facebook message me or email me your phone number. Please. I hate being this grovelly but sometimes needs must. Big thanks to a few people who already have put their hands in the air. Especially my neighbour Tracey and my mate down the road Isabel. Their stepping forward has been a big help.

10 Mar 2013

Post 386: Am I a control freak out of control? And au revoir to B


I am worried that the first bit makes me sound like some sort of fruitcake, or slightly less bad, some sort of control freak. Well, hopefully I’m neither of those labels. I’m just an order hoarder to coin a phrase, when Neo says in the first Matrix ‘I don’t like the idea that I’m not in control of my life’ it is one of the few times Keanu Reeves has delivered a line with much meaning. I am living proof that we don’t live in a matrix. No-one would be evil enough to make someone suffer like this and there are some pretty f*cked up people out there. Anyway, I’m not going down that unreadable path (again). Nup, I’ve got some far more pressing information, It is the awful news that my friend, the awesome Bianca is tragically going back to Melbourne next week because her two year visa is up. We met because she responded to my gumtree Ad for a weekend carer about 18 months ago. As much as I wanted to hire her from the moment I saw her, as soon as we had chatted for a nanosecond, I knew she was a good egg. There is no flannel, flapping or fluster too her and even though in her mid twenties, she has a maturity and gravitas way beyond what I could dream of. She instantly knew what was needed and by the way she said, if you ever need a driver to take you to a gig, I love those. She might be the ideal woman! I reckon London is the destination it is for travellers (particularly antips) because London is such a Global centre for the world’s top musicians, bands and artists, I think we often forget that – I know I do.
Anyway, on that note, I had done my usual thing of speculatively buying tickets to see a band I’d barely heard of at Brixton Academy last night called Sigur Ros. B knowing full well that this was likely to be the last gig she could go to in London and the last thing we could do together in theUK, had volunteered. Last week we had been to see the brilliant Kaiser Chiefs (see last post). Well this was like chalk and um, Icelandic ambient post-rock dream pop (thanks Wikipedia) or the Kaiser Chiefs and cheese. Their one song I knew Hopipolla was not unpleasant, and the youtube description I put just about says it:

I was pleasantly surprised by this gig. I'm used to rock gigs and Sigur Ros are definitely not a rock act. They play sort of weird ethereal ambient music really and the singer sounds like what I imagine a castrati to sound like. Anyway it creates quite an atmosphere amongst quite a 'hipstery' crowd who probably all read the guardian, live in Shoreditch, work at the BBC and are Vegan. As you may have guessed that's not my scene but I enjoyed it nonetheless if mainly for this song, the slightly otherworldly atmosphere and the laser show later and an honourable mention goes to a chap called Mark, a 6’10” nuclear physicist who had damaged his leg, his assertion that their performance the night before had been the best gig he had ever seen certainly got me excited and thanks are due to the academy staff who are so good at blazing a trail for me through the crowd and helping me down the lethally steep ramp at the front door, I think they recognise me now.
Here’s the laser show:
It has been such a pleasure knowing B, and taking her (or having her take me to gigs) has been a joy, or at the very least a vicarious one. She has been the younger sister I never had. I have been the disabled English older brother she never wanted.
It makes me so mad that she has to go home because her visa runs out when I consider how many f*ck-knuckles there are overrunning this country who abuse our generosity through the welfare state whilst being too lazy to work or even learn English, squirting out children with scant thought about bringing them up. I’m sure some champagne socialist will point out how reactionary and ‘Daily Mail I’m being. That’s unfortunately what happens when people get scared, and I’m just a bit terrified because my carers (who have been two of the most important people in my world)have quite rightly to go away for a month quite soon. Now, thanks to the heroics of my neighbour, a lot of my mornings (which is when I need the most help) but I also need support in the evenings, mainly to cook me diner between 7 and 8pm. I can’t just be ordering in food – it’s expensive and there isn’t a nutritionist in the universe that recommends ‘the take-away diet’ and seeing as one of my goals is to keep in the 100-110 kilo or less range. Then there’s the issue of not emotionally being able to manage on my own. It’s bad enough if you’re fully able bodied. When you’re trapped in a wheelchair the feeling of fear and loneliness is profound, and any company from someone friendly, talkative and able bodied is welcome. Now, you might think: ‘Dom’ll cope, he’s got plenty of friends. Yes, maybe I do, but I live in the sticks and my friends are busy, and have their own lives, friends, family’s, jobs, commitments and problems than to worry about me unless you’re looking for a place to crash mid-April to mid May – no, didn’t think so. So, that was my pathetic appeal for help. I can almost imagine the deaf ears it’s falling on. I have got in touch with my GP and he’s going to see what he can do – he’s going to try and mobilise Elmbridge Boroughs social care apparatus. To be honest I’m at best apprehensive, at worst terrified.
So, changing the subject I noticed the following video which I couldn’t help chuckling at, so many of my female friends will be able to relate and for the record this is my idea of a yummy-mummy. Is that wrong? Computer says no! Ignore the fact it’s actually a Fiat advert!
Another idea – don’t know if it’s a good one, is that my dad recently suggested I give my entire blog a read and edit. My initial thought wa that’ll make depressing reading, but on reflection it might remind me of how far I’ve come, and seeing as it was intended to be a sort of journal of the better events and every so often I could add a new one on the front detailing sh*t that’s been going on and any interesting editorial snippets. It might also provide an antidote to the occasional writers block I get. Answers on a metaphorical postcard. As is your right and you don’t give a solitary sh*t do nothing, although I would question why you’re even reading this picture of my favourite cat should calm you down!

3 Mar 2013

Post 385: Uncomfortably Dumb


Apologies for the sh*t pun but it seems appropriate after Mondays debacle. I did think to myself ‘exactly what is the point to being alive’ after spending 4 hours getting to the Dome (usually an hour) to see the Australian Pink Floyd (one of the gigs I had most been looking forward to), the low point of the traffic was sitting stationary at the bottom of Reigate Hill for 45 minutes. The highpoint was getting to the Dome in time for the last song, Comfortably Numb, possibly the greatest rock song of all time. The added complication was that Isabel, Elaine and I were supposed to be meeting four of my mates there and we had the tickets. After some hasty mobile phone calls we informed my mate Oli (waiting outside the arena) of the seat numbers and to plead their way in. Oli, a man familiar with blagging charmed his way in on behalf of the lads so they got in for the start. My fourth mate Graham who took me last year to see the Aussie Floyd in Brighton in March. inadvertently saved himself the M25 carpark by not being able to come. I am pretty lucky that most of the friends who take me to gigs don’t mind roughing it a bit and persevering against adversity – if they were a bunch of wallflowers, welchers or Anna Wintour-alikes I’d do bugger all. When we finally arrived we actually had some luck, we bumped into them saving valuable time, Phil from my writing course, Oli Cassidy (the blagger), a mate from my DJing days who has really been a pioneer for getting me to go to things and Oli Tress, the charming husband of a mate from Uni, the most important thing was these guys got to see the whole gig rather than standing around waiting for Muggins here so in a funny kind of way it is slightly irrelevant I missed it, they got to see a pretty good show. I feel worst for Isabel and Elaine for basically having to sit in a traffic Jam for most of the evening with me and for poor Isabel having to suffer driving back in grim weather when she was exhausted. She really is bloody brilliant. Friends like her are one of the keys to my survival.
I worked out on Friday that the other key to my survival was to fill every week with as much joy or vicarious joy as I can whilst keeping my head financially above water and keeping myself in ok shape.
This is the bit like real life. The pursuit of happiness is about filling up your time with things you enjoy whilst denying yourself too much of the good stuff (which is textbook narcissism). Too much of something is almost always bad for you or detrimental to the people close to you. Take my new found allegiance to Booze. That can’t be good. One of my stated aims is to stay healthy and in shape. I know I’m an irritating and useless drunk (runs in the family) – I can’t afford to jeopardise my health and the decent relationship I have with my carers, family and friends by becoming some sort of pitiful wheelchair bound alcoholic. So, I’ll stick to social drinking. For Instance today I had lunch with my friends Chey and Bianca. As they’re both in a strange land, Bianca’s an Aussie tragically at the end of her work Visa so she has to go back to Melbourne in a couple of weeks and Chey’s a saffa now living in this country – they’re an example of good immigration, coming to this country, finding work, paying their taxes, speaking English and not coming to this country just to take advantage of our benefits system or complain about our permissive society or that ‘we’re godless pieces of meat’ ,we shared a bottle of red wine which was like a revitalising elixir for us after going around the houses to find somewhere to lunch on Saturday. My usual staple, ’The Bear’ had a powercut and was closed, the second place we tried was full so we were forced to go for the Cobham Pizza Express – not exactly a hardship but when you were aiming for a ‘pub lunch’ it’s not exactly where you think you’ll end up. Well, whatever – it turned out to be an acceptable save, I love these two, they are wonderful friends. We reflected on our trip to Brixton Academy the previous evening to see the awesome Kaiser Chiefs, which was a riot! (see what I did there?[sigh]) and Chey’s crazy dancing was a vicarious bonus. I love the way that her and B are like old mates!
This is all entirely consistent with a quote I saw earlier this week. I really don’t know what else I can do?

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