Tuesday, 20 April 2010

H'Ash Browns

Why do they keep coming to the door when I am mid nap?
Obviously they clutch some kind of Star Trek scanning device to scour flats and houses for people who are in deep slumber (or what I like to term ‘research’.) They ring the bell again and again knowing that the person shambling towards the door is going to be at their most vulnerable, confused and potentially apathetic having been woken up from a deep unconscious and only wanting to return to the warmth of their beds. Like pirates they rely on the element of surprise giving them the edge and pounce with pens poking from their fingertips, clipboards activated, eyes narrowed in case of defensive manoeuvring.

‘Ah. Hello. May I ask if we can count on your vote? ‘

Me, with matted hair, smeared make up and creases from the pillow still on my cheek just dribbling and nodding.


Each time.

I think I’ve agreed to vote for the main three now and possibly the Greens. I might have signed up for the residents association, a local dairy delivery and Sky TV too...I forget..

Only the Labour canvasser had the audacity to try and get me to actually tick a box and take a poster, gently leaning forward and trying to insert it between my inanimate fingers. She touched me. A crucial mistake. I began to wake up.
‘Eh?’ I burbled. ‘Wha...? ‘
She saw I was rousing from my semi conscious and fled.

But then again there have been more pressing things then listening to insipid white men in ties on TV. My nephew whom we cherish because he is lovely and smart but also, if we are honest, mostly because he is very, very tall (and for us in the family under 5’ 4 ‘’ this is a truly marvellous thing.. we are genetically programmed to worship anyone over 6 ‘ 2’’ as a minor deity); anyway my nephew has been trying to get back from Lusaka for days. He went to visit my Dad for a couple of weeks over Easter and started back on Thursday. He got as far as Nairobi before ‘Iceland’s Revenge’ struck with a sky full of pumice ash and then had to improvise Cairo, Istanbul Rome...where he got stuck looking for space on a train. He has run out of phone battery, is low on dosh and not quite sure what and where to go next. There is a plan afoot for my Mum’s partner Silent John to go and pick him up from the Italian border.... its all sounds very exciting but possibly more than a little harrowing Hopefully he’ll be back afore my next post!

The sun came out at the weekend and immediately everyone got drunk. Kids went berserk on bikes and skateboards, roller-skates, and scooters. Exhausted parents clutching bottles of wine hunkered down on pavements to watch. Pub gardens overflowed with woozy adults, shoulder straps slipping off, t-shirts discarded, sunlight blindingly reflecting off fish-white skin.
Grace and I walked down by the river. Since her illness she has become quite shy and defensive with other dogs. She desperately wants to play and will whine and yelp and start a nervous approach before losing her nerve and jogging back to me looking embarrassed. I had met up for a quick shandy with a pal (I am keeping my toxicity levels as low as possible as the mo) but my friend on her second pint of Leff (an extremely strong wheat beer) got leery. As Grace edged towards a handsome retriever attached to a man and his two young daughters she started howling what she thought would be encouragement.
‘Go get ‘em Grace! Grrr!! Yeah Grace! Take ‘em down!’

This as you may guess is rather against the ‘guide dog code’.

‘Shut Up!’ I hissed furiously noting that the man was standing between Grace and his children with his hands spread out in a protective gesture and Grace was tearing towards him wagging her tail and thinking his outstretched arms were for her. In the end all was fine and Grace and the retriever went for a leisurely lollop and we got home before we were arrested.

I am staying in Cambridge this week ensuring that Grace rests and has fully charged mojo before we begin trekking back and forth to Bath again. I am missing my seminar group but the manuscript is slowing coming along and I have found my Tonga researcher who has accepted payment in Arsenal T-shirts! This is wonderful as my main character is a Tonga child from Monze who has found herself on the streets of Lusaka.
With thanks to her and in light of current events I thought these might tickle you

For the politicians out there: ‘Basokwe bakasekana bukolo’ ( equivalent to the pot called the kettle black but translates literally into 'The monkeys laughed at each other's backsides')

An for the voters: ‘Sibuzya takolwi bowa’ (one who asks never got poisoned by mushrooms - as in, you need to ask questions/directions and you won't ever get lost)

Thank you Beene! And thank you readers. How are you all doing out there under the ash cloud? Do let me know.

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

I see Spring!

Hito koishi hitobushi koro wo sakara chiru
'Yearning fills my heart
When the candles are lit:
Cherry blossom fall.'
Shirao Kayo (Edo Period)

Friday, 2 April 2010

A Ward Blog

Thanks all – my cold is long over and I am healthy as an ox. (And sadly beginning to look rather like one too. Time for spring diet. Sigh.)

OK, so do pray tell what this means -and apologies for those of you who get rigid with boredom when people open with the words ‘I had this really weird dream...’

Only I had this really weird dream. It wasn’t the first bit which began as a marvellous swash buckle of an adventure but which quickly became too surreal and annoying to be much fun.

I woke up.
Or thought I did.

Sleepily I followed Grace into the kitchen to feed her and noticed she had a large notice in pink writing stuck to her back. Realising I was STILL dreaming I looked closely and although blurred saw it was an invoice for my previous swash buckle dream.
My subconscious had just invoiced me for a rubbish dream?! How long has this been going on? Where can I complain?
How weird is that?
So that appointment for the sleep clinic rattled up to my door pretty quickly. After finding a dear friend to take the hound for the night I arrived somewhat anxious unsure of where they were going to stick what monitor.
Turns out I needn’t have worried. I was not on the ward with the rest of the sleep deprived. I was in the ‘disabled’ ward down by the nurses’ station with en-suite and a dud radiator. It was freezing but worth the privacy.
My Sleep Study (c) T. Bush 2010

A skinny, nervous man came down and stuck electrodes all over my head and legs and strapped some device to my chest. It is a strangely intimate process and the man insisted on rather gushing small talk.

‘I always try to chat with the patients,’ he said reaching under my arms to pass several wires down my t-shirt. ‘It helps put them at their ease.’

‘Really?’ I asked, feeling a little like I was in a play and there was a line I should respond with but hadn’t learnt. What does one say?
‘Well done. Does it ever actually work?’

Eventually I blagged an extra blanket from the nurses and was hooked up to the lap top by the bed and told to get some sleep.
The next day they did additional sleepiness tests which involved being asked to go back to sleep for 20 minutes every two hours but half way through I had a call from my lovely pal who had taken Grace. Grace was sick and I had to end the study and get back home. I did learn I have mild sleep apnea and my circadian sleep pattern is up the yazoo but more on that anon. I had to rush home.

And Grace was very sick. Voiding from both ends and exhausted. If she lay still she was alright but any movement caused her so much discomfort that she became agitated trying to lie, sit, stand, walk and climb up into my lap.

She has now seen the vet and is on the mend but it was a pretty horrible time for her and we are still not sure what caused it or if it is in anyway connected to her previous bouts of sickness.
So she is on a very strict rice and boiled chicken diet and was looking perkier ...until I nipped out to the shops last night and she managed to find and eat almost an entire pat of butter plus foil wrapping that I had left in the kitchen to defrost. Oddly enough she is now looking a bit uncomfortable again.... Ahh the joys of a dog’s digestive system. Dontcha just LURVE my blog?!!