Monday, 26 March 2012


The family day out eventually accumulated 12 people, and I'm told the service was very prompt.

They didn't take pre-bookings, so Bear said she was surprised how quickly they served a three course meal for 12. She said the main course alone was so large it would have lasted me a week. Bear isn't one to let anything go to waste. A perfect partnership :)

I rebelled, and almost got to the shop alone. Three quarters of the way there, I was hoisted off my feet by a couple of 'hoodies' who laughing carried me down a steep path to the road, and gave me a quick brush down.

"We saw you kept sitting down and stopping, so we thought we'd give you a hand Uncle Dray!"

Actually, well, yeah, I was resting, but I'd also spotted some cow parsley, wild garlic, sorrel, young nettles and dandelion for tea. Hey? they're free....

Uncle Dray? Y'know I have absolutely no idea who they were. Nice chaps.

According to my phone, using Google My Tracks, the round trip took me just over 38 minutes. Bear takes 20 mins on her little legs, so that's not too shabby.

Quite proud of myself, I am. Though I'm paying for it today. I can barely shift. Sheesh :)

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Being a scrapper.

Glum today.

The mob, plus mates have sugared off to a, well, a dunno quite what it is, a pub come eatery thingy for steaks and wotnot to celebrate a couple of birthdays. One assumes that includes what passes for beer nowadays.

It was assumed I was going too, then I pointed out that when I went out to a local working men's club for a friends birthday do, more of the buffet ended up around my chair than down the hatch.

Like a lot of strokies, I look mostly normal, but my co-ordination is quite frankly, crap. My face isn't always where my hand thinks it is. Stuffing a chip in your right ear isn't socially acceptable, pint glasses are designed for people with gobs the size of Shrek, (no offence dear reader) and most food and beer spends a lot of time being mopped off my crutch with napkins.

It isn't very edifying having ones zipper and mouth corners dabbed frequently with napkins by nearby caring ladies, or having someone cutting one's steak into pieces I'm not going to choke on. Then I dribble a little at times too.

The net result was always concerned staff, thinking I'm rather bladdered, whisper gently 'do you think someone should take him home?'. Bless. Don't get me wrong. I'm waaaay past embarrassment. It's the pure practicalities of it. I had that discussion this morning. Again. "But it's their birthdays....".

Well yeh. Make me feel guilty. It's inadvertent prejudice by those who should know better. And it's also a conundrum for them. But not for me. The practicalities of day to day living take precedence. Even for birthday celebrations.

I'm deeply saddened I couldn't go though.


You know what? In a while, I'm going to rebel. I'm going to a local shop on my own. This should be very interesting. I've not been "allowed" for some considerable time.......

Wish me luck.

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Being a parent.

An excellent post on the BBC News Site about being a disabled parent, here

Though I have a disability, it's - in my opinion - no way in the league as the chap in the article.

My kids say that they don't even think about it. One of them doesn't know anything different.

There's no manual for anyone for being a parent.

Being a parent is something you make up as you go along, and as they get older the kids mix with other kids and other parents, and learn even more than we can give them.

That I think is the bottom line, whether bits work or not.

Friday, 23 March 2012


Blimey, things aren't half moving fast :)

Bear had a bit of a lie-in, and has sprung on me bright eyed, bushy tailed, bending my ear because I let her lie in. By ye small gods, I can see where our daughter gets it from. Huh, wimmin'. No pleasing some people "That's what Jesus said sir!"
(Life of Brian. Best. Movie. Ever.)

Just had a chat with DazMan's dad, and he seems pretty convinced that he'll be out in a couple of days.

Accordingly, Bear has shot out down to his flat to help his parents get his flat tidied, just in case. Well, single man, hates housework, ect. Terraforming more like.

Darron thanks everyone for their thoughts and prayers. Actually, I think he'd be gobstruck - which isn't easy for him, bless - if he knew the wide range of faiths (or not) that have been praying for him.

Lets see. In no particular order, Spiritualist, Mormon, Jewish, House Church, Methodist, Baptists, Jesus Army, a 1000 attendance Mosque last Friday prayers, a teeny-tiny home church of 6, and more.

Oh, and three local MP's. Hey, every little counts..... Thanks peeps !

Being the old cynic that I am, I'm cautiously optimistic. But it's looking good. Steady as she goes :)


Oddly how help for people with health needs works.

Keeping in mind that benefits such as Disability Living Allowance aren't assessed by the claimant, and aren't, despite popular misconception, granted because of any particular disability, despite the name.

They're granted to enable those with a disability to live as much as possible a 'normal' life. My mate in hospital was on DLA, partly because he has continence problems, which as you can appreciate can be very limiting. DLA has to be reclaimed every two years in most cases.

Well, he's just been told his reclaim has been refused, as all his needs are being met by the 'medical equipment and support' he receives. This is a bloke who at the moment is in intensive care for kidney failure, fluid on the lungs and an impacted bowel.

Go figure.

He's responding to treatment well, and it seems he may not need dialysis. They hope to move him back onto a normal ward soon if he continues to improve at the current rate.


Daughter of mine has bounced back from her tummy bug, and is back to her stroppy teenage self. She should be back at school today. Should, because she stopped over at her brothers last night, and knowing those two when they get to using that XBox....

Bear's still a bit under the weather, but she's been tottering around the house. She's better than she was. T'other night she came up to bed, and didn't quite seem to know who I was for a few minutes. But she got in bed anyway. I'm not sure which worried me the most. The former or the latter :)


I've been chuckling at a spoof entitled "How to write for the Daily Mail"

'Be careful of irregular verbs.

Middle class people "receive" benefits.

Working class people "claim" benefits.

Immigrants "demand" benefits.'

Sounds like the Mail to me :)

Thursday, 22 March 2012


Congrats to Dr. Andrew Hill Phd, a young chap (well, he's well younger than me) who despite a severe stroke has managed to complete his Phd and earned the the Doctor title. Techno, I believe rather than medical, which is just as bloomin' tough. If not more so.

Got a poorly family here. Tummy upsets. I don't eat the same stuff they do - far too many carbs for my liking - so I'm fine. But brave 'ol Bear has dragged herself out of bed to accompany son'o'ours to the Council Area Office.


Which brings me on nicely to the changes in benefits. My lad, at least for a while, is in private rented accommodation. His rent is about the same as ours. He lost his job at a major high street bank about a month ago. Scrapped his department.

A quickish example of how the little background, sneaky stuff has crept in aside from the budget.

My lad rented his home from a very descent landlord. His landlord does not accept people on Jobseekers. Because he's been a good tenant, he's allowing him a bit of leeway. But the government has slashed the benefits so that anyone single on Jobseekers is only allowed housing benefit at 'single room rate'. So unless he moves into a bedsit or a shared accommodation, he can no longer rent a home, even though he's trying to bring his wife and child across from the States.

His private landlord, perfectly correctly, cannot afford the mortgage on the rent housing benefit pay my lad, and any profit he naturally needs to accrue for any length of time.

So having explained to the council, Bear and my lad are going for an interview to find him emergency accommodation.

He likes his home. As my lad says, 'Pisser, isn't it Dad?'

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

I've just...

Been told off for objecting to someone feeding a 20 month old Quavers. Have you seen what's in them? It's not just a one off either.

And pointing out that at 30 pence a pack (six bob in old money) would they seriously consider buying them if they advertised them on the shelves at the real price? £5.15 a pound? Or to put it another way.

£11.33 a kilo for Quavers.

"Dray, for gods sake, you've got your head stuck in the past. Thirty pence is nowt nowadays!, besides she gets hungry" Hungry? don't get me started on that one.

But Nowt? You try catching a bus without it. I know what the driver will tell you. I'm serious.

Or if you pay your leccy bill, and you're 30p down. The power companies will spend more than that in phone calls and letters to recover it.

A quick look at Asda's web site shows, random pick :-

Beef frying steak £11.50 a kg. Braising Steak, £8.60 a kg. Chicken, £8.48 a kg.

Carrots, 91.7 pence a kilo. Potatoes, Maris Piper, £1.25 per kg. Need I say more?

Thirty pence might not sound much nowadays, but it's heck of a lot if you haven't got it. The problem I have is that it isn't the value of a few bob, it's the perception of the value of that few bob out of context.

I know where my head is. It's stuck firmly in my wallet, and I fully intend to keep it there. There's an old saying that if you look after the pennies, the pounds look after themselves.


Update on my mate Daz.

The Bear went to visit him with his mum and dad last night, and she reports he has an oxygen mask on, tubes up his nose and drips in his arms, which she found quite distressing. But then a nurse nipped in, and asked how he was, and he said "All the better for seeing you sweetheart".

Everyone sighed a great sigh of relief and told her, "Yup, that's the Daz. He's feeling much better". Bear handed him a print of the cartoon above (his love of sugar free Dr. Pepper is legendary) and apparently I'm a dead man when he gets out. That's cool :)

He and the nurse explained that there's a shortage of Intensive Care nurses. Seems there's a policy of one patient per nurse in intensive care, but staffing levels have been reduced by 50%, so she has to care for Daz and a lady, and it's very stressful for her. Wants the word out.

Glad to oblige.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Poorly Daz

Prayers please for a close mate of mine, Daz, aka Bigsheff1 who is in intensive care with kidney failure and other problems following an operation on an infected thumb.

Edit. For Darron.

Monday, 19 March 2012

Am I right?

I made the mistake of trying to talk to someone, in person, while they were chatting on Facebook yesterday. I was pretty annoyed when I was at first blanked for some time, then got "tut tutted" and scowled at.

Since I was courteous enough to allow them access to my network, I tapped a few keys on my machine and blocked them. They swanned out in a huffy. Was I extreme? I don't think so. Because in my humble opinion Facebook taking precedence over someone sat a few feet away is the hight of bad manners, bloomin' ridiculous, and more than a little disturbing.

Email, chat by internet in its hundreds of forms, is so totally cool, and often necessary. But it does not in any way replace good, hundreds of thousands of years of face to face communication.

Am I right?

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Bonsai - no, hang on....

Neighbour visits with dog.

Neighbour fails to mention his dog hates cats.

We have three. His dog has never met cats such as ours.

They ain't gonna take no crap from any bleepin' dog, especially since it's taken them two years to train ours to roll over and say "Yes Miss".

Cue a real life Tom and Jerry cartoon.

On the first circuit of the room, furniture, windowsills, neighbours dog, 'Tye', five times their size, assumed he was chasing them.

By the second, he dimly began to realise they were behind him.

By the third, he was looking seriously worried. Fourth, he was snapping snarling and yelping and trying to shake off the two clinging to him.

Ornaments flew in all directions, the Christmas Cactus, who had only just realised it may have just missed Christmas and was making up for lost time, found belatedly it was related to the Wright Brothers.

Neighbour went all red and flustered and yelled a lot. Yeah, right. That was gonna work. It's going to cost me a small fortune in Germoline for those scratches on his shiny pink head.

Viking Ornaments Eric The Viking (naturally), Gertrude, Ian & Mary, and ummm, the other one, flew through the air, obviously thinking " Valhalla at last ! ". Shattered dreams, bless, alas.

The last I saw of the lot of them was a yelping blur heading down the back garden pursued by three balls of fury and my neighbour. Pets, that is. Not disappointed Vikings.

I think.

I haven't laughed so much for ages. Christmas Cactus will now have many, many offspring. Valhalla, thanks to lots of Araldite, will have to wait.

Where, you may ask, was my Woofler? Under the coffee table with his paws over his nose.

The Wuss.

Names have been changed to protect the innocent.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012


I'm orf to walk to the shop later, with Bear, walking the woofler across a nearby field for a bit of ball chuckin. It's a man thing.

Mind you, I'll get The Bear chewing my ear. "Dray, watch your feet. Dray, mind that, Dray, the bench is there, stop and rest, yer wobblin', Dray......" Bear? "What?" Nothing sweetheart. Ceinture jusqu'à . I'm more worried my trousers will fall down.

That'll keep the Sun's Benefit Cheat Reportline busy. Walking. Not the trousers. Gosh, how dare I move? Apparently, the Sun is Britain's biggest selling newspaper with estimated sales of 2 to 3 million. Hmm. By my reckoning that's about 78 million to go.

Thinking of daft stats, I've read in various papers that there is a 14% risk of early death if you eat red meat. Uhu. I can confidently predict that everyone has a 100% risk of death. No one dies early. You just go and do it. I know, I've been there a few times, and spent a lot of time with people who managed to do it while I was chatting to them.

But just for once, wouldn't it be nice if a headline said "Good News !! You have an 86% chance of living longer if you eat anything" Not going to happen soon, is it? Maybe because the dear departed don't pay taxes or buy newspapers. Or am I just getting cynical in my old age?

Monday, 12 March 2012

Charlie Chat.

I'm sorry I had to go back to 'Captchya' on comment moderation. Within 12 hours of disabling it, I went from zero, ever, spam - to 20, 15 of which avoided Googles spam moderation. If it's any any consolation I find Captchya - aka word verification - difficult to read too.

I find it useful to hit the reset words button (on the right of the words) until there's words I can read. Sorry :(


Grand daughter sitting again today.

Well, Nan, as little 18 month old Charlie Girl (Not Charlotte, just Charlie) calls her, will keep her busy. Granddad is Biz Biz (always busy) she says with a laugh.

This house is definitely no longer baby proof. Little monkey is into everything. I'd almost forgotten how curious and inquisitive they are at that age.

Little Charlie has a profoundly deaf cousin aged eleven who lives with her other grand parents, who also Charlie-sit. At a year and a half old, being around her cuz, she's picked up signing quicker than talking, and the two of them sit giggling signing to each other.

The nice thing is that when grand daughter chats to her nan and I, she signs as she speaks, which really helps us understand her.

She doesn't know anything different. It's wonderful. I'm determined that she doesn't lose that ability as she gets older.

Now then. How to get her to tidy up after herself ?

Saturday, 10 March 2012


I DID have a doppleganger !

I was beginning to wonder if I was cracking up. I've not been told much, which I appreciate, because he has a right to privacy too, but it seems the chap has the same first name and surname as me, and his wife's first name is the same as the Bears. They live about a mile away. And he's a bit of a Mr. Grumpy.

Other than the above, all I'm told is that their much older than us, and he had a bit of a fall out with the podiatry services some years ago. As a diabetic, I have my feet checked once a year.

When I was effectively banned inexplicably from podiatry services, I negotiated with my doctors to have that dealt with at my T2 appointments.

Unfortunately, that coincided with a transition period in podiatry services, where they switched from surgery based, to sending a worker from a central base to surgeries, then to centralised city centre based, then to some outreach based edge of the city offices all within a short time. So paper 'index-card' records were being transferred here, there and everywhere and transferred to various 'experimental' computer systems.

I managed to squeeze out of them that some complaints were made against him by some podiatrists, and somehow it filtered to my GP. Luckily, a practice nurse said something along the lines of "Nah, that's not the Dray I know" and it's now sorted at the surgery.

Now I have that info, to sort out the hospitals.

Oddly enough, he's not a stroke survivor......

Naturally, my view of the NHS is a bit dim at the moment.

Friday, 9 March 2012

I'm somewhat suspicious of the so-called 'Diabetic epidemic' that's supposed to sweeping the country.

When I had my first stroke, as part of the battery of tests I was tested for diabetes, because the symptoms of hypo, or low blood sugar, are very similar to stroke. The docs decided I was stroked, and a type two diabetic, partly because there's a historical family tradition of type one diabetes.

A type one diabetic needs to inject insulin to survive. Insulin isn't confined to type ones. Sometimes it's used in a combination with diet and other medication where for whatever reason someone's blood sugar levels are poorly controlled.

I'm a type two. My blood sugar levels are controlled by medication. In some sections of the press, that implies my diet is poor and that I'm obese. Not so, at least in my case. I have a decent, if scant diet, and I'm certainly not obese. I don't, and never have eaten anything high sugar.

I take a tablet called Metformin. It has side effects. Fluid retention, possible weight gain, and it's not for nothing on the diabetic forums called Met-Fartin.

I often correspond with other type 2's, who are 'skinny's' like me, but like the occasional bun or chocolate bar, sweet or three. They're asked to refrain.

Earlier this month, for various reasons, I spent four days without the meds, and chatting to other diabetics. But I checked my blood sugars regularly and they remained in the normal range. As if I was taking the meds. That's 12 tablets. And four days without all the side effects.

And though I'm back on them, I'm beginning to wonder - my quality of life off them is much better than with them. The sweet stuff bit doesn't bother me. I like my savoury.

But going without a little bit that you enjoy for many is a reduction of their quality of life. I'm beginning to wonder whether that unless someone is overweight, has liver or kidney problems or has problems with slow healing, eyesight, ulcers or lack of sensation? Say to the doc, hey, that's cool. Can we leave it a month and try again?

Because I'm not convinced that the loss of quality of life and the strict responsibility that comes with type two diabetes is always appropriate long term - because it is long term - is appropriate for everyone.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Different beat

"How come" I was asked yesterday, "That most of your mates are female, or men over 60, or gay, or combinations of ?".

Easy. 'Cause I don't give a toss.

I worry about the purple people. Particularly the ones that don't move much. I get one now and again. All that snoggin' and chest compressions fair gets on my wick.....

Seriously though, I'm happy with myself and who I am, and have been for more years than I can remember. It's a nice place to be. The friends I have, have chosen to engage with me, and I have friends across a wide spectrum of humanity. That includes she who must be obeyed.

As I've used the Internet since 1970, that's a very broad spectrum. Internet? Yep. Are they 'real' mates? Yep. Because one way or another I get to meet them, eventually, which is always a great pleasure. Many of my friendships have been formed through conflict, adversity, eccentricity or sharing a cause.

You can't do better than have good mates, and if you feel the urge to stick people in little boxes, forget it. I'm not interested. Bugger off.

Addendum. A GP from Poland has just sent me a bunch of expensive and beautiful flowers, as an apology because he couldn't come across, a chap who studied in the UK and married a Uk lass.

A man sending a man flowers? Blimey :)

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Be there

I'm sat in my chair. To my left is my desk. Straight ahead is an 18 foot hallway.

Throw the ball. Dog fetches ball, dumps it on my lap. Throw the ball. Sigma fetches ball. Dumps it in my lap. Throw the ball..... Twenty throws later. Throw the ball, woofler fetches ball, he dumps it in my.....

Throw the 2 stone dog, who skids 10 feet, aka-Skoobie Doo. Sigma trots back up hallway, sits at my feet, looking at me with his head to one side, all big brown eyed, ears up and confused.

So am I. Oh, wait......

Sigh. Throws the ball.


Spent a lot of today fielding off emails and replying to twitters who don't check up to date info on either the changes to benefits and pensions and incomes that are upcoming or the changes over the last few years.

I really wish they would. I know it can be brain bending, I know it's hard work, and I know that a lot of people just can't get their head around the idea that these changes affect everyone, not just the unemployed and those with a disability. The first stop for anyone is HERE

I also know that a lot of people just want to avoid bad news and just take it on the chin because successive governments have messed them around so much. I really empathise. But to be informed is to be empowered.

It's easy to complain. But it's not so easy to keep up to date with the facts. Catchya.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012


This weather is weird. I'm not a big sleeper, so I'm up at silly o'clock. At that time this morning, it was minus 3 C. Now it's plus 14 C, bright, sunny and rising.

It's confused the heck out of my Budlii, my Christmas cactus thinks it's Christmas again, and my lavender and Rosemary are trying to flower. I've even got a couple of Foxgloves and a white rose in flower.

Scraggy old Foxy was laid in the back garden, probably hoping for some cat meat. I don't mean cat food. I mean yer actual cat. That didn't stop my mini-puss Smudge the idiot who's permanently stuck at 8 inch long and weighs about two pounds stalking him and giving his nose a good battering.

Psycho that cat. People say to me, why don't I have him 'done'? He's too tiny to fight, they say, look at his chewed ears and scratched nose. Poor little thing. Poor little thing nothin'. That's his little personality. He isn't human, he's a cat, and that's the way the cat world works.

No way am I interested in making him into a fat, lazy, de-cobblered humanised lump.

He's a scrapper. I like scrappers :)

Sunday, 4 March 2012


There is a teeny little value added jokette in the post below.

Y'see, under the present disability allowance system, there are two levels of the mobility component. As I can't go out unaccompanied - for that read, for someone to be available to accompany me, you'd think I would receive the higher rate. With that, I could get free bus travel, or even exchange it for a car as well, insurance paid (Motorbility Scheme) and a blue badge, even if someone else drove. Heck, even reduced rail travel.

At the very least, I could pay for the travel expenses of a companion. To put that in context. Most people think nothing of nipping out to the newsagents for a paper. I can't.

The Department of Works and Pensions decided that, because I can't get out unaccompanied, it would be no use giving me the higher rate, as it wouldn't be beneficial to me. So, if I was more severely disabled, it would be? Apparently, yes.

Totally Bonkers.

Friday, 2 March 2012

If you like a lot of chocolate on your biscuit...

I thought it was deeply suspicious at first.

An invitation to become a member quite an exclusive London Gentleman's Club. Exclusive with a capital 'E', and, to top it all, quote "all and any incurred costs paid as long as, and when required". Blimey.

I mean, c'mon. Gimme a break.

Y'see, you're reading the blog of a bloke who was recently asked by a correspondent (by letter - remember them?) to recommend a multi functioned remote control for his rather posh television and home entertainment system.

I was happy to post him a six foot piece of half inch dowelling free of charge. Gift wrapped in pink. With ribbons.

Or the poor chap who broke his, quote "fingy" and complained he had to skip his daily swim for a few weeks. He got a packet of Durex in the post. Extra Sensitive of course. I'm sure he'll get around to forgiving me one day, bless. I was just being practical, honest.

As for the Life of Brian episode.

No pleasing some people

Ah well.


But you get my drift. When one's sense of humour is like one's is, you live in a permanent state of mild paranoia, wondering when someone'll try and get their own back. They do y'know. I had a fresh Mackerel in the post once. A little mature. It was delicious :)

The Gentleman's Club invite has turned out to be genuine. Apparently an employer from many, many years ago who has kept track of me over the years, who feels I can make a contribution. To something.

This. Should be interesting.