Tuesday 29 June 2010

Innocent or What.

I plod on with the writing of an autobiographical work I started many moons ago. (Covering the period 1945-59.) Around 70,000 words to date, I persevere for several reasons, not least because I wish my children to know where this 'grumpy old man' came from, so to speak. I alternate between self confidence and self doubt. In view of my age and remembering the recent and other health frights I write with one eye on the 'mortality stakes' so to speak. The trick is to finish your life's 'projects' just before you pop off. Easier said than done, the end for us all usually comes with little warning. But enough of maudlin thoughts!
I am still very interested in any instances of humour, perceived to be rude or otherwise you found funny in your formative years. Times have changed, we change, does childish humour change with the passing of time? Memories fade but surely everyone remembers ONE joke or story from their murky past. Any reminisces, jokes, stories gratefully received. If you are of more 'tender' years, no matter. It is the idea as to what children/adolescents find funny that interests me.
Draught copy, at present titled 'Childhood Revisited.'

The less than subtle humour passed between ourselves, all the more enjoyed by virtue of being out of the hearing of adults. Many jokes began, ‘There was an Englishman, an Irishman and a Scotsman,’ and it was always the Irishman who was the butt of the joke, for we were ignorant of the confines of political correctness. Yet there was no deliberate malice intended on our part.

This couple always wanted a child and they were thrilled to have at last a baby boy. An unusual child, different in that, instead of having a belly button, he had a small golden nut and bolt, a BSW, half inch Whitworth nut and bolt. (We were of course unaware of the more delicate term navel for belly button. Of any case belly button was good enough for us.)
People came from far and wide and his parents would roll down his nappy so that they could view this amazing sight. But as the child grew up he became embarrassed by the fact that he was different from other children. Girlfriends were amazed, but also amused and it wasn’t doing his sex life any good. So he visited his doctor. The doctor was worse than useless, so were other specialists in The Health Service. He was desperate, willing to visit anyone who might be able to help. There appeared no way that conventional medicine could help. Which is why he found himself consulting a witch doctor in darkest Africa.
“My son,” said the witch doctor, “there is only one cure for your condition. You must find a field of ripe corn. On the night of the full moon you must lie down on the ground. At exactly midnight you must pull down your trousers and wait.
With mounting excitement he returned home. Summer came and he found a field matching the witch doctor’s requirements. On the right day, an hour before midnight, secretly he lay down in the centre of his chosen field. He rolled down his trousers and waited. At exactly midnight the clouds parted, the moon shone brightly and a little angel, holding a white napkin floated down from the sky. The angel alighted amid the corn and carefully unwrapped the napkin, revealing an exquisite gold spanner, a BSW half inch Whitworth spanner. Expertly handling the spanner, he proceeded to unscrew the nut and remove the bolt.
He placed them carefully in the napkin, smiled at the young man and flew silently away. The young man lay in the corn and joy overcame him. He could not believe that at long last he was the same as anyone else. His troubles were surely over, and he joyously jumped to his feet, shouting at the top of his voice, “Look at me, look at me, I’m cured.” And then his backside fell off!
In early adolescence our humour tended to reflect our growing occupation with sex. Two stories we related amongst ourselves in our formative years were typical.
A man escaped from an asylum and broke into the laundry next door. He then raped all the women workers before disappearing. His actions naturally made the front page of the local newspaper, the headline reading, ‘Nut Screws Washers and Bolts.’
(Amazingly we could have been no more than twelve years old when we told this story.)
Three cowboys walked into the local store to buy provisions. An attractive young lady stood behind the counter.
“Can I help you?” she asked.
“A bag a’ raisins” requested the first cowboy.
The young lady moved a ladder to the shelves behind the counter and proceeded up it until she could reach the top shelf, showing a large expanse of stocking as she did so. She returned to the counter with a sack and gave it to the cowboy.
She looked at the second cowboy. “A bag a’ raisins” he too requested. The young lady returned to the ladder and proceeded upwards, showing even more stocking and flesh. She returned to the counter with the sack and turned to the third cowboy.
“A raisin?” she enquired.
“No, just a’ twitchin’ replied the cowboy.

Perhaps some of the jokes we told each other were gleaned from the radio though I can remember no joke that could directly be attributed to any known source.
Two escaped lions from London Zoo were walking down Regent Street.
The biggest turned to his mate and said, ‘Isn’t it quiet for an Easter Monday!’

Were we normal little village tearaways with a healthy love of life. Or would modern day psychologists see more in our irreverent behaviour, I wonder.

Wednesday 23 June 2010

Are You a Giver or Taker of Advice.

Advice Opinion as to what could or should be done.
To recommend, suggest, inform, give advice.
In life we seem to be bombarded with advice. We constantly are given it and we can't resist giving it. For example:
Moderation in all things.
If you don't ask you don't get.
If you believe you can do it you will.
Treat others as you would like to be treated.
Expect the best but be prepared for the worst.
Whatever we read or study, advice is never far away. The Bible tells us 'What God has yoked together, let no man tear apart.' Charles Dickens, via Mr Micawber teaches us the virtues of solvency. 'Annual income, £20, annual expenditure £20 nought and six, result misery.'
Dale Carnegie's 'How to Win Friends and Influence People' was second only to the Bible for many years after its publication in 1937.
Magazines are full of agony columns purporting to teach us how to live with each other. 'Don't go to bed angry at each other' is probably the only repeatable advice I dare mention. Some of the antics talked about nowadays are surely not physically possible!)
As parents we can't resist it. I well remember the trials and tribulations of bringing up two daughters. Thus when my youngest discovered boys in the middle of her GCE's what was my priceless advice. 'Carry on as you are and you'll finish up working behind the counter of the Co-op.' (Our local Co-op was not exactly a glamorous place to work but it was still pretty patronising of me.) Mind you, she finished up teaching, probably a wiser choice, if only just!
My own upbringing was rather unusual. I was orphaned by the age of thirteen and from then on taken in by Uncle Walter and Aunt Clara, for which I will be eternally grateful. They did their best, but being an independent little so and so I suppose it was never easy for them. In these unusual circumstances I do not remember being offered much advice by anyone. Walt and Clara did their best but were probably flumoxed by a stroppy teenager's arrival in their midst. So I meandered through life, oblivious and usually uncaring. Only once do I remember Clara attempting to advise.
Sex instruction was not a strong point in my youth. I remember vaguely a school biology lesson mentioning the sexual arrangements of the amoebo, Only I can't remember the details and the dreaded word sex was probably not mentioned. But Clara's sex instruction was brief, non explicit but very much to the point.
'Keep your pencil in your pocket' I grasped immediately.
'Don't go on to Spondon when you can get off at Borrowash' was much more succinct, a cryptic instruction I never fully grasped but remember to this day.
I was probably in my late teens when Aunt Clara did her duty and uttered the immortal words. The subject was never mentioned again. Of any case We managed perfectly well from puberty, thank you very much, courtesy of viewing farm animals and expertly instructed by local village girls probably eager for teaching experience. Happy days!
Can you remember giving advice as a parent. And what advice you have received has stayed with you longest.

Friday 18 June 2010

On Wigs not Wags.

I mentioned last week (Ramblings From a Misspent Week) the indignities of being led by the hand when lost on two separate occasions. It is NOT funny and I presumed it is a recent aberration in part due to increased years. Nobody is too sure as to the effects of a TGA I experienced a couple of years ago. (see blog dated 18th May 2008) To be told you have brain damage is both eerie and intriguing. Which bits gone I wonder. Then I happened to be reading my diary for 1985 and lo and behold, I find it is no recent 'quirk'. Seemingly there is no hope for this bumbling geriatric.
June 1985
To 'lose' someone in Asda, a huge local supermarket is quite an eye-opener. I spent twenty minutes trying to locate Paulette and trolley having spent five minutes studying the motoring section. Whilst Paulette melted anonymously amongst the milling hordes, another individual was so conspicuous that three times I espied him, unmistakable amidst the masses. Unfortunately the reason for his conspicuity was the fact that he so obviously sported a wig, a fact he no doubt wished to hide, an irony indeed. Seemingly the trouble with wigs is that they draw attention to themselves by the obviousness of their artificiality.
A Derby pub renowned for its tough Irish clientele has a customer whom I suspect boasts the world's most obvious toupee or wig. Ginger in colour, parted down the middle, it sits squarely on his large, presumably bald head, almost as if it had fallen from the sky, reminiscent of a furry animal or tropical insect at rest. One could not fail to be drawn, fascinated to such an unusual adornment. Whereby the large, fierce looking Irishman would look in your direction and you, in turn would focus your eyes over the head or shoulder of the gentleman in question, pretending to study a calender, a notice, even the wall itself. The joys of toupee ownership. Is it worth it?

Whilst I do not as a rule write much that is topical I could not help but notice that Nobby Stiles, an England World Cup hero of 1966 has suffered a TIA. He is two years younger than myself and I wish him well.

Saturday 12 June 2010

Ramblings From a Misspent Week.

I am starting to swear less and last week's trauma is beginning to fade away. So I decided to record my thoughts, not necessarily in chronological order regarding a somewhat unusual experience, at least for me. (See previous post.)
Aren't ambulances a surprisingly bumpy ride. I swear my old Mosvich had better springing. And aren't A and E (Accident and Emergency) places high tech. I couldn't believe all those individuals sitting in front of computer screens. What a contrast from the old style places you went into to be put back together when you (me) were unceremoniously dumped off your motor bike all those years ago. I was slow on the uptake regarding what was going off in general; nothing new there then. The hospital is massive (five floors) and I had become part of the system. I progressed from A and E to was it Triage and thence M and something or other. I had no idea as to what floor I was occupying at any one time. Being seemingly labelled 'Nil by Mouth' for ever more was not amusing; neither was being hooked up to machines that were repetitiously noisier than the Indesit washing machine my wife was given as a wedding present in 1970. Plus it bleeped incessantly, presumably no one else could hear it. (I gave it a good push once to distance it from myself. I forgot I was attached to it!)
Make no mistake, the NHS could not operate without its workers from overseas, Queens English or no Queen's English. But should I really have smiled when an enquiry as to whether a patient had slippers was misinterpreted as to whether a patient has syphilis. But the thing that struck me most was the sheer surreal nature of the whole experience.
You are no longer in control of yourself. You are seemingly in control of nothing. Everything is done for you, by others. I couldn't get over the feeling of lack of personal control. ( At one stage I was within minutes of being 'released' until a doctor decided otherwise.) The programme 'The Prisoner' constantly visited my consciousness yet I am not really conversant with the programme at all. I was never in any physical pain, just a constant overwhelming feeling of no longer being here, being 'me'. Talk about 'a journey round one's head'. I have never 'thought thoughts' so much for many a year. For the first time since leaving college in 1974 I recalled Descartes 'I think, therefore I am.' How bizarre is that. I didn't 'get religion' during my brief stay. but I did get a much better idea of my sheer unimportance in the big wide world. Long overdue some may say.
Met some remarkable people; took away some interesting memories. Where else but a NHS hospital would you meet a Buddist, (named Bewan if I remember right) who visits patients in A and E every Tuesday and Thursday. What a lovely, lovely smile you had. And where else would you be led via the hand by security when you were hopelessly lost having wandered from the ward in a moment of supreme boredom on night three or was it four. (I'm not senile chaps, just a silly old septuagenarian with no sense of direction.) And not learning too fast either. Did exactly the same in the local Westfields Shopping Centre. Come to think of it, perhaps senility beckons after all.
A strange week, and do you know something, I wouldn't have missed it for the world. We must do it again. How about in another thirty years time.

Tuesday 8 June 2010

Ground Control to Major Tom

Welcome back from Planet Zog. Please excuse the next two or three blogs if they are more over the place than usual. The things some people will do to find a subject on which to post.
I have recently travelled from the floor of my bedroom to the Royal Derby Hospital courtesy of an indifferent GP who moaned that the doorbell was not working and that of any case he could have diagnosed me over the phone. (An ear infection evidently, diagnosed without examination.) Some ear infection!
I have been heart monitored in an ambulance, X rayed, and extremely well examined. I have received numerous saline drips and several blood transfusions. I have had a camera down my throat ( not nice) and my brain has been expensively studied by an impressive CAT scanner. (Not a lot there, so what's new then.) I went into hospital poorly, basically due to internal bleeding and have come out much better but with a speech impediment. Cause unknown but temporary we hope. (My haemaglobin levels were evidently six thus the reason could be low oxygen levels.) Otherwise I will be the only public speaker in the Derby area with a with a speech defect. Better than coming out with MRSA I guess.
More later. I am only just coming to terms with it all. Met some wonderful people but all in all not an experience to be oft repeated.

Sunday 6 June 2010

proper poorly

HI This is new to me, I am Ken's other half. I am sorry to say Ken is not too good at the moment, he was rushed into hospital last Wednesday with internal bleeding. He has had a couple of blood trasfusions and we are awaiting more results. It looks like ulcers are to blame, but he is also slurring his words quite badly so they are going to do a brain scan.
He is not happy to be still in and hopes to be back with you soon.