29 Aug 2009

Post 151: Hearing from old friends and sticking it to the Aussies

Gosh, where to start?
This weeks mixed metaphor is actually more than just a vanilla mixed metaphor, so much so, I don't even know how to describe it, it is a genius play on words and is a quality innuendo
courtesy of one of my old clubbing friends Annabel and was produced by my request for your very best mixed metaphors on facebook and what a gem it yielded:
'A hand in the bird is worth two in the bush',
'Ooo-er' indeed, God knows what the original expression even means?!
Anyway, my first order of business is something I had forgotten to mention in my last post, it was the fact that last weeks wedding was made even more enjoyable by the fact that Megan is Australian, and that there were plenty of Aussies at the wedding. Fine, we may not have won the Ashes by then but the wedding was at the same time their batting collapsed so by toast time, things were looking dicey for the Aussies and we sure as hell have won them now! In fact my best mate Tony was lucky enough to come straight from the Oval to yet another glorious Prom concert
at the Albert Hall which I had organised to go to with Tony and girlfriend Kate and my great friend from College, The Revd Richard Lloyd and his lovely fiancee Vicky and of course my parents,
who I try and take out as much as possible as a mark of gratitude for all the help and support they have given me all my life, since my stroke I couldn't have asked them for anything more. I have not always been the easiest son but they have dealt with my many foibles, particularly as a little brat and when I have been less than charming since my stroke. Many would have crumbled under the enormous strains of the last few years but they are not the Australians, who have often been known for their humility,
their progressive political thinking,
their level temperament
and their ability to be philosophical in adversity, I'll stop there as I'm in danger of being as sarcastic as the 'Dave' 'Speckled Hen' fox.
They have taken it predictably well, but I remember on the Friday the Aussie guests looking Ashen faced (see what I did there) and virtually refusing to speak. Despite this improvement. It was difficult not to remember sitting near some Aussies in the day 4 Oval crowd in 2005. It was a nightmare. Every time we were doing well it was 'luck' or we were 'cheating' and every time they were doing well it was good old fashioned Aussie 'grit'.
This has always been their attitude and doubtless I'm a 'whingeing Pom' for saying so. I frankly couldn't give a rats ass your honour. This is why winning the ashes is so sweet, it takes away their bragging rights
While I'm on the subject of cricket, I got visited this week by an old schoolmate of mine called Jon Bond
(the only picture I could rustle up), the tenuous link is that he was wicket keeper for the first team at school 2 years early (which is a big deal), he's obviously from a fairly talented family because his sister Annabelle has been in all the papers recently for climbing the five highest mountains on five continents,
a pretty amazing feat, oh, and his Dad sir John Bond
is current chairman of Vodafone, once the Worlds biggest company. Anyway, despite the laugh we had at school we went our separate ways and hadn't seen each other for 15 years. A mutual friend (Rosie) tracked him down and out of the blue I got an email from him saying he was keen to visit on Friday. This was a turn up for the books, the last time I had seen Jon, he had been this tall, dark, good looking, charming, full of chat bloke, going on nothing more than the tone of his email,I surmised this was still the case. It was the right call and we chatted about old times till the cows had come home to roost (about 2 hours which is a long time for me) and I have already resolved to fix him up with the most gorgeous single girl I know (after being sure I stood no chance of course). This can be my latest project which I sincerely hope I haven't doomed by mentioning it here!
The other great news I had this week was getting back in touch with Derek (via email, well he is in Sweden). About 3 and a half years ago when I was still an inpatient in the Transitional Living Unit (TLU) at Putney Hospital Derek was the Glaswegian Male Nurse that once made me laugh so much, tea came out of my nose. Now at that time I was properly depressed and thinking back Derek (or Del) or as I later called him Delvis was probably the main reason I wasn't suicidal. It was a tough time made bearable by reciting lines with him from trainspotting.
'It's sh*te being Scottish' particularly makes me laugh, when he left the TLU to be with his girlfriend in Sweden was a dark day for me, I might have even cried, so being in touch with him again is great news (plus he now has a 17 month old son) as it is being in touch with Bondie again and to cap it all off I was visited this very morning by a couple of old mates from Uni, Neil
and Alex (together with cute little daughter Lily who he had last brought down here when she was a week old and tiny)
here are the exact words I wrote in response to a facebook message I got from Neil afterwards 'Mate, it was an absolute pleasure and thanks for your kind words. I can't actually believe that two loose cannons like you and Dabbous are now grown up responsible family men, I'm so impressed and envious! Thanks for the pics, Maya is an Angel. I'll get in touch with Laila.
Thanks for coming to see me this morning, it's so good for my spirits (which often can get very low).'
the other good news is that Illona and Mariusz (the couple renting a room) have bravely opted to take on the role of my carer in return for a cut in rent. Gawd bless 'em, this is a huge weight off my mind! Also, I've got a new walking video to upload (of me walking with Ian and just a crutch) once I've got it shrunk I'll post it up.

23 Aug 2009

Post 150: A memorable wedding

Before I publish this weeks mixed metaphor which is frankly a work of genius from an old mate of mine who I have often mentioned on these here pages of yore, a man who in my opinion is the master of these, Mr Ian Betts,His entry:
'let sleeping dogs bark up the wrong tree' made me laugh so much, I almost shat!

as I was saying in my roundabout kind of way I would implore you to keep these submissions rolling in via the comments here, by my email (to those who have it), via facebook or better still to my face but written down somewhere is always good as I am as lousy at filing as a government department is at holding on to it's confidential data, although a misplaced CD-Rom is small beer to the 'swiss cheese' system that I now operate.Anyhow, it is heartening to get these submissions, it reminds me that people read this, it gives me a laugh and it means this blog is a vessel of more than my sometimes lacking sense of humour.
It has been a week where two things stand out. The first is that for the first time since moving out of hospital (18 whole months ago) I fell on the floor when I was on my own. Now this is a terrifying experience because you've nowhere to go ,the reason I fell in the first place was that I was trying to transfer from my newly delivered all singing all-dancing easy chair back to my wheelchair. Unfortunately this chair is less stable than it looks (or at least than the one they demonstrated to me) and unfortunately tipped during the crucial stage of the transfer. This had the unfortunate effect of upsetting my already precarious balance and pitching me onto the floor. Luckily despite falling on my useless left side, I didn't hurt myself and even luckier I had fallen within reaching distance of one of the house cordless phones. Sadly, my eyesight was too poor to read any of the important numbers I thought I had in big enough font by my desk at the other end of the room so after 20 mins deliberation I opted for 999.
20 minutes later the ambulance arrived at precisely the same time as my brother and between them they were able to help me into my wheelchair. A profoundly terrifying and humiliating experience. I wasn't going to let this ruin my week though, it's already ruined by me feeling like death warmed up and by the realisation I'm going to be carer-less by mid September and the feeling of impending doom that brings. This is how I feel about it. That I will die without a carer. Perhaps this is a tad melodramatic, but because I can't look after myself or my house, I will slowly starve to death in squalor, I can't cook or clean, it's small wonder I get a bit miserable but as stroke survivors go I'm supposedly one of the lucky ones, as the lightning process lady (sorry quack) told me my condition is no worse than anyone else, I pretty much stopped listening to the bitch when she said this because it was diametrically opposed to the view of a couple of neurologists who had seen my head scans. I'm afraid that I give fairly short shrift to people who hand down sweeping judgements when they're obviously not in full possession of all the facts. 'Never try and bullsh*t a bullsh*ter'
I hear a little voice say in the back of my mind.
Luckily, these feelings of impending doom and the anger I feel towards a medical system that has no answers was mitigated a little by the wonderful wedding on Friday of friends from my clubbing days Jon and Megan. Both bride and groom looked amazing (shame about me)
but Megan, a pretty girl anyway looked incredible.
Brides always look good on their big day and such compliments sound trite, but she looked spectacular, They had chosen a beautiful setting, an old secluded Oxfordshire Pile called Notley Abbey
which had once been the country retreat of Sir John Gielgud
playing host to some legendary parties where Marilyn Monroe,
Vivien Leigh
and David Niven
were said to be guests, I can just imagine in years to come them saying 'at this venue Jon Batty married Megan Powell, among the guests were Dom Pardey, Ian Betts, Steve Williams and Shaun Rowland'. Unlikely, I may be in a wheelchair but Stephen Hawking I am not. Lets not turn down that depressing alley, as I'm oft prone to do. Friday was a beautiful occasion, even an attempt by the British weather to disrupt proceedings during the al fresco vows
failed to dampen spirits, everyone without any fuss just moved to the room inside,
dinner (sorry the wedding breakfast) was exquisite
and the speeches were mercifully brief, respectful and funny in all the right places despite our initial concerns that the best man (an hilarious guy called Eddie, a canon that probably slipped it's moorings some years ago)- might have a go at stitching the groom up. Thankfully he kept it pretty tame, unwittingly, the funniest anecdote of the lot came when Jon (the groom) was describing the magic moment when him and Megan had first clocked each other at another wedding. Jon was waxing lyrical about how the sunlight was dancing in this beautiful girls hair while his best mate Eddie was having some rather more er... 'impure' thoughts. It was the collective imagination of Eddie's predatory thoughts that made everyone laugh. I love weddings because they're a joyous occasion and some of that happiness rubs off on me. Sadly, I don't have much to be happy about these days, so despite the fact that weddings are a bit of an endurance event for me they are so important for keeping my spirits up particularly if it involves seeing all my friends (as it did yesterday), and a bunch of gorgeous girls I know looking amazing in their best wedding frocks
and the lads in their sharpest suits . Dressing up and trying to look good always used to be fun, I can't wait to be able to do it again one day. Anyway big congratulations to Jon and Megan, and big thanks for inviting me and my mum (who dutifully drove me and it was a bit special to see everyone! A great end to the week!

On a completely different subject,I was debating whether it's appropriate to include this but I have noticed (it happened yesterday) a particularly unpleasant practice that rather sticks in the nostrils of disabled people. It is the unfortunate practice that an able bodied person uses the disabled loo to lay down a 'room clearer' leaving the poor disabled person to literally be 'gassed'
while using the room., if writing about this here stops one person from doing this it has been worthwhile. This has now happened three times at three different places. It's not on, use your own bloody loo!Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!

16 Aug 2009

Post 149: U2 Can't help me

I have been pleasantly surprised by both the demand to read last weeks post>50 and the feeling 'it's not libel, it's just your opinion' but I'll remain risk-averse,
Theresponse to my call to mix your metaphors to publish here was also surprisingly life-affirming.
Easily the best mixed metaphor suggestion this week came from old pal Stevie,
'you can't make an omelette without counting your chickens',
a brilliant start I think we'd all agree. Since I've known him he's always been a man who doesn't mince his beefs (sorry, can't help myself). He had this comment to make about the vast 'think positive and you'll think yourself better' industry ' I have no
time whatever for these happy-clappy namby-pamby morons who slide through
life telling people their problems can be fixed by the power of positive
thinking, ridiculous clich├ęs like "you make your own luck" are about as much
use as trusting in the benevolence of an imaginary being'. Breathe!
Exactly my thoughts but much more succinctly put but if I think this it does beg the question 'Why did I bother? Simple: because I am desperate to feel better! Steve and his lovely wife Naomi
will be a terrible loss to everyone who knows them and dare I say the country when they emigrate to Melbourne later this year.
In keeping with this theme, As part of doing this 'happy-clappy namby-pamby' course I had a follow-up call with the practitioner on Thursday 'to see how things were going' and have to say I bottled giving her a piece of my mind because I wasn't prepared to take one of her undoubtedly well rehearsed arguments about how getting no results is my fault. In fact when I had rather mildly told her there was no improvement she told me that that was my choice. I'm not the kind of bloke that normally falls for these scams, I am desperate enough though to try anything to feel better. As if to really kick me when I'm down, my housekeeper/carer gave me a months notice yesterday. This was a bolt from the blue and probably to do with my inability to grasp anything happy about my situation, the poor lady has soldiered tirelessly while she's been here, and I have failed to be any happier so who can blame her? It needs someone special, someone who can make me forget my fatigue.
So, I've got a month to find a replacement. I'll be honest, the uncertainty and fear grips me like nothing else. It's quite simple – I can't live on my own, and when I say live, I mean survive. I can't cook, clean or do any of the things necessary to live like a normal single 32 year old man which is sh*t, there's this huge gap in my life that I'm utterly convinced can be filled by the right beautiful girl who I can love and look after and offer her what I've got left which I'm hopeful is a lot more than most but I've no idea where to look.
I feel that I have missed the boat with my existing friends who have been amazingly supportive and whose visits keep me going but I've been out with some of the girls, most are now married and the rest would just see it as too weird and having known me before, it'd be difficult for them to settle for a vastly inferior product (in my opinion by the way) and they know me too well. I long to be in love again but fear it will never happen. Apologies if this post is unreadable, things aren't that good at the moment. Lets hope that seeing U2 at the new Wembley
tonight will pick me up.
Despite liking one or two of their tunes it has re-drawn to my attention how much of a tool Bono is.
A simple internet search will reveal that I am not alone in having this opinion.
So, I have now been to the concert and slept on it and in the cold light of day I'll have to admit I was impressed both by the new Wembley
and the show.
Bono's still a tool though!
For a start it was a nice evening (always an important pre-requisite for an outdoor event. My mate Oli and I
did speculate about whether they'd close the new roof for concerts if it rained but to be honest we hadn't a clue. Surely a concert would be more reason than a football match? Anyway the point is moot because it didn't rain. The first thing that you noticed was that U2 had brought a special stage with them. I couldn't help thinking 'I wonder what the Carbon Footprint of transporting and using that badboy is? Bono may talk about saving the planet but let's be honest, he's a f*cking hypocrite. The stage also looked like some mobile oppression tool of the invading Martians
which actually helped it look more impressive. It was a sellout, I'd guess 100,000 people, lets not forget the press keep going on about how U2 are the 'worlds biggest band'. They have one or two unforgettable tunes too and they graciously (grudgingly) played them in amongst their new material that pretty much all sounds generically U2 (if you catch my drift). Of their classics there were 'new Years day', 'Pride' (in the name of love), 'I still haven't found what I'm looking for' which lovely Gemma, the RHN music therapist used to sing to me in music therapy during my first year in hospital, ' 'where the streets have no name' and Sunday, bloody Sunday' are the ones I remember ( their classics are clearly not 'unforgettable'). Overall a good night, that importantly my mate Oli enjoyed, he's a good lad, despite having diametrically opposed views on the movie I'm about to slate.
To completely change the subject I'm also slightly concerned I'm never going to be able to follow non-sensical fast paced action videos ever again, for example I tried to watch possibly the worst film I have ever tried to watch this week, the appalling Watchmen.
A Superhero film that tries to have a plot, but one that was impossible to follow. Maybe it was just me but I couldn't follow a word of it. The reason I am concerned is that I quite enjoy low rent no brainer films simply because my concentration span has always been pretty narrow, now it's a joke.

9 Aug 2009

Post 148:Restraining Myself

I'm not going to post anything this week. I have written a post but to avoid the possibility of getting sued I'll post up some of the pictures I downloaded/took and if you really want to read what I wrote email me at dompardey@gmaildotcom It will be explained in my post that I mail to you why I've written it like that. This should be interesting to find if anyone can be bothered. My webstats tell me I have 1000 Unique Users a month but I'm sure there's a simple explanation for the unlikelihood of the correctness of that number.
The gist of this post is that I did a course last week supposed to help my chronic fatigue. It hasn't helped and I'm a little angry (an understatement).

Evangelical Happy-Clappy Idiots
Rich Hall- Comic Genius responsible for mixed metaphor, no, mixed cliche 'rocket surgery' - you've probably noticed but I love mixed metaphors and expect them to feature highly in future
and for good measure a selection of some of the stuff I've done and a few of the people who have been to see me. These give me hope and keep me alive: I wtched it's a wonderful life - sadly a sentiment I find it hard to agree with
Yet more Proms at the Albert Hall
College mate the Revd Richard Lloyd and fiancee Vicky take me to the Proms

Old college fried Vicky Peakman (nee Hall) and her angelic daughter Niamh drop in on the way back from Legoland
Me, Tony and Vicky at Twickenham when we were at College (1999 I think), I put in this picture because I wanted to draw attention and say thankyou to Vicky who dilligently sat through this course with me this week. It's also one of my favourite old pictures of the three of us despite the silly face that Tony's pulling!. This blog is allowed a little self-indulgence



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