“Old dogs and new tricks”

Another summer, another washout. This being the Bank Holiday weekend it was always odds on that it was going to rain and it did. I feel sorry for any one that was holidaying in the UK this week. Autumn seems to have come early this year and the skies are depressingly bleak. I guess I should be grateful for the fact on the three occasions I have managed to get away this year the weather was good.

I am still off work and still suffering from abdominal pain. I have spent weeks trying to figure out exactly what it is that triggers the bloated feeling and the insufferable distension. So far I have cut out anything fatty from my diet and I have discovered that processed flour causes me problems. White bread, pasta, pizza, pastry and anything fried or roasted have also been cut from my diet as has all dairy products.

My weight is still dropping but the rate of loss has slowed down and I am now around 14.5 stone or 92 Kilos or 203 pounds for my American chums. I also have an appointment date with a consultant set for within a couple of weeks. Hopefully my symptoms, condition and cure will be laid out before me. I can but live in hope.

While I have been getting accustomed to a diet of fruit, steamed vegetables and poached fish I made an amazing discovery, Vesta meals are back! I actually bought a couple and have rediscovered a part of my youth. These tasty boil in the bag items were once considered the height of sophistication and were my first introduction to foreign food. Delights such as Chow Mein, Curry and Paella were first experienced from those little boxes. Accompanied by a cold bottle of Blue Nun for refreshment an empty bottle of Mateus Rose covered in wax with a candle stuffed into the neck for atmosphere I considered myself to be very cosmopolitan indeed. How times change.

All this reminiscing reminded me of a conversation I had with a friend around 20 years ago. It went something along the lines of, “suppose this is as good as it ever gets and one day we will forget the shit we are in now and look back and say they were the good old days”. I do not remember who said it him or me but recent events caused me to think that perhaps this is as happy as I am ever going to be. We can’t all get what we want or go where we want to go or see and experience the things we want. To compensate I used to buy stuff I didn’t actually need as a reward for doing jobs I did not like and for not being able to do the things I wanted to do. It was nice to see something tangible for my efforts. In retrospect it was comfort shopping. I am now trying to de-clutter my life and stuff is appearing faster than I can get rid of it.

It is a sobering thought that circumstances beyond my control are stopping me from doing many of things I want to be able to do while I still can. On the subject of travel or moving I have to consider the possibility that it may never happen. If it isn’t money or time or regulations there always seems to be something stopping me from fully opening the door to maybe perceived happiness elsewhere. On top of this is a human condition. Every action affects someone somewhere. My friends have said they will miss me and some have actually told me they do not want me to go. It is an exaggeration of course but I often feel as though I am living my life for someone else.

If I could learn to appreciate what I already have and to be happy with my circumstances then life would be better not just for me but I suspect a few other people as well. Sadly what springs to mind is the saying “Old dogs and new tricks”.


The sheer gall of it!

It has been over a month since my last post and during that time I have been diagnosed with gallstones. It may not sound like much but it has kept me off work since the first attack of cholecystisis.  A brief no frills explanation for those who do not know what this is can be found by clicking on the word cholecystisis. Anyway I have to have my gall bladder removed at some point and nobody can tell me when this will be although I have been told that it will not be before Xmas.

The pain and discomfort are acute and I have not felt like writing or contacting any one apart from my GP. As a result I have become quite unsociable these days. The only good thing to come out of the whole episode is that I have lost a lot of weight. I actually started a diet and good health kick seven weeks ago and over a period of three weeks I had managed to lose six pounds. Shortly after falling ill I managed to lose over a stone more (a stone equals 14 lbs or 6.35 kilos to my non imperial friends) and today I now weigh 14 stone 13 pounds. It is the first in over four years that I have been under 15 stone. Co-incidentally it is round about four years ago that I started taking high blood pressure tablets and I stopped taking them seven weeks ago when the weight first started to come off. Coincidence or what?

So what have I been up to? Well I have read several travel books by people such as Ted Simon, Lois Price, Ewan and Charley and Sam Manicom. I have also watched a few DVDs and that is about it. I also have to mention that last night I listened to a concert by the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain. They were live at the Albert Hall and were covered by BBC Radio Three. These guys are fantastic and nothing I could ever write here would do them justice, instead check them out for your selves here. I have tickets to go and see them at Liverpool Philharmonic and I intend to go in evening suit and bow tie for the event. I reckon they are the British version of Hayseed Dixie, another wonderful outfit that I have had the pleasure of seeing live.

All thoughts of travel and exploratory holidays to exciting and exotic locations are off until at least the beginning of next year. It seems to have gone the way of the good old British summer and any thoughts of having a barbecue here this year. This year’s summer is shaping up to go the same way as the previous two which were the wettest on record respectively.

Well that is all for now except to say I am in the wonderful hands of Bean Counter and my GP and as usual normal service will be resumed when I am well enough. Cholecystisis eh, the sheer gall of it!