No I am not a cancer baldy!

Bright as a button at 2 am. 

My blog stopped sending out invites to my loyal readers. Even if you don’t read this would you be so kind as to tell me whether you get the e-mail. Ta. There may be back issues you missed if you are a Tuffin and like to read in chronological order.

Wednesday night is my sleepless night. It’s a bit “tiresome” if I have something important on Thursday morning but otherwise I don’t mind it. Not sure how it will work if I need to drive to Hull in the morning but I will address that when and if it is an issue. This chemo cycle has been less yucky than the last mainly because the back pain is much much less. I am not very mobile but I have managed two walks (hateful, hateful) and two bike rides (bearable). Out with the zimmer! Get quite tired after lunch (but then I always did), sense of taste is shot nearly all the time – I can eat with some pleasure – tomatoes, pickled herring, yogurt, coffee, porridge, chilli con carne, plain pasta or aglio olio. I am sure there are other things I have yet to discover but staples like bread, biscuits, chocolate, chips, Honey Nut Cornflakes and Angel Delight have all to varying degrees lost their appeal! Strangely bread is particularly revolting unless soaked in olive oil. Chocolate is almost gaggable still. I can’t say I am looking forward to a lifetime on pickled herring but I am going to pretend I am in one of my Scandi Noirs, a hunting lodge, a well-thumbed copy of Kierkegaard discarded next a fiord, the Northern lights pick out the shape of headless corpse floating in the outdoor spa while back at the station  the dysfunctional detective approaching retirement (me) finds solace in pickled herring and expresso.

Today I get my hair cut. I have decided to go short perhaps very short. The thought of revealing my flappers to the world gives me genuine angst so I may bottle it. If i proceed it would be the first time for about 50 years that the full extent of my flappers is revealed. I hope to keep my chopped off locks to decorate my death mask. That implies it will be a ‘live mask’ unless I leave instruction in my will and a YouTube tutorial for someone to do it. The other reason going suddenly short may be embarrassing, is that people may think it’s a halfway house chemo cut, sort of a attention seeking overture for going bald. Hmm… we’ll see.

Nonna is full of herself because the doctor who came to give her a cortisone injection in her knee,  praised her mental sharpness and general positive attitude, saying that none of his other 90 year olds were as active and positive as her and were still living alone looking after themselves. She is beaming with pride so we want him back for a twice yearly morale boost jab to accompany the knee jab.

Maria is making significant progress with her piano playing (enforced). There is much less banging on keys and swearing. It really sounds good at times. We need a new piano! It cannot be tuned high enough so the match between recordings and live playing is excruciating. She doesn’t like the relatively posh £400 ish digital keyboard we have here on loan from G because of the action, so if we get something it will be a trad second hand upright. G got a brilliant one in Norwich. Angela as it was yours will you be sad if we get rid? We will in a way. Anyone in the family want it? Transport will be very costly and won’t be worth it.

Class teaching is over for me so now I embark upon the marking journey. Everybody’s least favourite activity. Many of us now provide video feedback so that’s a lot less arduous and the students prefer it but however it’s a bit like day one working as a newly employed pot washer in a hotel kitchen and you discover the last one was fired for not bothering to wash any pots for a month. Piles and piles of stuff to be scraped, sorted, washed, dried and put back on the shelves and you have yet to pick up the first grubby little spoon caked in dried-on Black Forest gateau. I will pick up that spoon on Monday

I have an emerging plan for my next live broadcast from the telephone box. I believe I have some good ideas but I know from experience a good idea does not necessarily lead to a good outcome. So watch this space. There is no scheduled date – phew – so I will broadcast when it’s done – i got quite stressed by the last self imposed deadline.  I think I can build some more CR-APPS as I have found some more images. I have decided to address the copyright issue if it occurs. After all, if it does occur that means the idea has made an impact sufficient to stir up the copyright gate keepers and I can call that a success. As the CR-APPs are free I can’t imagine anyone will care. I need to market them and my knowledge of social media marketing is zilch. Avani do you want a commission? I was thinking of starting with a Tik Tok video?

The cats are all steady at the moment. Bobby is on the balcony as I write (time has passed since I started this post) scraping to come in. He arrives at first light and sits patiently waiting till we get up. Ohhhh to have a cats capacity to not register or worry about time passing. He just waits with no appreciation of it being for 4 seconds or 4 hours. When we let him in he is as unappreciative of prompt responses to scrapey paw or neglectful responses. One meow, one stretch, where’s my breakfast?

Emergency update. Vince has just raided the balcony, a rare but catastrophic event which usually results in Bobby emptying his bowels then and there. Vince had him trapped in a corner such that when I opened the door to rescue Bobby it necessitated him getting closer to Vince in order to access the open doorway. There was no way I was going out onto the balcony in my socks cos it was wet so I had to speak to Vince firmly and get him to back away – not a concept in his repertoire of moves – Vince tends to go forward at a terrify velocity when encountering the incontinent tabby. Anyway after much negotiation peace was restored and Vince’s fur which had exploded into his full 1980’s Dallas big ginger hair look retreated along with Vince. Meanwhile Mitch sat in his bath chair and spectated.

 

Tuffin 11

Swimming is good for my body says my mother.

I am more interested in the black pool.

We ride our bikes to see the pool. The water is black because the pool has been left inside the house for years and no one can get in. To see it we have to look through the windows and they are covered in moss from inside so there are only a few places left you can see in. One day you won’t be able to see in at all, so we make hay while it’s still possible. We all agree it’s brilliant, better even than the stagnant pond further back down the lane where if you throw in a stone in it throws up a slimy green tail, opens a black hole then closes it down again and disappears. The black pool still has chairs around it like people will come and put their watches and clothes on and that makes it feel more like they may be in the water it’s just we can’t see them because the moss is in the way. If people are in the water they must surely be in another worm hole because we can’t hear them and the water is very still. I wonder if this is the source of my worm hole.

Jill and Andrew want to go but I could stay all day. They prefer swimming. I might have to move them down my list and find someone who just likes looking to move to the top.

When I grow up I want to just look as well as invent.

Maria’s day v Chris’s day

So instead of going on about all the silly arty nonsense that gives me pleasure and purpose, in the spirit of Tuffin here are two lists – Maria’s typical day and mine (while on chemo – see postscript)

Maria’s list on the days she doesn’t go to work

  • Bring me a cup of tea in bed, make coffee
  • Feed 3 cats – much cat wrangling required
  • Shower
  • Stand in mouse guts in bare feet
  • Replenish coal for stove add mouse guts as additional fuel
  • dress, make-up, contacts etc
  • Bring me toast and coffee in bed
  • Open Nonna’s front door so that the two cats who don’t try to kill each other can get in for snacks and Nonna love
  • Listen to me moan about illness from bed over Alexa ‘announce’
  • Visit Nonna
  • Do some of the necessary for Nonna – cleaning, sometimes lunch prep later – help with bathing – wash hair – unpleasant potty toilet business
  • Prepare open fires
  • Collect kindling and fill coal buckets (after all my poorly back!)
  • Online shopping for us and Nonna – I would do ours but I am not allowed, – grievance 1
  • Washing machine stuff – I  don’t know what exactly as I have always assumed a laundry fairy did it
  • Put clothes out to dry in sun
  • Take clothes back in from hail
  • Tidy up and vacuum fresh rabbit fur tails etc
  • Remove the previously missed desiccated cat kills, vomit or just occasionally poo
  • Change cat litter as response to above – the little sods like their bathroom to be ‘cilit banged’ or they wont use it
  • Empty bins we have 4 indoor kitchen bins
  • Move outside and shuffle the 4 different coloured outdoor dustbins we have + Nonna’s four
  • Feed cats again – this goes on all day
  • Chop wood with chain saw – her favourite thing –  think she imagines its mine or Nonna’s head under her ferocious blade
  • Loads of garden jobs including cutting grass or tending the tomato farm next door
  • Walk down road to get eggs
  • Put away online delivery for us and Nonna  (after all my poorly back!)
  • Make my lunch (naturally)
  • Maybe some ironing
  • Practise piano (bang the keys a lot and swear)
  • Prepare work for school eg recording backing tracks (a little bit hilarious because of above)
  • Respond to emails from Tiger mums
  • Do an online safeguarding course again – third time lucky with the acronyms
  • Make me a refreshing cup of tea
  • Listen to me moan about my illnesses
  • Visit Nonna again
  • Listen to her moan about her illnesses
  • Do Nonnas washing up
  • Lock Nonna in
  • Realise Mitch is also locked in at Nonna’s
  • Find Mitch hiding at Nonna’s
  • Lock Nonna in again
  • Feed traumatised Mitch who doesn’t like enforced house moves
  • Wrangle the other two cats (can involve chasing Vince round the kitchen table a few times with Bobby hissing in the b/h a door in the background)
  • Water a million outdoor pots
  • Make my dinner (now late cos of above – Grievance 2 – prioritise Chris not pot watering)
  • Collect my lap table and cutlery and present a delicious home made dinner
  • Receive praise from me (naturally}
  • Watch my choice of TV (actually that isn’t true I can’t let that go makes me sound like a lazy misogynist tyrant)
  • Go to bed annoyingly early because she is tired!
  • Read Woodhouse to escape – I wonder why.

My list

  • Wake up (phew) – be awake already (poo)
  • Take pills and Eat breakfast
  • Moan about my Illnesses
  • Add trousers and jumper to my three day usage bed underwear thus completing my work wear in 14 seconds
  • Go to my desk /Faff about with e-mail/push paperwork hither and thither for a couple of hours – sharpen pencils – bash blackboard rubber – drink milk from tiny bottle with white paper straw – cry internally most of the day – oops i digress that was primary school 
  • Eat lunch then well deserved nap
  • Sometimes teach the few students who attend online sessions thus avoid marking for the fifth day
  • Buy something online to make me feel better and less stressed about the build up of marking
  • Obsess for the next 5 hours about some ridiculous arty project until my arse grows numb
  • Moan about my illnesses which now includes numb arse
  • Get pissed of that the ridiculous Arty project doesn’t work
  • CLEAN UP THE KITCHEN (yep this contribution has to be writ large- (after all my poorly back! – what a martyr))
  • Eat delicious dinner, much telly, pills
  • groan my way into my bed in now approaching 4 day usage bed underwear
  • Not sleep
  • Write this

Ps. Of course when I am not on chemo it’s a different story – of course!

 

still a bit yuk but moving on

my first course of the new chemo finished a week ago – this morning i start my second. i had a good moan to the consultant about the side effects and he said people do end up packing it in or going onto a reduced dose – i am not going to do that as its really not that bad and if it works I will be on a reduced dose in 6 months time so i am moving on.

Most significant news is that I have finally published CR-APP1 (TIE) -(10 years of thinking time to produce THIS CRAP). The fact that it doesn’t work on new Android phones is being addressed as we speak, in collaboration with my lovely, patient, daughter-in-law, the only person in my circle who has a fancy, new Android Phone. Please go here https://unuseless.gravityisahat.co.uk/ if you want a peak but read below first otherwise you might not get it and I will go down in your estimations and feel sad

In keeping with my approach to Telephone Box Art I suspect this piece of App Art will confound my readership. It is based on the Japanese concept of ‘Chindogo’ http://chindogu.com/ics/ which is a design method that celebrates the notion of the ‘Unuseless’ (neither useful nor useless). There are 10 tenets for Chindogu –

  • Chindogu must be (almost) completely useless. …
  • Chindogu must exist. …
  • Chindogu represent freedom of thought and action. …
  • Chindogu’s uselessness must be understood by all. …
  • Chindogu are not for sale. …
  • Humor must not be the sole reason for making chindogu. …
  • Chindogu are not propaganda. …
  • Chindogu are never taboo.

Thus the app called TIE – does only one thing, has no options, no settings, no features, no personalisation, etc, etc etc none of the things an app should do – but it is still exists as an App. I plan to produce a series all doing one simple action displaying one word against a black background that translates to an additional, somewhat absurd repurposing of the mobile phone. I am using 1980’s photo romances as the visual hook. If you happen to have some in your loft I am desperate for issues of ‘Feelings.’

‘Feelings’ back cover – maybe there is only one issue and I have it

I can get ‘Blue Jeans’ in abundance but the copyright for Blue Jeans is owned by DC Thompson who own the Beano and I suspect they wont let me use it. The copyright to ‘Feelings’ is more likely to be negotiable as it belongs to a defunct untraceable publisher.

In addition I have been trying out brutalist website design. https://brutalistwebsites.com/ I suppose some viewers may regard this as ugly bad web design but i have been a fan since the early days of web design when brutalist design was the default define style cos not much more than ugly was possible. It is now a trend – a response to all the glib prettyness and vacuous coolness of so much off the shelf web design these days.

Tuffin 10

Dad took me to Boots to get the saltpetre and the sulphur. Saltpetre is potassium nitrate and white. Sulphur is called flowers of sulphur and is yellow. I also bought some sulphur sweets in all sorts of colours. I ate them in our car on the way home.

Gunpowder is easy to make as long as you are patient and sensible. The recipe is to grind the three ingredients up using a pestle and mortar. I had one as part of a chemistry set I had never opened as it was obviously a toy rather than real chemistry. It had a picture of a boy on the box. He wasn’t wearing a tie so it was likely he was just playing not working. That’s no good at all! “Things worth doing are doing work.” Play is for babies and children. The boy looks a lot like Andrew so I took a note to talk about it later with Jill before we opened it up to Andrew. I think Jill might like the picture but she can’t have the chemistry set as it has one or two ingredients labeled poison – another present from Auntie Margaret.

Another surprise is that Gunpowder does not explode easily. Hitting it with a hammer is as ineffective as hitting waxy radio bits and rose petals. All those shows where people throw barrels of gunpowder down mountains and they blow up and cause an avalanche must use special gunpowder because I only managed to throw up a coating of grey dust across the bench that got muddled up with the dust left by dead grandad or the sawdust left by my dad when he made a seed frame.

Now I need a number two very very badly. Mum says it was the sulphur sweets, but I can’t see the connection. No time for a list.

Lisa Marini back on the road again – hurrah!

TOMORROW NIGHT

A note from Lisa

Hello,

How have you been?

In case you haven’t come across my social media posts, this is a quick note to let you know that my band and I will be live streaming a FREE gig from Peggy’s Skylight in Nottingham tomorrow (Friday 30th April) at 8pm/ UK time.

If you can’t make that and would rather come and see us in person, we are very excited to announce that we will be playing a gig that you can actually come to at the Green Note, Camden on Sunday 11th July 2021.

Tickets are limited so get them here whilst you can:
https://www.greennote.co.uk/production/lisa-marini-2/

For tomorrows live stream:

Tune in at 8pm UK time through Peggy’s Skylight YouTube Page:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCmF0JEdICrzXSkiqo_GXJfg

Or through their Facebook Page: 
https://www.facebook.com/peggysskylight/live

For more info on the event and to donate you can visit: 
https://peggysskylight.co.uk/events/lisa-marini/

Thank you so much for sticking with me. I’ve been writing a lot of new material and I can’t wait to see you again.

All my love

Lisa x

yuk yuk yuk & tuffin 9

Check out the side effects of just one of my drugs in the video above – needless to say now that I have read about them I have them all! The highlight is – “take this drug and you might get cancer” – well bugger me I hadn’t thought of that! something else to add to the worry list.

i am sorry i keep going on about my treatment but when it isn’t pissing me off it fascinates me. What a funny way to treat a disease, to poison the person with it and make them ill and susceptible to other diseases. Its quite medieval like sticking your head in a beehive to get rid of head lice – yes there really was something like that – must be true cos i saw it on TikTok (btw must delete it again – addictive).

8:00 am drug breakfast – even the water is drugged – no scary ones for a week though

Today I begin my week off the the two cytotoxic drugs so i hope by Friday to be back out clubbing with Maria (family dont know this every Friday night we like to do the Micklegate run in York finish off by groping some fire officers and puking up our donners in the back of an Uber) until it all kicks off again on next Wednesday after seeing my consultant for a checkup to make sure my system is coping – it is i’m pretty sure.

When i get cheesed off i remember Lisa’s friend who has been on an even more extravagant gift basket of daily drugs for years and years and just gets on with it – but for now, for me its quite new, to start each and every day with a ritual swallowing routine that lasts several minutes after which you feel a lot worse than you did before you started – which is fairly bad after a night of pissing and not pooing or vice versa. Perhaps it would help if i had a sacred space where this event could unfold (make it a bit more special like getting that wafer thing from jesus – ‘communion’ its a word like epiphany that i can never remember) and maybe some Roman house gods to guide me, a few candles, incense, even humanist prayers (is there such a thing somehow i doubt it) accompanied by humming or whale noises or Enja but just gulping them all down and trying not to gag on the steroids – (aaaahhhh – they are disgusting if you get one under the tongue and it starts to dissolve)

-sort of trivialises the idea that these innocuous little babies sealed in their little silver cradles are my life force – without them i am a gonna. I feel a poem coming on – — – — — — — – – – nope its gone…

YUK – the most noticeable side effect, other than the constipation which is now under control (phew), is the taste bud decimation. i actually spat a sausage out while watching ‘Call My Agent’ (grab on netflix ‘toot sweet’) – i don’t think i have spat something out with such ferocity since primary school orange sponge – i actually tasted like one imagines a partially embalmed slug to taste (flabby/firm and chemically) – and it was an expensive Italian sausage from a posh deli – what a waste. i plan to leave this story as is but it is a tiny weeny bit of a lie because maria believes the culprit to be bad defrosting hygiene rather than my taste buds but that takes us off topic and spoils the story – but yeh its likely they were on the turn. We may have been ‘infected’ by Nonna quaint country ways – she sticks uncooked italian (the same incredibly expensive) sausage in the fridge and leaves it to dry out for a few weeks so she can eat it like salami – if Maria find its she bins it and tells her off – but i think some sneaky amateur meat curing maybe going on – Uncooked pork, ‘matured for a month’ in a slightly damp old fridge, ingested by a 90 year old who has no functioning chewing teeth and a continuous gippy (putting it mildly) stomach is probably not in the manual of health eating for the older person, but we apply the philosophy extolled by the pharmacist who queried the combination of drugs Maria was collecting for Nonna (apparently a dangerous combo) until Maria said her Mum was nearly 90 at which point the Pharmacist congratulated her on her longevity pronouncing ‘if she can get to 90 on that combo then she’s doing brilliantly and nobody should mess with that.’ so lashings of class A drugs for tea for Nonna.

for me most things taste bland (which is fine) – salt and sweet perception seems to have disappeared a few things are really gross – biggest loss chocolate and sweeties both of which maintain the textural features but taste a bit they might be trying to be good for you because they contain a chocolate substitute made from deodorised cuttlefish extract and the sort of sand you keep your pet lizards in. Side effect of the thalidomide – WEIGHT LOSS – i wonder why? But thats a bonus i suppose.

Tuffin 9

The shed was once grandads. He is dead with coughing all his life. I was a bit sad as he was an inventor like me but I was glad because we got all his tins as well as his shed. I don’t think grandad liked anything other than things and wrestling. I know that because he left one hundred and forty one tins called old Virginia with different things in them. Some of them have just one thing in like a door bolt or a chain but others have hundred of little things like staples or washers. Some things are sticky and some are dry and chalky. Although he has painted what they are on the side of the tin I had to ask dad what a grommet was and he said be careful. Grommets don’t look dangerous but I suppose you never know. Swallowing would be fine as they have a hole in them, you could still breath. I suppose you could put one on your willy because that how they make dogs stop being bad so it might work on boys. It didn’t work at all on March so you might end up going on holiday and never coming back.

I know about the wrestling because we watched it together on Saturday afternoons and it was the only time he didn’t cough because he was too busy shouting. Once he shouted so hard he kicked his bottle of beer across the carpet. After that the room always smelt nice but grandma said it made her sick and that grandad made her sick and that she would sit in the kitchen, but she stayed in the sitting room and watched the wrestling with us which was nice because she let me lean across her lap like a dog.

I miss my dog. I wish he wasn’t dead.

When I grow up I will bring my March back to life and my Grandad but not my Grandma. I may have to turn on the worm hole again.

Tuffin 8

Mum had dropped a milk bottle in the new fridge and it had split the plastic shelf. Now she is crying on the bed.

I want to invent something with the bag of taps. I have decided that they have been put there to stop me using the electric saw. I respect that because all tools are dangerous in the wrong hands. There are probably a hundred taps in the bag. Why would a house need a hundred taps? That’s fifty baths or sinks or twenty five of each type. That’s very clean people or clothes or washing up.

I note the connection with my remaining hole and write it down as a clue in my list.  It seems that someone has planned to makes lots of new baths to go with mine. I think about keeping this a secret as it might be important but the cat had my tongue so I let it out to Jill. She says her dad will know because he has some medals from the war. I tell her not to tell him yet because of his gun.

Brainwave!

That’s what I will make. A tap makes a perfect gun. That way if Jill’s dad were to want to kill us instead of the rats I could defend us. It’s a pity the rose perfumed wax didn’t explode as my book on guns (opened so many times the glue holding the pages has dropped out so it no longer a book just pages) tells me I need a propellant. There is no mention of rose petals or wax but there is mention of charcoal, saltpetre and sulphur in five/seven/five proportions to make gunpowder. The best charcoal is made from willow, it says, so I roast my cricket bat in the old bread bin using dads blow torch. It takes a long time and a lot of paraffin at at the end of it my head hurts and my eyes hurt a lot. Jill says that’s a good sign.

Tomorrow I will ask Dad to get me some some saltpetre and sulphur.

When I grow up I want to be a pyroman and to fix mum’s new fridge.

bit of a moan and two more tuffins

I started a big moan and then my site went wrong (problem with the migration for as you may note I am now on a uk domain run by Lisa’s totally brilliant brother Khairil – thoroughly recommended for all your web technical concerns – bloody genius in my view and loves my phone box!) – anyway i am looking 9 months pregnant with twins as against my usual 4 months with a single. Its really gross but bloating and constipation is a side effect – joy oh joy – i really need to strengthen my core to hold it all in or get a girdle. i am really not to keen on my body at the mo – i feel it might be letting me down – my brain however is a strange fusion of excitement, verbosity and ‘articulateness’ – i am churning out Tuffin stories – and my online teaching sessions this week have gone really well – or at least thats what i think – the students may not agree – but my memory is shot and i keep dropping things – blimey old and crap or what. The zimmer is being dragged out the loft cos the old back is a bastard again but during the day i can walk about just fine its at night and the trips to either do nothing consequential in the bowel department, not to be able to pee because that shuts down at night (so i probably have prostate cancer as well) or pee for five minute stretches cos some drug or other makes you pee like an open drain pipe. I am pissed off!

but actually feeling very creative – doing a lot of work – with Khairils help i have been able to resurrect the old CrestNetwork site – the proudest achievement of my academic career- where my short film with Lee Ridley can be seen plus videos of Maria singing weird stuff with speech synthesisers for Russian TV and a load of other weird stuff with speech tech.

oh danger danger – am i living in the past? – resting on a few old achievements to make me feel worthwhile – yep – oh never mind.

Here’s some more Tuffin

Tuffin 6

Now that I only make inventions I only have time for one hole so I shut the worm hole, fill in the compost hole and that just leaves the bath. I think Dad would be cross if I did something with that as the bathroom would be empty and we would all be dirty. Jill is still nice so I didn’t need to take her off my list of people but Andrew is new so he has moved to the top.

My bike has two cross bars but they are thin. This isn’t a mistake it’s modern. It troubles me a bit because I expected one cross bar but as the bike cost dad £16 and Andrew’s cost his dad £14.00 its higher on the list. His has white tyres mine are black with white round the edge. We scramble with them so they get messy and end up the same colour . Jill can’t play because her bike doesn’t have a cross bar at all. She wee’d in the middle of the road when I told her. I looked but Andrew didn’t. She laughed at him but only as a joke. I think I like Jill best but there is a problem with her bike.

I have invented a cross bar for Jill. I found a stick in the wood near the station and cut it to the right length with my hacksaw. This is not the right saw but it’s the only one I am allowed. I want to use the electric one grandad made from an old washing machine but someone had left a bag of old taps on it and I can’t lift it off. I sellotaped the stick onto Jill’s bike and she is really pleased and promised not to wee in the road anymore. Andrew is pleased about that. Jill scrambles with us now all the time. She is quite fast because of the cross bar. When she wins Andrew sings a song about the crossbar. “Crossbar star I love you.” It goes.  I can’t remember the rest but it’s good. I think Andrew might prefer Jill’s bike to his. He needs a hacksaw.

When I grow up I want to use the electric saw and give Andrew my Hacksaw.

Here is a list of our scramble races.

Round 1 Winners
Me
Me
Andrew
Jill
Me

Round 2 winners
Me
Jill
Jill
the rest of the races weren’t recorded as they were just for fun

Overall winner Tuffin (Me)

Tuffin 7

When I am not inventing I like to watch the pigeons on our roof. We get loads because Jill’s dad has built a pigeon house in the back garden next to the pond. So before they go to bed the pigeons  walk around the roof of our house. I suppose they are not tired yet.  I give them names and voices. If I am with Andrew or Jill I talk outloud but if I am on my own I talk inside my head as if I am inside a wireless. I wonder what would happen to the pigeons if I turned the worm hole back on and they accidentally flew inside. Where would they go. Would they fly off and meet that dead Pekingese. That would be bad because they make nice cooing noises and nobody would know they were there because of all the snorting from that dead dog.

I love wireless’s  even if they don’t work. As well as making saws from washing machines Grandad knew how to fix them. He gave me a bread tin full of radio parts. Some are glass, some are China and some are rubber a few are made of wax. I lit one like it was a candle using dads blow torch. It melted but didn’t burn much. The smell was bad so I mixed in some rose petals to cover it up. I thought I had invented a fire perfume maker. Andrew thought it smelt ok but would probably work better as an explosive so we hit it with a hammer but that did nothing so we threw it all away and went back to the pigeons but they had gone to bed.

When I grow up I want to be a perfumer.

Tuffin 5

Now I have three holes and lots and lots of stones. My three holes are –

The worm hole in my room that means I don’t ever have to be a child

The hole next to the compost where I can smoke my pipe like dad and sleep with Jill

The bath that is really another compost hole but indoors and drains and drains.

You know about my stones.

This was enough things for me to start my research at the library.

The library was a lorry. At first this confused me as the normal lorries carried bread and coal not books. This one has a door in the side and steps and a rubber stamp and a librarian called Linda that my mum knows from Bexley where my Nan is in hospital for trying to cook her head in the oven. Linda doesn’t mention this but she does say that the book my mum wants is in, so my mum is pleased and doesn’t have to pay. I ask for books on worm holes and stones but Linda suggests ‘Bom the Little Drummer’ so I take that instead. It’s a good book because Boms’ drum rolls down the hill and that gives me an idea for an invention so instead of holes and stones I ask if l can have a book on inventions. Linda says she will bring one in a fortnight when I return Bom. That’s the trouble with libraries you have to give the books back. The best thing about a book is keeping it. That’s more important than reading it. I keep my books on my shelves in order of how may times they have been opened. The unopened ones are the best but I only have one – ‘The Observers book of Freshwater Fish’ – Auntie Margaret got it for me so I could look up ‘minnow’ but after she gave it me she also tried to cook her head in the oven so Dad said best to leave it shut.

When I grow up I want to be an inventor and invent something round like a stone or a hole or a wheel – something that goes somewhere.

Tuffin 4

Dad gives me his old pipe. Jill and I move to a hole we dig next to the compost.

We cover the top of the hole with an old table top and some sacks. Inside it’s dark and cosy. We make a carpet of grass cuttings on the floor and dig a second small sideways hole as a cupboard where we keep Dads pipe. “Our hole is our home now” I say.  I take the pipe and place it between my teeth and blow. “See” I say. Jill laughs and presses another layer of grass clippings onto the floor. “It’s really soft” she says. “Feel.”  I push my fingers into the grass and blow on the pipe. “The hole smells of Dad.” We laugh and push each other and make rude dad noises and smells. Then Jill makes cups of tea and keeps things tidy while I smoke my pipe and keep guard. We try lying down. The hole is just wide enough that we can lie head to toe our faces pressed into the wall of mud on either side –  as we do so the rain falls. We pretend to sleep until the hole begins to fill with rain. We don’t dream. Then Jill has to go home to have tea and mum gives me a bath. When I get out of the bath I leave a lot of wet grass and mud behind. “Look the hole has come inside” I say to mum as it drains and drains.

When I grow up I want to dig a hole to Australia.

Not a walk in the park and Tuffin 3

So 2:33 am and not quite the walk in the park I was hoping for.

Just completed week one of the new drug regime. Certainly nothing too terrible or too gross. One thing is apparent again this time – drugs designed to do one thing or with side effects that spring off one way prescribed alongside drugs drugs designed to the opposite thing with side effect springing off the opposite way are always going to have unpredictable outcomes. One imagines seedy night clubs in exotic third world locations featuring arm wrestling bouts between rival treatments ‘wake him up’ no sedate him’ bung him up’ no loosen him.’ At some point one hopes the body just goes ‘ahh grow up you lot – I am just going to sit here nice and calm until you lot are friends again.’ They are not friends yet.

Before I go on I want to apologise, no I don’t, I want to warn you, that one totally reliable outcome of my cancer cocktail is I become aggressive, not physically, but verbally. The worst occasion was after my one night in hospital with chronic constipation, an episode I am ashamed of to this day – sorry NHS! Sorry Maria! Sorry Arthur! – when I went into a total victor meldew melt down just because they were late getting a form signed to discharge me. What was worst was it was (in my mind anyway) a highly articulate and analytical tirade calling upon my most effective language skills honed in the court rooms of academic conference meticulously dissecting all the key components leading up to the intolerable extra hours spent blocking a comfy bed in a valuable NHS resource. I probably said most of that. Alternatively it may have come across as a straight to Video court room drama staring an actor called Brett something defending a client called Carlene something facing ‘the chair’ for murdering her oil magnate husband who has actually arranged for a body double to be killed in his place in order that he can implicate his wife, divorce her without paying alimony and move to Columbia with his drug dealer chauffeur and gay lover. Either way it was crass and mean. True I was seeing everything around me with a fur coating as though all the walls were made of hirsute meringue however that was no excuse for the Jeckell and Hyde performance I provided to family and the ward. Sooooory! That day I used up all my unreasonable patient credit and I vow not to do it again.

But I will be unreasonable about everything else.

I have no great gripe with the Royal Family. I would like to see the institution dissolved and restored to it rightful ‘museum relics the nation is justifiably a little ashamed of’ status but other than that I don’t have any great issues. But to point out the obvious about Phil = lots of equally important individuals who haven’t spent their years living in palaces and crashing cars and have also done their duty (whatever that vacuous sentiment means) are dying everyday, currently a good number of them before their time. No individual matters anymore than any other. The Archbishop of Canterbury, the queen, the prime minister, Johnny Depp are-famous and privileged and arrogant and ok at times and boring and funny and hungry and sad and tolerable and intolerable and that’s it – they are not deities – nobody is, deities don’t exist – and if they did, and were any good, the last thing they would want would to be worshipped – so enough is enough no more pap and ceremoany no more suffocating coverage BBC, no more mawkish members of the general public saying things like ‘we won’t see another one like that.’ He was a posh, occasionally amusing, often racist big gob who persuaded a lot of middle class young people that you prepare for life’s ups and down by going orienteering or volunteering to sing daisy daisy in an old people’s home for two weeks before you go to Uni to learn how to be a hedge fund manager. Guillotine the lot of them – oh who said that? – get back in your box bad druggy Chris!

Yet again I contemplate giving up my Labour Party membership as the balls of the party shrink like a docked rams testicles. Ok I know this kinda hackneyed macho language is unacceptable but have you seen the time I am writing this? We need Jess Phillips as leader she doesn’t want or need balls. True she is not exactly the socialist ideal we had with JC (Corbyn not Christ) but she has what it takes and she can communicate effectively though to the northern red wall and the Notting hill virtue signallers like me. What a pity she decided she wasn’t up to it, but isn’t that the most commendable act that clearly demonstrates her leadership credentials? Labour Party membership for me had always been a uncharacteristically balanced act on my part. There is no party in the World that actually represents my political views, unless Noam Chomsky decides to become a party one day, so my civic responsibility is to support the party that gets closest. Under Corbyn I felt I belonged – he fucked up big time not dealing with the anti-semitic legacy of some of labours super-pack – but he wanted to do lots of things that will have to come to pass sooner not later if humanity is to make it past my sisters latest grandchild’s 50th. Keir’s solution to JC’S electoral train wreck is to promote patriotism. WHAT! Patriotism is what inspires the right! Leave Boris to do the Trumpian flag cuddling. KEIR we are the left, we promote Internationalism it’s kinda the opposite. What party are you leading. I find him very boring and he’s a lawyer and I don’t like lawyers as a rule. Guillotine the lot of them – oh who said that? – get back in your box bad druggy Chris!

Tuffin 3

Chapter 3

My stones are kept in my room under the bed. It’s the room I was born in – the one with the worm hole. Nobody knows they are there except me and Jill. Jill lives next door and has a guinea pig and her dad has a gun that he uses to shoot rats that bother the guinea pig even though the guinea pig is really a fat rat. Perhaps that why the rats bother the guinea pig, to get back at her for being fat. They also have a pond so that’s where we get the stones. Someone has pretended the pond is a beach by putting stones like the ones at the seaside all around it. We take them when nobody is looking specially her dad, we don’t want to get shot like the rats. We take them up to my bedroom crawl under the bed and pretend we are in the bank, counting the stones, saving them for later, writing a list of them in order of specialness. The best ones are smooth and flat just like coins. Jill says her brother knows how to skim coins like that so that they skip across the water. I wonder if I will ever be able to do that when I grow up.

When I grow up I want to go to the seaside and skim coins and be rich. I want to marry Jill and sleep with her so we can share our dreams and talk about them the next day.

Here is my list of the top 10 stones – they are all boy stones – no copper values

NameValue
David£1
James15/-
Peter12/- 6d
Robin10/-
Clive7/- 6d
Keith5/-
Steven2/- 6d
Simon 2/-
John1/-
Randy6d