Di’s statue is dreadful dross – Tuffin 20

I don’t know about you folk but I am unable to sleep, breathe, eat or function normally  since seeing the new Princess Diana statue. I have long ceased getting wound up about the big issues, survival of the planet, survival of the Labour Party, survival of me (that was all quite embarrassing in retrospect) but this atrocity has tipped me over the edge and I have to rant.

RANT: It is quite simply the worst piece of public art I have ever seen and I looked at loads for my Bridlington project.  The Artist should retire now and do something he is suited for like decorate Hallmark cards from the 1970’s, illustrate 1930’s children’s books or do those posters outside churches to come to a coffee morning. Sorry I do a disservice,  1930’s childrens book illustrators we’re working within the somewhat mawkish sentiments of the time and doing it rather well – this chap has dug up everything that is ghastly about the style – cute kids, mother/Madonna figure, maypole motif, horrible dress, someone else’s face (my vote is for David Bowie) and what seems to be a particularly finely wrought and enormous cowboy belt  to which he had added his own and ‘those brothers’ [I have nothing against them personally but I think we can now be confident that they don’t have an artistic bone in their bodies] particular brand of dreadful dreadful quasi religious kitsch – Sorry I do a disservice –while I despise all religiosity I love kitsch – this is beyond kitsch it is simply indescribable rubbish – lets take it down – melt it  – throw it in the canal and give a proper artist a chance to do something worthy of her reputation and tragic death – I thought the water garden thing was excellent – statues stink anyway – but really…….

Give it the commission to Tracy Emin and see what she comes up – at least it might look like a piece of 21st century art. The photo series below relates to her Cancer and is brilliant. I wish i had done something like it but I am not brave enough.

Ok, got that off my chest.

Busy planning/making a short documentary about the phone box. Learning about photography and film making as I go, so I have a very low expectations of quality. George is mentoring. I have been persuaded to rejoin the university research world and hopefully this will be part of my contributions. Other than uni teaching prep – [l guess the documentary project will contribute to that as well – additional skills and whatnot] – which is still quite intense, everything else has gone on back burner including Tuffin. I have 4 weeks holiday end July and August so we have plans but they are very very flexible to accommodate any last minute Nonna set backs but I want to use some of the time to complete the documentary and revitalise a few other projects which have fizzled out such as my CR-Apps but I also must get out and about… hmm (see below for bike news) .

Treatment goes well. Just started 4th cycle – hopeful for reduction in dose. Tastebuds not so bad this time – side effects generally less annoying. My wakefulness for three nights a week (this is night one) is no fun for Maria so I find a warm spot somewhere under the railway arches and kip there so as not to disturb her. Aside from the damp, the thieving and the violence it’s fine. I slip back in the morning to prepare her breakfast and tend my wounds

We have bought a second folding bike so we can go off on leisurely car jaunts and then take off free as birds – as long as the road is flat (no hills) and pothole free – airfields would be nice – very titchy wheels – oh and a convenient convenience, somewhere to get a snack – oh and a bus back to the car. Full size bikes are such a pain to stuff in car – likely to do back in loading the car never mind having a crash and falling in a ditch.

Maria continues to do things with apricots and exercise her new found passion for paper engineering. Separately I should say. She is incredibly neat and patient, qualities I don’t share, and she’s really good at it, if a tiny bit obsessive – says he.

Tuffin 20

Next to the station and to get to the wood is a narrow road. We are allowed to go down the road all the way to the donkey but no further as then you get to the shooting range where the army try out machine guns and bombs. I really want to go there but Dad says that even though it was in the war there still might be bombs lying about. I once heard a few bangs coming from there but no one was blown up or shot so I think it’s safe as long as you are careful and sensible. On the way to the donkey the road is so narrow that if a car comes you have to climb onto the bank to let it pass. The bank is full of snails and Jill is afraid of snails. They are really big ones the size of the crowns I have in my coin collection that the lady next door gave me before she died in bed. I sent her a thankyou letter but she must have been dead already because when dad went to make sure the house was ok it was still on the mat. On the way to the donkey we once found a mole in the middle of the road. I picked it up but it bit me so I dropped it. I pretended it didn’t hurt but it did and it bled a bit so I kept my hand in my pocket. After that we kicked it with our feet over to the bank to stop it getting run over but it didn’t move again so we left it alone. I think I killed it when I kicked it. The donkey is very muddy but we take carrots for it so it comes to the gate and puts its head over when it sees us coming. Everyone is afraid of it biting them except me. I like animals and they know that. Except moles perhaps but I think they are blind like the man at the station. The donkey has a really fat belly like Rosalind and thin legs like me. It’s not having a baby though as it has a big willy like Brian has when he is in the woods.

(There are lots of pattens in that bit – I must make a list later)

PS -The donkey’s best bit is it’s ears that are big, not sticky out like mine but sticky up. I wonder what donkeys hear like. If wonder if they can hear other donkeys making noises a long way off like submarines can. After all this one is all on its own and is probably lonely even with us there so it might like to hear another donkey even if it can’t see it.

When I grow up I want to explore the shooting range and find a bomb or bullets and I want my ears to be less sticky out.

Phew Nonna OK! & Tuffin 19

Long silence the result of some serious worries about Nonna now happily passed. Not Nonna – the worry!

Poor Nonna has been in hospital with a whole bunch of serious stuff. We were very very worried but after being pumped with antibiotics and believe it or not bicarb, she is back at home and happily prone in front of her Italian telly, happy as Larry. I won’t go into the details she can’t really give her permission (her understanding of the inter web is nowt, nulla) but suffice to say it was a life and death scenario and the latter seemed at first, to her doctors and to us to be a highly likely outcome. To say that because she’s approaching 90 (we had a birthday  party planned in just a week or two) and we should be prepared and possibly resigned to her never coming home was utter cobblers, we wanted her home and better, she is not an Eccles cake or a cannoli beyond its sell by date to be chucked away. Happily she agreed and despite dire predictions, much to our surprise and I think the doctors, her numbers returned to the  sustainable dreadful she has been maintaining for months now and she was discharged. She is beginning to be able to eat again without throwing up, can just about stagger with her walker to her essential services, has carers (who she really likes) help her dress morning and night, Maria makes her lunch, even I  managed to make a passable bowl of pastina when Maria was at work, manages a really complicated diet of new, changed and withdrawn drugs that makes mine look meagre and most importantly is so jolly that it makes us jolly. So now back to the status quo for however long such statistically improbable stability can be maintained – we can all breathe again and to some degree get on with our lives and think again about Tuffin and telephone box art that I just could not focus on while she was in such dire straits.

So here is latest followed by my own health update which is thankfully much less dramatic.

Tuffin 19

Andrew and I have a new game called hanging teddies. We both have teddies but because we are old now we don’t need them. Mine was given to me by my mean Nan, who my mum hates. She is not mean to me but she is mean to the family.  It has short fur and when you turn it upside it growls but it sounds like a cow. Andrew’s has long fur and is quite small and worn out. It doesn’t growl or anything. We attach string round their necks and dangle them out of my window. Because of the porch we can’t swing them very far without them bashing into the walls but we can balance them on the porch roof so it looks like they are going to do suicide  like the lady up the road did only she set herself on fire. The people walking up the road from the station saw us and smiled which is strange because I don’t think its funny. Andrew’s bear was weak and it head and body tore apart like it had had its throat cut. Andrew said the bear belonged to his mother and her mother so she would be cross. I knew about sewing from Mrs Friends class so I showed Andrew how to stitch the head back onto the body just like the boy at school had stitches on his thigh after he fell on some railings. I wanted to do the hanging teddies game again but Andrew said he was going home. Andrew is very weak like his Teddy.

When I grow up I want stitches.

My numbers are still improving so the dose of steroids has been reduced. I feel not too bad most of the time,  bit knackered and the food thing is annoying. Fizzle out in the evening but mornings are good and productive. I could definitely sustain this regime if it has to go on beyond September perhaps forever but I must admit I will miss experiencing  nice tastes. I didn’t think it was important, which it isn’t, but I do spend many a moment gazing longingly into the fridge trying to conjure up anything that doesn’t end up tasting like hoover left overs. I am still on pickled herring, tomato’s, apples, porridge with cream, plain pasta with butter, liquorice, tea and decaf coffee (thank goodness), fried bread, eggs and asparagus. Now looking at my list I don’t know why I am complaining but having been previously such a fan of most foods, provided I didn’t  have too cook them, such a specialised menu does seem a bit sad. I am hungry pretty much all the time which is also a new experience for me, I have lost weight, not a great deal, but my emaciated chicken legs are now even more hilarious when framed by summer wardrobe of three quarter shorts, short white socks, and my Clarks elasticated slip ons, (designed to make shoe putting effortless) -, sadly my belly persists resulting in over reliance on my non existent hips to support said shorts such that upon returning from the hospital a few days ago my shorts dropped to my ankles upon exiting the car much to Maria’s heartless amusement.

Oh one other important thing – Lisa and Arts gig scheduled for July has fallen foul of the Covid restrictions and is rescheduled for December 1st – Your tickets will still be valid – what a bummer though.

Tuffin 17 & 18

After watching real trains I like to get out my train set. I only have one train and two carriages and the track is a circle. It needs two batteries to work and they are expensive and Dad says I need to reserve power and I have to be careful to remember to disconnect everything when I finish playing. I don’t understand why Andrew likes the train set but doesn’t like real trains but he always wants to play with it even on days when I haven’t been at the station first, which is stupid. I am beginning to think that his behaviour means he isn’t the right person to go at the top of my list after all. Jill can’t go there as she is a girl so that is a problem. Sometimes I let Andrew drive the train. He likes to make it go as fast as it can which means it comes off the track. I tell him that he needs to be more careful and make it like the speed of the train real even though it’s tiny compared to the real thing. Because he doesn’t go to the station like me he doesn’t understand this and he keeps making the train crash. In the end I tell him the battery is going to run out and that we have to stop. He doesn’t seem to mind but I feel quite annoyed and hope he moves to Essex soon and someone new and better moves into his house that I can put at the top of my list. Afterwards we go outside and plays trains by walking along the garden wall making train noises. As we are doing it the ten to six from Holborn Viaduct arrives and all the people walk up the road past us on their way home. One of them is the lady who was sick, so I do a really fast train along the wall to get away from her.

When I grow up I want another carriage.

Tuffin 18

I tell mum about the sick lady and she says that most likely she is going to have a baby because that makes you sick. I don’ t understand because I thought having a baby made you happy. If it makes you sick why bother.

Next morning I watch out the window until I see the lady walking down to the station again to catch the two minutes past eight stopping service to Blackfriars. I do this watching most mornings while Mother tidies up after Dad has gone to work. He catches the ten to eight which is the fast train. The number 83. I notice she has a fat tummy that sticks out of her coat and mum says her name is Rosalind and something about her skirt being too short. If there is a baby inside it must be being jiggled about because she is rushing. I think mum is wrong because there is no way a baby could get out of there without making a terrible mess so more likely her big belly is what makes her sick. I get that after too much strawberry pink ice cream especially if it’s a hot day. I wonder if all babies come through worm holes like me and if they do what has that got to do with bellies and being sick. If Rosalind has a worm hole in her belly that would make her sick for sure because of all the gravity swirling round. Also people would be swirling around her getting sucked into her belly and appearing in the future or the past rather than catching the train and going to work.

When I grow up I don’t ever want to be sick again so I will never eat strawberry pink ice cream on hot days.

Tuffin 16

At the bottom of the road is a railway station. I am allowed to go there to do train spotting. I have an Observers Book of trains with all the trains in England and lots and lots of lists that tell you things like how many wheels they’ve got. I go there on my own because neither Jill or Andrew are interested in trains and going on my own is more grown up. There aren’t that many trains going to our station and most of them are the same type but I did once see a steam train but it wasn’t in the book so it must not be English. When I am waiting for the trains, I watch the people on the platforms. Once I saw a lady be sick into her hand, some of it splashed on the floor next to her. I was almost sick watching and everyone near her moved away but she seemed alright and went back inside the station I suppose because she was afraid people would laugh or to wash the sick off her hand or maybe she just went home and went to bed. I would have done that if I had been sick. Another time a blind man was at the station. He had a white stick but no dog. I thought he might walk off the platform and get killed but he stood very still well back from the edge and waited for his train and a man talked to him just like he was normal. I wondered if his dog was dead like March or had run away. I can’t be fun for a dog to look after a blind man all day long because the dog has to always be on a lead and the blind man can’t throw sticks or run fast without falling over.

When I grow up I don’t want to be blind

Tuffin 14 and 15

Steroids day today – so should be quite a productive night.

Tuffin 14

Andrew’s house is different from ours on the outside but in the inside it’s the same but without the worm hole.

It smells different to our house and the stairs have carpet all the way across and you can’t slide in your socks on the wooden floor in the hall because it’s covered in the same carpet. The carpet means that it’s more fun to jump down the stairs because it looks like soft sand and we can pretend it’s the desert when we jump. I can jump from six steps up because my legs are really strong from climbing the washing pole in the garden. Andrew manages only five steps because he is a lot fatter than me and his legs get very red and his face gets wet. I want to hit him a bit when he looks like that. Once a teacher said that my legs were too thin and I needed to eat more eggs. I hated her after that and wanted to hit her too.

Now I know what the smell is in Andrews house. It’s eggs. He must eat a lot of eggs that’s why he has fat legs.

When I grow up I will hit Andrew and fat people and teachers

Tuffin 15

Jill has a new dog. It’s called Fred which is the same name that she gave to the Guinea pig. It’s a German sausage dog which means it’s very very low down. It doesn’t seem to mind if Jill puts clothes on it or even paints its paws blue as if it was wearing slippers. Jill likes to dress me up sometimes. I won’t let her paint me as that would make a mess and would probably make my bath a funny colour and mum would think I was ill or had a secret. I keep it secret that Jill dresses me up even from Andrew even though I think he would like to join in or look. We do it in the scruffy bit at the side of the house where Dad keep bricks and bags of mud. She brings a bag of dressing up clothes, not all boys stuff either, and makes me stand on the bricks like a statue while she arranges everything. I get quite bored but I do it for her because in the end she is nice and doing things for her makes me feel grown up, besides in Sunday School we were told that Jesus did things for other people like feed them fish and make them better so wearing a girls dress is not hard work and might mean I go to heaven. In heaven the angels wear dresses not trousers so I might fit in well.

When I grow up I want to go to heaven and fit in well.

Confession time – pathetic!

I am taking a break from marking to share my relief and my patheticness!!!! and shame.

Ok I have been worried and stressed. This is why.

As you know i have been waiting to see if the current chemo recipe was having any effect – joy oh joy it is. i dont normally worry about my monthly blood results but this one was bugging me. Along with those tests I decided to take the routine test (offered to everyone over 60) for bowel cancer – perhaps i should have waited or just not bothered but anyway this involves sending a pooh sample off somewhere – not a pleasant process and waiting two weeks for the results. Unfortunately my brain decided to fixate on the following scenario

Test 1 – went to doctor with backache – sent to hospital – a week later told got amyloidosis
Test 2 – went to hospital with Amyloidosis – had some bone marrow removed – a week later told I had myeloma
Test 3 – went to hospital with palpitations – wore a heart monitor for a bit – a week later i was told I had atrial fibrillation

so it seemed perfectly reasonable that whenever i have a test its always positive. except for Covid – SO FAR

So i was busy planning for my colostomy bag management in Costa Coffee which only has one toilet – wondering if you could be treated for two cancers at the same time of if they had to wait there turn – wondering how on earth i would manage to consume any more drugs without turning into a walking chemical hazard – getting my affairs in order – ie contemplating releasing Maria from her marital vows, i thinks she quite likes a red face man who also grows tomatoes (that is until he completely failed to recognise her on a walk and was clearly dazed and confused to be regaled with tomato varieties when strolling along the daffy field path – oh how i meanly laughed) planning my requiem mass Verdi would be nice – but might be tough on the non existent church choir and the lady who plays the organ who has probably been by now recipient of her own requiem mass , couldn’t face a Sky Arts programme on Dantes Inferno which seemed like too close to home – blasphemy being a sort of line in the sand it seems for god – UNFORGIVABLE apparently – hubris i say – wondering if Vinnie would pine or hurl himself onto my lifeless but well preserved body (due to all the chemicals) and become a hieroglyph on my virtual burial chamber, wondering if there was a god after all and my well documented rudeness to all immortals was ultimately catching up with me – but i distracted myself over the weekend with some seriously obsessive preparing to be very ill or dead documentation you may peruse it at your leisure here –

https://gravityisahat.co.uk/K6_Tech/k6_hardware/index.html
and here
https://gravityisahat.co.uk/K6_Tech/K6_software/index.html

and i made this epic schematic – a clear reflection of my state of mind – where there is uncertainty and chaos bring order

(you can see where my priorities lie – how to keep my ‘Red Telephone Box the Talks a Bit Like Me’ going in perpetuity – never mind all that choosing a basket weave biologically washable coffin – or have you seen the latest you can be turned into liquid plant feed – Maria and Tomato man might find that useful)

And then behold this morning NEGATIVE!!!!! I am ridiculously relieved and really really surprised – a disease i haven’t got – just like 98 percent of the participants in this test – i am off the hook – well for two years anyway. I forgot to say that i bottled the last one two years ago – just couldn’t face it and not just because of the poo collecting element i was a COWARD. – that’s what i am confessing too – i am not brave i get scared and not always, in fact virtually never, for any sensible reason – i am just a big stupid HAPPY scary cat.

Tuffin 13

Jill’s Dad is called Sid. I like this name because it’s the shortest one I know – so easy to write on a list.

Sid’s job is to cut the grass and to clean the car. He is the first person in our road to have a green car. Mother says that is because he is some kind of artist and that artists like bright colours and she shows me some impression paintings done by Frenchmen. The pictures in the book are in black and white so I don’t really see the point but I don’t tell her because this is her most important hobby after cooking and cleaning. Sid is very quiet even when he is mowing or washing he never talks to anyone loudly. When I play at Jill’s he is usually inside in the dining room with his gun poking out the window waiting for the rats. I suppose this is why he is always so quiet. Jill says it’s something to do with the war but the war was over a longtime ago and I don’t think it had artists in it.

When I grow up I want a medal and a green car.

My numbers are looking good & Tuffin 12

so it’s worth feeling moderately dreadful most of the time – I am celebrating a 120 point decline in my bad thingies to a very respectable 44 thingies – hurrraahhhhh – and that was after only one cycle! I have been dreading the results in case they showed no improvement cos that would have been a massive downer. I confess I wasn’t feeling too great but this news has perked me up no end such that I have immediately retired to the settee, I am meant to be marking, for bonding with my favourite cat who has dutifully wrapped himself around my face for the full on fur sniffing experience – ahhhh – and some Tuffin time.

Tuffin 12

I have found someone who just likes looking.

It was easy. I told Andrew that I didn’t like swimming but I did like looking at the pool, he said he would do the same. So he’s on the top of my list still. I am not sure about Jill, because of her dad she may have to stick with swimming but we all agree that looking is best anyway.

We stand facing each other without laughing. Jill is very white. Something to do with her blood her mum says. Andrew is very red like my Mothers hair. Jill says I am quite brown but that’s only because she is so white. We start to describe each other the way you are meant to in a story but that is boring so we give it up. The best kind of looking is secret looking so we go down to the woods to climb a tree and spy on people.

For ages no one comes so we just tear leaves of the tree and drop them down to see which one is first. Eventually Brian comes. We all know him well because he likes to stand in the woods a lot and show his willy to the girls. Jill has been told to run home if she sees him but with both of us to protect her so she doesn’t bother. As Brian doesn’t see Jill because she’s up  a tree we don’t see his willy which is a shame because it would be a good looking thing. We decide it’s best not to let Jill’s mum know we saw Brian because of her dad.

As we walk home for tea we see a giant pink crab in someone’s dustbin.

I have made a list of the best lookings I have had so far.

The back swimming pool

The crab

I can’t decide which of these two should be number one.

The pigeon with the broken leg

Jill’s white arm

My bike when I have washed it

Andrews birth mark

Marchs’ old lead that dad uses to keep the gate shut

An unopened book

A gun

Jill wee’ing in the middle of the road

My sisters confirmation veil

Instant whip.

When I grow up I want to be confirmed and wear a veil.

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.

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.

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.