With Wallet, in the woods…

After a tiring day up and down  a stepladder painting ceilings and walls my wife declared satisfaction with the result. If she’s happy with it, I’m happy.

Soon afterwards I was slumped in my armchair – fast asleep. I think I was out of it for an hour or so and awoke to a fine tea of fish and chips.

I was anxious to walk it of. Conscious I need to exercise more. Wallet seemed keen. Glimpsing out of the window the weather omens seemed good for once so off we went.m_DSCF0494The usual murder were surveying their territory as we emerged. They have eaten us out of home and fatballs lately and the cupboard is currently bare. I imagined them following us on our walk. How cool would that have been? Hooded Crows abound around here.

The sun was starting to shine as we strolled the short distance to ancient woodland, right on our doorstep really. We have them on two sides, on one side there is a countryside walk over fields and under the M60 to a lake and a country park. Not a bad location yet one we sometimes take for granted.

m_DSCF0495

Crossing the not too busy main road Wallet climbed the stile smartly , I followed in to the field that leads to the woods just  as a man shouted through his open car window “We Know What yer DOO-INN” Perhaps he didn’t realise we were married.

m_DSCF0499

m_DSCF0502

A little muddy in places underfoot but we weren’t deterred. There was hardly anyone about – always a bonus. We remembered days some thirty five years ago when we’d bring our young children this way with eager Mongrel ‘Shep’ who would leap into the river for fun and run for ages and ages eagerly retrieving sticks. He lived to a ripe old age of 98 in human terms, but left us long ago now.

m_DSCF0505

The path divides and lead to  a steep sided valley where the tree roots have been heavily eroded. Several have succumbed to the wind and blown over.

m_DSCF0516

m_DSCF0529

We returned the way we came, sun filtering through branches as we sensed an arrival of better weather. It has been so dire in Manchester in recent weeks.

m_DSCF0508

m_DSCF0532

Back over the stile and in the far corner of the field dense with Buttercups Wallet spotted a couple of bobtailed Bunnies which quite made her night. She’s happy , I’m happy.. in fact we were both happy to have got out of the house for an hour.

Sometimes you don’t always appreciate what’s right outside your own front door.          On this occasion – we were !

alsuewgelia

 

Novelty or not ?

A cut above the usual left leaning ladies I come across on Twitter Julianne described UKIP as a ‘novelty’ act. Who knows what the  weeks ahead will bring. She’s not as intelligent as some, but clever, very thoughtful and has triumphs behind her that I could only dream of.

Me? I’m not at all clever, but I too have a modicum of intelligence and also think a lot. I thought about what she had said. Replying within 140 characters was not an option.

I should add, I’m a month off 64 ! ~ on the cusp of retirement. Spent much of my life as a blue collar manual worker. Driving lorries. Comfortably off  due to hard work, good fortune and thrift. Married to the same woman for 44 years we own our  modest home.I have never earned more than £20k per annum. No high flyer, but cursed with  a work ethic shared by all of my family.

I well remember the nineteen seventies and eighties. During the former decade I was a trade union firebrand, or at least as militant as one could be within the ‘Union of Post Office Workers’.  I was an angry young Postman. As I tired of that, calmed down  a bit and conceded defeat to the new Tory Government I soon began to despise Margaret Thatcher and her divisive ways. The dogma and the scant regard for those she saw as also rans. I suppose that’s how I saw myself. Never ambitious you see.

The country’s industry decayed and was de-constructed before my very eyes. Sheffield steelworks I visited weekly where picket line protests soon gave way to mothballing and eventual demolition. The country was in such  a state of upheaval. Police v. Miner and all that rancour. Tearing us asunder.The Falkland’s War prefaced that period & Maggie had emerged enhanced.

decay

Eventually, from the flames and ashes of deconstruction came different industries. The big bang in the city and new technologies destined to make us all richer, free up leisure time and usher in the age of the individual. LOADSAMONEY (for few) !  One out of three isn’t that good. Thatcher, the only politician to do something tangible for me in the shape of buying our council house which we’d lived in from new (and still live in) moved out of Downing Street and Major moved in. A man whose Government lurched from disaster to incompetent disaster. Black Wednesday and Lamont’s lament. Remember? Interest rates shot up to 15 % overnight as we left the exchange rate mechanism. A construct of the EU membership we had never envisaged when offered our  ‘Common Market’ referendum in 1975. A vote on a trading group of more or less equally prosperous partners. I voted a firm NO.

Then came Blair. I stayed up all night watching telly in my truck in a Devon village, drinking in celebration. Rejoice!!  We are saved. Labour back in and ‘things can only get better’

blairbrown

Except they didn’t. They got a damn sight worse in ways I could never imagine. The first few years of cool Brittannia saw the Gallagher brothers & others from the pop, fashion and film world in number ten, quaffing wine and scoffing canopes with Cherie B et al.  A pathetic attempt to inject trendsetters and celebrity into the political process. At least John Major had a sense of decorum, even if he did bed Edwina on the side. Norma service eventually resumed.

Britain began to prosper on the back of rigid Tory economics adopted by Blair & Brown. The ‘NEW’ Labour architects with spin over substance and the sinister Mandelson lurking ever present. Any trace of ‘old’ Labour was buried and swept away.

tt

The Towers came tumbling down on the day the world changed forever. 9/11. Not quite one; but the free world came together in revulsion and awe at such  an audacious, incredible attack on the U.S.A. in her own back yard. Thousands of people killed at their desks or leaping from blazing buildings. Truly shocking.

Blair led by Bush into sanctioning shock and awe .Blasted Baghdad & killed tens of thousands , but in a collateral kind of way. Described as ‘damage’.  Tony consulted his God and sent thousands of British troops to Basra to look for weapons of mass destruction. Insead they found people who didn’t want them there, even though they, with massive American help had rid them of a merciless dictator who in actual fact had kept the lid on ancient enmities pretty well. Even as Saddam’s statue tumbled and the mob vented their spleens with the soles of their sandals a deep unease set in.

Mission Accomplished ! (?) Really ??

WMD! Remember that phrase? A few thousand more in Khaki & Desert boots went to Afghanistan with John Reed’s words ringing in their ears  ” you may well come back without a shot being fired” Over four hundred didn’t come back at all. Many more came back with fewer limbs than we can reasonably expect. The consequences of both these actions were simply not thought out. An almighty can of worms has been opened and molluscs now slither all across the region in the form of a barbarous death cult who glory in extreme violence and halal style execution. Horribly, the first cut is the deepest.

Foreign policy folly which has made us all more vulnerable on our own streets. Almost unbelievable to my generation. The IRA had an end game. Daesh?

And then. Betrayal on the home front. The EU, EEC or whatever we were TOLD to call it with that ring of yellow stars enlarging ever more decides to allow EIGHT more countries to join all at once in 2004. We were told to relax. The more enegetic citizens of these countries , all with much poorer economies might trickle over at  a rate of 13,000 per year looking for work.

Almost alone, Britain declared itself open house for migrant labour. The trickle started out as a very steady flow, became a flood, and is still  a raging torrent as Bulgaria and Romania sign up for the gravy train that is Britain today. We may have needed an immigration wave to help sustain our ageing population, but we did not need a tsunami !

migrant queue

The minimum wage has become a benchmark of aspiration for Eastern Europeans. For them it is riches beyond avarice. Most come to work and work most of them do, nobody can deny that. They go ‘home’ to shared houses and single rooms where their paltry pay can be diverted to the folks they left behind because they , for the most part can live frugally for a finite time.

Meanwhile we  indigenous Brits, and mores especially second & third generation ethnic minorities have a younger generation that struggle to find work some of whom see life on benefits as a viable option. A mind set  fostered by Thatcher and nurtured , nee honed the Blair government who admit wanting to rub our noses in diversity and abandoned vast swathes of the country.

In step U.K.I.P. from the fringes, to offer something akin to salvation,for me and many others.

I joined the party three years ago,. I sensed a change in politics and I wanted to contribute my two penneth. As a realistic ‘Kipper’ I see no hope of Government on any horizon I can contemplate. At best though we can take votes from both major parties. Already  we  have put immigration at centre of the agenda. Now there IS a novelty for you. No longer are valid concerns seen  as racist. In my view, most people ARE racist to some small degree. This is part of the human condition. A natural preference for those who resemble ourselves. Thankfully the vast majority are NOT extremist. I have no truck with  extremists. Yes, I preferred the Britain of my youth. Minus mosques, hate preachers and burkha clad women walking the streets but  we are where we are. We have to find a way of living in harmony, or a dreadful conflagration will ensue, sooner or later .

farage pledge

As a first step UKIP can prove the catlayst to an EU referendum In or Out. We need this as a nation. Whatever the outcome of a fair, evenly financed campaign it is the very least we deserve as a democracy.

If, as I expect UKIP can muster a handful of seats at this election, at best, perhaps eight or nine we may just have a fingerhold on the levers of power, and strive to hold others to account. Of course, this will almost certainly have to be the Conservatives.

Almost as important is the number of second places we can achieve. These may leave us poised for a more dramatic challenge in 2020. By then yet another Parliament of Lab/Con or even Labour, aided by the awful SNP  will have failed.  It is my gut feeling that support for Labour is dying in their former strongholds. People, like myself are desperate for change and eager to dump the old champions of ‘the left’
Those terms ‘left and right’ are  bygone concepts. There’s only right and wrong now, with common sense policies to commandeer a sensible way forward.

Anyone with  a political instinct will sense that the broad breadth of membership UKIP has attracted in a very short time will present problems moving forward. For me, for now that is irrelevant. Let’s help guide the country as far forward as a referendum and see where that takes us.

I’m a mere layman. Interested and engaged. I mix with people every day who regard me as some kind of political guru. Of which I am most certainly not!  Most are uneducated at best, disinterested at worse. Almost all say they will vote UKIP, and not just to shut me up!

I know migrants from Poland, and Hungary and count them as friends. They laugh at our ‘tolerance’. Graduates, settled & working in warehouses for minimum wage who  are behind UKIP. They think Britain is full & want to pull up the drawbridge behind them.

Farage’s party barely get any kind of positivity in the press. It seems every junior reporter has been despatched to dish the dirt. Turn over UKIP stones to examine what lurks beneath. Channel 4 has search parties looking for eccentrics and wayward patriots clinging to the UKIP banner and seek to suggest they are ‘typical’

They aren’t.

The Independent (whose Editor, Amol Rajan I greatly admire) produced a piece to try to explain the UKIP effect as notional, a class of people unafffected by immigration who fear immigration. An unlikely story. We are ALL affected! (*see link below)

A few benefit from cheap Nannies, Gardeners and Builders, but most don’t. Bosses with balance sheets to concern them love cheap, willing labour, always have and always will. For the rest of us also-rans , with our depressed wages, our limited opportunities, crowded hospitals, schools and our housing shortages life in 2015 has harsh realities.

However, nobody would be ‘asked’ to go home if they are here legally.Even in UKIP ‘land’ only bogus asylum seekers and illegal immigrants might be shown the door.

Over seventy of our candidates at this election come from ethnic minorities. Many  are women.

UKIP have not failed us yet.. All the others have.
Novel ? Yes..at last a sensible alternative and a chance to by-pass Lib/Lab/Con

Novelty? No. Not short lived, not a gimmick, but the last refuge of a long ignored chunk of the electorate tired of failure, betrayal and more than  ready to give a chance to those who offer to put Britain and the British first at every opportunity.

Independent article :

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/the-typical-ukip-voter-has-little-experience-of-immigration-9659499.html

hip replacements total..two of ’em ! My experience…

I’m a refugee (Percy Hipkiss) from the other forum – the re-surfacing one which seems more active. Hope this is not an omen !! It now looks as though I’m going to need two thr’s and not re-surfacing as was first mooted.

I went for a pre-op check last week and for a while the specialist and I were talking at cross purposes. He’s always suggested re-surfacing but it seems now he has new data, some new difficulties with stiffness and recommends that as my OA is unusual (in a different place at the bottom of the femur head) that THR is the best option. Apparently I have ‘medial pole’ arthritis….at the outer bottom edge of the femur head…the unusally affected places look clean as a whistle!

I’m less than thrilled to be honest. Though he does say the joint repair looks straighforward’. I’m probably going to have the first of these – the left- done in the next month on the British NHS service but possibly in a private hospital – they’ll pay for it.

I’m also a diet controlled diabetic, so infection is a slightly higher risk. This is why I’m keen on the surgery being done in a private hospital as they have a better reputation on the infection front. (update: surgery for both hips was at an NHS Hospital in Stockport)

I’m 57 years of age. Five ten with a BMI of 23 – perfect I’m told, though I’m no longer pretty!

I’ve had trouble with my left hip for six years. I’m a truck driver but have not yet had any time off due to arthritis. My right hip is now getting much worse. Buttocks ache – bed is often uncomfortable and the fleeting stabs of acute pain in both hips can be quite sickening.

Can’t walk much further than a few hundred yards without wincing – hence my nickname – my wife is ‘Wallet’ we’re Wallet and Grimace ! She’s long suffering too – largely because of me.

I keep the painkillers to a minimum. Partly because I like a beer or two or a glass of wine, but partly because I’d rather suffer a little than throw tablets down my neck with gay abandon.

I’ve really been very lucky with my general health and even though I have this problem I’m still fairly lucky – things could be much worse. I’m not looking forward to the procedure though. I’ll get next to no money from my employer whilst I’m off and my wife is in the throes of a redundancy round at her place of work. Great timing.
Never rains but it pours!

We’re comfortably off – ish and money is not too much of a worry. It’s pain and worse that troubles me

grimace
northern England

April 24, 2009

PART ONE

Easter Monday. Traditionally a British Bank Holiday. A day for outings to the seaside and sitting, smouldering in traffic jams on the drive home.

In the past I’d avoided the norm by taking a motor-cycle on Easter days, though this year was to be altogether different. The bike has gone now and anyway I was admitted to hospital in the late afternoon for total hip replacement surgery the very next morning.

I’m a 57 year old HGV Driver, part-time amateur blogger, photographer and Albaphile (I love Scotland). I have been struggling with osteo-arthritis in both hips, and the spine for several years now. Three weeks earlier I finally threw in the towel and ‘went sick’ from work, the aching, stiffness and unpredictability of both joints finally defeating me as surgery drew near. Other than the ‘Arthur’ and diet controlled Diabetes my general health has always been good.I’m five ten and 165 pounds.

Replacement Eve had proved another restless night – nothing unique in that as I have become used to aching , especially in the buttocks. A real live pain in the backside. I’ve been working my way through an Alfred Hitchcock ‘boxed-set’ – a Christmas gift. At 6-00am. my other half and I were lying in bed watching ‘Psycho’! apt preparation for a going ‘under’ the knife, albeit it in a hopefully less frenzied manner.

I’d chosen a hospital about six miles away and my Daughter was good enough to deliver me, with small suitcase on castors to the main entrance. My wife helped me strip out my necessaries and fill the inadequate locker beside my bed. One of four in a small side ward. When relatives had gone I made small talk with the other occupants. Also recent arrivals. Jim Knee and Bob Knee – not brothers, merely having their knees replaced and I do not want to use real names. I’d already been bracketed in with the ‘knee-jobs’ several times. For some reason almost every medico I came across had inferred that I was in their hospital for attention to the lower joint. If not quite hearing alarm bells, my mind was experiencing minor misgivings and a deternination to impress upon all concerned that my left hip was the target for tomorrow.

Jim and Bob had different stories. Jim was 84 years old, and had been struggling with arthritis for years. He was an agreeable, if curmudgeonly old chap and we talked long into the evening about the modern world and its many problems. He’d say things like ‘World War Two never did us any harm’ which I challenged of course, though in a gentle, emollient way, trying to prise some positivity from the likeable old grouch.

Bob was a different kettle of fish some twenty years younger. Apparently his knee’s demise was down to an old footballing injury. A claim he made with some pride. “I was told I’d the knee of a sixty year old when I was forty” he declared more than once. By that reckoning his knee was now as old as Jim’s. Both of them were well and truly knackered and as bullets were finally being bitten all round we shared a common empathy as the newly formed trio – locked into each others company got to know one another. Manchester City fans all. we had common memories to cover.

The staff were friendly, and informal. We were given a tea-time meal but were starved from midnight. Luckily, I was to be the first into Theatre the following morning. I slept well, but was awake when a Nurse called me for a shower around six am.

Newly scrubbed up I had to don a surgical gown which tied around the rear. I managed as best I could. Somewhat pensively I awaited the trolley ride to surgery, and potential oblivion.

A member of the Surgeon’s team visited me at my bedside and again asked which KNEE was affected! I momentarily lost patience and snapped back threats of court action! He apologised. Not until I was on my trolley literally and metaphorically did I see Mr Royal – my Surgeon. He explained that re-surfacing of the joint was inadvisable now after new research data. The metal on metal procedure is proving unsatisfactory on femur heads smaller than fifty millimetres. My own head is 48mm. He produced a thick black marker to draw an arrow on my left thigh, plus, as I discovered later, the word ‘HIP’ in large letters.

Soon we were off. I remember looking up at the ceilings of endless corridors as my trolley gathered pace. Wishing I had my film camera. A vertical outlook from a horizontal perspective would work well, as fluorescent lights sped by I mused. For in truth I was savouring the experience at this stage. I’d handed myself over to professionals and was now merely the point of their pay packet. I lifted my head to see a busy passageway of people who were moving aside to assist my progress.

Arriving finally, and transferred into the care of ‘Nicky, the Anaesthetist’s Nurse’. Her Boss had already explained my method of transfer to an unconscious, unfeeling state was to be a ‘spinal anaesthetic’

I had electrodes attached to my chest and elsewhere and a ‘canula’ was inserted into my right hand, where drip feeds could enter my body if required. They sat me up and applied a very cold solution to my back. He prodded and poked my lower lumber region feeling for a suitable place. On an anxiety scale of one to five I was hovering around three to four. Theatre staff were marvellous.

I felt a series of sharp pricks to my lower back. A highly unusual sensation soon followed which was momentarily unpleasant – a kind of ‘don’t go there’ warning from my central nervous system. I was told to lie on my back again as a welter of warmth began to creep up my legs. The Anaesthetist began to spray a very cold solution onto my left hand side, asking for feedback as to where I could feel the chill. As the sound of the spray soon became my only reason for knowing what was happening the numbness was clearly underway. A deep numbness, which would allow all manner of hacking, poking, dislocation and general abuse to go sailing over my head. Speaking of my head, I’d been given a mild sedative which made me feel woozy within minutes. I remember the team rolling me over onto my right hand side, some encouraging words and then I was in la-la-land. Half asleep.

I was happy there, I recall. A very pleasant dream ensued which I cannot remember in detail. I was in the recovery room within minutes, or so it seemed. In truth almost two hours had past. A pleasant male nurse talked about his horse-box , and his habit of jumping over fences on his favourite beast. Sitting astride horses has been out of the question for me for a long time and I doubt I shall start anytime soon. My canula was attached to two bags of liquid allowing drips of anti-biotics and I think, a saline solution to replace lost fluids.

Soon I was back in my bed in the small ward. People buzzed around for a while, then left me alone. For the first time in years I was lying on my back without aching….the ‘spinal’ had not yet worn off.

It was some several hours before it did so. By this time I was aware of an intense aching in the area of the left hip. I had an appetite though and was thirsty. A thirst which was slaked by water. As the others in the ward had by now gone to theatre themselves for their new knees I was alone, but happy to be so.

The rest of the day is a blur if I’m honest. I remember visitors of course, and I remember eating an evening meal. I was checked regularly for blood pressure and pulse etc. and assistance was there if needed. For a while it wasn’t.

to be continued – if the mods allow

April 26, 2009

Three Weeks Post Op

I’ve been home for five days now. and it’s twelve days since the op. A bed downstairs. Lots of TLC and attention from my Wife.

Nightly visits from the District Nurses to inject anti-clotting agents. Staples due out tonight.
I have some bruising to toes and ankle area. Left foot is a bit swollen.The leg feels a bit tender to touch, tight to stretch. I ache in the left buttock and can still only lie on my back.
I’m getting about okay on two crutches. Managing five to seven hours sleep a night downstairs.
Exercises are getting easier and I stick to the three times a day routine. Each day I walk about fifty metres outside.

Feel upbeat but will be glad to lose this ache. Still no real pain as yet. I’m up to the limit of eight Co-Dydramol p/k’s per day.

I had a pint of Guiness last night to address the iron defficiency pulse has almost normalised around 75 bpm resting.

grim

April 28, 2009

A little pain in the groin today and the ankle feels weak on rising – soon strengthens up. Bruised toes seem worse. Nothing to worry about. Have maintained exercises and been up and down the stairs and a short walk outside.

Sleeping more at night and easing off the painkillers a bit now – but I still have the other leg to think about.

May 5, 2009

My left leg (op) does seem a trifle shorter than the right. Which I suppose will leave me with a limp if it’s uncorrected.

At least my gait has improved I think, and I no longer look like John Wayne after ten hours in the saddle – not on both sides anyway.

Have cut the painkillers down to two in the middle of the night. I still cannot fully lie on the operated side. I don’t like sleeping on my back much.

The soreness in the heels is easing a lot and I’m going up and down stairs about ten times a day. This is my seventh week off work and I have to say I’m getting used to it !

I’ve had no pain at all in the left hip, and my range of movement is greatly improved. I can move the leg inward without feeling pain. I still ache a bit and the wound feels hard but it’s getting less noticeable with every day.

The bruising in the toes is undiminished though the swelling in the left leg is reducing slowly. Calf muscle a little tender, ankle likewise….not drastic.

May 8, 2009

I just finished my course of Ferrous Sulphate tablets so hopefully the iron/haemoglobin count is returning to something like normal (13 for a bloke – less for a lass).

I know it’s an acquired taste but Guinness is full of the stuff. Absorption is also aided by Vitamin C apparently. Who said a little knowledge can be dangerous? !

Any feelings of fluid in the leg? When I get up from lying all night I can feel tingling down to my ankle and the joint is sore for a minute or two. The bruising on the toes is still there and shows little sign of going anywhere soon.

I’ve started pumping iron to keep my upper body strength up too and lift small dumb-bells with 20kg. on ’em for about five minutes in a seated position. If I try lifting them over my head I can feel protests from down below on the operated side…so I don’t do it. The leg excercises are now easy-peasy but the one wear you bend the leg back as far is it will go well, I feel like there is a small towel rolled up and stuffed in tight behind my knee – must be fluid.

Keeping busy editing old holiday movies , following the stock market and becoming addicted to Jack Bauer (24) …not to mention the net, which fills in an hour or so each day.

May 12, 2009

Four weeks since the op.

My birthday today – 58.
Had an assisted scrub in the shower. Noted that the bruising in toes is starting to subside. Clalf and behind knee less tender to touch. Can put full weight on operated leg for a while and take a few unsupported steps. NO PAIN PUNCTUATED NIGHTS!
Have cut tablets right down to minimum and other leg now worse than the operated one.

That said the op’d one feels nothing like ‘normal’ yet and I expect that to take a few more weeks.

Wound all but healed now and contemplating an emollient (E45) to soften the scar a little. So relieved there was no infection.

Thanking our NHS in my mind and the fact that though I had to wait a while the excellent treatment was free at the point of delivery (forget the thousan££’s of ££ in taxes since 1967)

Glad I had thr now – not that I’m trying to diminish re-surfacing I just think this ceramic job the best option for me at this age.

Filling in forms to claim mortgage insurance – finances holding up well – no worries – enjoying life to be honest. Mebbe could do with getting out a bit more

grimace

May 14, 2009

Early doors I thought my operate leg was slightly longer – maybe a half inch or so.
Now I’m not sure. The leg was beautifully straight post op. but now seems a little less so and the discrepancy has all but disappeared.

I still use the crutch. I like the extra comfort the bracing action of the arm ring brings. Good job. Yesterday while I was stood on the kerb glancing at my paper outside the newsagents a ten year old girl walked straight into me. She simply wasn’t looking where she was going. Could have been nasty. Dizzy little thing never said a word and neither did her mother. Pre op. I’d have told her off for not saying ‘excuse-me’ or ‘sorry’ but I guess I feel less than feisty at the moment – or at least a tad vulnerable.

May 19, 2009

Five weeks yesterday since the op.
The remaining crutch has now given way to a stick. About ten per cent of the time I’m walking unsupported – albeit gingerly.

Yesterday I did fifteen minutes on the treadmill at 3.5 miles per hour which was fairly brisk. I felt it a little later in the evening…maybe I overdid things a bit. I ache a bit this morning but then again I’ve had little physical exertion for a long time now.

The bruising in the toes has cleared up completely. The instep and back of the calf and knee are only slightly tender – nothing really, I just wonder what causes it.

Daughter’s wedding next week – 28th. so should be able to attend no problem – maybe even stickless (not that I’m self-conscious) anyway it’s a very small, sensible wedding in the beautiful Derbyshire Peak District. Her first and hopefully last ! At the age of 37….her Husband to be has been married once before.

I’m working on a speech – actually bought it from a seller on e.bay – his i.d. was ‘leavethemlaffin’ – but as with many things on e.bay there are no guarantees. If I’ve done that gag before blame senility. Daughter will emerge with a double-barrelled name – surely the best form of ‘shotgun’ wedding ! Three children already in the frame so no plans for more.

How I wish them all well.

Still spending most of the time sat in the house – online or working on old movies (editing) or watching ’24’ My wife now resembles Jack Bauer !! as the weather is poor here…no surprises. The wealth of this area was built up in the 19th century because it’s so damp ! It was great for the cotton in all the textile mills. We have a predominance of grey skies, although as I type the sun is shining in the early morn.

Most other functions have normalised. I have a visit from ther Nurse to get blood tomorrow – her colleague failed miserably last Friday ! My veins are deep but no-one has ever drawn a complete blank before

Sleeping is still fractious. I still have a dull ache, particularly in the operated side. 2 x Co-Dydramols usually ‘see it off’ around 3am. so I can go back to kip….I’m usually up at six though..unable to lie in longer in any comfort. This is much as it was pre-op and I’m hoping things will change gradually.

I’m applying Bio-Oil to the now healed up wound and early signs are that it’s doing it some good.

I still have a big decision to make on the other hip. I’m not in a hurry to submit myself to another ‘THR’ this side of the Autumn…although when I get more mobile I will be able to evaluate just how much the difference is between both joints. My newly replaced hip was always the more painful.

Should be driving on the first of June and I’m looking forward to firing up the auld Audi once more. She has been missed.

Son Paul is up again at the weekend and the family have been extremely supportive over this period, as have some friends. It’s certainly a time for finding out just who your friends really are.

grimace

May 27 2009

Six weeks and a day now…time flies.

The Bio-Oil is brilliant – I’m applying it to old scars on my hands and it’s softening them up nicely – as is the extended absence from work! I’m a horny handed son of toil no longer. Wallet likes the smell but I mark the level off every neet

Doc says the haemoglobin count is well into double figures after last weeks blood tests.

Still can’t put my own left sock on. Buttocks ache at night but I’m pretty sure that’s down to the arthritis in the spine

The feeling of something ‘foreign’ in my hip is abating gradually and I feel stronger. 50% of the time I can walk without a stick. Will tax the car today and I will be driving myself to hospital on Monday.

Wedding tomorrow – a small doo as I said. When that’s nicely out of the way we can look forward to a holiday week up in Scotland early July.

Still contemplating the ‘other hip’ and will take advice from the experts.
Looks like the weather is bucking up a bit – not before time.

June 1, 2009

Seven weeks tomorrow. How quickly these weeks go by.

I drove over the weekend – first time in seven weeks …no problem really, just stiff as I got out of the car even after a short hop.(unoperated leg and buttocks)

Hospital this morning for the six week check. All good really. They are pleased with the wound, and my strength. Still cannot get a ninety degree bend but they have said not to worry at this stage and have told me how to work on it – by pulling the leg back manually with a towel, or long strap.

Other leg….well, still have a decision to make but I’m on the list. I think I’d rather wait for a five or six month gap between the two ops. It is now noticeably worse than the operated leg. Todays X- Rays show hardly any joint space.

Young lass had a feel of me wound and says it’s nice and softish – Bio-Oil !! resul.  No soreness to speak of around there either.

X-Ray on the ceramic shows all sited well and it looks er….big! … and quite beautiful in a strange kind of way… (sorry, I’m getting carried away)

Felt a right Charley in the surgical gown – I’d put it on the wrong way round and had to walk down the corridor with all and sundry looking on holding the thing together at the front…. – bare legs and a pair of shoes and socks !

Feel good. Did a bit of gardening when we got back from Hospital. Bending down is a challenge but can almost be done. Had my first stand up shower this morning – all on me own. Wallet’s put the talcum away – I can’t be bothered with all that so long as I’m clean.

Operated leg feels more normal by the day – I’d now rate it at 85%….the coming few weeks I’m told will make all the difference. It’s never going to be as good as my own hip once was but the pain free/stiffness free/ache free aspects is encouraging me to get the other one sorted out in due course
cheers
GrimaceOh! still can’t quite get me left sock on !

June 9, 2009

8 weeks on.

Scar itches a bit but no bother with it at all.
Walking about three miles a day or half an hour on the treadmill…canal tow-paths are a favourite. Luckily we’ve had some good weather.
Other leg is not so bad at the moment either.
Best thing? Night time. Sleeping is not so fractured aand the aching buttocks have been alleviated as the healing on the op’d side seems to have helped the other side.

Legs ache a bit after walks but I’ve not done so much exercise in many a year.

Have sometimes to remind myself that the left hip is artificial.

Decision day on the right is drawing ever closer.

grimace

June 17, 2009

Nine weeks yesterday…
My heart is okay – ECG revealed all is ‘perfectly normal’ Some fascinating imagery via the ultra-sound…what a busy muscle!

I checked the waiting list and I could be bi-lateral by the end of July…mmmm.

Walking almost everyday. A tiring four miles yesterday again by the canal….the Macclesfield Canal this time. Theraputic – as is the photography I’m working on….some gorgeous scenes out there at this time of year, especially as the sun keeps on shining (not today though)

Still sleeping quite well with buttock aches alleviated. I’m looking forward to a bath now, and lying on the un-operated side (3 weeks). Have virtually dispensed with painkillers – the other hip has been behaving better but is still aching and stiff….I put up with it rather than stuff tablets down my neck.

The operated hip is about 90% functional and there is an absence of pain.

Driving is no problem but I’m careful how I get in and out – my car suddenly seems quite low. A bit of light digging in the garden the other day too. I’m not sure how I found the time to go to work pre-op!

I’m not going to post anymore on this unless something dramatic happens – hopefully it wont. Ill be back when I have some news to report.

grimace

July 1, 2009

Eleven weeks for me and something dramatic has happened!

I’ve decided to take the Surgeon’s advice and go for the second op. on the 21st. July. My GP ‘grimaced’ when I told him it was soon but the expert says there’s no problem. My body has normalised with bp 128/80 and resting pulse rate around 60. The ehart has been declared normal following an ‘echo’ gram. I had my pre-op assesment on tuesday and all went well.

I’m not relishing the op. as there are some unpleasant procedures but at least I know what to expect now. If I have same experiences as with the first one it will be well worth it (he said trying to convince ‘imself)

I’ve been walking up and own the canals around here and it’s been a real eye opener -some wonderful spots to admire the Chehsire scenery. (I now want a narrowboat )

Off up to Scotland very soon for a bit more walking and wine drinking – a week when I get back then it’s the big ‘O’…for op.

Will keep you posted.
p.s. I get the odd twinge from the scar when I’ve walked a lot but no other ill effects on the operated side. Changed a wheel on the car today – cut the grass etc.

grimace

July 29, 2009

For the first time since this journey into hip replacement surgery had begun, I was afraid.

I was crouched forward on an operating table wearing a surgical gown, minutes away from the second of two major operations. Yes, it’s routine surgery – of course it is, tens of thousands of these are carried out successfully every year but…but after the great success and partial liberation of the first one just three months ago, was

Was I pushing my luck? The only pushing I could feel as the fear kicked in was the deft fingertips of my Anaesthetist…long needle in his other hand I assumed as he probed for a suitable entry point at the very base of my spinal column.

His first choice was not a good one as I felt the most dreadfully overwhelming tingling sensation down the length of my left leg and foot. I protested firmly but calmly and he re-assured me as he resumed his finger prods.

I was now crouched so far forward it was beginning to be uncomfortable, my whole back was exposed to the crack of my backside. He openly appreciated my restraint as I talked him through the way I was feeling. A minute or so earlier the whole area had been brushed with an ice cold solution which had the aroma of something clinical about it.

As success was declared and a better needlepoint allegedly found a sickening warmth began to spread around my lower body, and then gradually up to my thighs. The banter which had been flowing gave way to impatient overtones from the Surgeon, now in the room and keen to get on with matters. An aerosol of very cold liquid was sprayed up the entire length of both of my legs and I had to tell them when I could feel it.

This was all very familiar from the last time and seemed to progress normally. Eventually I could feel the spray only on my abdomen in the midriff. Satisfied the treatment was working the team – six handed turned me over somewhat unceremoniously onto my newly ‘good side’.

More prodding and poking in the area of the hip but I could feel it.. This did not seem right and when I sensed the Surgeons thumb or finger tracing the outline of the incision onto my upper thigh I spoke out. Loudly !Immediately the decision to ‘put me to sleep’ was taken. There was no going back now, even though I knew a general anaesthetic carried implications for the swiftest of recoveries.

The Consultant re-assured me there was nothing to worry about and the next thing I knew was waking in the ward with a ‘V’ shaped abductor cushion between my widely separated legs, and something of a thirst.

So came and went the next few days in extreme discomfort bordering pain.A gradual process of slightly increased mobility. As the Physiotherapists began their limited work. On the day following the op. I was walking a few yards with a zimmer frame. This was easier than crutches because the bag containing my urine – delivered by catheter and a tube could be hooked onto the device. The right leg was extremely swollen and already showed signs of serious bruising.

I assumed the knock-out drops had enabled the Surgeon to be slightly quicker, perhaps slightly rougher with his expert handiwork.

I was wheeled off on a trolley for an x-ray which seemed to suggest the new ceramic lined prosthesis was sitting exactly where it should be. The first two nights in hospital were painful and long. It emerged I’d been given only half strength pain relief . Once the liquid morphine was administered correctly on a three hourly basis I was feeling more on top of the pain which though never agonising, was considerable.

The attention in hospital (surgery aside) was only ever three star at best. Perhaps this is all we can expect. I was in ward of eight beds which emptied at a surprising rate, not to be refilled. My eventual departure left only one other patient contemplating a quiet night ahead.

Food was reasonable and care varied from Nurse to Nurse – Auxiliary to Auxiliary and largely the older the staff the more caring they seemed.. Asking for things – always kept to minimum – was a hit and miss affair.

Fresh drinking water or a ‘pee bag’ emptied perhaps. All brought a variable response. Many had attitude and I needed to hold my tongue on a couple of occasions…this was no place to make enemies.

A black nurse called Jessie put the tube in my penis. She was skilled and it didn’t hurt. Still, the tube went in with a minimum of discomfort. Unlike the needle which delivered the freezing lubricant into my todger.The real discomfort though had come earlier when I had rolled around my bed for almost an hour in some distress awaiting the instant relief this urinary evacuation offered.Last time I had the op. I was ’inside’ for eight days due to a sinking haemoglobin count . Due to a low blood count

I was anaemic. My heart responded with an erratic episode I was really hoping to be home sooner this time. The ward was right at the end of a huge corridor and all of us declining number of patients felt we were dealt with as something of an afterthought.

– thankfully this was not repeated and by Saturday – still as sore as hell and barely mobile

I was discharged. I’d weaned myself off the morphine the night before as I’d no idea I could continue this at home. Back on ‘ordinary’ painkillers the night was a slow and long one once more.

Despite the efforts of my Physio –

Gemma – a fresh faced girl who looked about fifteen I could not for the life of me lift the leg whilst lying on my back. I could manage to lift from the knee but the hip-lift seemed as though something had been dis-connected. She encouraged – I worried. All other movement was possible with a grimace and a grunt. Slow progress was being made as the exercises were ritually performed three times a day. I’d now gone tubeless and the crutches had replaced the ‘zimmer’ After just three days I was washing myself and making day time raids on the loo – bowels were open too which is always a bonus and cannot be taken for granted after upheaval such as this.

Son Paul motored miles to collect me on Saturday morning, and after five days it was so good to be home. I just about managed to wedge myself across the rear seat of his Rover 45.

Home for four nights now and things are still tough. I hurt. Disconcertingly and unlike the other side some of the pain is familiar (unlike the left side when the aching was all knew and seemed temporary)

I now expect several weeks of slow progress, more discomfort, hard work and not a little pain. I’m up for a challenge once more. Glad to be infection free (he reckoned) and will feel better once the line of metal clips holding this wound together is cut away by the District Nurse. I’m injecting myself daily now with anti-clotting agents.

Lots of tender loving care at home and food of the highest quality and nutritional value will see me through this. My day is made up of several sorties around the house trying to get comfy. I can manage fifteen minutes at the keyboard…the lap top – bedside with a very light & wireless keyboard across my stomach has facilitated this ‘bulletin’ .

Outside the weather is grey and damp. Summer has gone. My view is enhanced though by Wallet’s new ‘Birdfeeder De-Luxe’ and we are regularly visited by a horde of Sparrows each vying for a place in the pecking order and or two gormless ringed Doves who twitch and gawp before flying off again.

August 5, 2009

Two weeks post op. Swelling has gone down a lot in the leg. Bruising seems to have subsided too – to negligible levels. Not as much swelling or bruising to the foot this time. Painkillers down by 30%.

Still injecting myself daily with ‘clexane’ to prevent blood clots – fingers x’d.

Had most of the metal clips out yesterday: a ‘student’ hurt me with the first three….wife intervened and the professional took over…didn’t feel another thing. An inch of the wound is granulated so they left the clips in the area stay until tomorrow.

Still using two crutches but leg feeling stronger – other leg (op in April) feels really strong and versatile. I’m now at the stage where the tingling in the leg on rising from lying/sitting down is easing too. Things slowly normalising all round. Feel like a babies wrist & fist is clenched inside my hip – obviously it’s the big prosthessis…went through that  last time and the feeling subsides.

All in all I’m in a better place than I expected to be a week ago. Thanks to tlc at home and good food etc.

I’m only walking about two to three hundred yards a day at the minute and will build it up slowly.

Not quite bionic but certainly ceramic – -Life’s not bad.

grimace

August 13, 2009

……twenty three now since the second op. Forgive me for dwelling on the matter a bit but at the moment it’s uppermost in my mind. I’m aware that some folk who are contemplating similar surgery look in from time to time and feel almost duty bound to comment. I have been looking back on the last blog and it’s proving valuable as a reference point to progress.

The new hip is feeling stronger. I’m down to one crutch (other side) I can put more and more weight on the joint and feel confident it will support it. I still have some tenderness in the lower leg and ankle and put this down to fluid. The swellings though have almost completely subsided. The right leg is not quite completely straight when I bring my feet together – suggesting a slight discrepancy in leg length but this can correct itself over time. Attendant back and inner leg pain has subsided to tolerable levels and I’m down to just 2/4 co-codamols per day (usually night). I hope to dispense with these in the next six weeks.

The wound is causing some discomfort (mild) and I’ll be glad when the last couple of inches has healed enough to get the dressing away completely. The top half of the scar is undressed and looks fine. although some of the staple holes are tender – they even feel as if bits of metal are still in there – unlikely.

I can sleep on the operated side but it’s not very comfortable – however it makes a welcome change from lying on my back all the time. I can’t lie on the good side yet for fear of dislocation.Sleep is fitful and I wake every hour or two. Last night a nearby burglar alarm went off (false alarm) at one am. which didn’t help – good turnout of neighbours though.

Urine is not flowing so freely now though – settling down a bit it seems- to more normal overnight levels.

I try to remain upbeat – I talk about the upsides and the downs – the latter are becoming fewer as the lght at the end of the tunnel gets a bit bigger (someone said it could be a train !).

When friends call it’s a real tonic – as was having my Grandaughter to stay yesterday. I showed her how to find towns and villages via the index in a Road Atlas and she enjoyed it. More people should do this kind of thing – small practical tasks for kids. I stuck to simple spellings – like Wem , Duns and Ely. She seemed keen to concentrate on Wales though which is currently uppermost in her affections – Scotland and France have been temporarily relegated (probably ’til the next trip to either – allowable when yer six!) but easily to read place names are thin on the ground west of Offa’s Dike !

I’m awaiting the District Nurse to check the wound. The sun is shining and I’ve been for a short walk already this morning – keen to ‘go again’ when she’s been. It’s Thursday and the weeks not far from done. Wallet’s course has progressed well and it’s the last day tomorrow. Being alone all day hasn’t really phased me afer all I’mused to it but I’ll be glad when she’s finished…so will she…she’s been walking five miles a day back and to. Hopefully in another month or so we’ll be covering similar distances together along canals and the by-ways of the region.

Target time to think about a possible return to work is October’s end, but I have to first satisfy myself – and possibly my employer that I can still do the job and perform routine tasks, as well as contort meself as is necessary from time to time in the rufty-tufty world of truckin’.

Big Son Paul is coming up at weekend and I’m looking forward to a trip out locally and to seeing him. This time he’s staying over so perhaps a good chinwag and a few glasses of Guinness or something similar. He’ll be away early on Sunday mornijng though to pick up his lorry in the afternoon and head for Scotland from Leicestershire. It’s all go for some folk – and I still remember when it was for me…just about!

August 16, 2009

Progress report – July hip.A troublesome inch and a quarter of the wound has not yet healed.
The joint feels a bit stronger and I can put more weight on it.
I’m using just once crutch now and have been for a week.
Still feel a bit lethargic. Almost all bruising has gone but there is a bit of tenderness around the calf and ankle – nothing much. Hardly any tingling now when I stand up after lying for a while.
Sleep is still fractured. Not too comfortable lying down yet – just like last time. Not had a painkiller for forty-eight hours though now.

Tried to get into the car to move it a few feet yesterday – awful feeling in the April hip – set me back a bit, for a moment I thought I’d put something ‘out’ !

Okay now though, just done seven minutes on the treadmill and will build it up. The weather is uninspiring for walks and I’m so used to the area now I’ll be glad when I can get a bit further afield.

District Nurse xalls tomorrow to check the wound – will be glad when I can get some Bio_oil on it – hopefully next week.

cheers and keep smilin’
grim

August 26, 2009

Just over five weeks now since the July hip and the dressing is off! The bottom end of the second wound is slightly raised but its healed up. Perhaps bio-oil will flatten and soften it a little as time goes on. I’m can walk without a stick about ten per cent of the time (as with the first op.) I’m using the treadmill now and do fifteen minutes at three miles per hour. I’ll build this up gradually. Next Tuesday I can drive once more. I can get in and out of cars okay with care. I raise the seat with a cushion.

I take very few painkillers now as and when needed. No more than two a day (or night).
I can sit more comfortably although the area of the wound is a bit more uncomfortable than last time – I’m unsure why. However, it is bearable. I lie in now! No longer do I wake up in the morning after a fitful night with aching – feeling like I’d been kicked in both buttocks by a donkey. First job in the morning for Wallet though is to help me on with my right sock ! Still can’t manage that.

Wallet says I appear a couple of inches taller because I am ‘walking much straighter’ and my legs are no longer bowed. We have a saying around this part of the world ‘he couldn’t stop a pig in a ginnel’ well this no longer applies. My gait looked dreadfully laboured before and pain was etched upon my face just before I had the first op. I feel I’ve been given a new lease of life even at this relatively early stage.

I owe a lot to the medical staff who attended me in hospital and here at home. I think I’ve timed the ops just right and the five or six years of working with severe arthritis are just a memory now. It was never ‘crippling’ – just debillitating and wearing beyond measure sometimes, and those sharp stabs of pain led to brief feelings of sickening despair.I have had no pain whatsoever for about three weeks now. In the April hip there has been no aches, pains or even discomfort since late May!

In hospital they would occasionally ask us to ‘score our pain’ and with this in mind I feel ready to score the whole process of bi-lateral hip replacement. Of course things can still go wrong and however long these hips last they are never quite as good as the healthy, bone, cartilege and gristle variety but comparing myself before and after I’d say the benefits rate an eight out of ten. Maybe a nine in a couple of months – watch this space.

I look forward to a six or seven week period building up my strength and mobility after which I’ll decide on options for the future.

I RETURNED TO WORK. IT’S NOW ALMOST SIX YEARS LATER. ALL GOOD.

Coincidence

Since an almost accidental RE-introduction to a long disbanded band called ‘All About Eve’ via my Granddaughter…Eve..I have been drawn to their music, but only because it’s brilliant. A gem of a discovery really and singer Julianne Regan has proven to be a real diamond. Interesting and engaging via ‘social-media’.  Very different politically,I can understand that,  but enigmatic and deep. I’m deep myself but have hidden shallows like most blokes.

Now: On Jan 4th Ms.Regan tweeted about a book called ‘Nineteen Twenty One’ which to me suggested a year in the 20th.century. I saw the tweet on January 6th.

Jan 4th. was the anniversary of my Dad’s death. January 6th. was his birthday. He was born in Nineteen Twenty One. Just Coincidence? almost certainly,as I’m not given to flights of fancy, neither was my Dad. But I really do have to read those stories now. All of ’em.

Resurrection!!

Velvet 225_copy_copy

Decided to re-establish this blog because there’s a few things I need to get off my chest. It’s election year after all. I write primarily for myself, and my own entertainment but will occasionally ask folks to visit. Time has moved on apace and it’s a couple of years I think since my Thatcher post. Retirement looms in sixteen months at most. perhaps writing will help me fill my time. Now, off to the Etihad in the winter chill where we hope City will roast Burnley.      Thank You.

Boys Don’t Cry

I’d bought this film three or four weeks previously. Mentioned by someone whose opinions I‘m interested in. Given the subject matter of gender identity, confusion and sexuality it’s some little distance away from my comfort zone.  My Wife’s too. She in fact had to be persuaded to watch it. Such matters had little relevance to us growing up. Save for one incident in C & A when my Mother berated a couple of transvestites who were rummaging through the women’s underwear department. I kid you not. As I , a boy of possibly nine, or ten or years old noticed they had hands like ham shanks, and wore clopping great size nine or ten high heels with footballer’s legs,  enmeshed in seamed stockings! Mother called the Management and had them escorted off the premises. Men at C & A banished ! That little episode stayed with me, but seldom since have I needed to consider gender as a grey area if I’m honest. Sheltered life? Perhaps.But to the film in question….

imagesGGHIRAQQ

…for starters I did not know I was watching a true story until had ended! The challengingly slow pace was in fact, a matter of building blocks to this truth being carefully, some might say painstakingly assembled. I almost nodded off at one point – no surprises there then. Rural Nebraska…let’s just say ‘Nebraska’ is not located at the end of the world, but it’s not far away either. Twenty years ago it was closer still. The testosterone driven culture of Pool Hall bars, Budweiser beer and macho men that we ourselves discovered on our road-trip of its neighbouring states in 2000. We didn’t like it then and this retrospective view was equally unappealing. Into this land of the redundant Cowboys and pick-up driving macho-patriarchs is born one Teena Brandon. A misfit. A man inside, yet externally a woman. Given breast flattening bandages and a short back and sides hairdo she was fairly convincing. No less due to the acting skills of Hilary Swank, who won an Oscar for this role – deservedly so. Trying desperately to be herself, despite inevitable castigation from an uneducated, unenlightened cohort of rednecks and mundane drunks she finally meets Lana. A pretty teenager, saddled with an alcoholic, un-ambitious Mother. Lana, destined or it seems to sooner or later succumb to the dubious charms of a man who has closely ‘watched her grow’. Scenically bordering on the bleak, rural openness of this huge land-mass with several shots of power lines and pylons. A metaphor for connectivity in this pre-wireless age perhaps. Boring and mundane topography reinforces the helplessness of Lana. A tender girl. Bored rigid by her circumstance. She sees escape in Brandon. Although at this stage she still thinks he’s a young man. The story’s tortured path ultimately sees Teena and Lana in a variety of ever more intimate intertwining . Brandon eventually comes clean – after falling foul of the law –  admitting, from behind bars, to ’hermaphrodite’ status. A word I’ve not used much since Biology lessons at Wythenshawe Tech.

bdc1

As the two star crossed lovers consummate their fledgling love for one another a sense of foreboding permeates the production. The brutish, reaction to this unorthodox union from the ignoramus whose long term designs on Lana are being thwarted is a nasty rape scene where the two drunken Neanderthals force themselves on Teena at a deserted agro-industrial plant. The Police investigation that follows this heinous crime is almost equally criminal. Judgemental comments and questions from a Sheriff who seems to belong to another, chauvinistic age ushers Teena’s protestations toward fantasy status. Suggestive innuendo and lazy assumptions betray the lawman’s prejudice, and lack of sympathy. The rapists are released. Soon afterwards their murderous intent becomes all too obvious and plans are laid, and executed to murder Teena. There is collateral damage too as Candace, a young mother is also shot in cold blood. Only when the film ended did I realise this was a true story (with alterations). But then, how could someone concoct such a grim tale, I wondered. I seldom wake up thinking of films I have seen the night before. This morning I did. ‘Boys Don’t Cry’ reminded me a little of ‘Easy Rider’ . In the land of the free, conforming is optional, ONLY if you don’t mind upsetting a sizeable minority. Live and let live is an alien concept to many of the U.S. citizens it seems. Although things have undoubtedly loosened up a little by now,  to appear ‘different’ is to be challenged with varying degrees of intensity, and hostility. At times I am reminded that conservative values are not always good ones. There’s no harm in that.

We can’t let Maggie go…..(quietly?)

What do you say about the late Margaret Thatcher? For every complimentary adjective there is a negative, or even an insulting one lurking in the minds of many. Resolute, committed, indefatigable, indomitable:

Stubborn, dogmatic, nasty, vindictive.

Whatever she was, she has gone now. Left us just in time for all the old divisions to re-surface. For she didn’t just divide the country, she polarised it. Many people became better off, entrepreneurial and prospered under her charge. She was all about the individual, and when the individual was a winner she was firmly on their side. For us also-rans she came up with the ‘right-to-buy’ and for the losers she came up with little but a sneering, detached contempt.She did like ‘triers’ though, I’ll give her that.

She led us into  a recession which many believe was unavoidable. I lost a half-decent job in 1980 as the collateral damage of her monetarist policies began to bite. She took on those Trade Unions and their leaders who saw themselves as supreme. Buckton,  Scanlon, Jones, Gormley & Scargill…how those names rolled off the tongue back then. How many Trade Union leaders can YOU name today?

She put more of people’s own money into their own pocket and gradually, living standards and material possessions began to improve & increase…for all.Though I always though that was more by accident than design.

She took us to a war of liberation on the other side of the world. The swelling of national pride which followed victory propelled her popularity from  a deep nadir to the darling ‘iron lady’ . The Falklands war ensured her electoral success in 1983, and soon the economy picked up for many and she went on to win  a third term.

So now the Conservative Party eulogise and regret her passing. Such  a shame then that it was the Conservative Party which got rid of her in the end. They thought the qualities they had once drooled over in  a succession of  ‘not for turning’ moments had become a liability.

We have the usual rent-a-mob hard left and the Sons and Daughter of Anarchy dancing in the streets to celebrate the death of this frail old woman. Many too young to have been directly affected. They rejoice. Some of them  are teenagers, the progeny of the embittered, or more likely given the nature of teenagers the offspring of those who prospered and who are keen to latch on to  a cause. Those who celebrate & dance at her death do themselves no favours. But if she had suffered this fatal  stroke c.1982 when her nadir was engulfing all then the streets would have been full…remember those yellow  ‘Don’t Blame Me, I voted Labour’ car stickers? I do. And I did.

The plans for an elaborate funeral, with the gun carriage and the pomp & circumstance is a big mistake. For there will be violence, and there will be malevolence. Talk of a minutes silence at football matches is even more ridiculous. The silences will be drowned out by jeers and catcalls, especially in the north of England.

A private ceremony followed by  a memorial service at St.Paul’s would  be more appropriate. If the nation ‘can’t let Maggie go’ with dignity then we will all suffer the embarrassment, the division and the old schisms will endure. May she Rest in Peace if she can. I didn’t like her stewardship of our country  but what followed was far  worse in ways I could never have dreamed of.