You Are All Selfish and Stupid


That is my opinion of the organisers and attendees at this illegal rave.

We are constantly being told that it is the older generation, including me, that are at risk, that we should be abiding by the social distancing rules and self isolating.

And yet this message is somehow lost on the young in this country. Although this incident was happening in Wales, it is just one of many that are happening across the whole of the UK.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/live/world-53964059?ns_mchannel=social&ns_source=twitter&ns_campaign=bbc_live&ns_linkname=5f4bc30d95391c0663f22ff8%26Up%20to%203%2C000%20people%20at%20illegal%20rave%20in%20Wales%2C%20say%20police%262020-08-30T15%3A51%3A44.378Z&ns_fee=0&pinned_post_locator=urn:asset:a5277dc4-578d-4d5f-9144-a061256100bd&pinned_post_asset_id=5f4bc30d95391c0663f22ff8&pinned_post_type=share

The young quite happily ignore all the rules. They ignore the fact that anything they pick up, at these events and other such gatherings, will be taken home and shared with their friends and family. Shared with their parents and, possibly, their grandparents.

Ch Supt Simon Belcher says: “This type of illegal gathering is totally unacceptable and we are aware of the concerns it is causing for the local community.

“I would like to again remind people of their obligations under the current coronavirus legislation and the overarching goal for everyone to take personal responsibility by following Welsh government regulations to keep Wales safe.”

What is required is that the government give the powers to clamp down on these incidents and for the authorities to exercise those powers.

The message isn’t getting through. It is time to make examples of the organisers and the attendees.

100 Minutes Wasted


100 minutes of my life, wasted, that I’ll never get back.

I just watched “The Last Man”.

What a waste of celluloid that is. Starring Hayden Christensen and Harvey Keitel.

Maybe Christensen is a bit young, but Keitel is old enough and ugly enough to know better.

The story is a formulaic, end of days, apocalyptic drama with added skinhead / nazi yobs.

Christensen plays a PTSD suffering veteran who builds a secret underground shelter. He receives advice from a street prophet played by Keitel.

Christensens character is never convincing and Keitels is even less so.

I really do wish that I had some paint drying, so I could have watched that instead.

My advice, avoid this movie.

Vampires Rock


It was Saturday night, we were in Bournemouth and we, well I really, were a little trepidatious. You see, we were going to see Steve Steinmans “Vampire Rocks” and we really didn’t know what to expect.

truckside

I’d seen the posters, visited the website but that doesn’t prepare you for the show. Even, while waiting to enter the auditorium, studying the audience as they entered the Pavilion Theatre foyer does not give any clues. I’ll admit to be a little concerned when I saw a guy, that must have been in his seventies, pushing one of those three wheeled zimmer frame contraptions. He must be a regular as the lady behind reception spoke to him like an old friend and was warning him that it was going to be loud. Obviously some of the audience had been to see Mr Steinman before as they were wearing costumes that wouldn’t have looked out of place in a Hammer Horror movie. And there were kids there too.

We were soon seated, the band took their places and we were off. Driven into the backs of our seats, like the old Memorex tapes advert from the seventies. The show also got off to a flying start, literally. The flying carried out by Steve Steinmans radio mic, presumably caught in his long coat, which was whipped out of his hand as he made his dramatic entrance. Once the mic was retrieved the show, which had spluttered a little in first gear suddenly went into overdrive.

Very soon feet were tapping and we were all clapping along. With Steve Steinmans able leadership we were treated to many classic rock rock anthems which included Queens “We Will Rock You”, T’paus “China in your Hand”, Bonnie Tylers “I Need A Hero”, Europes “The Final Countdown” and The Stones “Sympathy For The Devil” just to name a few.

It’s really hard to categorise the show. We have previously experienced “Rocky Horror…” and also Draculas in Queensland. It’s a bit of each of them but it is much more. Vampires Rocks is a cross between a rock concert (featuring a covers band), a musical show and a pantomime. Should Steve Steinman ever read this, despite what he said on the night, it really is a bit like a pantomime. We had the villain, the virginal heroine, the faithful servant who becomes a hero but most of all we had the audience interaction including the “behind you” moment. Most of all we were treated to the lightening fast adlibs and responses to the heckling.

Since most of the action takes place in the Live And Let Die Club I guess I shouldn’t forget to mention the pyrotechnics, the sexy costumes and the cage dancing which does set this show apart from your average panto.

The show is first and foremost about the music which tells the story, loosely tied together by moments of theatre, an evening of entertainment combining burlesque, contemporary music and comedy.

Highlight of the evening, well one of them, was when, to AC/DCs “Hells Bells”, we were treated to a display of aerial silk acrobatics.

Lowest moment of the evening was during Guns N’ Roses “Sweet Child Of Mine”, not one of my favourites anyway, but we were treated to the most appalling guitar solo I have ever heard.

Most bizarre moment was when the main character Count von Rockula has been shot with a crossbow by Van Halensing. A member of the audience decided to join in and offered Coun Von Rockula an NHS Crutch !!!

All in all though, a thoroughly enjoyable evening. We had tears of laughter and our ears were ringing for quite some time after leaving the theatre.

NB: Another draft, long overdue for publishing. The show was back in March 2019.

Limousin, France – Day 14


The morning started with heavy rain and thunderstorm surrounding the gite. With breakfast and the storm all done by 09:15, and with the sky brightening, we took to the car and set off. Todays target was Bort des Orgues but as usual we made detours or stopped off en route.

After filling up the fuel tank at Bugeat we pulled over to take in the beautiful vista that is le Lac de Viam. This is an artificial lake which now provides beaches from which many water based leisure activities are launched. And, as well as a feast for the eyes, the lake is an integral part of the French hydro-electricity network.

le Lac de Viam
le Lac de Viam, Correze, France

After enjoying the view we continued on our way, but not for long. Another small detour took us to Le Mont-Bessou just north of the town of Meymac.
Here we climbed the viewing tower

Viewing Tower, Le Mont-Bessou, Correze, France
Viewing Tower, Le Mont-Bessou, Correze, France

which I have since discovered

is built of Douglas fir, braced with steel cables, and is triangular in plan. 188 steps and six intervening landings, take the visitor to the main viewing platform, which is 26 metres (85 ft) above the ground.

Which probably explains why I came close to being seasick so far away from the sea. The tower resonates with every step as you ascend and never quite seems to settle, never quite stationary. Presumably that is why they have this mounted on the top deck in the middle of the floor.

Swing-O-Meter, Viewing Tower, Le Mont-Bessou, Correze, France
Swing-O-Meter, Viewing Tower, Le Mont-Bessou, Correze, France

I’m pleased to say that I did not see the pendulum swing out of the center circle.

All that aside, the views were, despite the clouds, spectacular.

View from viewing tower, Mont-Bessou, Correz, France
View from viewing tower, Mont-Bessou, Correz, France – Looking towards Meymac

View from viewing tower, Mont-Bessou, Correz, France
View from viewing tower, Mont-Bessou, Correz, France

All the fresh air, scenery and climbing the tower had made us hungry. So on we travelled to Bort des Orgues where we sat on the terrace of the Central Hotel overlooking the river and ate a superb lunch.

NB: I just discovered this post, in draft state. I don’t feel it is complete but have submitted it as is because my memories of that day are truly hazy.

Thank You Boris


Finally Boris speaks out against the stupidity being perpetrated by the BBC.

“I think it’s time we stopped our cringing embarrassment about our history”

Hear hear !!!

£4.2m development approved – Ignores Needs Of Locals


https://www.portsmouth.co.uk/news/politics/controversial-ps42m-housing-development-portsmouth-gets-go-ahead-2951117

Yet another development goes ahead, driving rough shod over the needs of, and ignoring the existing issues that plague, the local residents.

Proposals for 16 affordable homes, comprising 7 houses and 9 flats, to be built on the corner of Doyle Avenue and Nothern Parade in Hilsea.

16 homes, but with parking provision for only 12 cars. According to the councils own standards the site should provide 29 parking spaces, yet they approved this much reduced proposal.

Why ? Why have guidelines if you don’t stick to them ?

“The surrounding roads are past saturation point as confirmed by the highways engineer. Evenings and weekends are dire as people are parking illegally” So says Janet Rennell-Smith, a local resident from nearby Westwood Road.

Lib Dem Councillor Lee Hunt, not missing an opportunity for a dig at the current Conservative Government, said “The city council is under huge pressure from the Conservative government to build 12,000 new units of accomodation in or city and that’s what we’re trying to acheive”

Typical blame game from the Lib Dems, sounds like our honorable councillor is saying “It’s not our fault, we were just following orders”

Tory Councillor, Terry Norton, was at least prepared to stand up to all that “pressure” and requested that the proposal be rejected.

This is typical of the local councils, in this area, who crumble and give in to the all powerful developers rather that standing firm and considering the needs of their constituents, the folks that voted them into office in the first place.

Our councillors should be forcing developers to provide adequate parking for any new development and to ensure that any such development does not exacerbate any existing issues.

Portsmouth is an island city so is cannot expand past its coastal border. Any development that provides an increase residential units will always add to the traffic and the need for parking. Portsmouth is already blighted by a lack of available parking. Many folks cannot park outside their own homes, typically ending up several streets away. Portsmoth council has also created further parking issues after closing roads in Southsea, supposedly to protect people exercising during the pandemic lockdown.

This new development will only aggravate an already fractious situaion.

My Prostate and Me – Part 11


“See you all in six months !!!”

So said I, five years ago. A lot has happened in those five years although not a lot in the land of the prostate. Or perhaps I should say, not a lot, to my knowledge.

In 2015 we retired, and since then, we rebuilt our conservatory, holidayed in France – 2months and Italy – 8  days. We have spent 3 stints in Australia. Those 3 Ozzie visits totalled 12 months in all with the last trip stretching into 7 months, in part due to the pandemic.

And so to my prostate …

After our return from the latest Ozzie adventure, I was scheduled for a Urology Consult (telephone) 28th July. As is the norm, these are preceded by the taking of blood samples. As my GP had requested a blood sample to check my blood sugar levels, it seemed appropriate to combine them. So on Wednesday 22nd July, at eight in the morning, I presented myself at my local surgery and provided the necessary samples. I then sat back to await the consult scheduled for the following Tuesday. The next day, Thursday 23rd, I received a call from the GP surgery, could I come in and give another sample.

Apparently they wanted to rule out any potential issues with the analysis of the previous sample. As you can imagine my brain went into hyperdrive, what had the blood sample shown. I duly presented myself at the surgery and gave up some more of my blood. Although the person on the call didn’t know why I needed to give another sample, the nurse taking my blood was a little more forthcoming.

It appears the first sample showed my PSA level was up.  This second sample was to determine if there had been a balls up in the lab or if something more sinister was happening.

Friday I received  call from the surgery asking if I woud be prepared to have a telephone consult, with my GP Dr Mannings,  on Tuesday evening. I pointed out that I also had a telephone consult with the Urologist on Tuesday morning. That’s great quipped the receptionist, you’ll be able to tell the doctor what the results are and what your urologists plans are.

With all this interest in my blood and doctors left, right and centre wanting to speak to me my curiosity was definitely peaked.

So Tuesday 28th duly arrives and I have my telephone consult with the Urologist, Mr Hodgson. Yes, he confirmed, my PSA has risen.

Apparently last June my PSA was 3.6 but these latest blood tests show my PSA at 7.9 and 8.9. A sure indicator that something is going on down in the nether regions although still lower than the 13.3 which was where I was at before having the Brachytherapy

Because of this my consultant wants me to have a series of scans. CT, MRI and full body bone scan. The call is ended with the promise that I will be contacted with appointment details.

Sure enough, later in the day I receive a call from the Scanning Dept., would I be available on the morning of Saturday 1st August, for a CT scan ? Yes of course, and so I am duly booked in for 09:00.

Later the same day I have my consult with my GP. He already knew about the consultants plans but is like a child being handed a bag of sweets, so excited, when I tell him that already have the first of my scans booked.

The NHS is actually working very swiftly and efficiently. Obviously I have Covid-19 to thank for this, the hospitals are operating in a very stripped back mode. All to my advantage.

Over the next few days I receive calls and set up the remaining appointments. Monday 3rd August @ 19:00 for the MRI and Tuesday 11th August for Full Body Bone Scan. The bone scan is in two parts. I have to turn to at 11:15 for a radioactive injection. Go away for a while, then return at 14:30 for the actual scan. Apparently, after the injection, due to its radioactive nature, I have to steer clear of any pregnant women and young children Same advice I was given after I had my Brachytherapy.

I duly attended the three scans. One thing I noted is that I am able to lay completely still during these scanning sessions. They each have taken anything between twenty minutes and forty five minute. At home I find it just about impossible to keep my legs still, whether I am sitting watching TV or laid in bed. Maybe I need to get a huge doughnut installed at home.

For each of the scans I also had an injection. The one administered during the CT, I was warned, would trigger a warm sensation in my nether regions. Something akin to wetting oneself. Not something you want to consider when typically any sensation in the bladder region typically turns into a pee panic. As it happens, the sensation I felt was around the neck and up around my ear. Something like I used to feel when my Mum had caught me out in a lie. For the MRI I was given an injection of Buscopan. When I mentioned that my wife takes Buscopan for her IBS te doctor said it’s the same stuff but won’t hang around as long but that it might affect my eye sight i.e. blur my vision. He assured me it would have cleared my system before I got back to my car for the drive home. As for the bone scan and the radioactive injection I was informed that, other than having to stay away from pregnant ladies and young children, there were no side effects, that I wouldn’t be aware of it in my bod.

All that remained was for me to await the results. I assumed that I would receive a phone call from my consultant, Mr Hodgson.

I did receive a phone call, but not from Mr Hodgson. It was from a yong lady, I assume from the Urology Department reception.

She informed me that she was calling to book me in for a Pre-op Assessment !!!

My heart dropped, my stomach did a flip. “Pre-op ?” I said, “pre-op for what ?”  “Well, you came into Urology yesterday” says the young lady. “Nope” says I, “I didn’t, I haven’t had any contact with Urology since the 28th July”. “Oh !” she says “And you haven’t seen the letter ?” Again “Nope” says I, “In fact I would have expected a phone call from Mr Hodgson, not a bloody letter”. She is really apologetic and puts me on hold briefly. When she comes back on line she asks me if I want to wait for the letter, or she could read it out to me. I take the latter option. So, she reads the letter to me. My heart and stomach resume a more calm state.

None of the three scans suggest any spread of  the disease.

Needless to say, this news was not what I was expecting. Nevertheless, it was encouraging. The letter, from Mr Hodgson, set out the next steps to be taken to determine if in fact my cancer has recurred.

Those steps are

  • A PET CT
  • Template Biopsy (to be carried ot under GA and the reason for the Pre-Op)

The PET CT has been scheduled for Tuesday 25th August @ 15:00 and I have had the Pre-Op. This was in two parts. Part 1 was on Tuesday 18th, a telephone assessment which was then followed up with a hospital visit on Thursday 20th, where they carried out an ECG, swabs for MRSA and took a urine sample.

So there we are, all up to speed. I’ll post my next episode after the PET CT and when I know the date for the biopsy.

Stop This Nonsense Now


https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/rule-britannia-faces-axe-in-bbcs-black-lives-matter-proms-0fvhwmwlm

This BLM shit is just getting out of hand.

You can’t eradicate racism by alienating large portions of a nation.

You can’t erase history by ripping the traditional heart out of a nation.

And that is just what The Last Night of the Proms is. A British tradition that millions tune into every year.

And to excise a tradition such as the musical content of the Proms is an affront to to me as a Britain, as an Englishman and as a rational human being. And for why ?

Because the music reflects our colonial past.

So what ?

Britannia Rules The Waves, we haven’t done that in many many years. Successive governmental defence cuts have seen to that. But, as a tune, it’s a bloody great song to sing along to and arouses a sense of patriotism. Something that is sadly lacking in this country. The “National Anthem”, God Save The Queen, is a dirge and harks back to another time. The anti-monarchists must cringe everytime it is played. Should we ditch it for something more modern, hell no. However, Land of Hope And Glory, another proms favourite, is probably more appropriate these days and would make a brilliant replacement. And what of Jerusalem ? Should we dump this in deference to our non Christian communities. Of course not. Need I go on ? Probably not.

However, the eagerness, shown by businesses and the media, to clamber onto the BLM bandwagon is sickening.

It is right to work against racism but it has to be done in a much more subtle way.

The constant thrusting of BLM down our throats is devisive, the erosion and attempted erasure of our historical roots, is certainly having a negative effect on me, and I suspect, on many others.

For example, the enforced taking of the knee at F1 – whatever happened to freedom of choice, the BLM breaks on TV – my wife and I just mute them as we do to the normal ad breaks.

We need to push back. The likes of the BLM movement are slowly turning this once great country into a bland, neutral, grey shadow of its former glory.