Drinking tea with Meat Loaf before an OTT British television show in London

Meat Loaf (Photograph: Mr Mushnik via Wikipedia)

The news this morning was that the singer Meat Loaf had died.

I was never a massive fan.

I thought he was a very very good performer and singer and I enjoyed his work when I heard it, but I was never a massive fan of his music. 

What he was like as a person – now that is another matter.

I only encountered him once, when we watched television together, back in 1995.

He was one of the guests on a peaktime ITV series called Jack Dee’s Saturday Night.

It was recorded at the New Wimbledon Theatre in London.

The New Wimbledon Theatre, like most London theatres, is very ‘vertical’. You have the stage at, I think, ground level and multiple storeys above the auditorium and at the back. My memory is that the ‘green room’ for the show was right at the top of the building, at the back. It was certainly quite a climb, so you did not move between stage level and the green room unless you had to.

Meat Loaf was not one of ‘my’ acts; I was not looking after him. But we ended up at the top of the building in the green room alone together. I think I may have made us a cup of tea and we sat and watched television together. 

It can’t have been broadcast television; it must have been a feed from the stage, where rehearsals were happening. So we just sat there – in two comfortable armchairs, if my memory serves me right – intermittently watching what was happening downstairs and chatting about nothing in particular.

Earlier, I had seen him rehearsing on-stage with his backing group. I don’t know if this was his regular band or if he had just picked them up for his European gigs. He was very much in command, directing them how to ‘perform’ the music, how to add swagger and dramatic movements to their performance.

“You did not move between stage level and the green room…”

It was not just them playing music; it had to be a ‘performance’. He was this grandiose OTT rock star and they were his dramatic backdrop.

But the man I was watching television and drinking tea with was just an ordinary man. No airs and graces and drama and false superiority. No ‘I am a star’ stuff. No acing out a persona. Just an ordinary amiable human being relaxing, whiling away some time in a room with a passing stranger.

Of course, most ‘stars’ are like that. Alas not all. But he seemed particularly ‘ordinary’ (I say that as a big compliment). Particularly comfortable to be with.

I have no idea what he was like with other people the rest of the time. But I have always remembered him as amiable, gentle and relaxed. Not at all the loud, OTT, self-centred ‘performer’.

The first time I was really aware of him was when I saw his Meat Loaf-type performance in The Rocky Horror Picture Show. He commanded the screen. But I was also very impressed with his gentle, vulnerable performance in Fight Club. Two totally different performances.

And that’s what I remember from that afternoon in 1995.

A great, rip-roaring on-stage performance by Meat Loaf and his band.

Meat Loaf interviewed by MTV, 2009 (Photo: Christopher Simon, Wikipedia)

And a quiet, soft-voiced ‘ordinary’ and very very likeable man drinking tea and chatting with me about nothing in particular while waiting to be called downstairs to perform. 

I am, of course, too sensible to say that he has now been called upstairs.

But I have always remembered him as a nice man. For me, that is a big compliment. 

In 2003, while reporting on Meat Loaf’s support for Hartlepool United football club, the BBC claimed that he was thinking of buying a house in Hartlepool.

You gotta luv him just for that.

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Filed under Music, Psychology

After the publication of yesterday’s blog, a sudden visit from a policeman…

John Ward got bothered, bewildered and gob-smacked by the response to his judicious thoughts…

Yesterday’s blog was largely inventor John Ward’s column for last week’s Spalding Guardian newspaper.

It was about his absurdly comic experience of jury service and the chaotic randomness of the alleged English ‘justice’ system.

Yesterday evening, I got this email from John Ward


A policeman appeared here in his nice shiny police car late this afternoon to ask if I would autograph the page with my column – in his wife’s copy of the Spalding Guardian. 

He told me she reads it every week but she is going to raffle this particular one off at a summer fayre in June (“all being well, virus permitting”) and “it will be worth more autographed”. 

I like her confidence!

The irony being – considering this week’s topic – that she sent her hubby who is a PC.

He was a nice chap.

He told me they will let me know when it’s happening nearer the time – and he added that his wife does a nice range of home baked cakes….

Could this be seen as bribery?  

The things I would do for a walnut cake…

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Filed under Journalism, Police

Jury dis-service?… The English legal system… court with its trousers down.

Inventor and Malcolm Hardee Award designer John Ward has a weekly column in the Spalding Guardian newspaper. Earlier this week, he sent me a copy of this week’s piece, subsequently published.


Years ago I received a letter requesting my presence for jury service at the local Crown Court on a given date, so I informed my boss why I would not be at work then and possibly for a few days after depending on how the case/trial proceeded, so plans were sorted to cover for me.

I popped in a few days later and told my mum, of the people for the people, about it as she sat slooping tea in the kitchen with her friend Viv, who suggested I “might see Margaret Lockwood there”: about that time the actress Margaret Lockwood was starring as a lady barrister in a weekly TV drama called Justice.

Mum said it was unlikely as I was to be there for ten in the morning and Margaret was covering the ‘late shift’ as she came on at nine o’clock in the evening but only did an hour’s worth before the News at Ten came on.

Sorted then.

I arrived on Tuesday as requested and went through the formal procedure as a juror – this induction has possibly changed over the years – and all went well as we selected twelve were given a rundown of how things went.

On going into court, fellow juror ‘Miss Marple’ (or ‘Miss Know-it-all’ who was to sit next to me in the jury box, sadly) complained the seats were too hard and felt she “might not last the day” due to her “problem”. Ron, another juror, muttered that her problem might be she was a ‘moaning Minnie’ so no cure there then.

Seeing one person enter, Miss Marple remarked that he was “a wrong ‘un, quite shifty looking – You can tell by their ears you know.” 

He turned out to be the prosecuting counsel.

After the preliminaries were sorted as to who was who and what might be what, battle commenced in the form of the first witness for the prosecution being called and a slight hint of the pantomime to unfold in more ways than one.

He was sworn in and was asked his profession to which his head swivelled all around as it was quite obvious the term had got him stumped. The clerk to the court then said the court wanted to know what he did for a living, to which he smiled and said he was “a pint spire” much to everyone’s amazement, Judge included.

He was asked three times with the same response, until the judge requested he write it down and this duly happened. It was then handed up to the judge and he then read out the man was “a paint sprayer” to which the witness then said: “I fed fo the flurst tome didn’t I!?”

Thus was the start of the high comedy to follow over the next few days as we heard assorted accounts of the case. As possibly the late Eric Morecambe might have paraphrased it: “All the right evidence but not necessarily in the right case”.

The case we were sitting on seemed to have references to other ‘events’ that related to another criminal case as the defendant seemed to have had quite a colourful past if some details quoted, or inferred, were anything to judge by. It did leave a lot of questions – or cases – unanswered but, hey oh, we battled on regardless.

Day two arrived as well as Miss Marple but she was now armed with her purple velvet cushion to sit on.

The basics of the case revolved around the defendant and his then friend a.k.a The Pint Spire who together removed various building materials from assorted areas to build a large extension to a house, doubling its value. But, during all this happening, they fell out (another story worthy of a Carry On type film) and so The Pint Spire reported him or – as the defendant said in the box later – “He bladdy grassed me up!”

The falling-out seemed to hinge on the defendant’s wife and her alleged involvement with The Pint Spire but the details – or, rather, what we were told in court – seemed to relate to another case entirely, so we were partly confused with even the Judge’s eyebrows seemingly doing a rumba at various times.

So we were instructed to disregard certain things said.

The prosecuting counsel had tried to sweep it away by saying there “might well have been a liaison between the couple” as Miss Marple whispered to us: “It means a ‘leg-over’ in French”. The judge overheard and raised an eyebrow.

Finally it came to Friday morning with the Judge summing up. I was amazed that, while I thought he was nodding off at times, he had actually handwritten down everything said in court from day one and even mentioned the confusion over The Pint Spire’s profession.

This took about an hour or so to hear as we were then instructed to go away and come back with a verdict but he would only accept a ten to two majority if there were any doubts among us.

So off we went to the jury room to debate the case.

Miss Marple got her knitting out of her bag, then click-clacked away with the needles as she said her vote was “He’s guilty, that one” (maybe it was his ears?) as she wanted to finish a sleeve off.

British justice at its best. – The defendant was guilty as somebody wanted to finish knitting her jumper sleeve.

Due to assorted elements of the case, we arrived with a three to nine majority, so word was passed through, then we were given ‘extra time’ but by now the clock was ticking by. 

It was now ten past four – as, out of the woodwork almost, came ‘Miss Takkan’, the quiet juror, whose voice we had not even heard since her being there.

She was ‘one of the three’ but now wanted to change to Guilty.

When asked what had brought this change about, she said that she was some miles from home and might not make it in time if we were in a stalemate as she wanted to see “my fave soap Crossroads at 6.30”.

So we had the ten to two result.

The accused got a fairly light sentence (we all thought so) by way of a fine.

Miss Marple didn’t finish her sleeve, but hopefully Miss Takkan got home in time to see Benny and Amy Turtle on Crossroads. 

I never saw Margaret Lockwood but then she did the nine to ten shift anyway.

(… CONTINUED HERE …)

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Filed under Humor, Humour, Legal system

Living in Canada near the seldom-seen avenues and alleyways of Vancouver

“I have been busy… Hopefully I will get Covid”

In the last blog here, occasional Canadian correspondent Anna Smith remembered ‘perverts’ in Canada’s late 20th century strip clubs. She now lives in Vancouver.

Regular readers of this blog will know she used to live on a boat there… but it sank.

She then moved to an apartment by an alleyway.

I asked her where she was living now. This was her reply:


I am still living in same place, but guess I’ve become quickly jaded and no longer so thrilled when I see people torching sofas in the lane or sorting out the contents of freshly stolen luggage or being arrested for accidentally wandering onto a film location… The lane is used frequently for television series and fashion shoots. 

When they film out there, the first thing they do is power-wash the place to get rid of the rubbish, including loads of drug paraphernalia. 

One day, some old Chinese guys suddenly appeared and started painting our building dark grey, to make it look more depressing and ghetto. Then they set up bright lights that illuminate the bedroom…

The alley is probably a separate blog.

But here’s a picture of another nearby alley… it looked like moraine, emerging from a glacier of garbage.

When I stopped to take the photo, a man walked past and uttered a prolonged “Wow-w-w…” as if he had seen Lake Louise.

Also, here is a picture of Hastings looking down the street from Main Street.

I live a couple of blocks away.

The streets are full of people living in tents and under tarps and behind circles of beach umbrellas.

But my photo here is of tarps over the building site next door, seen out of my window.

Are you recovered well from the Covid? Did you have your booster before you had the bout? 

There have been a lot of people getting it at work.

I have had my booster… but feel like it’s just a matter of time before I catch it too… if I haven’t already. 

Work has been really busy… more and more women ‘down on their luck’ and needing our services… with the multiple crises of COVID-19, the Overdose Crisis, and the Extreme Weather Events crisis…. It has been unusually snowy and cold here – which most of Canada is used to, but not Vancouver.

So I have been busy… I likely will be pretty occupied for next few days.

Hopefully I will get Covid and have more time to do some writing, cooking and other normal activities.

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Filed under Canada, Poverty, Uncategorized

Anna Smith’s memories of ‘perverts’ and Canadian strip clubs last century

Anna Smith retouched her nose in this late-20th century picture…

Over the years Anna Smith, this blog’s occasional Canadian correspondent, has been sharing current life insights from Vancouver and memories from her colourful past as an exotic performer. These have occasionally triggered other people to share their own sociologically-interesting memories.

On 15th April last year, I posted a blog headed A ‘PERVERT’ COMMENTS ON HIS MEMORIES OF A STRIP CLUB IN CANADA IN THE 1980s

This was actually a collection of various people’s reactions to a 2014 blog.

Yesterday, someone calling himself ‘G Man’ commented on the 2021 ‘Pervert’ blog:

Awesome post! I remember coming here in 1995 when I was 18, the only place that would let me and my friends in at the time. It was wild and reminds me of how great the city was at that time. Even though by that time most of the ladies that performed looked like they could’ve have been our grandmothers…lol!

and a Dave Hughes responded to that ‘G Man’ comment with:

By 1995 some of them were grandmothers!!!

Anna Smith last night sent me her own reaction to ‘G Man’:


Hahahahaha….

Well, that sounds like he was there before I got to be Granny-age, but glad to hear my friends were working at Le Strip as long as they could. Too bad the business closed or I’d still love to go back there as a 63 year old and do a 14 day shift (seven days, seven nights), like I used to. It was so much fun!

It was well before cell phones proliferated but, being strippers, we required certain amenities – like a shower, a bidet and of course a payphone which was a large sturdy device installed on a central wall in the dressing room… so we could make our bookings at other clubs, check up on our babysitters and our boyfriends.

So, while we were getting ready to go on, we would sometimes be witness to some funny conversations…

Like: “No, I am not giving you a blow job. No. No. No. You are NOT getting another blow job till I get back the keys to my Chevrolet Camaro!  NO!”

Another time, we heard a fabulous black dancer from California named Goldielox telling us how furious she was with R.D., because he had stolen her very expensive fur coat in Montreal. 

Goldielox was called that because she had very long blonde hair. She had quite the act. She was a statuesque and perfectly formed woman, with a toned body and large breasts. She arrived on stage wearing a flashy costume, roller skates and a top hat. She would eventually take off her bra but place her breasts into the top hat and skate around like that for a while.

It was Goldielox who gave me the job to go to Newfoundland, the best paid job, and one of the funnest I ever had. She had been booked to go there because a new club had opened up, just outside of the capital, St. John’s. They wanted a big act to open the club. It was the first strip club in Newfoundland.

“What am I gonna do, Nurse Annie? – I don’t want to go to NEWFOUNDLAND on my BIRTHDAY! But I can’t let them down… Would you please do it for me? It pays $1,400…” 

That was about four times more than I’d ever been paid, so I jumped at the chance and had a fantastic time. I even went out on a cod fishing boat and caught a cod to bring back to Toronto and bought some nice hand-knitted toques for my parents.

At the end of that week, Goldielox showed up in Newfoundland to do her act the following week. We were both staying in an old hotel on a main street in St John’s, because the new strip club didn’t have any accommodation. We were driven out there every night by the club owners.

Goldielox was in an upbeat mood. She was having fun teasing the very young hotel clerk (who had never met a Black person before). She tried to give him diction lessons, which was funny because she had a heavy drawl herself and he had the Irish-sounding Newfoundland accent. She’d had flyers printed up advertising her show and put on her stage costume with the top hat and took off on her roller skates, up the steep and foggy cobbled streets of the port city, calling out, whirling around laughing and handing out flyers to everyone she met.

The ‘perverts’ back in Toronto were true fans, who loved our different characters and the friendly way we interacted with them from the stage as much as they loved our not-always perfect looks – according to the standards of the 1970s. And we loved most of the regulars for all their foibles… 

…like the guy who paid us cash for prints of our lips on paper napkins; the three buddies who always went there whenever their mate had extra money to share with his friends to tip us. And the three old geezers who sat in the front row and sometimes got a bit carried away. One time I looked down and noticed the three of them enthusiastically wanking in time with the music. 

There was also the charming, rotund, inebrieated Catholic priest who stood just inside the front door and routinely propositioned us with offers of filet mignon dinner. A fascinating offer but we squeezed past between him and the ticket booth.

And there were the teenaged boys who ran up the two flights of worn carpeted stairs on a dare and then stood blinking and panting in the darkness before being reprimanded and quickly expelled… and the University of Toronto engineering students who called annually to hire the beautiful Roxy (who had long blonde hair, full breasts and apparently wasn’t afraid to ride a horse) to play Lady Godiva, for a university prank and a photo op.

One time, after the club brought in ‘private table dances’ an older Chinese man paid for a private dance and spent the whole time silently staring directly at my muff, as if he was hypnotized. At the end, he asked me quickly: “Do you like Chinese food?”

The Toronto strippers have always been pretty good at organising themselves. 

When the City of Toronto tried make us get licensed as ‘Adult Entertainment Parlour Attendants’, we fought back because we thought that sounded insulting. We were not attending to anything or anyone. And we worked in bars and theaters, not in fucking PARLOURS for fuck sake. We were entertainers not ATTENDENTS!!! 

So eventually the city backed down and licensed us as ‘Burlesque Entertainers’. 

We still had to pay a huge annual fee for our licence, though, and wait in line with hundreds of taxi drivers at the start of the year and have our photos taken for our wallet-sized ID card.

I lost that card somewhere along the way. Too bad. It shows a black and white photo of me looking young and furious and it didn’t have an expiry date on the card, so it was fun to have on hand, whenever I was asked to produce a government photo ID. It was always accepted as such, though not the most common identification there was.

The stripper ID cards provided years of employment to two senior city official inspectors, whose full-time job was to casually saunter into one of the hundreds of Toronto strip clubs, order a beer and watch all the shows, take discreet notes and then afterwards figure out which of dancers did or did not have licences. 

They always seemed to be in a good mood.

There have been several non profit organizations started by strippers in Toronto, including C.A.B.E. (Canadian Association of Burlesque Entertainers), Maggies, which was recently featured in a Rolling Stone article and a new one Work Safe Twerk Safe which I only recently heard of, but it seems very effective and informative.

OK, back to sleep for me now. 

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Filed under Canada, Eccentrics, Sex

Fear and loathing in the the US today

(Image by tammyatWTI via Pixabay)

Mick Deacon, the Brit who is temporarily in the US to see his girlfriend and who has featured in a few of my recent blogs, is trying to get back to the UK – with little success so far. He writes:


I currently have no flight back. My March flight was cancelled and I am just sat here, waiting for British Airways to answer the phone. 

Last week, on the anniversary of the 6th January attack on the Capitol, I was watching some political lady talking about the insurrection. It sounded absolutely terrifying. 

You just can’t believe what people will do for Trump. It’s like a cult. Intelligent people indoctrinated by his hate and sense of superiority. The man has the figure of a beach ball and a face that looks like a flame blower who didn’t realise which way the wind was blowing. 

Mick’s girlfriend prepares breakfast for him…

I just find it so concerning what’s happening here. There are some very nice friendly people here. I’ve seen some stunning countryside, listened to fabulous music and eaten fabulous food and enjoyed watching football matches (which has never happened in England). 

But there is a feeling of fear from the guns, the pressure people are under, the poverty and mental health problems.

Friends here don’t watch the news because they don’t want to know. I travelled blissfully unaware before; I would always read situations and was never stupid so I never hit a spot of trouble. 

I know the media is not to be trusted but I wonder would you love your country if you knew about a quieter, safer one? It’s where we grow up, our culture, familiarity. Would you be so patriotic if you were suddenly taken to a place that wasn’t so expensive, without so much gun crime? Would you turn round and think Wow! Why did I put up with that for so long? 

Yesterday there was a story on the news about a car valet worker who was shot when asking for payment from the guest. Apparently there was a heated conversation and the guest shot and killed the valet person and tried to imply it was self defence. 

It really made me realise something.

I had been told before if you see trouble – arguments, whatever – Do not try to help – Run… and call for help only when you are out of the area. 

This was from a man who spoke to me when I was walking the dog when I first came here.

Mick’s girlfriend drives to the local shops…

What I realise from the news is that many people here are in a constant fear/attack mode not knowing if they will get shot. 

So people shoot first and think later over what is often something trivial. 

Arguments quickly escalate. 

There are also people who have no patience who try to blame it on the melting pot of violence, when they have committed a crime.

So I am sat here, waiting for British Airways to answer the phone. 

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Filed under Crime, US, Violence

“See where I got shot in the head? Now I get dizzy when the weather gets cold…”

(Photograph by StockSnap via Pixabay)

A couple of days ago, I posted a second blog about Englishman Mick Deacon’s covid woes in the US. Last night, he sent me an email.

Yesterday, he had been out in a truck with his girlfriend. No idea why. I didn’t ask. He didn’t explain. He wrote…


There is this neighbour across the road from where I am living with my girlfriend. People call him ‘Shorty’.

He is a tiny man in his mid-to-late 70s and he’s way too kind in letting people use his truck. Often he doesn’t have it for days. 

They call 4-wheel drives ‘trucks’ here in the US.

Today I was out with my girlfriend in her truck and I noticed Shorty wobbling down the road on a bicycle. 

Then he disappeared.

I thought he had fallen off. 

I told my girlfriend: “Turn our truck round and make sure Shorty’s not lying in a heap somewhere.”

When we found him; he was pushing his bike. 

“I get dizzy when the weather is cold,” he told us.

He took off his woolly hat and showed us an indentation in his skull.

“See where I got shot in the head? One night, my wife shot me in the head. So now I get dizzy when the weather gets cold. She was younger than I was.”

Sometimes I am so glad to be British! 

It’s a shame really. There are some beautiful houses, parks and the lake round here. Some great eating places.

But the violence and shootings, the car jackings and robberies are really not what you would want to live in… I’m from East Anglia.
 

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Filed under Society, Surreal, US

The surreal UK Covid-19 self-isolation advice: Franz Kafka meets Catch-22..

(Image by TheDigitalArtist via Pixabay)

On the morning of Christmas Day, I tested positive twice for Covid on a lateral flow test, although I had no symptoms. That same day, I was able to walk in to a PCR test area and get that more definite test. Two days later, that test, too, came back positive. 

I had taken two lateral flow tests (morning and evening) on Christmas Eve which had been negative.

Current UK government guidelines for England said I should isolate for up to ten days from my first positive test. ie until Tuesday 4th January. But, if I took a lateral flow test which was negative on Day 6 and, 24 hours later, on Day 7, the rules said I could stop self-isolating.

On the evening of Christmas Day – the day I first tested positive – I had some internal flu-like shivers overnight; and the next night some lesser internal shivers. And, for the first four or five days of self-isolation, I had a new and persistent hard-edged hacking cough. 

But, by Day 6, I was back to having no real symptoms. 

However, on Days 6 and 7, I still tested positive for Covid.

Positive, too, on Days 8 and 9.

On Day 9 – that’s today – I phoned the government’s 119 Covid advice line because my attention had been drawn to the government’s own online advice, updated on 30th December.

The online advice said (and says):

“You should not take any more LFD tests (ie lateral flow tests) after the 10th day of your isolation period and you may stop self-isolating after this day.”

But presumably only if you test negative?… No. It doesn’t say that.

It continues:

“This is because you are unlikely to be infectious after the 10th day of your self-isolation period and should not take any more LFD tests after this date.

The italics are mine. And there is no time period mentioned.

What is said – and still clearly says – is that you should stop self-isolating after 10 days come what may and, in theory at least, you should never again under any circumstances at any point take any other lateral flow test.

Obviously that cannot be the intended advice – that you should never again take a lateral flow test. 

But the advice is clearly that, whether you test negative or positive on Days 9 and 10, you should stop self-isolating and re-join society.

This sounds mad and, I thought, cannot be the actual advice so, like I said, I phoned the 119 Covid advice line set up by the government.

Their on-the-phone advice was that, as a person triple-jabbed with vaccine, if I test positive on Day 10, I should self-isolate for 10 days although I could un-isolate if I test negative on Days 6 and 7.

“But,” I said, “the government website says I should not take a lateral flow test after Day 10, so I won’t be able to know if I test positive or negative on Day 6 and 7 of the new self-isolation period without taking a lateral flow test which, the advice says, I should not do.”

“That’s right,” I was told. “You should not take a lateral flow test after Day 10.”

“But, if I have to self-isolate after testing positive on Day 10, tomorrow, how can I know on Day 6 or 7 of isolating if I am positive or negative?”

“If you are negative you can stop isolating, otherwise you have to keep isolating until Day 10, at which point you can stop taking the lateral flow tests.”

“But I would not know if I were positive or negative without taking a lateral flow test and the government says, after Day 10, I should not take a lateral flow test.”

“If you do test positive, you have to isolate for another 6 days or until you have done 10 days in isolation and then you can stop isolating and do not have to do the lateral flow tests.”

They say Frank Kafka died on 3rd June 1924. I am not sure. 

I have always been attracted to surreality but there are limits.

I am going to return to daily life after Day 10 while keeping a healthy, well-masked distance from people and will wantonly keep taking daily lateral flow tests even though I have no symptoms. If I have two consecutive days where the tests have negative results, I will feel less wary… though not of bureaucracy.

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Filed under Bureaucracy, Medical, Surreal

Having Covid now in the US – Day 19

(Photograph by Gerd Altmann via Pixabay)

A couple of days ago, on New Year’s  Eve, Mick Deacon appeared in this blog – He is an Englishman temporarily living in the US.

I am currently self-isolating in the UK because I tested positive for Covid on the morning of Christmas Day. Currently in England the rules are that, if that happens, you have to isolate for up to 10 days, though you can re-emerge if you test negative- 24 hours apart – on two consecutive days from Day 6 onwards.

I am currently on Day 8, still testing positive, though I have no apparent symptoms.

In the US, Mick is currently on Day 19 of being infected.

He has symptoms.

I thought it would be interesting to extract his progression from the various emails he has sent me.

He is over in the US temporarily to see his girlfriend. 

His first e-mail references him returning to the UK at some point… He had his first two vaccine jabs in the UK but his third jab – the booster – in the US.


DECEMBER 13th 2021

I hope I won’t have problems on the way back as I’ve had the booster here. I told my UK GP’s surgery the day after and they said just bring the card in and we will add the details. 

DECEMBER 16th

I got Covid a couple of days ago. I’m going with the notion of I might as well get it over with now and hopefully get more immunity.

It is like being hit by a truck while someone sticks needles into you whilst barely having the energy to stand up. Not an attractive cocktail. 

I have now had the two AstraZeneca jabs and the Pfizer booster but it was just over a week after having the booster when I got Covid. So maybe it had no time to kick in.

I’ve got health insurance but am trying to not see a doctor. Being ill in a foreign country, even with insurance, makes you feel very vulnerable. 

I am isolating and better than I was yesterday thankfully. 

My girlfriend hasn’t got it but it’s weird isn’t it? My handyman in the UK got it the eve he had been working at my place and everyone else apart from me got it, I felt kinda smug and healthy at that point. 

Over here, people on the whole aren’t careful at all. Bloody Americans.

DECEMBER 19th

It’s quite strange… Mornings are the worst – very weak and dizzy but, with the help of painkillers, the day begins to get better. 

The fatigue is horrendous but I’m improving and I can string a sentence together now in the morning which at first I couldn’t. 

I don’t like being ill and abroad, but there’s nothing I can do about that now. 

It is bloody awful.

DECEMBER 23rd

Still testing positive for Covid. Just waiting for the results of today’s test. 

DECEMBER 25th

Merry Xmas 

I kinda looked at it like, by the law of averages, I was going to get it, so thought it was better to get it over with – to look on the bright side! 

DECEMBER 27th

Just got a cough now that doesn’t want to go.

I get tired quite quickly, but improving. 

DECEMBER 29th

I had one good day when I thought it was all done with. Then I started coughing again and I feel shattered again. Not as bad as before though. 

DECEMBER 30th

Weirdly, the last 4 days, I keep getting bouts of nausea and coughing fits and fatigue. 

I don’t think my booster had time to kick in before I got this. I was only on day 7. 

Numbers are raging here, but they are just carrying on with everything. 

JANUARY 1st, 2022

I was really ill yesterday. I keep having attacks of nausea, headache and stomach ache. Feel very weak again today. I was already worn out when I first got this, so it’s slightly my own fault. 

I just fell asleep for 2 hours. Not like me at all. 

JANUARY 2nd

I keep waking up with a bad but peculiar-feeling headache and I keep getting bouts of really bad stomach ache and nausea…

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Filed under COVID, Medical

When I was a teenager, I dreamt I would die this year…

(Image by Enrique Meseguer, via Pixabay)

I tested positive for Covid-19 on the morning of Christmas Day.

It is 1st January now, a new year and I’m still testing positive…ho hum.

I had a dream last night. I was in the front room of my house with an unknown woman, watching a feature film from the 1950s.

Through the window, I saw this man who looked like a 1940s/1950s ‘spiv’ coming to the front door.

I said to the woman I was with in the front room: “There’s a spiv coming to the door”.

She looked out the window but could not see him, so I went out of the living room into the hall, then into the front porch and he just pushed through the letter box some ordinary leaflets about something I was not interested in.

I went back to watching the feature film with the woman.

For some reason the TV set was now on the floor and the woman had become six inches high and had pink hair, as young children’s dolls do. She told me she wanted me to hold her hair as she coiffured it. That was the word she used. Coiffure.

“I want to coiffure it,” she said.

She moved a small, padded stool over to near the wall, but this entailed turning the television round. We could still see the screen, but the TV set itself had been turned round.

The woman sat so close to the wall, though, that I couldn’t both hold her hair while she coiffured it AND continue to watch the television. Also, she was six inches tall, which complicated things. So I got another small, padded stool and moved it to the middle of the room and told her: “I won’t be able to do your hair so close to the other wall.”

So I turned the TV set round again.

I had to lift it up then put it down in its new position.

It was sitting in a low, one-inch-high wooden frame.

At least, that was what I intended to do but, when I was about to start, some more people arrived at the front door.

They were trying to tell me my back garden was in a mess and that I should buy a top layer of grass from them.

“Turf. That’s the word,” one of them said to me.

“Life is turf,” I told him. That is what I told him.

There were about three of them. I knew they were con artists and told them: “I like my back garden to be in a mess.”

The first man started lifting up the turf with his foot. One of the other men was holding some 6ft high poles. There were about six of them. The poles. Six round poles, each one the girth of a small man’s waist.

I thought I would try to confuse the men at the door.

“I don’t need any more poles,” I said. “I already have some. I was thinking of painting them. One can be red, white and blue for Britain. One can be red, white and blue for France. And I can probably get the German flag in there somewhere. I think if I paint one black, it would be very effective.”

I said this because I thought it would confuse the hell out of the man holding the six tall poles. And the others.

Then the woman I had been in the front room with came out to see what was going on. She was her proper height again.

It was now dusk or just after dusk. It was quite dark, so the gardening people went away, duly confused. 

But now there was a man at the bottom of the front garden who was allowing people to come in and offer their services to all the people who owned local houses.

I thought: This is very strange.

He was supposed to supervise them, but he was just letting anyone in who wanted to take a photograph.

Well, nothing wrong with that, I thought.

And then I woke up.

That was last night.

That is true.

Well, OK, that is not true. 

That was a dream I had on the 30th August last year. But I thought I would share it now. I muttered it into my iPhone, half awake, just after it happened.

And the heading of this blog is not true. When I was a teenager I did not dream I would die this year.

I worked it out logically when I was awake.

Back then, in the mists of the time when I was younger, I looked at the average life expectancy for an ordinary person. And I worked out that this would be the year I would die. I figured, all things being equal, I would die sometime in the 2020s and, if I were dead-on average, then 2022 would be the year I died.

We shall see.

Well, obviously, maybe I won’t. See.

But – hey! – life is but a dream…

(Image by Reto Scheiwiller via Pixabay)

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Filed under Death, Dreams