Thursday, 30 July 2009

Cheese Rolling

There is a hilarious post over at Alex K's on our quaint customs. Go and read it. But he casts aspersions on the noble sport of cheese rolling. For shame! Make your own minds up (as a Gloucester boy myself, I feel a strange sense of if not pride... well, something anyway...):

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Fashion, Swimming, Butterflies and Pupae, and Safe Travelling

Hmm. What on earth does that title mean? Have I really forgotten already? Oh yes.

Fashion. Why oh why am I fated to be a trend-setter? I bought some speedos a few years back. Next thing I knew, James Bond was wearing them. Mine are too small. I don't know who they design them for, and I'm not bragging about my packet, but they are frankly embarrassing and indecent. Now I hear the new Doctor Who wears tweed jackets and black jeans. The bastard! I shall have to change my wardrobe, again.

Swimming. Went to see family in Devon at the weekend. Went over to Dawlish Warren, and swam a couple of times. Lovely waves. The sort that when you get out to tiptoenoseafloat rear four feet above your head and block the view of the shore. And this flock of smashed-glass white birds came skimming between them past my head and back again. I must try and find out what they were. They looked as if they were made of shining triangles. Knife birds.

Butterflies, Pupae. We are like butterflies that live a score of lives. Hatch from pupal state, fly, fly, fly, die, and in the wet ashes of an old fire in the hearth of a ruined house, we lie in the lye, but never die. So many things I've been, so many I hope I'll be.

Safe Travelling... to all who are braving the Abysmal Party.

Take care all, Dx

(caption: "They've nicked my effing cross!")

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Help Please of a Practical Nature

As some of you know, I've been trying to narrow some pictures down for an exhibition in Sep. I made the mistake of getting it to twenty and asking various people to pick the ten they like.

I'm still stuck at thirteen.

Here's the twenty:

What I'd love you all to do is tell me which ones you don't like (and why, if you can bear to).

I'm feeling chipper at the moment. Wishing you all the best. Take care, Dx

p.s. away for a few days.

Friday, 17 July 2009


Too many people, too many social things, too many projects. But it's all under control. I need a day to myself perhaps. But school breaks up tomorrow, so farewell to that!

I'm coping. I had to go and pace and fume in the rain tonight for half an hour (hydrotherapy again...) but that was from natural causes and irritations.

I feel that I've made progress over the last couple of months. The ups and downs are still crap, but the impetus seems to have been building up. Maybe I'll rise above the ups and downs and be back in the blissful state of not noticing after another few months.

Hope all are well - I've not been very good on the blogfront recently.

Take care, Dx

Friday, 10 July 2009


Don't know why. Birthday tomorrow perhaps?

Anyway, a crap week has slowly clawed its way back towards somewhere... somewhere dour.

Mon - benefits shite and horrid pacing.
Tue - went to Bristol in the evening and played tunes - ok - but was feeling like the man in the monster suit.
Wed - Ashes started. Lay shamelessly in the sun listening to the radio and sorting out photos for an exhibition I've been very kindly asked to joint exhibit at. (Still choosing photos. I might well ask for help. Watch this space.)
Thur - Took the boys to watch a cricket match (pub team affair) in the evening. Funny to see them with their bottles protected by the stumps, their fags in mouths, the summer evening air full of the thick of spliff. The boys played hide and seek in the pissoir and collected shards of broken glass, interminably. I was jealous to be a spectator. Wanted a crack at it.
Fri/Today - A non-day. Feel doury dour. Oh, I said that.

Take care all.


Monday, 6 July 2009

Bloody Benefit Bureaucracy

Had a letter this morning informing me that a month ago my Incapacity went up meaning my Income Support was stopped. Had another letter from Housing Benefit who were told by IS that I no longer had it, therefore that had been stopped. Cue horrid day of finding papers and documents, phonecalls, going into town to Council etc.

I hate the way stress works like the points on a railway line. I was feeling ok over the last 6 days. Then clunk, clackerty clacker and off on another line and my head feels like someone has taken a tin-opener to it. I feel weird to be honest. Very weird. I hope it goes away.

I found driving really hard today - my mind was zooming in every direction. I had to keep up a mantra of "You're driving - don't forget you're driving."

Other big bloody pain due to IB & IS is that the opticians and the dentist had all been put in motion to get some major stuff sorted, and now I'm not entitled to free health care. There goes my crown.

Oh alright, this is just moan moan moan, but I'd rather do that than pace the garden in the rain trying not to groan groan groan. My head is feeling frisky in a bad way. There's a thunderstorm-spooked horse locked in there. The can-opener is opening the stable door. Quick, spill milk on the prancing beast.

Saturday, 4 July 2009

Open Poem

A couple of lines came to me just now, but I'm throwing them open to the rest of you to finish.

The curfewed cats along the groynes taste fishheads;
The tanned louts sit outside the pub each night.
A hard day's graft excuses slur of pissheads,
Who come to grief, regretting bloody fight.
Sailors [...]

Carry on, ye who dare!


Edit. The accumulated effort below:

The curfewed cats along the groynes taste fishheads;
The tanned louts sit outside the pub each night.
A hard day's graft excuses slur of pissheads,
Who come to grief, regretting bloody fight.

Sailors sing to unknown siren bodies
Nobody’s seen a real one for a year
They go down on their red and hardened knees
But all God sends is pixelated rear.

Old women fillet anchovies, eyes closed,
Their fingers plunge, knife-tipped, while their incessant
Chatter vibrates the cool peace of the scullery:
Harsh glances cast at brash enquiring men.

Who brag their right to satisfy desire,
With coarse tongue, bulged eye and salt cracked lip.
Maids scuttle in shadows cast by open fire,
Scorched by sea dogs fresh from a lonesome ship.

Wednesday, 1 July 2009


I was going to blog on the film Soy Cuba, which is fantastic, review will appear, and also on the way that MH overdiagnosis and stigmatisation is a wonderful tool of The State, and many other things, but I changed my mind.

Tonight I'll be honest about my previous occupation. I've alluded to it, and shown a photograph or two, but never actually described it accurately. I think it is pretty relevant to mental health issues, all told.

Ok, (takes deep breath), I was a stone conservator running my own business specialising in the conservation of medieval carving, and I did most of my work in situ (anywhere down from 400 feet in the sky, using the rope techiniques developed out on the North Sea rigs). I managed seven years, I believe.

To get it in context, I'm sure some of you don't like going into high buildings. Well, I was working on the outside sometimes 40 stories up.

(A certain parish church in Bristol, and btw, my best friend)

Now, the height is a nasty, all things considered. It does unpleasant things to you. You find you spend all day in a tense waiting-for-disaster posture - every muscle fibre is awake and ready to react - it doesn't matter how safe you know you are - you are just waiting for that rope to break. And you distract yourself with tiny dentist's spatulas and glue and mortar for modelling, and put all the little flakes of corrupt and diseased stone back in their correct artistic position, exactly where the lad 800 years before you had left them. (Just try doing that in a strong wind. BTW Gaffer Tape is your Friend!)

It was ok for the first year - the main stress was lack of money. I started the business overdrawn. It was very stressful. Lack of money often is. I had also started an MA and a family at the same season. Yes. I can see now why I must have been a bastard and a half to work with that first 12 months once the initial enthusiam had passed. I have already apologised. But here's another sorry. Have another picture:

Digression: that picture makes me laugh. I'm no steeplejack. But in another moment of confidence, I decided "I can do that!" The first time we had to go up that spire, we laddered it ourselves. We'd never done that sort of thing before, apart from a practice run on a small Cotswold church. We got our training from a Fred Dibnah video. And then did it in windy weather in November, on one of the biggest spires in the country. .... EFFING IDIOTS. My workmate fainted at one point after we'd just got down, and I was off with all the devilish angels and angelic devils of hell on the top of those bendy wooden ladders drilling holes and waiting for the splintering sound below me. When we got to the top, and abseiled down all the facets, making drawings of every defect on every stone, our brains were blancmange. What was stunning for me was when I had to reinspect it four years down the line (I hired steeplejacks this time to put the ladders up) - I was expecting the drawings to be 80-90% accurate. They were 100% accurate. That is quite stunning accuracy for any building survey, let alone one of this stress and duress. Just consider, this pointy bit is about 170 foot tall, coming off a 120 foot tower. So 170 x 8 sides, drawing the courses of the stonework, the individual stones, the decay, the open joints, the occasional crack... and to get every single one in the right place. I would never bet on that. Not on anyone. I told you I was going to digress, and I took full advantage.

Cut to seven years into business. There is a reasonable amount of literature linking long-term stress to bad episodes. I mean, I had my psychotic moments and depressions from my teens to the end of my twenties, but I felt I'd shrugged them off back then. I don't think I had - I think I was just in my element - the minimum of being checked-up on - I could pick the times the dates - and keep going, and keep going, and keep going...

It is amusing in retrospect for me, to recall the confusion and glazing-over of other professionals while I gave presentations on site while manic. My brain had assimilated every defect on a whole cricket pitch of vertical stonework, and could pluck them out, describe them, give the best remedy. It was scary stuff really. And that was shown up a couple of months after when I tried to jump off the damned building.

In fact, over the various 50 odd churches and cathedrals I had the pleasure to work on, I must have memorised a whole test series of cricket pitches.


This is bloody boring.


And for reasons of discretion, this post will probably implode (or be severely edited) in 48 hours. Google is everyone's enemy. Enjoy, briefly.

The Feminist Test!

Saw this over at Marian's and just had to have a go.

Your result for The Feminism Test...


You scored 83% Gender-Abolitionist, 80% Sexually Liberal, and 60 % Socialist

You are the Revisionist Feminist! You are, by far, the most philosophical, the most sexually-liberated, and the most politically extreme variety of feminist. You are very, very freedom-oriented. You abhor oppression in all forms. For instance, your views on sexual liberation and reproductive control adequately reflect your devotion to personal freedom. Not only that, but you also feel gender needs to be destroyed to maximize equality and freedom, because accepting socially-constructed gender roles binds women into false categories and places upon them an unneeded identity. Gender should not be a part of one's identity, but rather an irrelevant aspect of their physical bodies, such as their hair length or nose shape. Not only that, but Revisionist Feminists are political extremists and feel very strongly that the oppression of class society is a big part of the cause of women's oppression. Basically, a Revisionist feels that cultural ideas of gender, political class, and repressive sexual morality all work together to oppress women, and the only way to truly escape this oppression is to challenge all of these problems directly and extremely. You are a Marxist, a Gender Abolitionist, and a Liberal Feminist all rolled into one.

The other feminist types:

The Housewife

The Marxist

The Liberal

The Liberal Extremist

The Gender Abolitionist

The Radical

The Gender-Liberal

The Revisionist

Take The Feminism Test
at HelloQuizzy

The things one can be arsed to fill in at one in the morning eh? Some proper posts coming up. Stay tuned, yawn, etc.

But, he added, only 60% socialist? What utter rot!!!