A welcome invasion of the Cybermen

On Friday my new cooker arrived. Very shiny and initially very smelly whilst I burnt off the coating that protects the oven.   After that it was time for the first food and we started with Ilona’s favourite, Pizza.  Despite the way the house smelt. I decided it was  time to cook the Pizza.  Tom went up to the oven wondering who was that handsome cat looking back at him on the glass door. Or maybe he was just smelling the pizza within.

After a busy weekend we reached Monday. Ilona stayed with me and Shan and her mother headed to London for Shan’s cochlear implant stitches to be removed and the implant turned on.

Tuesday was a good day. Why? That night my daughter listened to me. As a parent we are always pleased if a child listens but this is something more than that. My daughter is 23 and lost her hearing completely and unexpectedly in the summer(not going into why today as it takes a lot of explanation). In August she descended into a silent world where people would pointlessly shout while others  mimed like a manic version of Lionel Blair trying to give her a clue. In this surreal silent twilight world she had to work hard to understand parental advice and enjoy her Human Right to ignore it. (I wonder if they included that in Brexit).
She has had a Cochlear implant(microphones triggers electrodes that stimulate nerves in her ear enabling her to sense sound). It is not a hearing aid in the traditional sense as it does not amplify sound. It does not supply sound in quite the same way. On Monday this implant was turned on and yesterday for the first time we had a conversation without  me miming or having to write things down. Everyone sounds like Cybermen and I couldn’t resist telling her “you will be deleted”.  Sound has become an adventure. The flushing toilet sounds like a Cyberman gargling. She will learn to use this more effectively with practice learning how to discriminate between sounds and also having the implant finely tuned next week.
It was a pleasure to just be able to talk to her until I asked her if she remembered “Sollys Sister Sarah” not knowing S was the most difficult sound and that I had effectively fired at her the aural equivalent to a tongue twister. She went to school with the brother of a colleague  Sarah. The technology is fantastic. The age of bionics is hear. My one fear was it would not meet her expectations but seeing the joy in the room as she talked to her younger sister is something I will never forget. She opened a box of accessories in such excitement it was like returning to the days when children were young enough to be excited by the present not the cost.
I look forward  to more conversations but this year despite my natural Mr Humbug mentality Xmas has come early.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

as tome t                                   n

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World Kindness Day

 

On 13 November it is World Kindness Day, but why do we need it? Surely we are defined by kindness as we are after all mankind.

We all have the same basic needs but live in a complex world of diversity. Politics, religion, gender, sexuality can all leave us feeling dis-connected from others. Our increasing use of technology for social interaction can result in forgetting the technology is just an interface with a person on the other end. Sometimes social networking can become unsocial and not working.

Kindness is universally understood. You don’t need me to say a kind person should have helpful hands, listening ears, warm heart etc. I don’t need to become Dr Frankenstein and make you a kind person from worthy body parts.

Acts of kindness can cross any barriers or divides. They can be small like opening a door or much bigger. They can sometimes be the spark that ignites further kindness.

World Kindness Day is for celebrating acts of kindness. Kindness can make connections, improve someone’s wellbeing and is good for the soul. Sounds worth celebrating to me.

 

Acts of Kindness

 

As we ascend to automation

We descend from our humanity

Worship the effigy of progress

Forget to make a fist of mercy

 

Systems, programs, aps, data, passwords

Cluttered components of career

Rostered  a regimen to life’s end

Technology takes untimely toll

 

Yet the comfort of compassion

Vested in the realms of chivalry

A knight’s humane benevolence

Has relevance in today’s dark night

 

So with a good deed that’s good indeed

Act now with the script of a warm heart

Have a care with gentleness support

Another’s concern with calm rapport

 

Grant the smile of understanding

With the patience of listening

Reach out with hands of generosity

And consideration of the kind

 

 

Thank you for reading

Take care

 

Jon

A Poem and a Punch

 

Waking up at 6.50 am on a Sunday a time that I don’t have to get up but my body insists blackmailed by my bladder to put it first. Have slept well and with a life subject to Parkinson’s irony that means it is a bit harder to get up. My muscles stiffer, after good rest protest and rally like left wing labour supporters to the  Corbyn call for the end to the austerity of movement. My body votes with its feet before my bladder can commit its own Brexit. My brain wins the poll and my body pays the bathroom tax by bladders bolshy rhetoric a lone voice fading to insignificance.

 

Having announced to my body the end of austerity of movement the media of my mind broadcasts it as fake news  The osteo arthritis of my knee raves like Boris a loud minority that values its own opinion unable to see the perspective of my other joints which are already loosening for the deal of a new day.

 

I could make my whole day a political metaphor but I don’t want the alchemy to turn my wit into obsession. I open the book I received this week a belated birthday present which promises a poem a day. Todays poem is “The Last Laugh” a poignant piece by Wilfred Owen about death. A piece of wit and understanding of his own peril. A voice that outlasted his life reminding me no matter how entrenched my Parkinson’s even when under fire of a barrage of symptoms it is me that will have the last laugh. Usually I take my pills promptly but not on a Sunday instead I approach the punch ball. 

My fist raised and I box like Muhammad Ali pounding an opponent who is unable to respond with a single punch. I float like a butterfly (in it’s caterpillar stage)  while I buzz around the punch ball like a busy bee with a movement that would be hard for any inanimate object to keep up to. My body awake now I call time on my punching and head for my cup of tea. While Tom decides to chase a fly in the window before ending up trapped with his claw stuck in the net curtain as the fly escapes.

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I delay my tablets on a Sunday because I play badminton on a Sunday from 10-12.00 and if I take my medication at 7am like any other day I need to take more at 11am. Although my medication runs fairly smoothly throughout the day the assistance it gives my body is not linear. I have weaker support as one dose wears off and another kicks in. I play more consistently if I take my three one a day tablets an hour later at 8pm and my other tablet that I take four times at four hour intervals starting first dose at 8.30 to 8.45 making the next due at 12.30-12.45.

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I drink my tea and at 8.25 walk to the Newsagent for my paper. -It is a ten minute walk there and back and Tom gards the houseToday I have slept well and walk completely normally but if I hadn’t slept well going out without my full medication would leave me walking slightly clumsily not with too much difficulty but knowing I was less co-ordinated. On return I have my breakfast of crumpets taking my remaining tablet ensuring at least a 45minute interval before I leave at 9.35 for badminton. I may walk undermedicated but I do not drive that way. Undermedicated I can have a tremor in my left foot. I can control it with active brake and accelerator use but in traffic that crawls along with small continual movements it is a nightmare. So I only drive when properly medicated. 

9.35 I set off for badminton and play well. This puts me on a high for the afternoon. Another good Sunday started with a poem and punch.

 

Jon

Ps Parkinsons medication should be taken at regular times. If you try anything different please take medical advice first. We are all different and our medication is complex. This blog details what I have done but this is intended to be food for thought not a recommendation.

Poetry

 

 

Every now and again I face the question “Why do I write?”

The simple answer is I write to communicate but it is not the complete answer. A better answer is I write to connect. Whether the intention is to deliver a smile or a message to achieve my aims I need to make a connection. My writing also allows me to examine my thoughts and feelings in a form of Self Therapy.

Sometimes I get asked “Why do I write poetry?” The answers are as above. I think of myself as a writer rather than a poet. I also blog, write short stories, autobiographical stories etc. Poetry is part of my output but it is a major part.

Poetry can make you laugh, make you think, make you imagine and make you feel. Despite all that poetry is often considered high brow and elitist.  Despite this there is a huge cottage industry of poetry facilitated by Amazon and the internet in general. One thing the that applies to pretty much all, is a small audience. It is common for people to say they don’t like poetry.  Despite that if you ask people what poetry they like few will say Shakespearean Sonnets. A more likely piece is the Highwayman by Alfred Noyes an epic but easily understood story in a memorable structure that flows well.  Not sure whether I am able to include the real one so I instead provide my inferior tribute.

 

 The Highwayman(Trafficer)

 

The wind a force of nature tunnelling through the barren night streets.   

The streetlights ghoulish shadow makers birth intangible incompletes

The road watched over by the darks sentinel bathed in its lunar glow.   

And the highwayman came driving—

         Driving—driving—

The highwayman came driving, up to the crossroads slow.

 

 

 

He’d a Safety helmet crowning his head and a mobile in his hands   

A bright coat of high visibility, with its silver reflective bands.

Boots gleam their laces long, tied with a bow, end with steel caps to protect the toes.   

And he strode with a manly swagger,

         His arrogant swagger,

His cocky walk a swagger, stars a twinkle as he goes

 

                                                                                                                            

.

Over the pavements boots clattered and stomped on the surface of the black tarmac.

Carried striped cones, spread clones line dancing without steps, crest on chest Cormac.   

An invasion of the short striped minions, cordon with omens signs advertising the fates of those who pass.

         Fates of those who pass

Planting a light trio to control the trafficking petrol guzzling mass      

 

That morn there was host of automobiles in their daily rush

A convoy of the unready unprepared for his coned ambush.

A highwayman steals time as he strikes a pose in workman’s style not so novel

Workmans style not so novel

A highwayman steals time whilst leaning on his trusty shovel.                                                                                     

 

 Poetry despite its small audience has huge variety and I would like to showcase some of mine some published and some newer ones. My poetry has strong elements of storytelling hope and wit that I hope you will enjoy.

 

Soul Cradle

(from Hope and inspiration)

 

My soul cradled in the love

of those close to me

Rocked gently

by their blessing

 

Soothed by their warmth

Strengthened by their faith

Nourished by their hope

My souls burden lightened

by their good wishes

 

My soul cradled in the love

of those close to me

Never alone

 

 

All you need

(from Hope and Inspiration)

 

All you need is love and beer

Drunk on life lose the fear

If we all buy our round

Love and beer will be found

 

So start with friends and family

A hug for each it should be

We all deserve the support

to receive also need to export

 

Everyone different normal doesn’t exist

Touched by madness insanity kissed

Drop the frown for a smile

Happiness shows some style

 

Doesn’t matter about the past

It is gone it didn’t last

The present given as a gift

Hope for future gives a lift

 

All you need is love and beer

Gets you through another year

All you need fits like a glove

All you need is beer and love

 

In the Soup

(unpublished)

 

Lanterns smile

Pumpkin sentry

Lit awhile

As passers by

Pause for their treat

Candy so sweet

To pick or trick

 

King of the Castle

(from Shakes and Silverlinings)

 

Amongst the dark shadows of my mind

Parkinson’s when I look close I find

Lurking waiting wanting to come in

Breach my defences but you won’t win

 

You will never stop me being me

I will defend my own identity

Meds are mercenaries with a price

Stay in command is my good advice

 

I will never be your vassel

I am king in my own castle

My defences will not unravel

I am king in my own castle

 

Insidious you inhabit dreams

None will hear my silent screams

You are already inside my head

Its my territory I won’t retread

 

I may not be who I used to be

Reinvention can be the key

I will be my own definition

Not ruled by this condition

 

I will never be your vassel

I am king in my own castle

My defences will not unravel

I am king in my own castle

 

You are relentless and still advance

Would take over if given the chance

My walls you will never ever breach

My soul will remain out of your reach

 

Won’t submit to another agenda

Never concede never surrender

Wait for reinforcements of a cure

May never come but will try for sure

 

I will never be your vassel

I am king in my own castle

My defences will not unravel

                                                      I am king in my own castle    

 

 

We won’t wait

(from Shakes and Silverlinings)

 

Codebreakers and alchemists

Amongst a motley crew of allies

Seek out on expedition

Treasure at the rainbows end

 

The quizzmasters practice hand shaking

Whilst awaiting the mastermind

And warriors armed with words

Fight demons parked within

 

Toymakers toil with technology

To ease the burden of daily battles

Whilst muddled jigsaws pieced

Without the boxes picture

 

Propaganda cries hope

And sways the outcomes

But until the hope solidifies

The wars ills will not be cured

 

So listen to my voice cry charity

And starting from our homes

Provide me with an emperors armour

That protects with more than conceit

 

Our empire will strike back

A light sabre to dispel the darkness

Feeling the strength of our force

As our Yoda masters the spell of genes

 

I invite you to my sermon

At the church on the hill

I have myself full confidence

That all will do their duty

We will fight them wherever they reach

We will go on until the end

We will never surrender

 

We won’t wait

We won’t go away

Support our victory

Equip our army to overcome

 

 

Cherita

(unpublished)

 

Gripping the worn handle

Rusty relic

From my fathers toolbox

Driver of times past

Screwed story

Always ends with a twist

 

 

Arm Alight

(from Cornish Reflections)

 

Voice of authority

Relays the instructions

To the young scientists

Orders experiment

 

A class of Dad’s white shirts

Cast-off makeshift labcoats

Turn on the Bunsen’s flame

Burners light up the room

 

Following procedure

Analytic actions

Grind to halt as all stare

Teacher strides towards me

 

And then I see

Flames flicker

Arm alight

Manic

Panic

Flap

Fire!

 

Schoolmaster

Calm, careful

Sleeve smothered

Safety secured

 

 

Shamed and embarrassed

Always remembered

Boy who didn’t smoke

Yet lit up in class

 

What Ales Ye?

(from Cornish Reflections)

 

What ales ye?
Causes ye to hop merrily?
Rambunctious can tankard

Dulls the mind
Warms the smile
Bladder’s ignition
Prompts poet’s diction
I love ye, I love ye,
I love ye
Laureate yet
Words flow like flood
Sense drowned in
I love ye, I love ye
Barrel’s Benediction
As you flag on
Sugars transformed
I love yeast
Brain ferments
I love ye
What ales ye?

 

Badger

(from Cornish Reflections)

That’s the badger

King of white stripe

Night time cadger

Dig for roots ripe

Burrowing beast

Forage for feast

Moonlight, snack bite

 

Carousel of forgotten dreams

(unpublished)

 

Silent chalice of childhood wonder

Belies its vestige of merry

Past glory hidden in plain sight

Awaits time to go around

 

Jaded carousel lazes in sun

Paint fades blisters crack

Solitary flakes lifted by the wind

Eroding the past’s echoes

 

Skipping child pauses to point

A steed fit for a Princess

Pleads, she would give a kingdom

To ride the horse

 

Mum’s fingers pluck from purse

Coin to pawn for daughter’s dream

Crossing the attendants palm

Sets moment of myth in motion

 

Rust not corroded minds fancy

Small legs astride proud pony

Hand aloft bids Mum Farewell

Eager for epic journey event

 

Clank as cogs engage

Hydraulics heavy hiss escapes

As engine chuggs it’s turn

Creaking revolution fuels wonder

 

Ghosts of fantasy dance

A drama of child’s imagination

A show where she is star turn

In her theatre of dreams

 

Steed slows to a halt

Custodian aids dismount

Smiling childhood grasps Mums hand

Saunters with satisfaction

 

Rides await the next race

In their eternal slumber

Stirring only for small souls

Escape to enchantment

 

 

Armadillo on my pillow

(Sweet dreams for Jago)

 

I couldn’t sleep

Open eyes peep

On my pillow

Was an Armadillo

I said no

You have to go

He just sighed

And then replied

Stay awake

For my sake

Because you snore

All the more

Close your eyes

And my sleep dies

I turned away

What do I say

Under the moon

Me it did spoon

As i slept

It still kept

Body next to me

Like cutlery

The armadillo

On my pillow

 armadillo (1)

If you would like read more my books can be bought at

Cornish Reflections

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1720177473

https://www.amazon.com/dp/1720177473

Shakes and Silverlinings

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1549752162

https://www.amazon.com/dp/1549752162

Hope and Inspiration

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1521124973

https://www.amazon.com/dp/1521124973

Sweet Dreams for Jago

Illustrated children’s book not on Amazon a few still available from me

Thank you for reading

Jon

Sweet dreams

In the soup as five a day grates but prepared to put out fires.

 

For the first time I will write a blog for my personal site and my workplace. Issues in my life can impact on both so I will post this in both places.

I start the morning on a Sunday at a time I will refer to only as the unholy hour. I awake with a jolt realising it was a mistake allowing Tom          my cat into the room. He is standing on my bladder. Parkinson’s leaves me with the irony of an over active bladder. This involves bladder urgency which means when you have to go, you have to go.  Thankfully Tom moved off my bladder, but I was not so thankful he moved on my chest.

My dose of medication is lower over night, so my muscles stiffen up. I started to roll over to the edge of the bed, but my legs tangled in the duvet and Tom instead of getting off stayed on as though he was riding a rolling a log and was now standing on my side. I slid out of bed and he finally jumped off and I walked robotically to the bathroom.  Hearing the heavy rain outside was not helping.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Bladder urgency is one of the hidden aspects that can occur with Parkinson’s. Until I reach a toilet my concentration needs to be completely focussed to retain control. Last week we had a fire drill and if the alarm goes whilst I am on my way to the toilet and I go straight outside I will be a transformer and turn into a walking fire extinguisher. Although I am pleased with my trousers I am not vain enough to think they require their own sprinkler system. I am pre-warned about any fire drills as a reasonable adjustment.

Back to Sunday morning and after a bit more sleep it is time to clamber out of bed again and take my tablets before heading to the kitchen and breakfasting on the previous day’s leftovers. Tom hints that he doesn’t want his dry food by ignoring it and perching on the wet food box.

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On Saturday in the quest to make vegetables palatable to my daughter I had followed a process I saw on the TV. I grated a load of vegetables courgettes, sweet potatoes, carrot, onion, cauliflower and made them into fritters. They tasted ok and were grate but not great. My daughter ate enough of it to be polite and I felt replacing the sweet potato with sausage meat would be a vast improvement.  I also did battle with a soup maker using one of its own recipes which included the mammoth amounts of 900g peeled potatoes and 1.8 kilogram of broccoli so I reduced the quantities, substituted ingredients and made Sweet potato and cauliflower soup finishing it in a saucepan.   

Saturdays cooking not a complete disaster but did provide me the energy too play the best badminton I have played for a while on Sunday morning.

Writing with heart.

I am surprised to find it is over a month since my last blog post and would like to expand on my last post “Pride”

 

It has been quite a month. My oldest daughter has visited from Lanzarote. My youngest daughter has started her GCSE year at school and my other daughter has come out of hospital.  I visited my daughter in hospital in London. I have turned 50 and have released “Cornish Reflections” my latest poetry collection on Amazon. I have been interviewed by Radio Parkies and received recognition for achievement at work.

I was going to say I have had an epiphany but that would be melodramatic. I have just reminded myself of things I already know. I recently entered some poems in the Torbay Poetry Festival Competition and haven’t won anything. There are cash prizes and my finances have struggled a bit in recent years. That is not why I write.

I have learnt a lot in the last few years about writing and in particular, poetry.  There are many better poets. My writing often works best in context portraying something of me or someone/something I care about. Winning a prize in a competition would be a validation of technique but it doesn’t matter because I have already one prizes.

 

Prizes of connection and understanding. Prizes of love and hope.

 

My poetry has spoken to people with Parkinson’s, has helped others with different health complications to believe I understand and to confirm to family I love them. One of my greatest ever experiences was when I spent the evening with the mother of a friend who had passed away. I listened as she read the book dedicated to her daughter. She read all the poems in a whisper and told me after each one how she felt it connected to her daughter. My poetry had reached out to her in a way I never expected. I am lucky to be able to write.

 

I always want to learn and develop so I can express myself better. More important to me when I write or in something I read is the heart and the soul within it.  

Pride

I haven’t been able to write my blog recently One of my daughter’s is in hospital having the hardest time of her life but that is not a story I am comfortable telling not yet. It is not my story and one of her talents is writing. She writes so well.

For a while I couldn’t write anything else, nothing else mattered enough and all seemed trivial. Some things have gone well for me recently but they are not at the forefront of my mind. I am very proud of my daughter she is wise for her age. She is the one that provided me with the key. The pride goes both ways. She is also proud of me. She told me she enjoyed reading something I wrote about work and messaged her. My nonsense posts on Facebook provide her with entertainment.

I realised she still wants this contact that our shared interest in writing and reading are one of our methods of communication.   I can write now without worry because I also write for her. I write for the normality in our relationship. Whilst I wait for the hospital to find the solutions she needs I remind myself how lucky I am in my clever daughter