Park Climate Change

 

 

I still want to save the world. I live in a world of awesome variety and beauty that may be very different in just a few generations. I want to believe that my descendants will enjoy the level of abundance that I do. I have recently seen increasing news reports about extreme weather and more people getting involved in this debate. Are we doing enough?

I have Parkinson’s and am involved in a community where it is not unusual to feel disenfranchised. I have joined with 9 others who contributed to a book I have called “Park Climate Change. This book adds our voices to the call to act on climate change. It comes from a section of the population not usually associated with voicing its thoughts.

What are words worth?

Words are invaluable and my writing has brought confidence to my voice and brought it to the attention of others. I wonder lonely as a clod, trampling on Wordsworth’s beauty but in my own way I build bridges with my words This time I have built bridges with 9 other people with Parkinson’s to show what our combined voices can do We are stronger together.

The intent of this book is to explain some of the processes of climate change and our environmental impact, and highlight environmental impact. It includes content all the way from Australia. Any profits will be donated to the charity Parkinson’s UK.

The book is available on Amazon in both paperback and kindle versions. Please buy the book because I doing so you will help our voice to take it place alongside others calling for change. Read it and I hope it will encourage you to also want action.

In the UK the paperback is available at the following link

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/169127478X

and the kindle

 

Please support this book.

 

In the US the links are

https://www.amazon.com/dp/169127478X

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Opportunity

 

Opportunity

When even the furniture is telling you that, you are out of your mind you may have a problem. Thankfully I can admit I am not talking to the sofa but listening to a song from the past by a band called furniture. Recently I have pondered opportunity.

When I was diagnosed in 2007 with Parkinson’s I had no idea of the impact it would have. I carried on my family role of looking after everyone else in the family and being strong for everyone else. There was one thing, one piece of advice that just gnawed away in the back of my mind.

I was told to concentrate on the present and not think too far ahead. Good advice but for me a paradox. If I couldn’t think too far ahead where was the hope? My method of coping was to face things straight-on and it meant I had to come to terms with this. I viewed Parkinson’s as a limitation on my life that could only grow and keep growing. I saw my future narrowing before me.

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Three years after my diagnosis I had the opportunity to go to Machu Picchu. I grabbed it and did not let go. I had a wonderful year fundraising and getting fitter which culminated in two weeks in Peru. It was the adventure of a lifetime. I realised that although my life had changed there were still opportunities.

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Coming back to the present I will reach my 51st birthday within the next two weeks. As I think about the past year, I have had opportunities that I had not expected. Attending a Buckingham Palace Garden Party and holiday in Lanzarote (with my daughter to visit her older sister) immediately spring to mind. Other aspects such as learning and developing in my role at work and improving my writing have shown my life still moves forward.

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Within the last six months I have discovered my Parkinson’s has migrated to my left side as well. Previously on my right only but I always knew at some point it would affect both sides. This has been an emotional hurdle I have managed to leap, as my medication controls this change.

You can only play the hand that you have been dealt. It may or may not be a losing one but until the game is finished who knows what card might be hidden in the next hand. Sometimes it seems easier to mentally shut down our life rather than live it. If opportunity knocks, you will never know what it offers unless you answer the door.

I am confident that the year ahead will include the good and possibly some bad. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder so maybe the ugly is just perspective. Whatever happens it is my life I will live it and blog about it.

Rhi’s World

I have just returned from holiday at Rhi’s world, a theme park built on Lanzarote, an island of sand, sea and sun. A week that was a wicked ride of fun including beer, cocktails, shots, tapas and bonhomie. In Rhi’s world a flip flop is an item of footwear not a political contortion. Dancing Queen is, a not so guilty pleasure played by an Abba tribute band, not a Prime Ministerial humiliation.

Rhi has worked in Lanzarote for over 3 years but this has been the first time I could visit, and I was lucky to have the company of her sister my youngest daughter Ilona. The trip to Lanzarote went almost without incident but not quite. The train doors shut on me without warning, at Plymouth and the bus from the train station made Ilona feel poorly. None of that mattered as we arrived in Lanzarote and collected our baggage (once I realised that looking on the right carousel might help).

 

Although I might have the odd beer (sometimes with an odd name), cocktails and shots were not usually on my agenda. My favourite cocktail was the Hurricane, enjoyed as I sat in the calm with Rhi a one barmaid hurricane, whose energy swept through the bar in a storm of service. As well as the Hurricane, I tried other cocktails. Despite it’s promise when I followed Sex on the beach with a Screaming Orgasm that did not provide the satisfaction its name insinuates. No need to worry about escaping the rain when you have ordered a Pina Colada (usually includes a free umbrella).

 

 

The entertainment for the first night at the Irish Bailey was a quiz and Karaoke. Rhi sang two songs and one I videoed. There are usually two types of Karaoke, those who can sing and the drunk who can’t. Rhi can, and her performance of “Whats up,” was one of my highlights. Rhi had to work whilst we were there so we spent some of our time there. Derek her boss even persuaded Ilona to wash glasses and when the blarney was of no avail eventually achieved success by nagging.  I have seen Rhi work before but seeing the two of them working together was a first.

 

A first but no thirst, as Rhi a blur of waitressing and barmaid somehow seemed to manage to cope with multitasking, including keeping me supplied. Unsurprisingly the entertainment included Irish Singers on two evenings which kept the bar lively and busy. We also watched an Abba tribute band where Rhi employed the nagging tactic to get Ilona to dance with her. The strains of Voulez vous caused many giggles as  Rhi recalled the stupid lyrics she and her other sister Shannon used to sing to that song. Seeing Rhi and Ilona laughing together was one of the things I have missed. It was made almost a perfect moment as Rhi messaged Shan, and all three were laughing even though one was back in the UK. Our varied entertainment was completed on another night by a drag act whose bra was not only a push up bra but had many other functions including pushing forward one at a time. Luckily her top was also very stretchy.

 

As well as Nat her housemate the household includes Rhi’s cat Kyra an independent feline but efficient at Lizard killing. The other pet is Nat’s dog Cooper who became my walking buddy. Usually the first awake we went for walks before the sun had fully warmed up. 8am was a time when only a handful of dog walkers and a large number of keep fit enthusiasts were up. People ran past me whilst I held one end of an extendable lead that at any moment could be deployed by Cooper as a weapon of mass trip action. Luckily no human or animals were harmed for the sake of my exercise. Not content with running one man shadow boxed and other people did press ups. I just tried to walk properly as on a couple of occasions I walked off before my medication was active. This also made clearing up after Cooper interesting as I bagged one handed whilst holding him struggling to bend over. Only on one occasion did I have the luxury of being able to tie him and use both hands.

 

Windsurfing provided some unexpected entertainment. Some manoeuvres were spectacular on the water. Manoeuvres on land brought their own challenges as wind caught sails carried through busy paths but luckily I saw no serious injuries.

I was also entertained by the street sellers whose goods were all real but always a cheaper version of well-known brands. Like the souvenir shops you get what you pay for so I checked quality as well as prices when I bought souvenirs to bring home.

 

The food was excellent, and I enjoyed Tapas and a variety of other meals. I did have a sweating incident in an Asian Restaurant but luckily, I did not completely liquidise. Overall, It was a great holiday. And I met Rhi’s new boyfriend Eddie who was a cut above some of her previous English predecessors.  It was great to be told by her friends that she talks about me and even in separate countries I am still part of her life as she is part of mine. She has a great bond with Ilona and seeing them together pulling silly faces always makes me smile. I hope that her other sister Shannon will be able to visit at some point in the future. I have always been proud to be Rhi’s Dad and it was nice to see how hard she works and the way she now runs her own life. Her grasp and use of Spanish is impressive. A trip to Rhi’s world was just what I needed, and I have so many memories that I can’t really list them all here. I have not mentioned the Zoo, shopping with Rhi, or many other things(including being trounced by Rhi at bowling but shh that doesn’t need to be mentioned).

Irish Bailey

The Irish Bailey

Of Lanzarote

Bastian of blarney

Beer and bonhomie

 

Cocktails and shots

Umbrellas the lot

Guinness they have got

Whiskey or rum tot

 

Handcut chips are neat

The menu a treat

Music does complete

Ambience so sweet

 

Best of all the staff

Derek host not half

Barmaids no riffraff

Make you smile or laugh

 

Billy Boy Rap

 

Billy Boy

Number One

Selling goods

In the sun

 

Where you from?

Oh the UK

Man Cjty

Football OK

 

Have a gift

Try a bracelet

Any Change?

You won’t regret

 

Billy Boy

Number One

Selling goods

In the sun

 

Need a watch

Try a Rolex

Hear it tick

It’s not suspect

 

You need shades

I have Rayban

You look good

It match your tan

 

Billy Boy

Number One

Selling goods

In the sun

 

Its Rayban

But says Raybon

No fake sir

I swear upon

 

Street seller

In Lanzarote

A good deal

You get from me

 

Because I’m

Billy Boy

Number One

Selling goods

In the sun

 

Remember I’m

Billy Boy

I am the best

Better than

All of the rest

 

Billy Boy

Number One

Selling goods

In the sun

 

 

 

All you can eat/All you can sweat

 

Asian Restaurant

As much food as you want

An exquisite buffet

Sweet exotic gourmet

Subtle palette tickle

Tastebuds in a pickle

Tastes trickle on the tongue

Mouth-watering upon

 

Heat hidden in it’s guise

Fiery with surprise

Temperature to melt

Pores open and damp felt

Forehead rains on the glasses

Nose runs until it passes

Mopped brow still sweat flows

Red face do they all know?

 

Windsurfer

 

Pirouettes and twirls

Avoid others as wind swirls

Sail almost blown from hand

Dangerous on dry land

On a crowded pathway

Wind makes the sail sway

Others dodge and some duck

Avoided just by luck

Glad to reach the water

No carnage or slaughter

My Basket Case

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My basket case

 

It maybe curtains

Or a staired frolic

Rampant. Rambunctious

A tripping hazard

Fly into window

Netted to shredded

Backpack to catnap

And a dream to purr

Let out of the bag

Stalks leg for ambush

A spring, grab with claws

Follow to kitchen

For bowl filled  for Tom

With catisfaction

A lap topped content

With one eye open

A sleepshow, peepshow

Two’s company ends

Stretch claws. Paws for thought

Post scratch, a saunter

Returns to sleepnest

He’s my basket case

 

 

 

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Memories are Alive

 

The Memories are alive

 

A life brimming with savvy

Flaunts the revelation

The tapestries are alive

Its threads snake through our conscious

 

Past pictured becomes present

Photos snapped in context

A reflection wonderland

Inhaled as we explore

 

Secret of wonder we hold

Their melody feeds our mood

Dancing ego of our souls

In time with times living ghosts

 

Our ability to remember is a gift that has allowed us to develop as a species into the ingenious race we are today. Our ability to look back and assess the past is a crucial talent that helps us to learn for the future. Without the ability to look back we would not have the capacity to plan and move forward.

Our memories are not static like a photo album where the photographs always stay the same. Perhaps a theatre is a better analogy where the memory can change or it’s scenery can change according to the context it falls within.

When I write poetry about the past I am not writing with nostalgia about a distant past. I am writing about something that is here with me in the present. I believe memories to be a major part of the palette that colours our definition and helps say who we are. Memories are alive. They are an ally to the present from the past and an influence on our future. We cannot be who we are without our reflection. A look in the mirror of the past can give us huge insight, but it takes both the good and the bad memories to make the sum of our experience.

We all have a store of wealth from our personal history. My poetry often mines that wealth and attempts to celebrate it.

 

Train of thought

 

Industrial beast of burden

Rare survivor from ages past

An elemental steed of steam

Derailed by diesels design

 

Rewinds memories of departed

From Bodmin station and from life

The passengers into the past

Father and son, tickets to ride

 

Steam hisses whistling an intro to

Onomatopoeia  song

As the engine rails in motion

Driven by the Clickety clack

 

Rhythm of movement felt and heard

Carried through connected carriages

As all senses engaged, windows view

Progresses through route with scenic glances

 

A journeys commentary

Fuelled by the locomotion

Railway Reminiscence

Seated In restored carriage

 

Paternal history passed down

Stories stoked by steam trains prompt

Tender experiences like coals

Shovelled, drive engine of heritage

 

Former Fireman became driver

Of esteemed trains just as diesel

Cuckoo nested and supplanted

Its’ modern offspring of future

 

Fathers steam termination

Signalled by emerging era

Coaches aligned to platforms as,

Passengers alight train of thought

 

 

Deliverance


A creation of our own ego

A mindful evolution of soul

Ponder the future summons the past

Opens the curtain on life’s drama

Dreams distilled in telling metaphors

Cut the chord, as memory is born.

Echoes of Echobelly

Music from the past often forms the soundtrack to my life. In the car I play CDs that ring out with anthems not just of my youth but also of more recent times. Songs that trigger memories of concerts I have been to, reminding of the sublime moment when they play the song.  The song that you know marks a moment in time that in the future will make you smile.  In the house I search Youtube for those songs, Songs of familiarity that I haven’t heard for a while. Songs like “Great things” by Echobelly that now plays as I write.

 

“I wanna do great things

I don’t wanna compromise”

 

Over the past nine months or so I have found myself in a strange mood with a mixture of feelings. I have become the half century man, a character of my own poetry.  At times I have been restless, knowing I still want something but not sure what. When I look back, I can see what I have achieved and I am satisfied. I am at peace with my past. When I look at my present, I am not so sure? When I look at my future, well who knows? I have yet to purchase a crystal ball.

 

So what does go on in my head. Unlike Scrooge whose visits by the three spirits of “Marley” provide a clear message my ghosts are less coherent. My visits from “Marley” are more likely to arrive via Youtube and tell me that he shot the Sheriff.  Sometimes searching for the meaning of life in song lyrics misses the point. The insight is not hidden in the words but within our own interpretation.

Immersing myself in the past often brings comfort but it is perhaps the recent past that I should focus on to move forward. A couple of years ago I was under medicated and under pressure. Struggling financially, physically and at work I juggled by instinct unsure why my balls hadn’t dropped but aware if they did it could be more than my voice that broke. I assured others I could cope but I shared some of their doubts. Would things come back together when my medication was sorted or was that just wishful thinking?

I need to now go back a year further in time.  My Parkinson’s medication and my Parkinson’s symptoms had become allies and the resulting combination of tiredness and compulsive behaviour was undermining my life. I recognised this and started to consider things needed to change. I could see some of my issues but at that time there were others lurking that I would only see with hindsight. Paranoia is a potential side effect of the medication that was starting to creep up on me. It took 3 months once I had made my decision to initiate the changes. Even though it was a prescription medication, it was still giving up a drug I was dependant on and that is no mean thing.

The changes took longer than I expected hence a year later, nine months after starting to adjust my medication I was still undermedicated and uncertain. Why did it take so long? A mixture of medical procedure trying one change at a time (with each change made in steps) and poor administration with co-ordination between medical practitioners sadly lacking. Three months later I started a new tablet the final ingredient to my medication cocktail. A cocktail swallowed shaken but not stirred with no cocktail shaker required.  I had successfully changed my medication reducing my main component in my fight against Parkinson from 14mg a day to 6mg. Increasing other tablets and introducing a new one brought me to a position that allowed me to find balance and a regular sleep pattern. I was able to reboot my life and regain trust and respect. Don’t get me wrong issues of tiredness and compulsive behaviours are not vanquished but they are manageable factors in my life.

It took me a year to trust that I now had a stable platform for my life. A year to realise consolidation wasn’t the only possibility I could move forward. I started the year feeling I was waiting with plenty of irons in the fire. Submitting a book to publishers, poetry short stories to competitions and using the opportunities to motivate me to improve as a writer. For the first time in years I applied for a different role at work. Many of these things didn’t come off and my restless feeling continued.

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At Buckingham Palace

As I look back though I can identify many high points. At work I have started to blog and received messages including ones that thanked me helping others through difficult times. In April I won the RadioParkies Poetry competition and released another poetry collection on Amazon. I produced a video on Youtube to promote that book and that is something I would not have felt able to do until recently.  

  In May I went to Buckingham Palace to one of the Queen’s Garden Parties (a report is in a previous blog). One of my poems features on the Parkinson’s UK website in one of their promotions. In June I attended a school reunion an event brimming with good will but without the competition that such events are supposed to be about. I had one self-conscious moment. As I ate, I was nervous about how my clumsy use of cutlery might look but the only one paying that attention was me. It helped me to understand why I feel restless. My Parkinson’s symptoms are visible at times. It is progressive and although stable it has still changed. There is scope for more medication if I need it, but I am aware this current period may not last. I needed to acknowledge that because now I have I can move on. None of us know our future and all we can do is take part in the present to open up opportunities that may open new paths for us.

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At the reunion with Sarah one of its organisers

I continue to write and enter competitions. In the summer I will travel to Lanzarote to visit my oldest daughter. I have much to look forward to. I am compiling a climate change poetry collection including contributions from other People with Parkinson’s who write. I still want to change the world.

 

  

“I wanna do great things

I don’t wanna compromise”

 

 

My latest book Laughter the 2nd Best Medicine can be bought at

In the UK  https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1093153172

In the US  https://www.amazon.com/dp/1093153172

My video can be found at youtube

https://youtu.be/3lxQv0XJAZA

Field test and a walk in the woods.

 

I was referred to the hospital because my marking was low in the field test they do at the opticians. I set off this afternoon walking to the train station as the hospital letter stated I shouldn’t drive. Arriving early after taking a taxi from the station to the hospital. I found lack of double vision had already put me at a disadvantage. The receptionist told me my one appointment was actually two.

Oh well chin up literally. The first appointment was to photograph my eyes as I rested my chin on a chin rest. Photos were quickly taken of each eye. I asked if they needed to retake them because I wasn’t smiling but apparently not. I was then led to another room and asked to read letters off a chart and I was then finally ready for the Eye Doctor. Unfortunately it was over an hour before she was ready for me.  

The Doctor started the tests, looking in my eyes and doing the pressure test. She put drops in my eyes mentioning she remembered me from last time. My eyes seem to have a password that has not been shared with her. I try to follow every instruction to open them wider but if the eyes are the windows to my soul then they have faulty blinds with minds of their own.

I engage with humour telling her that “every time a woman has looked closely into my eyes, it has cost me money.” I realise laughter maybe the best medicine, but this Doctor has no intention to self-medicate. The Doctor tells me that my eyes look fine and she feels something is happening affecting the results of the field test. She signs me off, so I head for home.

I had decided to walk back to the train station knowing that this would kill some time ensuring my eyes would be clear, when I reached my car back at my works carpark. I would also get some much-needed exercise. I had decided not to follow the road but take a pedestrian/cyclist route. The pictures here were taken to help a friend understand the directions because when I explained it to him, I was as clear as mud.

 

After walking past the Truro Gulf Club, I left the main road to follow a path to a lane parallel to the main road. My right hip had been aching  since leaving the hospital but I paused here and it stopped complaining so I decided to continue.  After about 100m I followed a sign turning left downhill, then right at the bottom, up a hill and then turning left at a sign onto a path off the road. The sign said the station was 1.5 miles away.  I had taken this route before following it all the way and it seemed much further than it was supposed to me. I decided to use my natural sense of direction, so I left the path returning to the road. I have a good sense of direction that was not shared by the planning department who had agreed the designs for the road. Coming to a dead end but not yet wanting to turn back I watched a man with a dog walk down a small lane behind a few houses. He seemed to have entered the woods. It looked like it could be a shortcut to get me back on track.

 

Armed with survival knowledge picked up from a lifetime of watching horror films, I considered my options. Rule one, never try to take a shortcut in a forest or woodland you don’t know. Taking the path into the woods I recalled “The Ritual.” A film about four men who take a shortcut across a Nordic forest and are hunted, by an ancient Nordic God. God of? I can’t remember what, but includes being unfriendly.  

 I follow the path through a couple of fields and through the woods. There are no signs but I follow the path and ponder if the distances I saw on earlier signs were “as the crow flies” because I think that in future crows should be made to walk to give them a real sense of distance.         

I walk through the thankful there are no corpses in the trees and that I have yet to go around in circles. I pass a strange shed reminding of the second rule of survival in horror films. Never venture into a strange house in the woods. I walk on relying on my innate sense of direction which has never led me astray (often). I eventually come to a gate and a road. I walk to the bottom of the road recognising my location. I am close to the station and continue up the road  then along a lane to some steps. A footbridge over the train station my final obstacle. Once crossed, I get to the platform 2 minutes before the train.