I will start with a story I recently told on Facebook.
Just a typical Saturday evening needing to get stuff out of the roof..So I fetch the steps and at the top I start to use my arms to pull my bodyweight into the roof.Problem? Not sure my right arm is strong enough to do this.. Not going to be barred from my own roof I think it through and realise I need a section of my dads old wooden ladder from the shed. Hmm problem how did I get this in?Ten minutes later with precision manouveres that would shame the red arrows the ladder is out. Ladder in position and looking cool in my headtorch I got halfway up the ladder and part of my headtorch falls off and bounces halfway down the stairs.The torch is still working so I continue moving my to so through the hatch am almost there.
But then OMG my loft hatchway is trying to detrouser me. Bugger A hook on the catch of the hatchway has snagged the ass end of my trousers (bugger indeed). If I go up I lose them and if i go down I tear them. So there is only one thing to do as I start to contort my body in a way that would make Max Whitlock proud. Glad and proud he is not me. After 5 minutes of contortion that suggest I need have a look at a manual to see how my joints work and I am free. I get in the roof and out with what I need. Time to put the ladder away lacking my earlier precision I this time use the clatter method. Not a good time to be an obstacle.
Sometimes thewith Parkinson’s the question is not “Can I do this?” but, “how do I do this?” Occupational Health experts may be able to help at home or at work. So if you want to do something that is proving a problem. Maybe there is a way of disproving the problem.
This is a short story written at least 18 months ago. It could do with a rewrite but my heart isn’t in that at the moment.. I wrote it for my daughter as she had a interest in Grimms fary tales. I had decided to rewrite some with a Parkinsons character but it proved more difficult than I thought because the stories were either incomprehensible or contained to much back story. So instead I wrote the back story. My blog recently has had quite aa bit of poetry but that is not all I write and I include this here to show another side.
The Frog, the Boy, the Wizard and the curse
I was listening to the nanny tell the boy a story he was only three and although he didn’t understand it all he sat mesmerised by her voice.“The Princess kissed the frog and he turned into a handsome Prince” she said gleefully and I had to smile. It was ridiculous the thought of a kiss from a Princess turning a frog back into a man. Which Princess would actually kiss frogs? Many Princesses may have lusted after “pond life” but frogs, what Princess would put up with the bad breath? If you believe otherwise then check the frogs as every frog I’ve come across has halitosis.
Princesses kissing frogs it doesn’t happen how do I know? I know because I am a frog! Well was a frog. A wizard changed me into a man that’s reality for you. This maybe starting with a cosy heart warming scene but this is not a Disney story and is more Grim than Grimm. This tale is a story of worldwide change yet until now it has been a myth, a hazy winter mist across the dawn of reality.
It started with the boy. His father was Parkin, an arrogant know it all of a wizard and his mother Alice a beautiful daughter of a local merchant. Parkin moved into the village and coincidentally the village had bumper crops for three years. This coincidence and Parkin’s ability to predict the weather led them to the conclusion he was responsible for their good fortune. The following year brought an average crop and the boy.
From the day he was born the villagers whispered “Parkin’s son is cursed.” The poor lad lost his mother and barely survived and was left with a weakness running down his right side. “Parkin couldn’t save his wife or fully heal his boy” the merchant said to the headman. “Yes” replied the Headman , “even the witches could do little. ” Only evil magic could be behind this” responded the merchant.
The witches tried to help but they were not really good at magic but were more cooks with some tricks. They were sisters the eldest Rebecca, Sharon and Imelda the youngest. Rebecca was the expert in herbs, Sharon the master baker and Imelda well she had a keen sense of taste and if anyone mistakenly said anything tasted like cardboard she would correct them and point out that it actually tasted of sawdust. Their biggest contribution to cordon bleu was the phrase “too many cooks spoil the broth” as their quarrelling often ruined the food. They tried to help but although their broth sustained Alice through the birth her body gave up shortly after. The boy was a sickly baby but clung to life. The witches saved him and was Parkin grateful? Actually no. Rumours of his fallibility were rife. This mattered more to him than his son who he proceeded to ignore putting him in the care of Sarah the nanny.
From birth until he was four Sarah cared for him and his life was sheltered from the suspicion in the village. Sarah was not a young woman and that night passed away quietly leaving the boy without loving human contact. What about me? Well I joined the story two years after the boys birth. In the boys second year the harvest was below average. The fact that for a few years the soil was depleted after over use was ignored. The boy had done it again. Parkin’s servants asked him about the boy and he was furious. A powerful wizard questioned by servants . Parkin would not stand for it and banished them. He managed with just Sarah for a week when he had an idea whilst walking near a local pond.
If the servants behaved like pond life then why not use real pond life. There I was master of the pond, a big fish in a small pond . Okay a big frog rather than a fish. Suddenly I was a man. It was strange it really was sudden I didn’t remember a transition but also I didn’t have any frog memories. I asked Parkin how I knew how to talk and behave. I didn’t just behave like a frog in a man’s body. Parkin looked at me studying me the intensity of his stare making me want to step backwards. Then he told me, ”With the spell I transferred the minutest fraction of my conscious to you. It makes you aware of language how to behave etc, Peter it transfers none of my powers and does not weaken me. Any more questions?” he asked in a tone that said not to ask
That was it I became his servant and I was called Peter. Parkin used me though in a different way. The good will from the prosperity he was supposed to have brought was dissipating. He replaced this goodwill with fear. If he could turn a frog into a man then perhaps he could turn a man into a frog. The boy undermined him and he responded by ignoring him. When Sarah died the boy had lost the last person who loved him. I had to look after him but I had little time for him. As a four year old he was allowed to wonder but no-one wanted to see him. He was the boy whose name nobody would speak, the boy who cursed the village. The boy developed strange behaviour. He was still weak and slow of movement on wide side but when he came into contact with anyone he was so nervous he shook. He also sometimes stood very still as if frozen. He would pretend they couldn’t see him and wait for them to move on.
When the boy was eleven I got restless I wanted more than to be Parkin’s dogsbody or should that be frogsbody. I wanted out but Parkin just said no. Parkin said it would not be safe outside of his protection and he could be right but it felt like blackmail. So I decided to take advice and went to see the three witches. As I approached their cottage initially it looked so cheerful. A garden full of flowers and some were completely out of season yet something was unsettling. It was as though everything flowers included were smiling or perhaps grimacing. The house seemed to be smug and the garden was mocking me. Every step the air became more oppressive and harder to breath and I just wanted to turn around but I wasn’t going to give up. I looked up and Rebecca was in front of me opening the door beckoning me in and before I knew it I was on a chair in front of them. Rebecca looked at me and said “Well Peter why are you here?”
“I wanted some advice”, I replied “I wanted to ask” but before I could finish a bored sounding Sharon had interrupted, ”Did you see that squirrel” and then she said “what, come on at least the squirrel has got some nuts.” I was about to ask what she meant when Imelda spoke quietly. “Peter,” she said “ever thought you should be a bit more frog?”
I had prepared myself but at that moment I felt as prepared to speak as a new born baby.I could see Rebecca and Sharon stare at Imelda with consternation. Imelda shook her head, “he deserves to know”. Rebecca replied “but we don’t know anything for certain”
I looked at Imelda and asked,” What do you mean be a bit more frog?” Imelda sighed and paused to think, then looked at me intently “Why do you think you are a frog?” This was not how I had expected this. “I was changed from a frog “ , I declared. “So you remember the change” questioned Imelda. I shook my head. “You have frog memories?” again I shook my head.
Sharon took over “Do you know how Parkin controlled the weather?,” and then paused before exclaiming. “He didn’t . Parkin only controls the weather because people believe. He has a small but powerful telescope.
I have seen the telescope so understand he doesn’t predict the weather he sees it ”l He doesn’t control the weather he describes it’s effects before others see them”
Rebecca says “that is enough now, there is no more we can tell you.”. Wait how can you be sure I am not a frog?” I asked.
“Parkin is not a great wizard but a conjuror performing tricks how did he find the magic? For such a great feat as the creation of another human it would make him a god.” declares Rebecca and finishes with a question “Don’t you think it’s easier to convince a man to be a frog than to turn a frog into a man?” That question echoed around my head as I left. How could I be so stupid? The witches had warned me that if I denounced the sneaky old wizard openly he might react to protect his reputation and would probably not help me get my identity back. They also advised it was unlikely he removed all traces of myself and perhaps I could get a picture by looking at the skills and abilities I had.
This started a new period in my life but also for the boy. Left alone and isolated his social development froze. He remained nervous and shaky his voice barely ever heard. Years went by as I explored my abilities and pursued knowledge. The witches and the wizard seemed low on magic but their knowledge seemed to be their power so I taught myself to read and write. I discovered I was an excellent archer, could track anything, instinctively understood animal behaviour. It seemed I was a hunter. I hunted knowledge as though it was game but devoured it quietly like a poacher. So absorbed was I that I didn’t see the storm coming but even Parkin and his telescope missed the warning signs.
Change had arrived in the shape of Divinia the Headman’s 16 year old daughter. A pretty but average girl apart from one thing, her ambition. The boy was soon to meet another hunter. Divinia could see her future but not by any prescient talent. She looked around her and saw the drudgery shared by the village girls.. They married village boys had more village children and worked hard for their families. Divinia wanted more. Divinia had been told to keep away from the boy, told he was bad luck but she was a teenager she knew better.
Divinia went to the pond at first out of curiosity. It was rumoured the boy hung around there and she was just going to look what harm could it do. She found a spot in the grass warmed by the sun and sat down. She looked out over the pond succumbing to the tranquility fell asleep. The boy watched although socially backwards the boy was 15 and like any boy had started to develop. His animal instincts told he had to look closer. He crept closer and as he got closer she opened her eyes. Their eyes met and he froze. They both stayed completely still eyes locked on each other and it was love at first sight. Actually no it wasn’t if you want that, read Mills and Boon. She was thinking “how do I control him?” His curiosity had switched to panic and if she had looked away or blinked he would have ran. Her eyes locked onto this as she reached up took the boys hand and directed him to sit next to her. He didn’t know what do so he just sat down. Strangely this relationship suited both on the one hand Divinia like to talk but boys locally haven’t got the patience to listen. The boy he didn’t know what to say and to Divinia not wanting a response that was such a relief.
The meetings continued and Divinia’s time away started to get noticed. Two of the village boys followed her to the pond. One of them Jack, felt Divinia was his personal property and stopped them to berate her. The boy stepped in between Jack and Divinia and just stood there. Jack was so surprised he was frozen in place giving me the opportunity to approach. There was a chill in the air a sign of the coming winter but nothing like the coldness in Jack’s eyes when he looked at me, after I called his name. He said nothing but turned and walked away I knew this meant trouble but who would predict the disaster that followed.
Over the next three weeks the weather changed the coldness set in and Jack watched Divinia as I watched Jack. Jack had a routine he followed Davinia to the pond stayed out of sight and followed her home again. It was only my huntsman’s skills that kept me out of his sight. On the Saturday his behaviour changed he took a bag of provisions and instead of waiting headed into the forest about 30 minutes before I followed and went deep into the forest before I realised. It was too easy here were times he seemed to be waiting for me. I changed direction and intercepted him he turned and looked and smiled. ” Hello nice day for a walk in the forest” he said and I knew it was a diversion. It would take me at least two hours to return and the snow was starting to fall heavily, I ran through the forest instinctively dodging branches as I stumbled through the undergrowth. I reached Parkin’s house but the boy wasn’t there.
Wheezing heavily after my exertions I made for the headman’s house and banged on his door until he answered. ” Is Divinia here? Where’s the boy?” I fired the questions at him and he did not answer. I grabbed him by the throat and despite my exhaustion found the strength to slam him back against the wall, “tell me” I commanded. At that moment Divinia appeared and looking at her father with disgust said “they beat him and he ran into the forest.” I let go and the headman slumped to the floor. Divinia explained “Jack lied to him and told him we had become lovers and my father met us with two friends and beat him to teach him a lesson I was dragged home but saw he got a way and stumbled into the forest” Time was of the essence it was no night to be out exposed, unprepared especially for an injured boy with a weak constitution. I commanded the headman to find him now. I questioned Divinia about where she had last seen the boy and instructed her to warn the witches their help may be needed. I ran back to Parkin’s whilst the headman organised a search. Parkin listened expression blank but dressed and came with me. We went to the edge of the forest and although snow had been falling heavily under the canopy of the trees it had not yet covered the tracks. I led Parkin to a clearing near some rocks and a large cave. The tracks now covered by snow stopped but there was a cave a natural place for the boy to seek shelter. We entered and Parkin ignited some sort of candle and we strode through a gallery of shadows. The boy was there cold fighting for breath. Parkin took one look and demanded I get the witches. I wasted no time I left the cave calling until men organised by the headman came running. I instructed two to bring the witches and another to find wood for a fire as the boy could probably not be moved.
As we waited for help Parkin asked “how did this happen?” and as I told him I could see an anger burn hotter than the fire I had lit. In the end it all happened so fast. Men arrived and so did the witches. Consternation on Rebecca’s face as her gaze travelled around the cave. The cave was sacred and Parkins anger defiled it with its presence. The witches were too late. The boy didn’t speak but breathed his last in his father’s arms.
For a moment it was silent then Parkin spoke as his gaze scanned the cave. “I curse you all, everyone to live as my boy did.” Rebecca and Sharon started to chant trying to disrupt the curse as villagers looked at each other in confusion. Parkin continued “you will suffer his ailments and there will be no cure” Imelda joined in with the curse changing it by adding her magic word “Yet ” she exclaimed and the wizard realising his intent was being changed continued ” until you say his name and acknowledge ”
The witches seemed in disarray and I knew action was needed I raised my bow and fired an arrow at Parkin to put him off. It hit him in the throat ripping all the way through head of the arrow sticking out the other end leaving a gaping hole with blood gushing out as he muttered the final words, “his pain” The witches looked at me in fury “do you know what you have done?” asked Sharon. The villagers stunned just looked at each other as the witches led me out. I wanted to scream I had saved the village defeated the curse but the grimace on Sharon’s face made me pause. ” His curse would have had little power but here in the night in this sacred place any impact would have been multiplied but with our interference it would have been contained.” She explained “You turned it into a dying man’s curse and that can have untold power. This is a burial site dedicated to an ancient, almost forgotten deity of death, the curse gives it influence and it will protect and strengthen it. ”
“All that I have to do is speak the boys name” I countered. “Try” instructed Rebecca but all I could say was “the boy” over and over. Imelda interrupted “you have little time, if they don’t hang you for murdering the wizard they will once they realise the curse has power.”
So I left dragged my tired body to Parkin’s house, packed provisions took the telescope, and saddled a horse. Before leaving I checked his bedroom and took two books from his bedding I had never seen them before. I started a fire in the bedroom hoping to add to the confusion and delay any search. As I rode out I saw the witches by the roadside and stopped Rebecca said “If you still want your memories back find a hypnotist that is how I believe he controlled you.” I galloped away with those words in my head. Magic users would help me or perish they would learn to fear the green archer. My stories are many and it is little known that without me Hansel and Gretel would have perished. Green archer dispatching evil sound like anyone. Yes Robin Hood liked my style so he stole it. He was a true outlaw inventing identity fraud and would have had no fear of breaking copyright (had it been there at that time) a truly odious fellow really. So look carefully my soon to be shaky hand is evident in many stories if you know where to look.
I dont feel guilty if I am faulty
I don’t have a warranty
but I am strong
I can shake just a tremble maybe dissemble
but I still resemble
A man with pride
Parkinsons is with me
Brings symptoms a plenty
It does not define me
It does not confine me
I will not resign me
To give up on life
Future uncertain hidden behind a curtain
There is no reverting
But I won’t give in
Take medication,control situation
Still crave the sensation
Of living life
Parkinsons is with me
As is my dignity
It is not the whole me
Look past it and see me
Engage with and meet me
See my smile
I know my value I will not wallow
Parkinson’s I swallow
It’s my destiny
So come take my hand walk across the land
Life I still command
See the beauty I see
See the beauty I see
Hope the reality
I still remain able
I don’t need a label
Come sit at my table
Raise a glass to life
Any suggestions for title please leave a comment
Last week I came out of the closet as a creative writerand this week I will tell you something about that.I write prose , poetry, fiction, nonfiction and generally the one thing my writing has in common is nothing. Writing can take you anywhere and communicate ideas or emotions. Writing can enhance life. I write a lot of poetry and yet it is not my favoured form. Today I am going to introduce two poems written on the same day
The first Sunday Afternoon which is simply a description of my walk to the beach. What is unusual is I set out to write it but instead of notes I took my camerajust taking pictures as I went.
The pictures were just documentary pictures but I am including some here. The first few taken as I walked along the road to the footpath by the docks to the beach.
No detail too small for a picture
In contrast the size of the docks before getting to the beach
Finaly arriving at the beach
An August Sunday afternoon
Suns erratic brightness reprises
Sandwiched between moments of grey
While white clouds float lazily above
I stroll attentive down my street
Absorbing familiar aspects
Calm composure comforts carried
Without burden freeing my soul
Approaching the lane to the beach
Only the traffics noise clings to me
Green partittion hides it from view
Seagulls above squawk their greeting
Doleful Docks lacking a purpose
Drowsey drifting from utility
Its shell like empty existance
Seeks a hermit for its vacancy
Bushes burdened bearing berries
Hoarding hopes of future progeny
Bees buzz bumbling between the leaves
As the welcoming beach beckons
Greeted by the seas magnitude
Persistent waves rebuffed each time
By sand and rocks unafraid
Of the tides constant assault
I sit still on the old sea wall
Eyes plunderimg natures treasures
Ears harbouring the sea sides sounds
Nose registering the salty air
I sit absorbing the divine
Watching the surf’s brief lifecycle
As it swells rises and then dispels
Brief life peters out on the beach
The second poem although finished on the same day was completely different.
Secret of the wise
Truth I analyse
No time to despise
Revenge steals time
It heals my soul
And once again whole
I can empathise
Truth I analyse
Secret of the wise