So really shit news last week that one of my oldest and best friends is dying. Don’t know how long he’s got but we are talking months. I went through my teens and twenties with people dying of AIDS but then meds meant that stopped. But now I start to learn about more people I know dealing of cancer. I’m trying to adjust to the idea of him not being around and at the same time everyday life just has to continue as normal. You expect the world to stop but it doesn’t. He is only 55 (doesn’t smoke or drink!) and it’s making me think about what I do with the rest of my life.
Dave, family and friends
My relationship with Dave is very important. I’ve screwed up relationships before (and been done over by partners) but I genuinely think me and Dave are together till we die. Yep we argue, temptations come and go, and people may think we are mismatched but it’s our relationship and we make it work. Both weekends at the end and beginning of this blog I was with Dave at his place though for the weekend just gone he was back on duty for work so I gave him space. We also met for dinner on Wed at the faded grandeur of the Union Jack Club (a member’s club for veterans of the British armed forces – I get in as Dave’s partner) where we had a very reasonable meal though I drunk at bit too much. Cheered on the way back to Dave’s by news of QPR’s 3-2 away win at Wolves.
I have big love for my family as well and spent Monday and Tuesday evenings with mum, most of which was spent watching soaps together. She is still in a lot of pain with her leg but always says how she likes to have me around to talk to.
Down to see my very ill friend on Saturday. We have mainly been communicating by text because he had trouble speaking and is in a lot of pain. I really wanted to see him (could be the last time) but didn’t want to be too pushy especially as I’m sure him and his partner have lots of people contacting them and wanting to visit whilst they just want some time together alone as long-term partners. He looked ill when we met, so thin and pale, but still very recognisable and we had a good couple of hours together talking about life in general and discussing nothing negative.
No other big friend meet-ups last week though I did have one of those weird coincidences when I bumped into Stephen and Patrick on Monday as I was reading in Brompton Cemetery (one of my favourite places) before my hospital appointment and they were cutting through on their way to the cinema to see ‘The Man from UNCLE’ (I do remember the TV original). A fun little catch-up.
Health and efficiency
Weight, down to 13-3! Both exciting and a real challenge to keep it there or even get down further.
Long purposeful walks continued:
Sunday: Victoria to Oxford Circus and back
Monday: Victoria to Olympia
Tuesday: Vauxhall to Olympia
Wednesday: Vauxhall to Waterloo
Saturday: walking around Lewes
Only one gym session last week, on the previous Sunday. It went really well including new calf exercises recommended by the physio to help my achilles problems. I was supposed to go again on the Thursday before my travel to Brighton but over-drinking at my Wed night meal with Dave meant I was up later than planned and feeling quite sluggish so gym skipped. And Saturday gym session cancelled so I could go and visit my very ill mate.
Monday walked from Dave’s to Chelsea and Westminster hospital for the hand clinic. About an hour late being seen by the doctor but generally quite amusing sitting in the chaotic waiting room where patients move between doctors, physios and the X-ray dept. Funny seeing so many people turning up for the wrong clinics (with some being sent elsewhere but then returning), someone turning up a day too early for her appointment and then trying to blag her way into getting seen that day, and a driver arriving to collect the wheelchair he had left somebody in that morning for a totally different clinic. The consultant used her years of skill to identify where my wrist was still painful by pressing on it – only option now is rest, flexible covering to protect the recovering area, and physio. Saw very nice physio afterwards and got yet more new exercises to do. The reckoning is about another 5 weeks until the wrist is fully healed and, hopefully, back to as before – we will find out when I do press-ups and bench presses. The period from injury to ‘recovery’ will have been about 3 months in total.
May seem flippant to feature heavily developing my digital skills in my blog but I genuinely believe digital is and will change our lives making unachievable things happen and I want to be part of that or at least understand it. It’s a crazy society we live in where we are so dependent on science and digital technology yet so few of us comprehend it. Indeed, human behaviour is bloody difficult to change (smoking, unsafe sex, stress, obesity, fossil fuel usage) and finding digital solutions may be our only hope. I love the way images abound of evil Cybermen or Borg hiding the fact that may well be humanity’s future but I don’t think that’s a problem – man and machine united.
Unfortunately not as much digital learning as the week before and a large concentration on dealing with stuff at work particularly how we best manage and support digital projects to ensure they deliver. Was supposed to not be working on Thurs and Fri (see below) but spent a lot of time on my laptop dealing with ‘urgent’ emails. Very pleased to say we are supporting Nominet Trust’s search for the top 100 social tech initiatives in the world at the moment – click here for details including how to nominate a project. Also did some good connecting people last week – I love growing networks.
Part of the reason that I didn’t do so much digital stuff was because last week I was only in the office on Tuesday and Wednesday. Monday was hospital and Thursday/Friday were taken as TOIL (Time Off In Lieu) for the amount worked over my paid hours in previous weeks. Thurs afternoon down to a grey and drizzly Brighton with a lovely meal on my own in the evening before staying over in a hotel and going to see Bob and Brian the next day – the two old chaps I keep an eye on. Sunny day on Friday and walked most of the way to see Bob in his nursing home. Couldn’t take him out still in his wheelchair because of my injured wrist. So we stayed in his room and chatted, he was on good form. Then onto lunch with Brian who was also doing well and so is his beloved dog. Popped into one of my favourite charity shops before the train back and bought some more classic gay literature to add to the ‘infestation’ (Dave’s words) at his flat.
Not as much action as I would like but some sessions on DuoLingo. I also watched a 1951 award-winning drama about street children in Mexico City, ‘Los Olvidados’ (I think that means The Forgotten). Obviously in Spanish and a great film directed by Luis Brunel with inevitably some strange surrealist tinges like the dream with meat.
Reading and books
Read Gore Vidal’s ‘The City and the Pillar’ – a wonderful gay book written in 1949. I then followed that with the fantastic ‘Station Eleven’ by Emily St.John Mandel. Written in 2014 and winner of the Arthur C.Clarke Award. I’d been after this for a while and, guess what, found it in a charity shop for 50p. It’s an amazing apocalyptic novel meshed in with flashbacks to life just before the deadly flu pandemic. Beautifully written with lovely story telling and characterisation which also stimulated my thinking around how fragile modern society is. And a great study in how we remember things and perhaps twist them so they are not fully ‘the truth’ in doing so. Back to Clive Barker ‘Books of Blood’ (vol V) – more sinisterly imaginative stories. And meanwhile I’ve been listening to the Dr Who novel ‘The Curse of Peladon’ on my i-pod whilst I’ve been moving around.