Billyblog 28 June – 4 July 2015: We make plans and God laughs at them

Sunday 28 June – Saturday 4 July 2015

xray-handOne of those unplanned, distinctive and unique weeks. Three big things: getting diagnosed with a fractured wrist, the heat, and Dave going away. More details about the wrist injury below. And the heat by midweek – wow. Still loved it even though I was walking around with my arm in plaster in a sling. I love being in a hot country – the more chilled lifestyle and people going about in limited amount of clothes especially men. I know this is just objectifying people but people’s physical shapes are fascinating and it’s nice to have some decent totty. Reminds me why I want to retire to a sunny place like Spain. Meanwhile my partner had to go off on work duties half way around the world when I probably most needed his physical help.

My fractured wrist

I slipped over in Calpe the week previously, landing on my arse but also banging my left wrist on the ground I presume. It did hurt and the discomfort seemed to diminish but never totally went away and alarm bells rang when I was unable to do certain exercises at gym such as press ups and dips – my wrist simply could not bear my weight. I tried a support bandage but a week after the fall it was still hurting so I got an emergency GP appointment on Tuesday. Lucky I did because I was referred for an x-ray and found that I had a tiny but present fracture in my wrist. This led to a couple of hours in A+E and then a temporary cast with a sling to keep my arm up before the Hand Clinic on Monday to sort out the proper recovery process. Really quite amazing how unplanned and unexpected things change your life. I worked from home the rest of week simply because I could not risk travelling on public transport but I was limited by only being able to type one-handed. I hope it does not sound too crass but such temporary physical problems go some way to appreciating the serious issues long-term physically disabled people face. One of very big things for me is that it is very likely I will not be able to use the gym or go on a jog-run for weeks which I find depressing.

Life before the fracture – off to Brighton

Sunday previously I did my last jog-run for a while, details below. Me and Dave had lunch together not least because it feels like we are apart so much at moment due to work travel commitments. After lunch it was off by train to Brighton so I could visit Bob and Brian the next day. No engineering works though a rather vile fat man sitting opposite me who dropped all his used litter on the floor including food wrappers and tissues he blew his nose in. Decent weather though a bit cool. I found my B&B and treated myself in the evening to a decent cheap Indian on St James Street. Back to my nice but cosy room to watch the final episode of ‘Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell’; such good TV and I will miss it.

Catching up with my two old chaps, Bob and Brian

I was tired on the Sunday night and asleep by 10.30, too tired to watch Glastonbury. But awoken at 2am by two queens arguing about if one of them was going out to the sauna – would it even be open at 2am on a Monday morning? Woke properly with sun streaming through the window. I found it very hard to wake up with the after-effect of a dream about having a constant dream I couldn’t understand the meaning of. Off to see Bob in his nursing home. Such a nice day that out in his old wheelchair and along to the Portslade cafe for coffee (and a bacon sandwich for Bob) whilst we watched the world go by. We know each other well enough that we  could often just sit in silence and still be comfortable together. Then onto lunch with Brian who was in good form though his beloved dog is not well with colitis. Back to London to spend time with mum who had been to see someone about her knee today and she is being sent for an MRI scan. The boiler stopped working; it is 20 years old but thankfully just a small part needed changing.

And then everything changed

Tuesday I decided to get my wrist checked and the rest was history. All my plans whilst Dave away gone to pot. One of biggest difficulties is not getting the temporary cast wet so limiting in terms of cooking, washing up, washing myself, etc. My plans for going out on Wed and Thurs night were shot and I had to cancel going to Manchester at the weekend to speak at an event on Monday because I had the hand clinic on Monday afternoon to decide what was happening next. Dave came round on Tuesday night to check how I was before he went off on Wednesday. Sad to see him go and bed very soon after.


images (11)So Tuesday was warm as was my first night sleeping with an arm in plaster that went OK though I did wake a few times. Wednesday turned out to be the hottest day of year to date. Lots moaned but I loved it even with my plastered arm. I decided I needed to get exercise as I was feeling pent up – my only realistic option was walking. Bath first with my plastered arm in a plastic bag then a long (two hour) walk to Dave’s place though stopping frequently to check and deal with work emails. I arrived at Dave’s to realise I had forgotten the fob to get in the front door though I buzzed bells and eventually found someone in to open the door. Spent time at Dave’s doing emails plus watering his plants (slowly with one hand) and sorting my meds for the coming week; I had left my meds at Dave’s because my plan had been to stay there Wed night and fill up then for the week ahead. On the walk back I saw a woman with a small discreet plastic cast – I want one! A surprisingly good day with another night in with mum.

Keeping on top of work

Thursday morning I awoke and had to burst a blister on the bottom of my foot caused by yesterday’s walking. Today less physically active and a lot cooler. Took mum round to the laundrette and had several cups of coffee through the morning whilst doing reading and monitoring work emails. Afternoon was totally given over to work stuff with a phone conversation of over an hour about the bootcamp we are running for projects receiving our new Tech for Good grants. And a long call about the exciting new Wavemaker Stoke development – the digital exploration centre for young people. Another evening in with mum and Emmerdale – what else could I do?

Setting up camp at Dave’s

images (12)Up on Friday and another one-handed bath before doing the long walk to Dave’s; exercise but I also knew he wanted me to go and water his beloved balcony plants whilst he was away. Stopped several times as usual for coffee, reading and emails. Spent afternoon dealing with work emails and then watched the first ‘Magic Mike’ film on DVD; nice bods but a pretty weak story – American movies doing sleaze is never as bad as the real thing. Quiet evening in catching up on the soaps and Dave gave a very short call, God knows how much it will cost. Tired but after soaps I got into Celebrity Masterchef and went all gooey over sexy Craig Gazey. Then nought else to do so bed and reading.

Weekend at Dave’s

images (13)Awoken during the night by thunder and lightning with that weird feeling of trying to work out if I was dreaming or not? Slept with the window wide open for coolness and frequently laid half asleep listening to the sound of drunk people shouting which I found quite comforting. Saturday was all about chilling and pottering – what else to do? Showered and shaved with one arm covered in a plastic bag – actually easier than taking a bath as I just help the hand up in the air. Obviously no gym so to Tate Britain to wander around and look at some very beautiful British art. All good apart from the very contemporary stuff like Tracey Emin. Lunch was a naked burrito, I need food that can be eaten with just a fork. Coffee shops and charity shops with Chris from the Crusaid shop telling me his is off to Japan next week, how exciting. I watched the DVD of ‘Starred Up’ (gritty British prison drama though a bit stereotyped) and spoke to mum later as she had been out with my brother and his family for dinner.

Health and efficiency

My jog-run was perfectly decent, I pushed it to 6km but the time was slightly disappointing. My immediate plan was to try to get under 36 mins next week… My left ankle and achilles were hurting the next day though obviously that was soon over shadowed. I wonder if I am dipping into the future when my old body will ache and pain a lot without relief, similar to mum and her bad knee?

No real achievements last week around languages or digital – too much of a week in a state of flux.

Books and reading 

I read Jandy Nelson ‘I’ll Give You the Sun’ for the Velvet Page book club on Thursday that I could not attend after all. Well written (400+ pages) even though for teens but a very Californian growing up story which overall did not work for me because it was too New Age spiritual (ghosts, amazing coincidences, karma, etc), too melodramatic, and I couldn’t work out who was hero or heroine – none of the characters were particularly likeable.

download (15)I had got hold of a load of cheap ex-library books including six volumes of Clive Barker’s ‘Books of Blood’ which I turned to next. Basically a series of short stories detailing wonderfully inventive horror and often with a bit of naughtiness thrown in. Indeed I didn’t realise what a good writer he is (how often we under-estimate writers of horror, sci-fi and fantasy) and that he is gay. He has got his own brilliant website at

I had a sudden enthusiasm for short books after having read several long ones recently. So next I tucked into William Maxwell’s ‘So Long, See You Tomorrow’, obtained secondhand with me being attracted by rave reviews including a number by gay friendly people. But it was not a gay book and actually one of those slightly dull historical mid-West novels that Americans so love. Basically a story about betrayed friendships and ‘not being able to help who you fall in love with’ – one of the biggest bullshit statements ever. Well-written and worthy but not something that fired me up.

Next up I realised, as I sometimes do, that I had two copies of the same book (doh!) so I decided to read one and then give it away. ‘Mineshaft Nights’ by Leo Cardini is classic gay ‘erotica’, a series of very raunchy stories based around the famous New York gay club of the late seventies and early eighties before the AIDS nightmare arrived. Certainly very earthy LOL 🙂

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