Change and nothing changes

Sometimes things do change, it would be silly to pretend they don’t. But I think change is often less common than we think. It feels like much of our world is routine (not necessarily always a bad thing). And when things do apparently change, it is often that we are repeating or reverting to what came before. Change can take us backwards as well as forwards.

What has changed this week gone compared to the previous week (read my blog about it here) is that it has finally stopped raining. Basically a dry week though chilly in the morning (apart from a dreary, damp Sunday). But it is so nice not to be constantly wet. And I am finally over my illness though still feeling quite knackered – perhaps that’s just old age.

But what hasn’t changed is sitting in hospital waiting rooms. Another big visit with mum with more in the pipeline.

Same shit different day

Mum: More hours waiting in the hospital

Another week with lots of time and effort supporting mum. Phone call on Monday afternoon to tell us that we needed to be at the hospital the following morning for an emergency scan and bloods following on from her previous out-patients appointment. We were asked to attend for 9am on Tuesday morning. I explained it’s not possible to get there that early trying to get an Uber during the school run.

So we attended on Tuesday for a 10am appointment. Basically left the flat at 9.15am and got back at 12.45pm. Tons more waiting around. Mum had to have a scan and then we had to wait for about an hour to talk to a doctor. Then another half hour wait for bloods. Results are not serious thankfully but mum’s going to have some more hospital visits, oh what joy to look forward to.

40 years later and the NHS hasn’t changed

Clearly the NHS is under-resourced, lacking in staff (why on Earth doesn’t the government make it free for nurses to train again – who in their right mind is going to accrue debts of +£30K to be a nurse?), and saddled with inefficient practices. But there are simple things that could make life better like just telling people where they are in the list of patients to be seen and how long that will take.

The big NHS reforms of the 1980s were based on a report that said it wasn’t clear who was in charge in a hospital. 40 years later, I constantly sit in waiting rooms where there is still no-one to ask what is going on and if you can find someone then they have no idea.

Mother’s Day never changes

So the annual event to celebrate mums and carers took place on the Sunday just gone – no change there. Dave drove up North on Saturday so he could spend the weekend with his mum. Me and my brother were supposed to be having a fish and chip lunch with my mum. Unfortunately, he injured himself badly at cricket nets, hopefully he recovers soon. So just me and mum. We had a nice relaxing time and she was happy with her very wordy card and perfume as a gift.

Living through very hot weather

A good reading week with two books completed.

‘Into the Uncanny’ by Danny Robins

Danny Robins is really carving a niche for himself as an investigative journalist of the paranormal and supernatural. It’s worth looking at his website here. I found him through the ‘Uncanny’ podcasts he made for the BBC. His enthusiasm is infectious and his investigations look at both sides of paranormal experiences – both team believer and team sceptic.

This book covers some of the same stories covered in his podcasts but there is also some new stuff. Our fascination with the paranormal and supernatural (primarily ghosts and UFOs) is one of the things that doesn’t change. And Danny can’t give us the definitive answer to what is going on – will anyone ever?

I am firmly on team sceptic. But I must admit sometimes things are hard to explain. I wonder if there is some way time can interact with itself? But there is no scientific explanation of how this would work though perhaps quantum physics may give some sort of explanation.

The obvious answer for me to a lot of the cases is that people are embellishing what happened. Not necessarily lying but seeking publicity and bigging things up. Nothing changes that people always like to be noticed, admired, and followed. Perhaps I am too cynical but it’s a question that should always be asked.

Spirit

‘Fire Island. A Queer History’ by Jack Parlett

This is the book we were discussing at the Velvet Page Book Club on Thursday evening (see below). It’s a history of the gay resort that is Fire Island near New York. The story is very much seen from the perspective of famous people who went there particularly artists, authors, and poets.

Its history echoes the history of modern gay life in America. From a secretive place to meet to Gay Liberation and AIDS. And again nothing changes in that there are periods of homophobia and attacks on the LGBTQ+ lifestyle as is currently underway.

As with so many gay utopias, things have changed for the worse in that they have become super expensive to live in. And this tends to benefit older wealthy white gay men. Who also enjoy the youthful male body beautiful culture that comes with the party lifestyle. And so various communities are squeezed out like those who are not stereotype male, body beautiful, and rich.

LGBT rainbow flag

Velvet Page Book Club

I haven’t been to this LGBTQ+ book club at Waterstones Piccadilly for a while. But it’s lovely to know it doesn’t change and is there every month. However, it is so easy to assume some things will always be there but that isn’t true. There are some retreats I used to go on which I always thought would be there (like the ones at Loyola Hall) but they stopped and I miss them a lot.

The book group is run by the wonderful Chris and Robert, the latter is a whizz at getting the authors there. And that is what happened on Thursday, Jack Parlett was in attendance. This works really well if we all like the book and we loved ‘Fire Island’. A great chat covering various things about his book and the research to do it.

Jack particularly highlighted how LGBTQ+ people always love to create utopias. And Fire Island is one of those. Jack is a poet himself and a specialist in the poetry of Frank O’Hara – you can read about him on Wikipedia here. Frank actually died prematurely on Fire Island and I had never come across him. TBH, I generally have a problem with poetry. But it was lovely for Jack to read some of his own as well as that of Frank. I really need to make an effort to listen to more poetry.

Velvet page book club

Loving the gym

I love exercising and I can really see the physical impact it is having on me. Plus I am sure there are unseen benefits like my muscles hardening and blood being pumped around. I know this will all change one day but I am enjoying it for as long as it can last.

A perfect gym routine in that I got there on the mornings of Mon, Wed, and Fri. Not too busy on most of those days apart from Fri when it got really busy and I found someone’s phone they had left behind in the changing room. I was working on different parts of my body each day but with a general concentration on upper body and legs.

22 gym sessions since the start of 2024 divided by the annual membership = £25 per session.

Physio postponed

The leg exercises are a way to try to combat my ongoing knee and Achilles problems. Indeed, should have gone to the physio again on Friday. But it was only a fortnight since we last saw each other and so little feels dramatically different. So I changed the next meeting to a month’s time, hopefully there will be significant change in my injury by then.

Swim: Good but tiring

But I did get in a sneaky swim on Thursday morning. My first since I had recovered from being ill. Managed to do 22 lengths of front crawl, back stroke, and breast stroke. TBH, it felt like bloody hard work at times. Indeed, I nearly fell into the old trap on front crawl of feeling like I was drowning at certain points. But kept calm and felt good at the end of it all.

swimming pool lanes

Weight: I feel OK

Only a slight change, an increase of about a pound. I’m not surprised as I’ve got back my appetite after my fortnight of feeling unwell. Indeed, I had a couple of mini blow-outs. So if I can bear this in mind and control my excesses then we should be good to stay at this weight of nicely under 13 stone.

weight

Denial in action

Clearly there is change happening in the planet’s weather patterns for the worse. Another report this week highlighted this and the increasing temperatures threatening us all – read it here. What doesn’t change is the denial that this is happening and the refusal to change behaviours.

Indeed, it’s very annoying that there is a regular group of weird people giving out anonymous leaflets at my local tube station saying that Net Zero is a conspiracy and there is nothing to worry about. Who is funding them?

Extinction Rebellion fighting climate change

  • No change in that we have another week of hospital visits. Back there with mum for a follow-up appointment on Wednesday. Hopefully my brother will be able to take her for bloods later next week or I’ll do it.
  • And on Tuesday I am having a camera procedure related to my prostate issues. Plus a visit to the GP on Wed afternoon to get my second shingles vaccination – moved from this week.
  • The hospital stuff is going to impact my beloved exercise routine. My aim is gym on the mornings of Mon, Thurs, and Fri. And, hopefully, a swim on Tues afternoon.
  • Bit of a change in that my current two reading books are both non-fiction – I’m getting the feel for it. And I should finally finish the book on metabolism. The lesson from that seems to be that you can’t escape evolution.
  • A mediocre week for QPR: a home draw and a home defeat. Our home performance is totally shit. But still outside the relegation zone (just) and another crucial match next Saturday plus reliance on poor results for the team’s around us.
  • Looking forward to a catch-up meal with my old mate Dom on Wed evening
Guns and anti-abortion

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