Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Where's my appointment?

The sort of thing that only I could think about as I walked back from my meeting earlier.  Where is my next appointment for my flexible cystoscopy check?  I'm sure it should have been in July although I had the CT Scan a little later (I can't remember when).  I suppose if I've not heard soon I ought to chase that up.  Not that it is the sort of thing you'd actually want to go and do regularly but needs must, I need them for the rest of my life but I suppose that it isn't so bad a thing that I'm being checked up like this and regularly so that, in case there is a recurrence, they can sort it out pronto.

I realise that I'm back into a bit of a low again.  Not surprising I suppose after all the happenings of the past month or more.  Life is sort of settled but I'm still not sure what I want to do with myself.  The job I've gone for has all gone quiet.  The thing I was doing at lunch time really needs some other people to do the hard bit - talking to people on the phone which I do find difficult in certain circumstances.  

Jazz night tomorrow - first one for a while and a chance to wind down.  I'll probably cheer up afterwards but I'm now recognising this pattern of feeling down more often than I have for a while.  Maybe I need to get focussed and sort stuff out or hear about the job or anything.  It's a bit disconcerting but I'm sure I'll work my way through it or out of it.  

Lunch Meeting

Having a chat about the work I did for my friend's business.  I did this before dad died so at least 6 weeks ago.  It has all gone a bit quiet now but we need to pick up on the plans I wrote up and where to go from here.  It is a bit difficult to quantify because there are other considerations for me.  It isn't my sort of job - or at least part of it isn't.

It will be good to get out of the house and have a few hours thinking about work and where it can go from here.  The trouble is that it isn't for me but the management and planning are so that's the interesting conundrum to unpick.

It would be nice to get a few £s into the business though but I'm not sure that it will be a life changing event :-)

Monday, July 30, 2012

Letting Go

Dad was very explicit about not wanting a gravestone, plaque or any other thing or memorial.  He didn't want people coming to lay flowers on birthdays and anniversaries or having a marked spot.  He just wanted us to get on with it, no sentimentality and for us to move on.  That's fine by me, it is how I think (unsurprisingly) and of course, as you may have guessed I'm pretty much like him in many ways.

It always surprises me how people will go and sit for hours by a grave talking to someone who isn't there, celebrating birthdays many years afterwards.  I suppose it is OK to mark them or think of them but find it a little disturbing to publish stuff in newspapers, stick a posting on Facebook etc.  I'm one for getting on with my life and don't get it.  It always seems a strange thing to do to me.

I'm not being disrespectful rather more that you probably need to get on with your own life.  I understand that there is a process to go through and that it may never be completely healed but it shows a certain amount of insecurity surely that you wouldn't want to move on?


It is pretty hard to get started this morning, I've opened up some accounts I need to sort out and they look as dry as sawdust.  I will just have to work my way through it and tackle the drudgery of it all.  I am normally OK about doing things but procrastination is a problem especially when I have time on my hands.  When I'm pressured I find that I work a lot better as I make good use of my time.  When I have time to fill I use Parkinson's Law, which sort of states that "Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion."

I'm itching to get under way with the bathroom an I'm waiting to hear if I have an interview.  I'm trying with that to put it behind me in a way to suggest that it wont happen.  Knowing my luck it will all kick off together.  That would be Murphy's Law :-)

A Nice Sunday

Today was a good day and it was nice to just sort some bits out and then take a lazy afternoon of sport as there were some pretty heavy thunderstorms overhead.  I've got almost everything I need to do the bathroom now apart from a start date from the Plumber.  I have ordered just about everything needed to dismantle, make safe and install the new stuff.

I hope to hear, one way or the other, about the job this week.  It would be nice to know whether there is a job or not.  That will help me sort out the chores (or not) too.  I've taken a neutral view this time about it.  I'd like to get an opportunity for the job and it would be great but if it isn't there it will make me go and think about something else to do.  Either way I'm cool about it.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Journalists are they the lowest form of life?

I've said it before but I do find this dumbed down reporting annoying.  Of course an Athlete is going to be disappointed but please be nice to them and stop asking the bleeding obvious.  How about letting the poor people actually get their breath before asking them why they didn't win a gold medal?  How about a little sensitivity and asking them for their evaluation not telling them what, in your jaundiced, self-centred, win everything at an cost, childish and downright disrespectful attitude YOU thought was wrong.  Mark Cavendish should have smashed one of these leeches on society in the face for the way they spoke to him and for the disrespect they showed.  Most journalists only exercise is lifting a glass of Merlot to their lips, swallowing it and hoping their stomachs use enough calories digesting it to keep them active!  Pratts the lot of them, there's not one who has earned the right to talk to the Athletes they way they do they should be ashamed of themselves but are too soak fuelled and full and too full of their own self importance to bring the games to life.

HELLO - it isn't about you, presenters, has beens, B class people of notoriety, journalists, you are there to link and present the greatest athletes in the world to the audience.  It's about them and it will never be about you and your stupid, anal, attention seeking camera hogging.  

So thought I'd start Sunday with a rant :-)  Either I'm turning into someone slightly to the Right of Attila the Hun, or I'm speaking sense.  Whatever it is, I find myself fuming at the inane standards that we have these days.  There are so many things we do well in this country but this dumbing down and treating people disrespectfully has got to stop.   One Journo, at midday on the first day was moaning that we hadn't got on the medal table yet?  Another was slagging off the Cyclists who buried themselves on the race and the thing they don't get is that on the day, the best man won.  It may not have been to your script but that's what happened and that's the way it is.  Slagging the whole of Team GB off because we haven't got a medal yet is just disgusting and not in the spirit of the games and when sports people have been working for 4 years to get to this pinnacle of their chosen sport, how dare they belittle those achievements and that's just wrong.  These Journos have been p1ss1ng it up down the pub and engorging their Livers but they haven't had to train for hours every day for four years (and more).

Yes - it makes me very annoyed indeed that they dismiss the efforts of our athletes, I don't suppose they'd like it if we picked holes in their grammar and choice of words, what they wear and how they look.  It's fair game to them, they think it is OK to do it to other people.  I believe an amoeba could do a better job.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

What? Still Cynical?

Apart from one bit last night, a small little cock up and we are all allowed to make those, I thought the opening ceremony was amazing and a logistical tour de force.  The small cock up would be a certain musician missing their cue and who perhaps should have retired a while ago but we all make mistakes.  There are people whinging about it didn't show our history this, our culture that and so on.   Can you believe that?  They didn't ask them to put on the show and welcome the world they asked someone who is world recognised for doing it (with Oscars, BAFTAs to provie it) and what can possibly be wrong with what was done in the time available.  Had comments from from too long (and in the same gasp not enough content) to moaning about speaking French and English (it's always been done - get used to it).  Basically everyone of them are allowed to have their own opinion (of course) and I defend their right to it but it's about time these people did something else other than moan and bitch the whole time.  Nothing will ever be right for them.

Funnily enough a guy who I know to be a strong supporter of the NHS (he was in it all his life) didn't like that tribute being paid to them - what an utter arse.  It said something quite profound about us I thought and wasn't just about children bouncing aorund but there you go.

It was a very British affair and the James Bond moment must have drawn laughs all across the world.  Mr. Bean's sketch was just right and who cannot have marvelled at turning our green and pleasant land into the Dark Satanic Mills.  No, it was just about right and did some amazing moral boosting for this poor little country that's had the crap beaten out of it and all its savings spent by a cynical laissez faire bunch of downright dishonest, self serving politicians.  Labour, Gordon Brown and Bliar lost me tens of thousands of pounds off my pensions and savings that I'm not getting back any time soon if ever and want to tell me its good for me.  No, we've been punched and kicked to the ground by their total mismanagement but yesterday, we wiped off the blood from our wounds and showed what we can actually do.  It's a shame that a certain cynical element of our populace didn't get that or didn't care about it.  They like to think they are saving our country and yet they miss the irony that they are part of the reason we are where we are.  I like to say my friend's phrase a lot.  "The biggest rut you've got to get out of is the rut you're in."  Some of these people who claim to be the true Brits are just right wing, self serving bully boys and whilst they go on about free speech and all don't really mean it.

We have 2 weeks to deliver a games that will inspire the world not just for our own prim satisfaction.  With all the disquiet in the world, it would be nice to think that relationships can be forged, friendships garnered and that we might start to get somewhere through sport where diplomacy may have failed.  Even if it is a small start it must be worth the hope that this might come about.  

As for those sad citizens, men and women, who prize intolerance, bigotry, bile and selfishness as their particular "code of morality" may the games prove you utterly and wholly wrong and like every argument you've ever held in your inadequate lives, may it thrust another dagger of right into your poisoned bodies and minds.  

Let's hope we have a good games and that we shop window what we are good at and those core moral tendencies we have especially fairness, integrity and honesty.  Let us cheer on the athletes who triumph as loudly as we cheer those who come in last, dropping a tear of sympathy over their failures but celebrating with those who win too.  It's about time we started to feel good about ourselves once again and cast off the cynical, sarcastic and downright nasty way we live together and treat each other.  Let the games begin.  

Friday, July 27, 2012

So let's get ready to party

I think it is very British thing to do and that's knock our efforts and make light of them and be cynical and sarcastic - it is a national trait but now's the time to put all that away and to get behind the games, welcome all our guests and just go out and have a blast.  It's just crazy to keep knocking things.  There are bound to be a few things go wrong, they always do but it is sorting it out and making it work and getting behind the spirit that needs to happen now.

I'm looking forward to the games but you can imagine that the travel disruption is going to be a problem and lets face it we are one of the biggest and busiest cities in the world so it will have its own dynamic.  Let's hope that it all goes off well and that we can all enjoy these celebrations - goodness knows we need something to lift us after the recession and all the bad news.

Still heard nothing from the job so have reset my expectations to 25%. 

Thursday, July 26, 2012


We don't do humidity - I like HEAT but not this massive humid stuff we get every now and then.  It is just draining but at least tonight there's the hint of some moisture in the air and we will get a little rain and no doubt a few thunderstorms too.

It has been a good evening out and we went to the quiz night at my local.  We didn't win anything but just had a good night and as I said to the landlord, it is a good evening out with a few laughs and some local village banter.

I said earlier in the week that I enjoyed the village life and that I hand't really appreciated how lucky I was to live in this, by anyone's standards. idyllic English village environment.  I remember going to Scotland and staying in a Crofter's Cottage overlooking a Loch, and Island and Mountains from the living room window.  Explaining how wonderful it was to a local at the Hotel in the village they said they'd never really noticed it!!!  We don't know what we have sometimes.

Talking of which, I have great banter with my cousin's wife in Florida via Facebook and I find the lifestyle and the working conditions to be so hard for young people these days both there and here as well if I think about it.  I must try and get to go there and meet her, she really comes across as a most lovely person and so much in tune with my sense of humour too.  

I spoke to my friends tonight about "what to do with my life" from here on in and one of those things must be to get off my arse and go to the USA.  I haven't seen my folks over there for many years and I really want to see the country if I can, whilst I am still able.  

Of course, it is a matter or priorities as I'm not certain that all my family want to - or are able to - come with me so it gives me a reason to go on my own but that may not go down well with the folks either.  It's all difficult isn't it?  I have a solid set of reasons to go and live life and try and fit lots of stuff in as soon as I can.  Everyone else hasn't had the wake up call or learnt the lessons from my situation yet. :-)  Difficult to make a choice is you aren't given all the facts to make the decision on.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Tequila and Mexican Food

Ah, nice, a few Buds, a plate of Nachos, a Rack of Ribs and a nice Tequila Gold washed down with another Bud.  It doesn't get much better than that - except for having good company and a few laughs of course.  Was nice to get out and see some old friends with Flocky Bicep this evening.

Hot as you like tonight - I feel a need for the fan to be on all night - it is that bad.

I'm Melting

Not a scene from the Wizard of Oz but what it is like in my upstairs office today, gosh it is so hot it is almost unbearable.  My fan is pushing the air around so making it feel a little fresher.  

Here I am then in my 7th year and 6 years clear of "the Big C" and I'm listening to some old music of mine, The Fortunes, remember them?  Well you'd probably have to be 50 minimum I guess... it is quite nice to listen to those songs (where you could hear all the lyrics) and the simple construction of the melody.  Ahhh, nice.

So the Olympics have started already and the football is under way across the country.  I'm off out tonight with Flocky Bicep and a couple of friends for a beer and something to eat afterwards.  That should be fun.  Spoke to my brother a couple of times today trying to sort out some silly nonsense with the Tax Man.  For goodness sake, they are on your case like flies on a dog turd.  For a couple of pounds that may have been paid they want their 40 pieces of silver.  It annoys me that my mum who has a healthy respect for the Law and Authority feels threatened by this.  I mean they word letters like you are going to be locked in the Tower for any miscreant behaviour.  By my reckoning there might be £10 to pay if that but it is just the way these people go about their business.  I firmly believe that these guys failed to get good grades at school and ended up working for the Inland Revenue.  It will be sorted when all the external agencies get their acts together and give us the information and we can complete the form but until they get their backsides into gear we've got a poor lady who has lost her husband, now lives on her own dealing with a bunch of people who frankly I wouldn't trust to sit the right way up on a WC!   

Anyway, I think we may have resolved this but as always when dealing with multiple bureaucracies we are totally in their hands until they get their fingers out and give us the data we need to feed to the next bureaucrats, to feed to the next ones and on and on ad nauseum. 

And into my seventh year

Goodness me time flies when you are having fun.  I don't think we will call Cancer fun though shall we?  Today, 6  years ago I woke to find that the operation had been a success and that whilst it was the commencement of a long journey back to health and there were more operations and treatments to come, they had removed the cancer from my body and stopped it spreading.  I need to remember how lucky I am sometimes.  I bitch and I moan and I get annoyed with the world but you know, I'm alive to be able to do that which is the important thing.

It's been 6 years and I'm still suffering the repercussions of the illness because I still haven't really come to terms with survival or what living is all about.  I hope it isn't "borrowed time", I hope it is time to do something useful with what I have left.  The trouble is I can't work out what that should be.  My time at the charity was useful and I enjoyed that - perhaps that is what I need to do for the future?  I don't know - even after all this time. 

Maybe as I enter my 7th year I can reflect on this and actually do something about it.  I feel I've done stuff that in many ways were the right things to do but somehow they aren't hitting the spot.  Not sure how I can get to that "happy state" but I'm sure I'm heading in the right way.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Six Years Today

Six years today that they saved my life I reckon.  It was a boiling hot day, just like today and it was about this time of day too that I went down for the operation - gee I looked a mess when I got back but they'd made the necessary cuts to remove the cancer and I'm grateful for that.  I have to say that I feel somewhat strange about it today as it has been a nice day.  I walked past the Hospital where they did the operation twice and the difference is a marked one - 6 years ago I was full of dread, fear and loathing and today I'm just glad to be alive.  Amazing.

Uplifting Day

My Mate Flocky Bicep suggests a meet at our local Costa but he cannot give me a lift back as he is on his motorbike.  No problems, I needed to go and see the Jeweller man and see about dad's watch and it is the most perfect day, hardly any breeze, perhaps nudging 28 to 30 Degrees Centigrade.  So I have a nice slow walk to the Coffee shop and see the Jeweller who tells me much as I expected that Dad's watch is worth about £100 wholesale and perhaps up to £300 retail.  To service it will cost around £200.  There were a lot of these Long Service Watches in the 1960s to 1980s until the world decided that employers didn't need to show any loyalty to employees any longer (and vice versa).  So the market is a bit flooded with them.  It is, Flocky and I agree, a very nice watch and the word "Elegant" and "Stylish" come to mind - well it is a Rolex of sorts.

So we have a civilised coffee (or three in fact) and I have my first Caffè Macchiato and loved it - that's on my list forever.  Flocky has to go to work and I wander back home past the Privet and other hedges that exude the smells of a warm July day.  the birds are chirping away in the hedgerows and the sun is wonderful and warm.  I get pulled into the local pub by the "beer magnet" which I believe does exist and I have two wonderful pints of something called "Hooky" a guest ale whilst locals come in and we chat away about the weather and how we are and also a bit of nostalgia as the bar man is off with the Boys Brigade to the Isle of Wight for Battalion Camp.  He is in my old group and I remember playing the Bugle and waking up the good people of the area every third Sunday as we paraded around the local street to church parade.

I come away from the pub there are families in the playing field where my father made my brother and I look for Sheep's Feathers all those years ago.  The children are playing in the playground and the boys playing nicely on the football (soccer) pitch.  The mums watch on from the picnic table with bags fill of food and drink.  What a lovely scene.

I walk on through my typical English Village, past the shops, some now shut for lunch, and everything is alright with the world, I'm comfortable in this place, it is safe and it is familiar, the scents waft across and I wander without time or purpose home and think to myself, surely this is what it is about, surely this must be what retirement or heaven should be like?  Warm, friendly, things happening around you but not too loud, a cool drink in the pub, some happy banter and a little breeze and if there had been a Cricket match on the green I would have known I would have arrived in my perfect spot :-)  How good it is when the sun shines.  Sometimes we just need to appreciate the things we have, today was like the early 1970s again when all the summers were hot and warm and I spent the time with my friends, cycling around the woods and parkland, building dams, exploring the woods, playing cricket and football and not having a care in the world (apart from getting home for tea on time of course!).

I looked at my village today in a whole different light and though how lucky I was to live in this little haven on the outskirts of London and on the borders of the green belt.  How nice it was to have a little village pub and a recreation ground, village shops, a tidy road, no graffiti and no dereliction.  Now to carry these thoughts forward, today is a nice day.

Time to stop bashing and get behind the games

This country has become so cynical and infatuated with people of notoriety (note I didn't say celebrities FFS - some people they are fascinated by have small minds and just looks produced by surgery!)

Add to that, the dumbing down of everything so that no one has to try and get to a level of conciousness even to understand it.  The dire state of the BBC now and it's "journalists" who may as well not have the interviewee there as they pose rhetorical questions.   Why oh why would I be interested in what the journalists says, why do they ask the negative questions, why do they snide and look down their noses at absolutely everything? And why tell me do they want to trash this country and its people?  I hate today's sniping, cowardly, lazy, ignorant journalists, comedians, "Celebrities" and all the other anally retentive people involved with them.

everything these days must be introduced with some B or C class celebrity on the panel who knows absolutely nothing about what is going on but puts in a "joke" or "humorous" jape even when it happens to be something serious.  They have no sense of occasion and are full of their own self importance.  I wonder if I can develop a virus that gives them something nasty enough to wipe them off the face of the earth or at least disable them for the nest 6 to 8 weeks.  It's like having something solemn like a State Funeral narrated by Chuckles the Monkey and Steve Martin, Fatima Whitbread and Sooty and Sweep.  Please bring back some serious, well trained, well informed journalists who ask questions we want answers to and not getting someone on the show and not allowing them to speak.

So - the Games start tomorrow and the opening ceremony is on Friday.   Groups of people who haven't quite worked out the public mood are taking strike action (or threatening it) just so they can make a point and stuff we've known about for 7 years is now coming as a shock to everyone like the transport chaos in and around London...  Why is it that I know that it isn't going to be a great place to get around in especially with 3 million extra journeys a day in London and everyone else expects no impact - could it be that they are now so worn down by the inane banter on TV that they can't take any information in or look it up for themselves?  

I just hope that someone, anyone, gets a grip on the BBC this year and we get some seriously good journalism and someone with a bit of stature to compère it - given the utter farce they made of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Pageant, I somehow fear that it will not be.  I do hope I'm wrong - at least there are other sports channels available and 24 dedicated channels as well so I hope that I can at least avoid being spoken to like a 2 year old.  

It would be nice to stop being so British about this and instead of beating each other up, slagging off the games, to get behind them and celebrate - what for many of us - will be a once in a life time event.  Many of us didn't get tickets to our own games and there are things that maybe disappointing but, get in the spirit and get behind the Athletes and  just enjoy it, God knows we've paid our taxes and been in a long period of austerity perhaps we've forgotten how to have fun and celebrate this event - about the only thing that brings all the citizens of the world together in one place for a common purpose.  That MUST be a good thing given how terribly we all get on with each other the rest of the time!!!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Write it down

I've decided to record my preferences for my funeral so there will be no doubt that it is to be similar to my dad's if possible.  I've selected some music tracks that I like that are suitable (and some unsuitable ones) and just some basics.  I have no doubt that it will be as difficult for whoever is left to sort it out but if I write down some ideas of stuff I like then it might make that a bit easier.  I'll have a bit of a balance on the religious content as I do 

I do like poetry but most of it is probably unsuitable - I like the WW1 war poets particularly but not sure that they would be quite the ticket really.  I might need to have a think about that and jot down some favourites in that area.  I fancy a fair bit of stuff but with 25 minutes to cover a life it is hardly possible.  Maybe they can just have some of my music at my wake and a few photos of us having a laugh..

Dad left a note about his chosen charities and the poem he wanted and a few caretaker's notes about what to do with his ashes etc.  A man of little fuss and that's fine - I would prefer something that just celebrated the fun its been.

So I thought that I ought to at least give it a crack and of course now I've started writing my favourite music and listening to the tracks and lyrics - I have too many - Mmmm :-)  Oh well, at least there'll be plenty to choose from.

Like my films, my music is typically me and eclectic so that should be interesting.  I have just started to go through the DVDs I got for my birthday - there are a couple that I know will not be quite right at the moment to watch as they will be too upsetting and a bit raw.  That's find but I'd rather hold them until I am ready.  It is similar with certain bits of music I really have to build up to listening to them - almost like preparing myself for the train wreck they impart on my emotions.  It sounds a bit strange but some classical work, if you just sit down and immerse yourself in it, can be quite draining - Elgar and the Enigma Variations - amazing but play me Nimrod from that and it rips me apart.  we definitely aren't having that at my funeral... 


The disturbing thing, looking back at my dad's illness was the helplessness at the end and knowing in yourself that you couldn't move, look after yourself and away went any dignity you had.  If anything upsets me, then it is that.  we all have to die and that's a fact it's how we lived (surely) that we are measured by and my dad was one of life's quiet men, very quiet indeed.  I must ask mum when she's up to it to tell me what she would only tell me after he was dead.

The thing about this is that he never wanted a fuss made and was independent almost to the extreme.  He thought it strange that we were interested in him and mum and came over to see them etc?  Strange I know - he expected nothing from us and was always a bit taken aback if we did anything or any gesture - funny isn't it.  Mind you I'm like that, I've done my bit, provided everything I can, the framework, to the best of my abilities for my children and family and the reward is having done that no more.  I can see his point of view on that but I think I'd like to see my children grow up and fulfil their potential and do well (who wouldn't).  I'm pretty pleased that they are as balanced as they are.

So the disturbing bit though is that view I see of my dad unable to move in bed, unable to lift himself using his hands and the poor attention that they were able to give to him through lack of staff and training (in my opinion) although he was looked after OK it was only just OK.  It wouldn't happen on my watch and my brother who works in the health service was very annoyed about the lack of management there.  I shall let him go fight that one out from his lofted internal position I'm sure he will get many more answers.   Like all things I see in this life, if only someone were to take a step back, look and actually see, think and apply basic common sense then things wouldn't be half as bad as they are now.  

I see that in the late night before going to sleep and when I wake and if the truth of it be known whilst I feel sorry for him I feel dread in myself that I don't go like that, hanging around and getting weaker and weaker and being unable to influence it.  It surely is a sad thing.   I am also getting back into a dangerous state of mind about the future which is interesting, it isn't a good place to be for me as it is bordering beyond my usual self control and logical state of being, it is revolutionary and self destructive (maybe).   I am 27 years my dad's junior and suddenly it is playing on my mind that perhaps I ought to be doing something with that time, something either important or not important and frivolous or adventurous or philanthropic - I just don't know - it's just one of those feelings where you look around at all the negativity and downright nastiness that is around these days and wonder whether you could just get away from it all and go and do something that would make you happy and contented for the rest of you life, that would allow you to meet your maker and to be satisfied that you did your best and you used the time somehow better than being an arse to the rest of your fellow human beings.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Sport overload

The Olympics get under way on Wednesday with the football and this time next week will be the bike race.  Today saw Bradley Wiggins win the Tour de France - the first British guy to do so. There was so much sport on it was amazing there was the Cricket where we are getting soundly beaten by South Africa, the German Grand Prix, The Open Golf, there was World Touring Cars and Cart on too.  By some happy circumstance, the F1 was on the TV today as we appear to have got a few extra channels - not sure if for the weekend or maybe for the duration of the Olympics - who knows.  Also noticed that we have around 20 channels for the Olympics allowing us to watch non stop Olympic action.  Last time the games were on we were in the Azores on holiday.  It doesn't seem 4 years ago.

I've made it a thing to phone my mum up every day at the moment until she tells me she doesn't want me to.  Still not sure about going up to do dad's ashes.  It doesn't really fit well with me and to travel up to empty them onto the roses doesn't make much sense to me.  I'll try and plan to go up in between the two sets of Olympics as to travel anywhere in the next two weeks is meant to be crazy so they say.

I've had receipt of my CV acknowledged and now just have to wait until they've done their review.  I don't know who I'm up against so will wait to hear the results of their review.  You never know with these things of course, you just never know.  At least this time it appears to be above board which the last one could hardly have said to have been.

Another milestone out of the way and one more left

On Tuesday - it will be 6 years since my operation that when I think about it, saved my life.  In the old days I don't know what they would have been able to do.  Anyway, yesterday was the 6th anniversary of finding out what I had and that was in itself a strange thing.  You kind of know what you've got but you desperately hope that there is some other explanation.  Of course that wasn't to be.  Devastating news absolutely devastating but that's what you have to deal with.

It actually makes my day quite flat and I was a bit caught out this morning flashing back to my dad in his Hospital bed and how sad that was.  The thought of lying their helplessly isn't one that  I like much for him or for me.  I'd hate it but perhaps, if you are weary by then, well maybe it isn't so bad?  I don't know the answer to that.  I felt that he hated being there, hated losing his ability to walk or to even lift himself out of bed.  It wasn't right, it just wasn't but I suppose we all have to go somehow but that drifting away stuff and just losing weight all the time was just pitiful and upsetting for everyone.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Anti Climax

Like many things - you work really hard to do something and you issue it and hear - nothing at all, not a sausage.  Did send it through a different way as well but still nothing.  Oh well, let's see what happens over the weekend.

Have plasterer here in the morning to look at the wreckage that is our bathroom.  Need to work out how much and when he can do it so I can plan that out.  It is going to be a mess I know but the disturbance is the problem - more for young A who is working now and will need to sort out how we can get the bathroom refurbished as quickly as possible - I think I could do it in a week but that is really pushing it and hoping everything goes to plan!  It is the drying and curing times that are the problem not actually doing the work.

Feel somewhat annoyed too.  Mum wants me to go up so we can spread dad's ashes.  The Olympics start next Friday and she'd like to do it then - the trouble is being south of London and having to go north on the day of the Olympic opening ceremony which must be happening all of 15 miles from us - well go figure!  Now I'm not particularly fussed about doing it.  It is symbolic of course but I said my goodbye, quite publicly at his funeral and so don't have a need or indeed a want to go do this.  Not sure if my mum and brother will be OK with it.  I shall have to tread carefully.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Eve of 6 Year Anniversary

My goodness - it was 6 years ago tomorrow that I was diagnosed with Bladder Cancer - how time flies.  At this time I was being prescribed some Tamazepam because I was climbing the walls and had been told I was having a local procedure when in fact I was expecting to be knocked out for the procedure.

It is amazing just thinking or writing it quite how disturbed I get - ewwwww.

So 6 years, I'm still here, thank goodness for that.

I have just sent off my CV and covering letter for a job that I'd like to get - although it isn't important if I don't get it - it would just make for an interesting time if I did though.  It would be nice to get past the first hurdle this time.

Heavy Day

I worked until 2 in the morning on my resume and my covering letter to go for the job vacancy tomorrow.  Luckily Flocky Bicep invited me out for a coffee and we met up and he kindly did a quick review for me of the letter and the contents.  It was good to get an independent review and it was most useful.  I've changed it around based on that and found the odd typo myself!  As you do.

It is late again tonight and I intend to head off to bed in a short while.  I have now made all the last changes to the documents and will tidy it all up in the morning and email it off.  I hope that it is sufficiently differentiated from the other candidates to stand out amongst them and to at least get me thorough the door (this time) for an interview.  Keen observers may remember that about 3 years ago I was furious that there wasn't a real job there and that I had got the most awful crappy email back.  Had it not been who it was I think I would have been able to go to tribunal and slaughtered them for such a crass way of dealing with things more especially as it was a done deal or a stitch up as we like to call it.  I have put out feelers this time and have been told that there is a real vacancy this time.  Let's hope so and let's hope that it is worth the effort expended.  

Spoke to mum and you just have to get annoyed at petty officialdom and the way they are dealing with sorting out changing things after my dad has died.  The Tax Office are first on my hit list as are Nat West Bank for being crass and stupid, but then what did I expect from the Tax Office and a Bank?  Even Estate Agents have risen in my list above bankers and tax officials.  They sure know how to upset a widow...  Gits.

Anyhow, we got past that and it was nice that mum however, worked on getting dad's stuff together and bagging it up for the charity shop yesterday - she is pretty good at being practical and not moping around.   She wants me to go up so we can spread dad's ashes.  I'm not sure I want to go all the way up there to do that myself.  I need to convince myself as for some unknown reason I'm not into all this stuff at all and would be happy for mum and my brother who live 16 miles away to do it.  I have a 250/260 mile round trip and whilst I am happy to be there for my mum if she wants, I'm not sure that I'll feel anything about it.

Maybe it hasn't hit me or I'm not getting it or I've already gone through the loss stuff.  Maybe I'm in the denial stage of the Kubler Ross cycle - I don't know but I just haven't really been in this grief and crying, sobbing stage (apart from on the night of his death and when he told me he had jaundice and I kind of guessed what it was).  

I feel "different" and sometimes I feel a little upset about it and have been more thoughtful than I used to be.  Perhaps that is just me?  Maybe something will happen later on that will make it anything other than what it was - it's life and my attitude is to see all the good things he did and the good times we had.  Death comes to us all, surely it is how you are remembered in your life rather than on your death?  There is something to be said for some of the things you learn in life.  I like the phrase "Live respected and die regretted" it is used in a Masonic ceremony and it sums up how I feel about my dad.  I respected him and he did all these great things for me and then he let me get on and do my own thing.  I knew he was there just in case but it wasn't his way to interfere and it wasn't his way to have any fuss made.  I regret his dying of course but there never is a "good" time to go and it was his time and he'd had enough and goodness knows he suffered enough.  

Of course there's the thing that screws with my head, looking at the cancer taking hold of him, and that is - it could have been me, just a few years back and it brought the fears and the worry back into focus for me.  It didn't happen to me but it might have.  As my aunt kindly reminded me, our family line is full of cancers - gee thanks for that cheery note :-)  I suppose there is something in that but we aren't meant to live this long and something needs to get us one way or the other!

Oh well, you can philosophise all you want it isn't going to change the way things are.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Long talk with business partner

It was nice to get the chance to have a chat with my business partner.  We are both now looking for new jobs and busily working on our CVs.  Everything has changed now though and we aren't looking for the sort of jobs we used to do.  I'm doing my best to put forward a good case for a job I'm interested in but I feel I might be putting too much into it.  I need to spend tomorrow revising it and cutting it down.  The letter and CV looks OK but the response to the job is difficult as they've hardly described the job at all but I want them to realise I understand the job thoroughly and am up for the challenge.

Other than that the bathroom furniture arrived today so I have everything needed to do the bathroom but need the plasterer to say when he can do it - then I can plan everything else around it.  Unfortunately it means being without a bathroom for about 1 and a half weeks to 2 weeks I reckon.  We have a cloakroom and two sinks downstairs but with 4 to 6 people in the house at the moment it is difficult to work this all out.  If they need the new suite they will just have to bear with me whilst I do it.  Of course if I get this job it will be "interesting" as it will probably start very soon indeed.

Spoke to mum today she's bagged up all dad's clothes ready to go to the charity shop.  I suggested that I would have come up and done that but she is a very pragmatic sort of person and I think she needs to get these things sorted and move on - she isn't the sort to sit around moping about and that's good I think.  I just hope that she gets a life now after being devoted to dad for so long and looking after him so well these past years.

I am also a little concerned with my own feelings.  I don't know what I'm feeling at the moment.  I am somewhat neutral still and my mate and I felt we were perhaps just disenchanted with the way things had gone with the business.  It isn't that it is a bad idea or has great merit just that there are no visionary people available to move the idea on.  It seems a shame really but there you go.  Maybe we will strike it lucky and someone come and buy the idea off us or at least take it further still.  The weather here hasn't helped the low feelings everyone has and leading to the Olympics when we should all be celebrating seems to be a damp squib.  They say the weather will change next week - well let's hope it shines bright as the world turns its attention to us.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Beer with a friend or two

It was nice to get a beer with my friend who was visiting his mother today.  Additionally my mate and his girlfriend (or is that partner at our age) also turned up.  It was a lovely short drink - a few beers a nice chat - nice to get some grief off my chest and also to discuss my pride after yesterday's Graduation Ceremony for A.  

I suggest that when they asked the Graduates to turn around and thank their families and friends for the support they'd received and they all cheered and clapped I believe a small bit of dust got blown into my eyes and probably into my throat too.  I thought it was all about them, the graduates, not us, it's what we do isn't it, as parents?  It's my duty and I've never ever thought that it has anything to do with me other than to provide the opportunity and the wherewithal to allow it to happen.  My parents couldn't provide that for me.  I was academically able but we lived in different times and so it wasn't to be.

So I find it interesting to look at these two parallels and to compare them.  I knew nothing about University - my friend - that I met tonight was one of only a few people I knew who went to University and I have to say that in retrospect it would have crippled my family for me to have gone no matter how good I was.  It didn't happen but there you go.  I'm luckily in a position to have been able to support both daughters in doing whatever was practicably useful in their education and that to me is my honour and my privilege and so far they have repaid us handsomely but - you know - it isn't about me it's my covenant that I made when we decided to have kids.  I kind of think that's what my dad did - the best he could for me and once we were established - that was his job done - he didn't need any reward or honour - just to see us well established and making progress and improving on his lot was reward enough.

Oh well that's my 5 pence worth tonight.

That's one less problem out of the way

I was going to ring my friend today - it's been 2 weeks since I went for the interview and since dad died.  We suggested about 2 weeks to "think about" the job which they'd have liked me to do but I was concerned about the journey and during the Olympics too - something that they'd admitted they had not thought about - considering the road race comes right past them and the roads would be closed, you'd have thought someone would have thought of it.

Over the past two weeks I've thought hard about whether I want to do it and do you know what?  I really shouldn't thin too hard.  I knew as soon as I'd arrived home after quite a long journey there and back and just getting a "feel" of the place that I'd probably find it annoying and frustrating and that the journey at around 4 hours a day would be too much.

So this morning I got a text saying that the guy who wanted me there isn't getting anywhere trying to put some discipline into them and he is leaving so there would be little point in me going there.  That's fine and it saves the phone call I was about to have with them.

Things work out for the best sometimes.  

Gosh - 2 weeks since dad died!  I'm still not sure where I am with that yet?

Never been out of the Village

Don't know why this popped into my head but it was interesting to hear this from a number of people up at the Hospital where my dad was.  Some people arriving at the Hospital who had never been "this far" from their home and some nurses who had never been further than the largest biggest town (Norwich) in their life.

I recollect finding this strange when one of our cleaning ladies in Croydon had never been to London.  I'm not sure what I think about that having been privileged to travel to North America and around Europe.  I haven't been much further than that yet but goodness, to never have travelled even a few miles away from your home in all your life shows a certain lack of ambition or interest.  Of course, it could be that I don't really get why you'd not want to explore - I can't put myself in their situation it is so alien to me not to travel and explore.

Monday, July 16, 2012

That was nice

Now that DID choke me up.  Not the ceremony but the Chancellor asked all the Graduates to stand, turn around to us behind them and show their appreciation for all we had done for them - very emotional moment.  It was something else to see my oldest daughter get her Degree today.  She looked great in her regalia and we were at the Royal Festival Hall on the South Bank and so have some nice photographs.  The ceremony was very nice but with 450 students being congratulated it was quite a busy afternoon.  We then managed to get an earlier train and then off to our evening meal.

It was a lovely family day and suddenly I was really choked up about it because my dad would have loved seeing the photos of A.  My mum will love them of course and A is the first in our line to graduate.  However she isn't the first in the overall family line and my cousin graduated some time ago.  

The meal was a nice happy affair and so it has been the end of a lovely day and I just hope A enjoyed it as much as we did.  

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Home - Chill

Home last night through the rain and managed to get home in around 2 hours which was fine.  Today, I am going to chill out and just take it easy, it's been intense and upsetting of course.  More so that I kept pretty much composed throughout (well someone had to) and we were able to give dad a good send off (as well as these things can go of course) and I managed to do the tribute and I changed the last bit - which I got hung up on - from Goodbye to So Long which worked quite well.  I might take some excerpts and put them on here at some time so will see how that goes.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

A Little Black Humour

Sure dad would have seen the funny side - it rained really heavily and as we drove past the canals and rivers, through the flooded roads it came to me that had dad realised it was going to rain this hard and for this long he could have saved his money and have been buried at sea :-)

My brother has managed to settle right down and was much more like his usual self.  It seems such a shame that he got himself in such a tizz about things.  However, knowing how uptight my dad was and his battles with depression (and mine) I suppose I shouldn't be surprised.  After all that grief he did well, he toned down his eulogy and he didn't seem to overdo it on the sentimentality.  When mum asked him, he said that he did enjoy the service and that's the main thing.  A balance between solemnity and humour as dad was a great joker and never really wanted any fuss.

I'm sitting here at my mum's house.  She's having an afternoon siesta - she probably has a year's worth of sleep to catch up on and so I'm watching the golf and trying my best to be quiet :-)

Friday, July 13, 2012

Mmmm - So HOW are you meant to feel?

I do tend to worry about myself some times.  So are you meant to be in bits at your dad's funeral?  I wasn't ecstatic when I got my clears - you'd have thought I'd leap for joy.  Today I was OK, measured, and there for everyone.  We sent off dad as well as could be expected and we laughed and joked about him and some of the stuff we jointly enjoyed.  Even my brother came through it pretty well.  My tribute went down well - I think.  

So there you go, that's dad's funeral out of the way and I'm glad that it went well eventually.  The strife I went through with my brother and the strange thing is that his wreath wasn't there.  I took it in last week.  He had gotten it from the Royal Corps of Signals and it wasn't there with the other flowers!  Oooooppppss.  I'm not sure if he noticed - I hope he didn't.  Anyway, he was good and whilst it was sad it was also humorous and I managed to make a few people see the funny side of life with dad.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Spoke to the funeral celebrant

And my Uncle, Aunt and Cousin turned up to the house and then went on to the Hotel.  My Uncle is my dad's older brother.  His younger brother can't get over from the US.  It's been a long time since they'd seen mum and they haven't seen my brother for 20 odd years, his son - well never seen him and his daughter perhaps when she was around 16 or 18 I guess as I took mum and her to a party.

I think that is terribly sad but sort of gives you and idea what I'm dealing with here.  Anyway, I've written then eulogy and practised it a few times. I've had a few beers and a some tea and I "Think" I am ready for the morning now.  My wife and daughters are coming up tomorrow and on the way picking up the mobile phone I bought for mum but that had failed to be delivered.

So all is set ready for dad's funeral and I hope that I can get the very last bit of my eulogy out, it's an interesting few lines, I managed to get it - I think - just right - a touch of sincerity and a touch of humour too..

It's a difficult line to tread, my brother has turned into some religious zealot and we've got a humanist type service with a little bit of "religion" in it for him.  Believe it or not, this explains everything (kind of).  It now makes sense in a way of all his strange postings in facebook but of course, he doesn't practice it, he does it for himself.  That really is different.  So it's been like treading on egg shells.  I thought he'd explode when I said to him that reading something and understanding it were two entirely separate things.  By that I meant that he'd pick up something, copy and paste it but the problem was that he'd not get it's meaning.  For example his poem that "He'd died tragically young".  Well at 81 years old and after a year of being ill, you'd have to stretch that a little.

However, here is the main thing, after tomorrow he may finally just settle down a bit.  He's taken it all very badly.  I seem to be relatively stable - not sure how tomorrow will go though, it is, after all, my dad.  There is something more important than that and that is to ensure that I do my dad's memory justice and deliver the Eulogy as best I can.  It's as much for mum and my brother, my wider family and me that I should say these kind words.  Words, I hasten to add I'd probably say to him myself and words that express the fun we've had in the main and express slightly the solemnity of the situation.  I fear that my brother's printed eulogy, in the order of service is just the most awful gushing, embarrassing, self centred and guilt laden pile of pooh I've ever had the misfortune to read.  It acts as a confession of someone who has never quite come to terms with the situation and who doesn't feel comfortable with their relationship and borders on the sentimental and a justification of "his" positioning in this.   

I doubt anyone would take him to task.  I've asked him if he felt that it was wholly appropriate and added in any way to dad's memory rather than an admission of his own guilt....  Oh well, we let it go and we let it ride.  Mum hates it, I hate it, I don't know if anyone else feels similar but it is just an annoying side show.  I hope that I will redress that and that I will be able to give a proper eulogy that reflects the humour and fun as well as a good idea of who he was as a man.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Glad when it is over

Hadn't quite realised how "ill" I feel, I'm not actually ill but I must be stressed.  I've finalised the Eulogy and checked it out with the Funeral Celebrant.  Just waiting for confirmation that my running time at close to 10 minutes is acceptable.  I can take it down to 8 minutes but it has taken about 10 hours to write it, edit it and bring it down from over 20 minutes to close to 10.  There is so much to say and recollect but perhaps I will write that down somewhere else.  Dad's journals are around too somewhere.  Mum has kept them and I wonder if she will continue?

I feel stressy I have to say and I've been taking some indigestion tablets today and in fact for a couple of days to be fair.  Mmm, well there's a clue then if I'm getting acid it's pretty much an indicator on that side.

There's a huge thunderstorm overhead right now - we've had months of rain and it doesn't look to be stopping much as far as I can see.  I hope it stays off for Friday or isn't too intrusive.  

Oops close to 10 minutes

I chopped my family tribute / Eulogy down to what I though might be 7 or 8 minutes but it is more like 9 and a half.  So have sent to the celebrant to see what she makes of it and whether it can be cut down a bit.  Will see what she says.

Anyway, it is printed and ready to go and I need to read it a few more times as there are some tricky bits in it to get my teeth around!  

Finally beginning to feel it and it was good last night to be in an exclusive club - that's all of my friends have lost their dads now.  Three to cancer and one to a massive stroke, add dad in and that's 4 out of 5 deaths related to Cancer.  

Will he be the death of me?

The order of service is approved - apart from my brother's Eulogy which makes airline sick bags required equipment when you read it.   The Celebrant (Humanist) has been around to see mum and an order of service, totally in tune with dad's wishes has been agreed on.  My brother's poems are incorporated and the 4 tunes are now in place.

I have the Order of Service and have been struggling with the Eulogy that I am to give.  More so that I only have 5 minutes.  I reckon 8 is about right and so I am adding and removing things to try and make it suitable.  I have yet to do this out loud and I have yet to practice getting past the sticky bits where I well up when I'm writing.  It was great tonight to go out with my mates and have a few beers with them - we cheered dad and they disappeared off home, my friend and his son who works at the pub (born the same day as A) were there and so we had a beer or two and then the heavens opened, rain dropped out of the sky like a biblical epic - luckily they dropped me off home but the roads are like rivers outside.

I have until tomorrow evening to get my speech together and get myself ready to go up and stay with my mum.  I'm going to do this and stay there until she kicks me out to come home to my daughter, A's graduation which is next Monday.  It's been a hell of a July.  Mum's birthday on Sunday the 1st.  My Anniversary of finding out I had something seriously wrong with me on the 2nd.  A -- starting her job on the 2nd, Dad being told they couldn't do anything for him on the 2nd too.  The 3rd, an interview for me, returning home to find my dad had died a few minutes before.  that evening blowing myself away with films.  The 4th my birthday and a muted celebration, we have loads of stuff going on in July.  I will remember it for many reasons but it is often the case that deaths appear close to birthdays, holidays and other milestone events.

At last we have an order of service that dad and mum would be happy with, we have my brother's self serving eulogy to be printed in the order of service and we have a middle of the road set of songs that dad would have liked but which are not really evocative of the real him.  My mates were taken aback tonight at my annoyance of my brother's self serving, self centred actions.  At least he came up short today when mum vetoed the whole thing, dumped the vicar and got the celebrant in.  I've told her that I will fight that corner but I think that my sister in law has also listened to reason and will rein my brother in.

My mum went to see my dad today and she was able to hold his hand and say goodbye to him.  He was at peace and it made her feel good and she was able to say her good byes to him.  I can't tell you how sad that made me feel but it was nice to hear her so uplifted by doing that.  I don't think I'd have the bottle to do that.  

Now she has said goodbye everything is in process and progress for the funeral on Friday.  I think that I will be OK until the very end of my Eulogy - where I have to say goodbye.  I have a nice uplifting idea to do that but I have to man it out for the last two lines.  I want things to be a celebration of his life but as it is my brother wants it to be the gnashing of teeth, the wailing of a thousand grieving slaves and so on.  It will be what it will be and I will not give away the plot (apart from to my uncle in the US) before the funeral.  It will be a surprise and a celebration but giving me 5 minutes is difficult - it should be 10 - I think I can whittle to 8 so we will see.  As long as I don't blub I will do fine.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Mum on the phone in bits

My brother dropped around a copy of his order of service and so mum did a flip and thank goodness she has decided that she will have a Civil Service for dad not a religious one.  Not sure what my brother, the Pope, will make of it but he's such an inconsiderate dick and perhaps now he will realise that what I've been saying to him all along is right you just can't bludgeon your way with stuff like this and try and get a service that is inappropriate and not in keeping with the deceased wishes or my mums either.

At least, she now has the person coming around at 10 this morning to discuss it with her and what my brother has also done is to force the issue, I'd already told him that dad wanted a Humanist (Civil) funeral but he set it up as a CofE one without discussing it with mum or me.

GGGGrrrrrr.  Anyway, without my intervention, mum has decided to get back on track but she was mightily upset by the huge order of service and high Church content.  The last time my dad went to church was to see my 18 year old daughter christened so about 17 1/2 years ago at a guess.  I thought it  was funny though as my brother decided to add the caveat "Yes I read the Bible" to which the retort "It's a shame you didn't understand what you read" probably did injure him :-)  I take no prisoners in this self righteous behaviour.

Anyway, things are back on track and instead of getting his way, which we were happy to go along with, it has all backfired because of the heavy hand he played.  I hope that mum will chat to the person later and just get what she wants.  

Monday, July 09, 2012

The phone call and an unplanned night out

Flocky Bicep and I were out this morning for some coffees and a chat - he's a great help to me and I hope that I am also of some use to him.  Dealing with my brother and his sudden reincarnation as primate of the Church of England has been a lot more difficult than you can imagine as I am towing a difficult middle ground between what my mum wants and what my brother thinks should happen.  

Thankfully the vicar will arrive and talk to my mum when my brother is at work and so she may actually be able to discuss the ceremony SHE wants for dad and the sort of thing that HE wanted.  It is difficult when you are dealing with a religious zealot and the remainder of the family who need closure but who also know that dad, who's funeral it is after all, just wanted to go in, be stuck on the fire and flushed down the loo (those are his words not mine BTW).  

This high Gothic ceremony of mourning my brother wants is just so OTT and so it was great the Flocky and another good friend invited me out for a couple of beers tonight.  That ended up with a curry and a whisky chaser but it was good to get our own problems (and we each have them) off our chests.  I feel like some sort of hard as nails villain in the way I speak about my dad and his wishes but actually, he doesn't want any bother or any fuss, he wants a small, close and simple ceremony that is short and that allows everyone to get on with their lives.

When I listened to myself tonight I realised that I have all the answers to why my father treated me like he did in these last 10 years and in many ways why my brother and I have separated over the past 20 years or so too.  Things become clear but they don't get any easier.  There are other problems that will manifest themselves after this latest hurdle is overcome (didn't mean for that to sound as bad as it looks) and I need to rise to them.

It was nice to get out and to have a beer or two with the boys.  Unfortunately I have to repeat the process again tomorrow with my school chums.  I hope I bear up as well as I did again tonight?

Driving me up the wall

My brother - saints preserve us.  My dad wasn't religious as such - he used to be, he may well have believed in something but not that I was aware of and my mum and I were pretty much convinced that he wanted a humanist service.  My brother who appears to have gotten "all religious" on us has produced an Order of Service that you could bury a Pope with.  Never have I seen such utter drivel and I've gone through this with him a number of times and I've just found out he's fannying around with it again changing the wording and the music.

So I had to ask him was this the template that the Funeral Director and the Vicar gave him - then he got all defensive and said he'd got it from the Internet and he read the bible which may come as a surprise to me :-)  A bit rich as I thought I was reading most of the New Testament when I read his order of service.  SO he hasn't spoken to the Vicar (which he wanted) or the Funeral Director.  He has pages and pages printed out and has run it down to the very second on a timetable FFS!!  Give me strength.  The Crematoriums have books that they refer to, the Vicar agrees the service with the family and we can choose the music and the hymns and what we would like but not tell the vicar what to say!!

I don't know what he is thinking about here at all he just needs to leave it up to the Vicar.  Dad wanted a poem (one not several) and so we can request that.  He's cut and pasted it and not even attributed it to the author!  He doesn't even know why I suggested that he should.  What I actually hope is that the Vicar just goes and talks to my mum and she can discuss a nice simple ceremony with him/her and we can choose the 3 tracks and we have some spare if needed but it's just a nonsense and completely over the top for a simple in and out ceremony, that is all that my dad would have wanted and also all that my mum wants.  I might suggest that he sets up a Celebration of Life Service that he and he alone attends - no one is interested in this fake and completely out of step idea.  Bloody hell, I know he has a stake in this, of course he does, but you'd have thought he would just accede to mum's and by default therefore, dad's wishes.  Bloody idiot.  It's like walking on egg shells with him - he's just gone way over board on all this stuff.  I've told my mum to write down her express wishes and put those in with her will and then there's no doubt.

I know he doesn't like my dad's wish not to have a memorial stone, a plaque or any such device, he just wants his ashes scattered at the Crematorium and that's it.  He wants no shrine to come back to, no one having to remember anniversaries or birthdays.  It's over and done and everyone needs to get back on with their lives.  There's the rub, he wanted to make sure I got back home to my family and my girls so did my mum.  I was so concerned that I couldn't be there but they said that it was their choice to move away and once I had finished school, got a job, got married, moved house, got my family, that they didn't expect anything more than the start in life and that I was to concentrate on my family.  Pretty level headed stuff - pragmatic stuff, a realistic attitude.  My kid brother wouldn't get this even if you sat down and explained it to him.  

I don't have many dealings with him because of this diametrically opposite view on the world and life.  I don't hate him or anything like that but I don't like his life choices or anything else about his parochial existence, is attitude, his interference, his self righteousness and  his imposition on to others.  He is the worst type of convert who takes great joy in ramming something you don't want to do down your throat and having no ability to see any other view but his own.  

I will try and compromise and work this out with him but he is trying my patience and my mum's too.  Luckily he is at work all this week and so hopefully mum can meet the vicar on her own and agree things with him.  As long as we get dad's poem and a few bits of music in place the rest of the crap he's put forward can go to hell in a hand cart as far as I'm concerned.  Things are going to be fraught enough on Friday without the doom and despair and sickly sweet vomit inducing crap my brother is suggesting we put in.  

Silly isn't it that I might fall out even further over something as serious as my father's funeral.  Mind you, it wouldn't be the first time in the past 11 months he's come up with some hair brained shit.  He was after all the person who suggested it was my dad who was being selfish for not having a 13 hour operation that had a 50:50 chance of prolonging his life - at the age of 81!  Also the idea of bringing my dad home when it needed a team of nurses around the clock to look after him in hospital.

I do hope that after Friday he takes a break - he hasn't had a holiday in 10 years I think, and just chills out.  Right let's take a deep breath and see if I can chat to him a little bit more about whether he really wants his Eulogy in the Order of Service too.  It's the sort of thing that I write when I'm emotionally challenged and then delete 5 hours later after I've had time to think about it :-)  It's a pathetic piece of emotion soaked drivel full of insecurities, stuff cut and pasted from the internet and should be consigned to be written on toilet paper in my humble opinion of course.   I think he feels some sort of guilt and need for confession.  The test is, would I say this to his face if he were here?  The answer is NO I wouldn't say half of it as he'd have thought I'd gone "soft in the head".  That's the mark of it.  I'm writing the family tribute.  That's the test I'm applying.  Would it be suitable in a place of worship, would it be decent at a funeral to say it, would it convey our feelings about him (expressed whilst he was alive - not what we didn't have the guts to say to him when alive) and does it reflect what he was like because many people wouldn't have seen dad for 16 or 17 years or only at Weddings and Funerals (maybe).  I doubt there will be more than 20 at the very most there and 15 are close family and of those there are only 9 of us who actually knew him in the last 10 years of his life.  Everyone else wouldn't have seen him for a long time although they may have spoken to him on the phone.  My friends haven't seen my dad for 20 or so years since my children were christened I guess.  

You also have to remember that is also true of my brother as many haven't seen him for that length of time either....

Family Tribute

I'm working on this and despite having written one of these some months ago, it isn't fit for purpose now.  So I'm starting at the beginning and writing that although I don't know how much time I have I'm aiming for 5 to 10 minutes.  At the moment I don't feel "upset" it that's the right word.  I just hope that my lot keep it together until after I have spoken so that I don't have to fight through seeing them crying whilst I'm trying to deliver a tribute to dad.

I need to also hit the right balance between it being respectful and humorous - I can't imagine him wanting me to do anything other than to say a few nice words and then get on with it.  

Maybe it's me but I don't have the views that he's watching over me and all that guff.  I hope that if there is a heaven he is reunited with other loved ones there (only the ones he wants to see) and is taking it all in and more than anything else, that he is at peace.  I get the distinct vibes from my mum that things haven't always been what they seemed to be and that there were other reasons dad moved home so often, didn't go out much and so on.  Oh well, will no doubt find out in the fullness of time.

I Wonder Quite How Strange It Is

I'm not feeling all massively upset about my dad's death.  I know, well I think I know, that it is unusual, that I'm feeling sort of neutral.  I get the odd twinge and I get a little upset at times but that's more about him sitting helpless in that bed and just the compassionate side of me, I hate suffering.

But now, dad's no longer suffering, nor is he in pain and all the horrible stuff has gone, the daily hospital grind that meant he didn't know what time of day it was, what day or month and so on.  The pressure on my mum to constantly be there for him (he was terribly demanding and mum was his true constant throughout his life), her devotion - she was there every day for him without fail even if he slept all the time she was there.

I admire that devotion, that love of my dad by her and yet I have none of that myself.  I suppose I didn't have the relationship with him that my brother and my mother had - not that I mind that, I have an inclination that I am very much like him except that I don't have the sort of bond and relationship they had.

All a bit cold fish really and yet I had a few wobbles but not for me, for others.  My brother has been so strange since we found out that dad had Pancreatic Cancer and totally absurd in some of his ideas about what dad should have done.  I liked the bit where he thought dad was being selfish (not having a massive operation) and didn't really get the irony of the situation that it was in fact he who wanted the operation to happen.  Why?  You can't have operations with low success rates just because you want someone to live longer for your own ends and means.  I've tried so hard to talk to him or rationalise stuff mainly because he has been gradually disengaging with me for years.  I have a low opinion of him now and all he does if give me reasons all the time to keep making it lower.  He's driving my mum to distraction when she really needs support and assistance and more than anything balanced understanding of what she is going for.  

You really have to see the mindless drivel he pumps out on Facebook to get the idea.  As a friend of mine said "Is he in Holy Orders?"  It feels like it.  He is also gushingly, puke invoking, vomit inducing, flesh crawlingly, chringe inducingly sentimental....  Reading a comment would induce Diabetes.

The trouble is he doesn't understand that no one wants to have His idea of a service for dad, it just isn't him and the utter bollocks he has written for the Order of Service made my mum finally say that she is "having trouble with him!" he just isn't thinking or acting straight.  I think I may now have stopped him writing cards from us with his verses on as I think he went down the shop and got a couple more cards just for his family so he can put his cheap verse (probably pulled from some second rate internet source) on them.   At least it looks as if the vicar will be able to come and talk to mum without either my brother or me there and she can tell him what sort of service she wants for dad.  Hopefully that will mean that the Order of Service (or as I like to call it - "War and Peace" written by a hooker) will actually reflect a short, poignant and dignified service.  I'm sure my brother couldn't have made it any tackier if he had bought Kiss me Quick Hats, served chips and mushy peas and have had the Dagenham Girl Pipers playing the music.  

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Getting on with it

Things are complete here except for speaking to the vicar to discuss the order of service.  It is no use me hanging around - mum doesn't want me to and I can pick up my daughter tonight and drive her home at the same time so that's a bit of a plan too.

At some time or the other I need to leave mum here to her devices, she knows that after that she will hit a brick wall and be bad for some time - won't we all?  I haven't really had a bad time of it, I did have some sadness (watching Field of Dreams) and a little the other day when my mum told me what she wanted written from her on the flowers "Thank you for being my best friend"  there, bugger it, tears in eyes again.  That's because mum and dad were very much in love, very close and have always been so.  That's why I'm quite lucky because I was brought up in that environment.  However, I'm not inclined to be a blubbing sort and remember being cut up at my Uncle's funeral because there were so many people there and so many people who were in tears.  His death was particularly tragic and sudden which also didn't help.

I have to do the family tribute but just hope I can hang out for that because I just know what my brother and his lot will be like and my mum too.  Perhaps I'd better make sure I don't make that too emotional.

So I'll be off home a little later, after the F1 from Silverstone (which looks to be more like a boat race) and the Tennis with Andy Murray trying to go for glory.  That gives me an extra day or so to write this thing.  Additionally it will also mean I don't have to battle over the order of service with my brother.  If anyone has gone over board it is him!  He can be a right pillock sometimes and writes saccharin sweet rubbish and bollocks, oh dear, I suppose that's his way of dealing with it.