Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Remembrance of things past

Just looking for a 'decent'(!) pic of myself to post here, I found this golden oldie taken in Amsterdam in (okay, okay) 1985. Time was when I had looks which some, at least, thought worth exhibiting. Ah, plus ca change!

Monday, 6 April 2009

What a bummer!

To go out this p.m. decided to wear some green army pants which I don't think I've worn since last Summer. Could I get it fastened? Could I hell! Not even close. So with time getting on thought I'd better put on a pair of combats instead. Same outcome. So disheartening. After weeks of going hungry every day, re-starting occasional morning runs, my waist is still nowhere near what it was just a few months ago. Must have really let myself go during the Winter. Why doesn't the extra fat get distributed all over instead of all going to the belly? (Everyone's asking that question, I know.) Looks like my intention to submit an entry to Mr Bristles' Undie Monday will have to remain just that for longer than I'd hoped. Oh well. But got to keep going. (Boo hoo!)

Sunday, 5 April 2009

Who accused me of being a bitch? I did actually.

I'm not an advocate of astrology. How could it be when I've had a passion for AstroNOMy since a kid? They are mutually exclusive and incompatible pursuits. But somewhere tucked in the memory is my reading that Librans are supposed to be the ones who find it most difficult to forgive others when crossed. That certainly is true of me. Wish I didn't bear grudges but the fact is I store them up, leaving them to fester for maybe a liftime long, and I fantasize about how I'd get my revenge. One frequent such flight of imagination is that I win the top prize in the National Lottery - say at least £4,000,000 - or even several times that figure in the weekly European Lottery which I also enter. It goes without question that I'd be as generous as I reasonably could to my surviving family members and the few friends I have. But most people would do that anyway so it's nothing special . No, the 'fun' would be had in trying to trace those past affairs which both myself and the other party would prefer to forget. But with me, forgetting is not an option. With maybe a few of them I would, in fact, offer them a fair sum of money - just enough to embarrass them but simultaneously to make them think how magnanimous I was. (I'd say to them "Well, you'd only be doing the same for me." while knowing full well that they wouldn't.) But there are at least two guys from my past whom I'd want to make certain knew that I was in the money and that I was giving out part of it only to those I considered 'deserving' of something - and to make sure that they were aware that they were losing out because of their previous conduct towards me. Oh, that delicious feeling when I would see their faces! I'd really like to tell them personally and watch their expressions fall. If they felt like lashing out at me (which I hope they would) I'd be protected by the bodyguards I could afford to employ. Then I'd go back to my fortified luxury mansion and laugh myself silly into my G&T. Aren't I THE prize bitch? Ooooh, scratch yer eyes out!

Saturday, 4 April 2009


Feeling upbeat today - helped by it being sunny and quite warm, which is hopefully a portent of the coming Summer, so variable in this country. Also by my really being drawn into the Proust, much more so than last time - some of the images are just astonishing, jumping over the translation barrier with ease. Then there's the presence of my two cats, lying in the sun and soaking it up as only cats can do. Shortly I'll be doing my main meal for today (in fact the only one) - a purchased-as-ready mushroom & veg. stir fry - being almost the height of labour-intensivity as I ever get to be in the kitchen. Mmmmmmm! (To be candid, felt I owed the Blog this happier entry to balance the rather negative one of yesterday. But it's still honest.)

Friday, 3 April 2009

Vatican appoints anti-gay Archbishop to lead England's Catholics.- What a surprise!

But they could hardly do otherwise since any member of the Catholic clergy who expresses even mildly pro-gay sentiments can be certain that his future promotion chances will have vanished. Archbishop Nichols, currently Archbishop of Birmingham, has today been appointed Archbishop of Westminster, the most senior position of the Catholic Church in England. No doubt his credentials in sternly and vociferously opposing civil unions, gay adoption, repeal of gay discriminatory legislation as well as defending the teaching in schools of homosexuality as 'sinful' and telling our Members of Parliament that measures proposed to combat homophobic bullying are unnecessary, all of which would be music to the ears of our 'Beloved' Hol(e)y Father, Pope BeneDICKt . Why should I care? Well, the last 10 years or so has seen in this country a gradual but distinct marginalisation of homophobia, particularly in institutions and public bodies whereas up to then homophobia had been definitely mainstream. Of course anti-gay feelings still exist both in society and certain media organisations (e.g. in Rupert Murdoch's press), but it does seem to me that in this country the tide has turned, and not before time. But the Churches, particularly the conservative strand (majority?) of the Anglican Church, as well as the entire Roman Catholic Church, still hold firmly to their bigotry, which just postpones the inevitable complete marginalisation of homophobia. I won't be satisfied until such prejudices are, if not entirely expunged, then at least reduced to a small gang of 'crankies'. Progress is slow, but it's getting there - though moves like this appointment, further evidence that the Catholic Church is irrelevant, still have the capacity to fill me with despair.

Thursday, 2 April 2009

Proust et toast au fromage.

Embarked on a re-read of 'A la Recherche......' (in English translation, alas) which I'll do at the rate of one book per month. It's only 5 years since I first read all 7 books but, somewhat morbidly, I'm more and more aware of wanting to do things before my number is called, and a second read of this is high on the list - and a third, or even more, if granted the time. But it is a remarkable work and the language, even second-hand, deserves to be savoured - every bit as much as when he tasted his madeleine dissolved in tea, even if the result isn't quite as spectacular. So, 50 pages down - and 3,000 to go.
Now I'm off to 'cook' my main meal of the day - cheese toast. (Oh, this pesky dietting!)

Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Tummy progress - and a hairy matter.

Waist reduction continuing - but still imperciptibly slow. Only know it's happening at all because this morning got another belt-hole to bite the dust. Determined to get to the stage of being able to contribute to Mr Bristles' 'Undie Monday' - perhaps even as early as Easter Monday. Thought I'd decided which undies to wear but when tried them on in front of a mirror it looked grotesque - there's still a conspicuous 'spare tyre' starting upwards from half-way between bush and belly-button. (Note - no shaver, I! - Hair rules OK!) But we'll get there. I've got the incentive.
Talking about hair, but this time on top, my tonsure carries on expanding - but it's been doing so for about 30 years. Don't really think I'll lose it all - I'm repeating the pattern my Dad had, and he never lost everything - and his also retained it's dark colour to the end (aged 69) like mine is doing, in spite of the beard going salt-and-pepper. But the bald crown must make me look from the back like a monk in mufti. Saw the film 'Duplicity' (Julia Roberts) a few days ago which featured an attempt to steal a much-prized formula for curing baldness. Oh, if only! But not in my lifetime, I fear.

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Satisfying day.

Took my little black pussy to get a jab this morning - an annual event. Nothing wrong with him. Just a booster. He was a little sweetie, just tensing up at the key moment rather than trying to escape - just how I'd try to be if I was having a prick (I should be so lucky!)
In town today had a sneak sideways peak at myself in a shop window reflection (which we all do, don't we?). Pleasantly surprised to no longer look 8 months pregnant - perhaps just 4 or 5 months. Now when I'm more concerned about what undies to wear for Mr Bristles' 'Undie Monday' than showing any significant paunch, I'll have arrived. We're getting there. Such a shame that all these weeks of hard work can be undone just by a day or two's over-indulgence.

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Mystery continues.

Well my doom-laden prognosis hasn't (yet?) come to pass, but this odd smell from 'inside' is still here - and it's very strong. What on earth can it be? Don't recall having experienced it before. For the moment I'm putting it down to my B.P. medication - a week ago my doctor doubled the strength of one of the daily tablets I take (he's been messing around with various doseages and combinations for 9 years now in a, so far, vain attempt to find the magic formula that'll bring it under control) But this odd feeling began quite suddenly just the day before yesterday. Perhaps it took a few days for the effect to 'kick in'. If it's not that, just can't think what's causing it. Not due to see the doctor again until mid-April. Rather troubling, though trying not to be obsessively preoccupied with it.

Monday, 16 March 2009

Morbid musings.

Yesterday got the strangest feeling. A 'smell' within, not originating from outside or emanating from another part of my body (thank heavens!) but 'inside the nose'. At first I didn't know why I put a morbid interpretation on it, namely that it was somehow a premonition of my imminent demise. I have no particular reason to think I'm about to keel over - my health is good, very good for my age, in fact. But the thought was there throughout the night. Even had the idea that I may not wake up this morning. My greatest concern at present is not in actually dying but, as I probably wouldn't be missed for at least a couple of weeks, making sure that the back window is open so my cats can get out. Then this morning I realised that what might have brought these morbid thoughts about is the books I'm currently reading - 'The Tibetan Book of the Dead', which I'm reading in slow piecemeal fashon at about one page per day - and also Sebastian Faulks' excellent 'The Fatal Englishman' - a one volume biography of, actually, 3 semi-famous men who died relatively young earlier last century, 2 of them gay who were, incidentally, also the 2 of them who committed suicide. Not that I have suicidal thoughts myself - never have, apart from the fleeting notion that surely everyone now and then gets, but it's never been serious. So that's probably the reason for thoughts running along those lines. But nevertheless the strange internal 'smell' is still here even now - together with a vaguely-defined but oddly real sense of unease and foreboding. Going out this afternoon to the cinema. Must take special care when crossing the road!

Sunday, 15 March 2009

World news that makes me despair.

Every so often (quite frequently actually) an item in the world news hits me like a blow to the stomach - and the pain lingers there. This week I've experienced a double-whammy.
In Nigeria the unfolding saga of the attempt, which will almost certainly succeed, to make gay marriage illegal makes me want to give up all hope in humanity. A 'marriage' will be defined as two gays living together whether or not they've undergone a ceremony. This on top of the fact that gay sex in any circumstances is already a criminal offence, but the new measure will allow the police and authorities to take further action where there is even just suspicion of a relationship. To see children wearing T-shirts bearing the slogans "Gay Marriage is Unnatural / Un-African / an abomination" makes me just want to weep! I've unbounded admiration and respect, but also great fear, for those few very brave Nigerian activists in their own country who are speaking out against the proposal. It comes as no surprise that the Catholic Church vociferously supports the measure.
And then a couple of days ago on one of our news channels here in the UK (Channel 4) a report came from Cape Town, already 'honoured' with the title of the 'Rape Capital of the World', where now any woman known or just thought to be Lesbian is targetted for rape, often gang-rape, as a 'corrective' measure. A man was interviewed who thought it was justifiable to 'remind' these women of the bodies 'God' had given them. I've been seething inside ever since I saw the report and I only hope rationality and reason will dawn on these people before anyone else is hurt. But I somehow doubt it.
But on a more pleasing final note, I only read this morning of the breaking off of the engagement of Sarah Palin's unmarried daughter/mother. Of course it's not the latter's situation that one takes any schadenfreude from (that would be perverse!) but what a calamity for the 'traditional values' family matriarch! Oh, what an embarrassment! - my heart positively bleeds for her. But could this be the instrument for a Damascene conversion? I'm not holding my breath.

Friday, 13 March 2009

Kitchen thoughts.

Wish I had an interest in cooking, but it's such a huge bore! Never seen the point of slaving over a stove for even half an hour, let alone an hour or, possibly, several hours, when the end product takes just a few minutes to consume. Why bother, especially when one lives alone? I doubt if the attitude would change if I actually lived with a guy (which I never have). So the most I 'cook' is the weekly omelette or boiled/fried/poached/scrambled eggs - apart from that, if it's not boiling vegetables, it's a case of warming up prepared food from packets and tins. Sad life? Not really. Despite how it sounds I do make a point of eating healthily. But rather than cooking, much prefer to be using the time to read or going to the cinema or playing my keyboard - so many things that are nowhere near as dull as damn cooking!

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

'The Waist Land' (again!)

Couple of years ago, after I'd admired some pics an Aussie pen-pal had sent me of beautiful-bodied Aussie labourers working under the hot sun wearing nothing but brief khaki shorts, he sent me as a birthday gift several pairs of these same 'worker' shorts, partly to tantalise me but also to wear. But seeing guys at my sort of age wearing too-short shorts I find such a turn-off that there's no way I would wear them outside - you need a good body to carry it off as well as being no more than middle-aged. However, not wanting to waste them I've taken to wearing them under the jogging bottoms I wear in my flat outside warm-weather season. When I first got them I could do up the shorts' button-fastening-waist (size 34") but then last year I found my waist had expanded so as to make it impossible. But this morning I found that once again I could fasten it again. Small thing, perhaps, but it's a real sign that my hardship diet is working. I dare even say that in the mirror, although there's some way to go yet, there's certainly some progress. So feeling a bit pleased with myself, though the foot will have to remain on the accelerator for some time yet. Who knows, before too long I might even be sending Mr Bristles (Breenlantern) a pic of my lower regions in undies!