Wednesday, September 27, 2006

I do try and do a little bit for the enviroment, but probably like most people not nearly enough. We have got the green recycle bins that the council come and empty every fortnight. This is just for paper, tins and glass. I also collect all my cardboard from packaging, cereal packets, ready meals (well I do live on my own and sometimes just can't be arsed to cook) and when I've got a decent amount, enough to fill the back of my car I tottle off to the local council recyle depot and deposit in the right skip, they seem to be well organised, and have skips for most things that can be recycled . They also have what looks like a stall for selling stuff that other people have thrown away, I always check to see if there is any analogue synths dumped but there never is.

The council also come and collect all our garden waste, grass cuttings etc which goes to some big compost pile and they sell it back to us at the recycle centre. I bought some for my little organic veggie patch that I used to have at my old house. I managed to grow some potatoes, carrots, radishes (anyone can grow them, so my old next door neighbour Dave told me as I pulled my first one up, I was over the moon I'd grown something I could eat!) turnips (they were called red top milans, if my memory serves me well) my faourites were peas (karina) they were beauties. I've really missed not growing any this year, once I get myself sorted out I'm hopefully going to dig up a little bit in my new garden and grow some veg again for next year.

I bought a book from Amazon called Save Cash and Save The Planet and I keep delving into it every now again and try and put some of it's advice into practice, nearly every lightbulb in my house is an energy efficient one,I'm looking into getting it cavity wall insulated, I thought a house built in 1983 would have already been insulated but no such luck. As you can tell I've got a long way to go before I save the planet. The Guardian on Saturday had a free Green Living Guide with it and made interesting reading . In it's top 10 recommendations of what we can do now was sign up for an organic vegetable box from a local farm. Well the nearest farm that I could find that delivered here was in Richmond but I thought I'd give it a go and ordered a mini veg bag, a mini fruit bag, some organic butter and 1/2 dozen organic eggs. It all arrived this morning left outside the back door while I still in the land of nod. Thats my organic fruit bowl on the right, I also got some lovely plums aswell. So far I've only tried the eggs, I had a fried egg sandwich for my dinner and it was very nice, it always reminds me of Quadrophenia when I have a fried egg sandwich. I must add that to my DVD wish list. I can see me spending a fortune while I'm off on the sick for the next few weeks. I've already ordered 5 while I've been off...... Ripping Yarns, which I never watched when it was originally broadcast, so need to catch up . Mr Benn which I did watch but I'm buying for Neave, (really!) I'm sure she'll enjoy it. Planet of the Apes the 6 DVD box set of the films, I remember I was a big fan of the TV series when it was on but never paid much attention to films , so now I am. Blakes 7 series 3, the best Sci-Fi show ever as far as I'm concerned. The Complete Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin, it always used to make me piss my back off and I'm not sure I've seen them all. I do have a terrible habit of buying DVD's and never watching them, I guess it's a nostalgia thing, it's usually stuff that I remember watching when I was younger. 70's police shows strangely enough, Starsky and Hutch, Kojak, The Sweeney. Some some sci-fi too, Blakes 7 , Tomorrow People, Moonbase. Comedy aswell . . . . Citizen Smith, Scully, Solo. I tend to start watching a couple of episodes then I go and buy something else and start watching that then go and buy something else and it just goes on.

Back to the first reason I started this entry, the enviroment. Included with my organic veg bags was a newsletter and I think the best thing to do is just quote it direct, it makes a nice change to have something important here rather than from me ranting about myself or Paul Weller.

"Dr Bruce Pearce, a customer and Head of Research at Elm Farm Organic Research Centre has made me aware of worrying and imminent government plans to legislate with abandonment the production of GM crops. There is a consultation which ends on the 20th October 2006 and he feels that it is imperative that ordinary people and not just the scientists let their views be known - for perhaps the last time ! He writes to you :

“The Government slipped out a consultation in July on the coexistence between GM and non-GM crops. The coexistence regime recommended for England will allow routine GM contamination – “pollution” – of our food, crops and the countryside. What was understood to be the basic premise that everything should be done to minimise cross contamination has been ignored and will have particular impact on organic food and farming. This is despite Government assurance to the organic sector that everything would be done to ensure that any introduction of GM crops did not compromise the viability of UK organic agriculture. The government are proposing minimal separation distances ( even less than the GM industry body recommended ), inadequate notification to neighbours, a weak liability and compensation system and they do not want a register of GM crops/land. To make matters worse they have made it personal to everyone by saying that gardeners and allotment holders have no right to notification or compensation if their own grown food is contaminated.

The consultation runs until 20th October 2006 and it is important that we have our say. The consultation web site can be found at

Friends of the Earth also provides information at and Elm Farm Organic Research Centre at “.

If we all spare a few minutes to make our protest heard, it could really make a difference. Once GM crops are established in our environment there can be no recall and the potential impact could be severe."

Monday, September 25, 2006

It's three weeks now since my hernia operation, the wound is healing nicely, still in a bit of pain but I've almost given up the pain killers, I don't like putting chemicals in my body, I would never have made a rock 'n roll star, I used to love the image but whenever I was offered anything I've almost always said no, (twice I've tried something but neither seemed to have any effect at all, just like the painkillers for my hernia op.) at the time feeling like a square but I felt better for it the next day and even better now.

I spent the first six days of recovery at my Mam and Dad's, I couldn't really do anything for myself, I just stayed in bed nearly all day the first day, only venturing out to go to the toilet. I didn't feel like eating but the nurses told me had I had to eat lots of fruit and veg and fibre and water , but what I really fancied was a Big Mac, sorry but true. The first morning Neave came up to see me and said "Daddy why are you still in bed?" then she just climbed in and laid next to me for ages, which really cheered me up. She was over the moon the next day she came and I was sat downstairs, "Daddy your up , is your tummy better? Are you going to play with me now?" Sadly, not just yet.

While I was at my Mam and Dad's house I watched allsorts of TV that I wouldn't look twice at like Lovejoy and Poirrot and NCIS, don't ask me why I just sat there like a sponge taking it all in. Just couldn't be arsed to switch channels on the remote control. When I did manage to drag myself away I managed to read a book for the first time this year, a terrible confession but I've just never managed to sit down long enough to get engrossed in one. I've started a few but never finished one, not until Margrave of the Marshes by John Peel and Sheila Ravenscroft. It was one of last years Christmas presents , it was so sad to read, my eyes filled up on a fair few occassions.

Like most people "into music"I used to listen to Peel in my younger days, taping sessions and whole shows , I would listen back to them fast forwarding any songs that I wasn't keen on and then dub the good ones onto another tape, I've still got a couple of compilation tapes with sessions and odd songs on. Off the top of my head I know there is songs by Double D and Steinski, Men They Couldn't Hang, Sensible Jerseys, the stranger the name the better I used to think. I like the fact that there are quite a few blogs and web sites dedicated the shows and sessions. The first time I heard lots of songs was on Peel. Reading this book brought back all sorts of strange memories, I suppose I should have been out enjoying myself when I was so young instead of listening to the radio, just like I should be out now instead of writing this.. Sometimes I would fall asleep with my headphones on and I'd wake to the sound of his (cowboy-ish) theme tune playing, then the pips for the news and if I remember correctly Radio 1 would become Radio 2 until the breakfast show. Before he died I would only occassionally listen to him, usually in the car on the way home, he still played some good tracks, the electronic stuff was the perfect soundtrack to drives home from Geoff's house on those foggy nights after we'd been practising. Reading the book made me want to listen to the radio again and not just Radio 2 while I'm at work.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Well it looks like I have survived my first operation. A week ago tomorrow I finally had my hernia operation. I've no real idea how I got my hernia , I'm guessing that it was when I moved house on my own and had to put all my worldly goods including my very heavy crates of vinyl into storage. I noticed a lump , went to the doctors, he told me I would have to have an operation and I've been shitting myself for months ever since.

It's a long time since I'd had a good nights sleep, just worrying about all the things that could go wrong while I was in surgery, I won't dwell on them now because I still come out in a hot sweat. I got up last Wednesday morning at half six,I could see it was going to be a lovely day, hopefully if everything goes to plan and I'm one of the first in I should be out by dinnertime, or so I thought. Rachel was taking me to hospital so I could say bye to Neave, I sat in the back with her and held her hand all the way there.. Me Dad was going to stay at the hospital with me. Got there at 8.30, went in to see the nurse for pre-op blood pressure tests etc (100/50) she said it was very good. She said she wouldn't get me to put my gown on yet as there were two more people having the same operation before me. So we sat and waited and waited, watching all sorts of shite TV that really shouldn't be on air, e.g. the Jeremy Kyle show, it was so appalling it almost took my mind of the operation, I would much have preferred some nice calm relaxing music music to listen to while I was waiting , Radio 2 would have been ideal. I wish I'd thought to take my MP3 player. It did cross my mind on a few occassions to just get up leave me Dad sitting and walk out the hospital and try and live with the pain of the hernia but I resisted those urges.

The time came for me to go and get my gown on , they aren't the easiest things to get on by yourself, all that fastening of ties behind your back, I finally managed to get it on and then it was time to wait and wait some more. More crap TV to watch, and my Dad telling me to try and stop shaking like a leaf, easier said than done. It was 10 past eleven and a nurse from surgery came and took me down to room 5 "just here on the right", now I was papping my pants, they got me to sign my life away , well it could have been, I wasn't paying any attention now I could see the table I would soon be lying on. The surgeon came and shook my sweaty palm and then I had to lay down on the bed while they tried to get a vein so they could inject me with the general anaesthetic, I could feel my whole body just shaking it was like when I go to the dentist only a hundred times worse. The surgeon said "Your shaking all over" (no it wasn't Johnny Kidd a his Pirates doing the op!) "are you cold?" , "No" I replied "I'm fucking scared shitless , I've changed my mind, can I go home?" well thats what I might have said, but instead I quivered like a little child " um...I... I... I... I... I'm just a little nervous, thats all" . "Nothing to be nervous about just take some deep breaths into this mask", oh yes, that made me feel tons better. I managed to count to about ten breaths and that was it, out for the count.

The next I knew I was in recovery, the nurse was by my bed "Stephen, are you OK? Stephen", at first I said yes, fine, then I moved and said actually no I'm not, I was in pain. Which was unexpected because the nurse who did my pre-op said I should be OK if I agree to the pain relief that they stick up your bum, she told me it was very effective and got to work straight away and lasted up to 16 hours, well if i'd had one of those and they told me I had , it wasn't working. I couldn't move without a stinging pain that made me shout. I'm not 100% certain but I think she might have given me a couple of tablets to take round about now, but I was nodding off every now and again, so I can't really be sure. I did notice it was 10 past one though, and thought that it was strange I'd been out for the count so long. I just seemed to lie there for ages, every now and again the nurse would ask if I was OK and I would say "No I'm in a bit of pain, maybe I'm just soft", she never reassurred me, it would have been nice if she'd said, "Your bound to be in pain, everyone is after that operation". The surgeon came to see me and she told him I was in a bit of pain (A bit! A lot!) he told her to give me something which she did, no idea what, but she kept injecting it every now and again. Didn't seem to help at all, I couldn't move without moaning. Time was getting on , it was 10 to 3 and said to the nurse that I shouldn't still be in recovery should I? She just said everyone is different, and once she gave me the last bit of painkiller I could go back on the ward.

It was about 10 past 3 , when they wheeled me back on to the ward, the nurse who gave me my pre-op came to look after me then, she was really nice. I was still in pain but somehow felt better for being up there. I had some water and moaned some more. They brought me some tea and toast but then I just started to feel dreadful, a sick bucket was required, thankfully I didn't have to use it. Geraldine, my nurse asked if I wanted an injection that would stop me feeling sick, why not, I've got all sorts of other chemicals running through my veins, a few more aren't going to make any difference. It wasn't long after this that my blood pressure was checked, then checked again and again.... "There might be something wrong with the machine, test his blood pressure manually, it seems quite low." The student nurse checked it manually and confirmed that it was low. I asked what it was but they wouldn't say. Time to shit myself again. My dad came over to see me and said I looked fine, I didn't feel it. He was only allowed to stop five minutes, so that I could rest. Then I heard a phonecall ... " He's OK but not recovering that well, looking at him now I don't think he'll be home today" , couldn't be talking about me, my Dad just said I looked fine. Then I fell back to sleep.

When I next opened my eyes, I felt alright, no lightheadedness, didn't feel sick, just hungry and thirsty. They checked my blood pressure but it was still low. They brought me some tea and toast , which was the best tea and toast I'd ever had, I started to feel really great, still in pain but better in myself. "Thats better" said the nurse "You had us all worried there for a while, your arms are warming up now and you've got some colour back in your lips", my Dad said "You looked terrible an hour ago", eh? "didn't you say I looked fine?", even the sudent nurse said I was looking a whole lot better. All of that got me worrying again.

The nurses told me I would have to make the effort to get myself mobile or else I was going nowhere except ward 32. I had to be able to sit up, which I just about managed. Then I had to get up and walk to a chair, which was very painful, but I knew I had to or else I was going to have to have an overnight stay in hospital, and that was the last thing I wanted. Blood pressure time again, still low but on the up, a can of pop will help they said, so I chose a can of Lilt with it's totally tropical taste. My eyes lit up when the nurse walked towards me with my clothes and bag ,time to to dress myself, it took me a long time but I managed, even got my socks on! The final test was to go for a pee, this wasn't as painful as I expected, butI still can't stand up for one a week later.

That was it, time to go well one more blood pressure test, almost back to normal, the drip had to come out of my arm , which absolutely killed me, I made more noise from the nurse ripping the tape off my hairy arms than when I was in pain from the op, I think they had double insulated it with tape that was stronger than gaffer tape. It really really hurt. The nurse said I could go so I thanked them all very much and I was out of there. Now I'm just resting.