johnny9fingers: (Default)

Spoke to Louis today.
He called me back. I'd left a message of commiseration on his answerphone. Told him about Dad, which he hadn't known about.
Will call him again in the New Year. We have lots to talk about.
Chris and Carol's for lunch. 
As usual, C & C very hospitable and kind. Chris promised me footage of Dad's 80th birthday, which he videod - he'll burn a dvd for me, from which I can make further copies for any who so wish. Good lad that.
I'd like everyone to have a happy New Year.

Fingers crossed.

johnny9fingers: (Sri Yantra)
All this being single lark's not much fun really. I should have gotten used to it by now, but somehow, one's frustration at the attempts to pursue life, love, and pleasure, with dignity and grace, inevitably boil over into ill humour and bad temper. I should self medicate more.

As is, I can be quite cutting and cruel when irritated, which is not good: and especially not good when sole remaining parent, probably through grief, winds a chap's spring just that bit too tight. It is not a good thing to bark at one's mother, no matter the provocation.

Am feeling a trifle deficient in virtue at present, and need to find a place to hang my head in shame. I'm meant to be better than that, dammit, and apologies aren't enough, really.

I can see that on a personal level, life may become significantly less interesting.

Last of the Christmas shopping to do.

Hazel's for supper party. Em & Nick have offered to put me up if I want to drink (yes please, but...perhaps not: parent to consider).

Dad did all the practical things for mum. Cooking, shopping, finance etc. Mum took charge of their laundery, and generally oversaw everything else, being disabled but still unable to keep her fingers from every pie within reach. Born to rule, which is unusual in an Yeoman family of the Irish Republican kind. But there you go.

Wonder what my dining companions will be like?
johnny9fingers: (window)
Wednesday went very well.
More than 200 people turned up at St M's.  G & J unable to attend: G bedridden now with Parkinson's, J attending to him constantly.
Many from CAFOD. A few formidable old boys and girls from Fleet Street. All went off v. well. Good speech from Mike.
I thanked Doctors etc. Food was alright. Then I was a man beset by four aunts, which sounds like something out of Wodehouse, excepting they were all Irish (Ma's sisters). Good family gossip and catch up with the Irish side.
Mum's coping.
Studio yesterday morning for 11am. Left studio at 3.30 for soundcheck at 6pm - had to pick up vocalist at 5. Arrived at  venue at 6.15. Soundcheck. Onstage at 10pm. Finished at 12, packed up and paid by 1am. Home by 2 - journey much easier without school run/rush hour traffic.
The amp works well, however.

I'll miss Dad lots.
So will all the folk that knew him.
johnny9fingers: (window)

Psalm 22 (23 in Scotland).
Psalm 129
I Corinthians Ch 15 v 50-57.
A conventional and trite set of choices in some respects; and unifying; binding; and bringing together: there is often purpose in cliche. The commonplace is universally understood, which is why it's commonplace. We despise the ordinary as individuals, but collectively, ordinary is a value denoting a degree of social coherence, at least when ritualised.
Broad of church and broad of mind...
We're all still a bit sad, but given that we did our utmost, and that Dad died easily and painlessly, it's not as bad as it could be.

On another matter: I seem to have caught a bad case of advertising athwart my blog, to which I would normally object: however, one seems to be for a tearoom in Sussex. I will check it out and report. If any good I won't change my account type and the advertising can stay. If not...

johnny9fingers: (window)
Funeral next Wednesday, 12.10. Told everyone that needed telling (I hope).
Donations to: CaFOD, Oxfam, Red Cross, or Amnesty.
Simple service. Pared down funeral with remainder of cost going to charity. Feed people not profits. Whatever his opinion, he was above all a human being, and felt for other human beings. Mother bearing up, as the phrase is. Rest of us coping in our own fashions.
johnny9fingers: (window)
Dad's failing. Morphine through a constant injection beneath the skin on the belly. Mike & Alexis have left for Oop North. Everyone a bit frayed. Poor dear woke up for a moment, saw everyone around him (just one of those happy co-incidences) smiled in recognition, then drifted back off to sleep. In Xanadu did Kublai Khan...sweet pipe dreams my dear...probably the best way to go, all things considered: and wash up on the far side of the Lethe in some other place, still drinking the milk of paradise.
Doc says he could hang on like this for days - I say as long as he's not having too much pain. I think the stuff he's on would put even me into orbit; I just hope it's enough.
He still snores like a good'un though, which is a familiar comfort, much changed from the source of irritation the last time I shared a hotel room with him for a funeral in Dublin in '98.
He's not conscious any more.
He is the best man I've ever met, and he's had a good innings, and he fought in WWII, and he brought up two boys that rarely acknowledged the sacrifices he made for us, and all he wants to be remembered as, is as a man who tried to do his Christian duty, which is more than any vainglorious, trumpeting, self-serving, self-publicising, television evangelists have ever managed.
Morning's a new day.
johnny9fingers: (window)
Dad's going down fast.
He had a catheter fitted (inserted?) early this morning.
Renal problems, Hepatic problems. Increasing dose of Morphine Sulphate. Poor man's unconscious most of the time. Mike and Alexis have been totally solid. Mum has done her duty and more (far more). I'm the only one wanting in any way, having gone down with this at just the wrong time.
It's about waiting and holding hands.
Alexis has been great, though obviously she's felt somewhat apart from all of this. Told mum to contact Mike's ex (who has been v close to Dad over the years). Top Girl. Generosity of behaviour always leaves one feeling touched by grace. Difficult time for her, and one she's rising to meet with spirit.
The next few days will probably give us the answers.
johnny9fingers: (window)
Mike and Alexis are down. It shifts the burden and is always so welcome.
M very depressed at Dad's condition, but it's not as if any of us has a magic wand.
Swollen ankle-joints mean I can barely walk, and this despite anti-inflamatory drugs from my Doc. Wrists seem to have got slightly better. But told not to put any pressure or strain on them, so no practice. Buggering flu.
johnny9fingers: (window)

Morphine Sulphate appears to have stablised Dad. A good thing. Am precluded from helping in any way by illness, which is completely crap, actually. But the Doc reckons if Dad'll only start eating again, Christmas is a good long bet. But not if I breathe over him, or mum either.
Nurse coming in, in half-an-hour.
Mother worked off her feet (and rising to the occasion with a certain elan, if that's the word).
Neck hurts. Wrists hurt. Will go to bed.
Happy Thanksgiving.

johnny9fingers: (window)
Dad moved onto orally administered morphine sulphate last night. Unlike me, he didn't have a wild youth, and so has been pretty unprepared for the effects. Lots of confusion, poor thing. His birthday's still the target, and some truly dedicated nurses from St Christopher's Hospice are helping out. This is a good thing as I am going down with flu. (Well, someone's got to do the shopping and be the interface with the outside world, and therefore exposed to all and sundry. We have tried to avoid letting anyone through the door who might be remotely contagious.)
Mike & Alexis come down on Fri night.
Nurse recommends I take paracetamol. Will oblige if only to keep peace.
johnny9fingers: (Sri Yantra)

My birthday.
Thus far, so good.

Dad's been having a bad time. Doc says probably not gall stone: probably liver. They've upped his meds.  Fentanyl patches that last 72 hours. By all accounts he may do more sleeping. His birthday's Friday and that looks ok. Christmas is a whole other ball game though.
Across the pond it's Thanksgiving on Thursday. Hope the cousins and family are all healthy, happy, and as contented as it's possible to be in these times. Hope the poor guys on patrol get back to the turkey supper without harm.
We don't make too much of Harvest Festival, and it's at a slightly different time of the year, but then again, we haven't been rescued from starvation by a bunch of friendly natives taking pity on the poor settler.
Of all festivals, Thanksgiving should be the friendliest, and the one that attempts to bridge cultural gaps.
The USA has enough myth and legend in its founding as most cultures build up over centuries. And lots (if not most) of them are myths with the value good.
Like The UK, the US has a lot to live up to, and much to live down. But 'twould be nice to get each of our acts together round about as-soon-as-possible, if not actually now.

johnny9fingers: (window)

The Da's not having that good a time. Sun and today have been...well, he's stopped eating again. The doc says a gall stone has probably moved (on top of all the other bloody stuff) and is causing him pain. Painkillers make Dad confused. Ergo, he hates them. More hallucinations and lavatorial indignities. The look he sometimes gives me as I help him to the loo: thank God we don't have an old service revolver about the house; given his faith I would hate for him to disqualify himself from a Christian funeral.
However, I do suspect he'd like it all finished with. Definitely DNR, however much we would prefer otherwise. Friday's his birthday. He's going to be around for that.
Burnt my hand making mother a hot-water bottle. That's fucked me playing-wise for the next week or so*. I'm just too cack-handed for all this looking after people stuff. I should have been sensible and made enough money to employ someone to help out. Advice to budding guitarists: study law, or medicine, or finance.


*Tried bleach on the burn immediately after it happened - good reports thus far, & might not be out for a week. Does anyone else use bleach like this apart from serving troops?

johnny9fingers: (Sri Yantra)

The Old Man is stable for the time being. Visitors have been trying not to tire him out, which is thoughtful.
Took my amps into John Kelly's workshop without too much of a hitch, though I did get caught in a yellow box due to traffic. If I get a fine, so be it, dammit.

I've been thinking about the 'Clash of Cultures' worst case scenario.
I can't imagine even the most hardened Al Qaeda Islamist really wants a complete and total war against the west. A von Clauswitz total war (the whole of the West's economies and societies given over to the military objective) against Islam would effectively wipe the religion from the map - & with all it's holy sites crisped in the process. (A total war may well include nuclear weapons, especially if terrorists use them first.) The horrors (& expenses) of interning all moslems living in the west, conscription for all able bodied non moslem males leading to perhaps 20-30 million men under arms,  the complete occupation or destruction of Islamic capitals and thereafter Islamic culture - all these are horrific, by anyone's standards. I cannot believe that even Al Qaeda wants a total head to head, even if they say they do, and even if they think they can win such a set of engagements with the one or two nukes that Islamic countries might be able to build and use before the inevitable armageddon.

GWB's neocon advisors have tried to portray Islamists as fascists, conflating the terms into one: 'Islamofascist'. If we go down the WWII route, we will have to defeat them utterly, with all that implies. I can't see destroying the culture that returned Classical Greek to us and has given us the basis for much higher mathematics as being a good thing, merely because of the actions of a few madmen and zealots.

By definition then, if they are not mad, they have more limited (& achievable) objectives, else they would not be pushing us even this far. If they are mad, the moslem community should cauterise them, and quickly, before they tip the balance and everybody loses, but Islam loses even more.

If they have limited objectives we may be able to see just how far those coincide with ours. If not at all, then it's back to square one, but we always have further positions to adopt, right up to, and including (in extremis) all out war. And they (the 'bad guys') have the same choices. I'm sure there are sane Al Qaeda top brass who know what they want, and who also know what would satisfy them in the real world. But I may be wrong.

I know GWB's screwed the pooch over this, but I'm sure we can find a way out before we need to use 'Von Kreige' as our textbook. There should be about a hundred steps before we get to the worst case scenario, but again I may be wrong.

Of course, if I'm wrong, the only decent thing to do would be to join up myself. I rather hope that doesn't happen, as I'm pretty Bolshie and don't take kindly to orders given by idiots. However, I might prefer that to orders given by an Ayatollah: but it's only going to come to either if both sides are completely stupid. Nevertheless H L Mencken might have something pertinent to say about my optimism, or alternatively my belief in human beings rising above such stupidity.

johnny9fingers: (Dogbert1)
A couple of things.
First, Dad yo-yo's betwixt and between, but the good days seem to be more since Monday, when all the drugs excepting allopurinol were stopped. Perhaps his system can recover enough to have a reasonable last couple of months, and we may yet get him to Christmas in comfort. Excepting, of course, any infection whatsoever, which will kill him.
Second... because it has come to my attention that folk known to me socially may be reading this blog I have decided to change the names of all mentioned herein excepting my immediate family. Anyone appearing in this will obviously be identifiable to themselves and to others with whom I am intimate, but such will not be as easy for those specifically unacquainted with me. Apologies, my dears, if I have offended against privacy: I do beg your pardons.
This 'keeping a journal' is an odd thing. Is it merely showing off? Catharsis of confession? Public therapy? I will come back to this later.
Perhaps some explanation is due.

By nature I am an Aesthete & a Dandy. I would be in all things, especially mind, prettier than I am, and quicker to take offense. By all rights I should have been dead at thirty, carved by a younger, fiercer blade, and wept over by my mistresses; a string of debts and tradesmen's pregnant daughters my only legacy to the world.
However, I was born in 1961 in Wimbledon and there's not much chance of playing Cyrano in SW18.
It's round about now that I should be claiming a sickly tubercular childhood: so I will, even if it's not true. All the other requisites are present: various schools, some religious, some secular; the discovery of rock 'n' roll and guitar; year Zero as Johnny Rotten and co swore live on prewatershed TV, just as I was growing my hair really long (and which I didn't let go of until too late).
But this is, I hear you say, par for the course.
I didn't say it was original, merely true: it is easy for me to combine arrogance and an understanding of my place because, in spite of all my efforts, I am only the sixth most interesting person I know. Of the other five: one is mad; one achieves his place with a combination of intelligence, history, and rank; two are women, and the last is a man of many attributes (aka 'The Hermit of Petworth').
So despite everything, I know my limitations. I've done everything I really ever wanted excepting parenting - and I'm getting too old (read selfish) to contemplate that now.

I would rather that people think than otherwise, and think well.
johnny9fingers: (window)
Monday morning - new nurse, but the Da is bright. I had a small spat with the Ma, which was probably because of tiredness on both our parts. Even though we spoke sotto voce he somehow caught the mood and was upset. Reassured him it was just stepping on toes (which it was). Whew. Another case of tiredness doing damage.
He insisted I call the Charity for which he volunteered until 6 months ago, and let them know the situation.  Since his retirement 20 years ago he put in three days a week at the Catholic fund for Overseas Development, working in their support services. Keeping busy, he says, kept him alive. The folk at CaFOD were upset and asked to visit - said it was kind but should be limited in duration as he is not to be tired beyond his strength (which manners would incline him to) and that they should 'phone first.
Beloved by those that know him - which I'm not surprised by, really.
He requests no flowers, and no flowery speeches. Extracted a promise (again - this time in front of priest, Fr Francis) that we should not go into his history - wants to be known as man that tried hard to be Christian, and asks that all pray for his soul. Old thing's tied my hands again - easy to say, however I would prefer to be able to shout his virtues from the rooftops. Will do what I can, but will stick to the letter of promise, after all: one's word should be one's bond. Mum ready to contradict and do exactly as she wishes, but that's mothers for you.
Donations to CaFOD on obit as per his instructions. He's been getting everything in order, and making sure we all understand his wishes, even if a bit confused.
Too tired to think properly - will save energy for important stuff.
Mum's actually OK, just a mother.
johnny9fingers: (Dogbert1)
Dad's getting a bit confused, or should I say a bit more confused. This is actually painful stuff, and almost impossible to write about. He remembers Mum and Mike and me, but doesn't remember how he got to the house he's living in at the moment, doesn't understand how he could have bought it, and doesn't remember who he worked for, or the positions he held. Wants reassurance that he'll not be carted off back to the hospital on an hourly basis - & extracted promises from all around including visiting relatives. Thankfully he's in good humour despite confusion.
I'm finding even the small amounts of nursing I'm doing much more difficult than I imagined. The horrors of the viscera, and the products thereof, are not something I'd come into contact with too often, being delicate from birth and having aversions to such.
Just have to hold one's nose and get on with it. Undoubtedly it will make me a better person eventually.
At least I'm not doing this all on a battlefield. If anyone ever calls Walt Whitman something derogatory in my presence, I shall punch them...probably.
johnny9fingers: (window)
Constant stream of visitors. Will not allow them to stay by him talking for more than 5 minutes or so, as will exhaust him.
Fielding 'phone calls all day. Mike leaves leaves for his home late tonight. Pretty much everthing sorted out now apart from the brave face during the waiting.
Tried to get in touch with Glamorous Ex but both times I've called no-one's answered - ergo, she has things to complete before she flies out on Tuesday.
Might not get a chance to say toodle-pip, but that's the way the cookie crumbles, as the cliche has it.
Cancelled Birthday party as supremely inappropriate in circumstances. Steve K (an old, old chum) suggests rescheduling when things are better. Sweet lad he is - must remember books for P & J - Oxford companion to Classical Literature (Harvey).
With luck J will follow P to Christ's Hospital, but J still taking entrance exams to St Paul's and Westminster, etc. Will help the girls build their libraries by donating books as and when they need 'em, as long as S keeps me informed of requirements.
Same with Hazel's youngest, mind you E has Hazel's library to run through, which is not insignificant nor deficient in any major respect - and let's face it, neither of us owns a first folio, and only one person I know has a first of Ulysses (Shakespeare and Co, Paris, 1922).
Speaking of which, 'Posh' Stephen (not Steve K) has been an absolute brick of the solid foundational sort. Don't know what I'd've done without his good sense and good nature. Keep meaning to drive down to Sussex and buy him a pint or two, but somehow or other, I never seem to get the time. Pray his Mother is comfortable as well: 82, emphysema, which is why, I suppose, he understands better than most.
At an age now when chums' parents are going through it - difficult times for one and all, if not yet, then soon.
Dammit.
Am determined when my time comes I shall do like Petronius, and open veins in bathtub whilst drinking Margeaux or Latour, and conversing wittily with surviving chums. Blushful hippocrene indeed. Don't think I'm prepared to emulate any of the Satyrica, though.
Does anyone else out there think that Fagles' translations have been somewhat influenced by Logue? or is it just me? or is it merely the way late C20th Homer had to be, contextually speaking? Should read Harold Bloom on Homer, but haven't got around to it yet. Q. liked 'Genius' however, though his 'Shakespeare' I had some arguments with, as I see elements of the modern human in both Chaucer and especially Thom Wyatt, never mind various Greeks longer dead, or characters in Upanishads/Vedas. But Bloom is a greater man than me by orders of magnitude, so carping seems the yapping of a dog at the heels of a lion, or it could be I'm not a modern man, and am guilty of a category mistake.

Probably. But in all that what truth
will there be? He’ll know nothing. He’ll tell me about the
blows he received and I’ll give him a carrot.
Astride of a grave and a difficult birth. Down in the
hole, lingeringly, the grave-digger puts on the forceps.
We have time to grow old. The air is full of our cries.
But habit is a great deadener. At me too someone is looking,
of me too someone is saying, he is sleeping, he knows
nothing, let him sleep on.
johnny9fingers: (Sri Yantra)
Armstice day. 2 mins silence at eleven.
Somewhat less frazzled than yesterday despite getting up at 3.30am to see if the Da needed help to the loo (Which means setting alarm clock and then stumbling down three flights of stairs to the parents rooms).
Mike's been a complete hero - arrives and immediately takes over 75% of the workload. The man's a complete star. Reassures the old man as well - at least somebody competent's helping out - unlike self.
The other thing I really become aware of is how fortunate I've been in my friends. Stalwart coves all, and in many respects better than I deserve.

Been cogitating on The American Situation quite a lot when my brain hasn't been dwelling on other things.
I have come to the conclusion that the situation is so involved and has so many ramifications that we have to examine what led us to this pass (which is not the same as apportioning blame) in order to prevent any more obvious abuses of power happening in the future. This will not prevent clever and unscrupulous folk finding loopholes, but will at least indicate that the body politic will attempt work out what's been going on, and what's been going wrong.

I think the maxim 'be sure your sins will find you out' is probably one which should be enshrined somewhere in all of our unwritten constitutions - I know from experience that it operates on a personal basis, alas - but I don't know how to extend it to the political arena now without damaging left/right relations and compromising whatever foriegn policy solutions are going to need to be implemented in order to extract us from our present difficulties. Also I think it may be a waste of our political resources, dividing our efforts, which should be better employed in sorting the mess out.

I think we should find out how and why we got into this mess, so the naysayers cannot deny either the fact of it happening, or the causality thereof; but take no further action unless... unless the administration uses the Dems generosity to simply further their own pre-existing agenda - ie if GWB and his minions make all the right noises, but continue exactly as before (vide Tony Blair - says all the right things but does whatever he wants no matter how much it contradicts his public political pronouncments).

Vigilance and watchfulness should be our position, but not blame or revenge.
johnny9fingers: (window)
Oh blimey, It's been so stressful I can't tell if it Monday. And I've just been told it's Friday.
Dad got out of hospital yesterday. He was desperate to come home. He's on various drugs including some antibiotics which have some unusual side effects: hallucinations, mental confusion, etc etc. and guess what, he's got all the side effects, which led us to believe that he was finally...well, you know.
We called the doctors and the priest, who agreed that something was v wrong to the extent that the priest took his confession and administered what I believe to be the last rites.
And then he started rallying. I don't know what it is about religion. Given that the list of his sins must have taken at most twenty seconds to relate in complete detail, I'm gobsmacked at the level of co-incidence which constantly occurs around those who believe. I sometimes wish I still did.
The Brother got here at noon, by which time dad was feeling considerably better.
We know we've got days or weeks now, not months.
Both Mike and I found ourselves in tears at odd moments. Happens to mum all the time but we're guys and it's not meant to happen to us like that.
Glamorous Ex offered to help. Trying to borrow a microphone from her and was due round her place to pick up aforementioned item, but phoned instead to let her know our situation. I will miss her when she's left for Africa, especially after her kindness and generosity and her goodheartedness. She is a good person and I would hope that her guardian angels take v special care of her.
Everyone has been wonderful, but the old man's still failing fast.
Dammit dammit dammit
Feel very stupid headed.

I want to write about Christopher Logue, which came up on one of the forums (fora? surely some mistake), but I'll leave it for a couple of days until my head gets back together properly.
The Politicartoon forum has kept me sane this past month, and made me think about something other than my family problems. I'd like to thank each and every person I've crossed swords/come into contact with, but I'm still not quite sure of how to do it. Have to get to grips with the interweb as something other than merely a communication system - looking at other folks pages makes me envious of the designs and personalisations.
I am such a luddite really.

Couldn't believe GWB on telly asking for ideas. Perhaps no-one is beyond redemption. He may be a bigger man than I've given him credit for. Let's wait and see, but if he can help put right some of the fuck-ups he instigated, he'll have gone a long way to redeeming himself in my eyes. I hope things can at least move towards solutions. Have to think more when my faculties aren't shot to bits.
johnny9fingers: (Sri Yantra)
Back from the Hospital. For the first time in days the Old Man seems like recovering. Last scans showed new bad bits: Jaw; Liver; Places on Spine etc, but the Pneumonia seems beaten. Any opportunistic infection could lay him low. There are some things I wish I'd inherited from him. This wizened old man whose looks belie his voice (which is whispery now) manages to get more pretty nurses and female doctors running after him, desperate to please, than any man I've ever met. With one tenth of his charisma and charm (when he wants to exert such) I'd have made myself a cabinet minister, or perhaps the leader of a esoteric cult, or maybe had a harem of beautiful and intelligent women.
Oh well, solitude and tea, and at least I can think, in a small way, of my own woes.
Thought properly about Glamorous Ex.
One of her things being, that although being v. beautiful indeed, she hates glamour. Can't really be bothered with make-up and the cult of beauty, probably because she's so drop dead gorgeous. One of the many things which I admired her for, though it seems a hard won battle in her case - she was not always thus. Also q. admire her for sense of adventure: she now has a man half her age (there's no competing with that) prepared to worship the ground she walks upon (there's no competing with that, either) whose second language is French, which is what they converse in (no competing with that, either).
Good trade, really.
And I will continue to think of her as Glamorous Ex.
And it must be difficult living with a chap who is fairly obsessive about getting things as right as possible, or at least not wrong.
I wish I had a cat called Joffrey to consider. Jubilate Agno.

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