Saturday, 11 February 2017
Back at work at St M's for about 10 days, but not yet back for any of the services, I feel as though I'm in limbo.
Every day I try to sing just one line of music and every day I manage five notes at best,
A hoarse squeak is the nearest I can get to singing and I'm beginning to get fed up.
From my last experience of a really bad chest infection I know better than to try to sing properly when the equipment has failed..
Last time was when I was in my early fifties and singing with the London Philharmonic Chorus. A bout of bronchitis stopped me from singing for 24 years.
These days the best i can aspire to is the choir of St. Mary's, and is a very average sort of alto with a limited range, but, not to be able to sing at all is horrible.
There is still a bit of a cough and energy levels are low but by now I had expected to be able to make at least some sort of recognizable sound.
Perhaps it's time to try the WD40.
Posted by Ray Barnes at 11:44:00 pm
Thursday, 26 January 2017
So much is at stake both politically, financially and morally that only the most considered and careful debate should be contemplated.
Every time this man opens his mouth he alienates yet another huge swathe of the population, both at home and abroad.
Each comment appears to confirm our worst fears as to his style of leadership, His is not the language of diplomacy. It shows no evidence of judicious and measured examination of the problems America is facing on the home front.
His manner is that of the school bully with the added incentive of seemingly limitless power.
Whatever the outcome of this first meeting of the new president with a foreign head of state I fear the lady will require a very long spoon.
Posted by Ray Barnes at 6:58:00 pm
Tuesday, 17 January 2017
After almost a week in bed sweating, coughing and only getting up to make drinks and other essentials I feel someone somewhere should be made aware of my suffering.
Never one to suffer in silence I feel it is only fair to spread my misery as far as possible (though, not my virus, even I am not that bad).
As I became more and more poorly I informed all those who had to know and took to my bed.
Usually two days in bed is sufficient to see off the worst part of a cold or flu attack, this beast however is something else.
On Sunday night the pain in my upper back was so severe that I broke my golden rule, gave in and took two Paracetamol Extra tablets and within ten minutes the pain was gone and I was asleep.
Waking 3 hours later I was saturated from neck to ankle, nightie, bedlinen and all and so hot I was glad to get out of bed and walk around. Looking out of the window I found I had double vision, very strange to see my neighbours' houses with two frames around their doors and windows.
As I had been giddy for a day or two I wasn't really sure how much was the virus and how much due to the tablets.
I may have said before that I never take tablets or medication for anything unless I am forced to do so, with the result that when I do give in (about once in two years) and take what other people routinely take for every headache, I have quite spectacular results.
Late this evening as my aching back was still causing a problem I took another two, they worked on the backache but unfortunately didn't send me to sleep, so here i am, soaked again with sweat but pain free and joyfully sharing my woes with anyone silly enough to read them.
Posted by Ray Barnes at 12:35:00 am
Tuesday, 3 January 2017
Following normal procedure I went downstairs in my nightie dressing gown and slippers, set out the breakfast stuff, put the water heater and the kettle on and opened the back door.
An icy blast greeted me (temperature -5 degrees) and it was pitch black.
Stepping out onto the outside doormat my foot slid on ice and I fell on my back with my knees twisted and one foot under me.
My naked legs were out in the icy cold my upper body on the kitchen floor, such an elegant pose.
I yelled blue murder - fortunately far too early for anyone else to be up and knew that I had hurt my right foot but also that it was not broken. (I have injured myself often enough to know when something is broken) and tried to get up.
This at my age is no longer a simple matter. Rolling over onto my knees I clung to the nearest bit of 'white goods', the tumble-dryer, and hauled myself upright.
Shaking and uttering gentile expressions like "Oh my, what a silly thing to do" or something similar I went back inside made my tea and then stepped outside again, headed for the shed and put out bird-seed etc.
Realising that I was going to have a very big bruise and a lump on my ankle I then had a long hot shower.
Before leaving for St Mary's (I was on SPACE duty ) I realised that sometimes one actually needs to take a look around before taking an action, or even try to notice the thick frost on the ground, or even to remember that yes I was once 18 but that was 63 years ago.
January is clearly off to its usual 'flying' start.
Does anyone know the phone number of a good patient angel, or even a body guard?
Posted by Ray Barnes at 10:36:00 pm
Thursday, 29 December 2016
I have blogged on this subject many times without ever being convinced by the comments of others, "pure coincidence", or "just bad timing" they say.
For some reason my household goods have ganged up on me again and are out to spoil my brief break from work.
A short while before Christmas my pull-cord bathroom light failed to work, so, thinking the bulb had gone I dragged the ten-ton step ladder upstairs and removed the bulb replacing it with a new one.
The bulb would not 'take' or 'attach' properly to the fitting so with the help of my cleaning lady I got hold of a good local electrician who came round had a look and told me the fitting was broken and needed replacing. This he did, fitted the old bulb which was perfectly OK and he also tightened a link in the pull cord.
Wonderful I thought, so quick, so efficient and cheap too. Glad it was done before Christmas.
On Christmas Eve my watch stopped. Too late to get a battery, so no watch over Christmas. A nuisance but not essential.
Later on Christmas Eve my ancient electric kettle started to leak. Oh well, I thought, I have a replacement bought a while ago in the kitchen cupboard, when I have time I'll throw out the leaking one and start using the new one.
After the Christmas morning service (and about 3 hours sleep) I got out the new kettle, put some water in it intending to boil and throw away the first lot of water.
Putting the kettle on its base I plugged it in and went to switch it on. No switch!
For some reason when I had bought it 18 months ago I had simply thrown the box away and put the kettle into a cupboard thinking it would be handy to keep it in the kitchen for when the other one finally packed up.
How I had failed to notice it had no switch I don't know, but one thing was certain, no store was going to replace a kettle bought 18 months ago, or believe that I had not broken off the switch.
Yesterday I bought another kettle, this time I asked them to open the box and check nothing was missing before I would pay for it.
Now I have two kettles to throw away.
What next I wonder?
I am resolutely 'not noticing' that the water in the taps is running hot and I haven't put the water heater on..
Posted by Ray Barnes at 11:17:00 am
Thursday, 22 December 2016
An old well-established favourite of most choirs it has become (inevitably) known by most choristers as "Highly flavoured gravy".
For anyone left on the planet who doesn't 'get' it, this is a paraphrase of "Highly favoured lady" etc.
Equally awful is the schoolboy/girl version of "A Gaelic Blessing", known as "Garlic Dressing".
The list is long and tedious, the sense of humour involved pretty primary-school basic but, every now and then someone in a choir somewhere comes up with a new one which is gleefully seized upon and added to the repertoire.
We have, as I mentioned in an earlier post, been singing "The Jesus Child" by John Rutter and have had great difficulty fitting the words in to the music at the speed expected of us.
One line refers to "The kings from the Orient bringing gifts of Gold Myrh and Frankincense " This was causing one of my colleagues real problems and at the run-through before the service she suddenly blurted out "Mould fur and mankincense". Total collapse of whole choir.
Only those who have sung in a church choir will even begin to understand the amount of giggles this sort of puerile humour can evoke. I can only think that long exposure to juvenile humour weakens the brain.
Roll on Midnight Mess.
Posted by Ray Barnes at 5:22:00 pm
Tuesday, 20 December 2016
Listening to the night noises and trying to identify them filled a lot of the time, until about a half hour ago when a scrabbling sound got me out of bed and opening the window.
In the front garden about 10 feet from my nose was a huge fox with a really big bushy tale.
He (or she) looked up at me and trotted off up toward the railway, in no hurry and not one jot bothered by my intrusion into his busy foraging.
What he could find to eat is a mystery - one I'd rather not investigate too closely - but he was clearly quite at home.
The very faded picture at the top is of the fox I saw a couple of years ago near my back door eating what I had thrown out for the birds.
Tonight's visitor was very much larger and I suppose I was lucky to see it, but it made me wonder just how many other creatures wander freely up and down our urban roads at night.
Oh well, time to get up (6.15).
Posted by Ray Barnes at 6:11:00 am