As one of my favourite F words* Friday has to be up there in the top ten, this no doubt stems from the idea of it being the end of the working week – the point at which one relaxes after five days of labouring away, though of course I’ve not worked a proper week in years.
This particular F day finds me ensconced in an armchair in the bay window of the little North London house I currently share with my son, his GF and two other young people.
My main task today is putting off writing my great book: ‘The confessions of a Rambling Man’ A tome I’m convinced the World is waiting for with bated breath, a Kind of Eat Pray Love, gone wrong ( gone very wrong ) is how I see it. Instead of writing my classic I’m scribbling away at my blog, written periodically over six years now, I get analytics on the blog, it’s had 12,000 plus hits over the years, so given that I’ve only promoted it on Facebook and don’t have many friends somebody is reading it. Lulled into a potentially false sense of self worth I am motivated to continue sharing my inane thoughts.
Firstly it has to be said this arthritis business continues to cast a dark shadow over everything. My last big idea of just ignoring the pain it gives me & soldiering through does not work. Maybe I can use being angry about the whole thing as a way to find a bit of energy and motivation, maybe that’s worth a try.
Today I’m going to rant in angry old git mode. There’s something deeply satisfying about a darned good moan of which few things outside of my favourite F word can compare, so here I go.
Rant One. My Arthritis Treatment.
In this new virtual world it is apparently unnecessary to see a Doctor in person – things can be done by phone or online. Excuse my reticence and foul tongue, but that’s bollocks.
Thus far this process has not worked well from my perspective. Take for instance my latest attempt: I get a useful text message reminder telling me my telephone appointment is at 1.30 a.m. Really, 1.30 a.m? Those guys in the NHS are working like dogs these days!
But hang on its probably a typo they mean 1.30 pm I decide to give them a call just to confirm. The telephone number on the text in case of query is 0208 648 XXXX, that’s right, XXXX what am I supposed to do? Guess the number? Unable to go further I decide it is a typo and the appointment has to be for 1.30pm.
Right on queue the the Doctor calls. Hello Mr.Boyer……..I reply…… Yes Doctor.
Hello says he once again….Can you hear me, Hello Mr.Boyer are you there?
I can hear him clear as a bell, but he just keeps asking if I’m there.
I begin to shout down the phone, YES I’M HERE, CAN YOU HEAR ME?
This continues for a while, my shouting makes no difference.
Then the line goes dead. Maybe he will ring back……. I wait……….
Next a voice message pops up, I listen, It’s Doctor XXXX I can’t seem to get through to you, he says, we will arrange another appointment……For May.
F*ck! May no, not may. I try to find a number to call back, his line number is withheld,
Then I search through appointment letters and find an admin number, call it and it goes straight to voicemail. I leave a gibbering message, please can the Doctor call me back, I’m here! Please……………..
I ring back several times over the next two days but only ever reach the voicemail.
Then a letter arrives with a May appointment date. Bollocks.
But then this arthritis business is never what you expect, the same day as the letter I get a text message advising me of another imminent telephone appointment with the Doctor. Wonder of wonders this finally actually happens, I relate my condition to the Doc in tones worthy of a soap opera Diva. “Oh the pain, lack of energy, swollen joints. I actually beg him for drugs.
He prescribes steroids. Bloody great, gimme steroids NOW.
Wonder of wonders my next appointment will be in May, face to face.
Thank f*ck for that, rant recedes.
Rant Two. Published Author.
So ok, outside of my Arthritis the only thing that I am particularly interested in as I keep saying is writing my book, which I am not writing. In fact I tend to spend most of my time talking about not writing it. Then hey presto to add insult to injury fate visits me a blow.
Facebook has brought me a reconnection from schooldays, a bloke named Nick I’ve not seen in more than forty years, we were sixteen and at school the last time I saw him.
I accept the friend request and obviously go straight to FB to check out his profile. Nick back then was good looking, a superb athlete, he played rugby for England, the girls loved him, lets be honest at sixteen he made me feel inadequate & I kind of half hoped to find him now fat and bald and old – not out of malice, but just as a way of making myself feel a little bit better about me.
Of course this was doomed to failure. There on his profile is a book cover, of his book, published last year.
The blurb on a book review reads thus:-
Shot at in Zambia, detained as a spy in Botswana, dived with sharks in the oilfields of Saudi Arabia, survived lethal gases and underground earthquakes in a South African Gold mine, outsmarted marauding soldiers and avoided mortar attacks in Zaïre, braved Taliban death-threats in Pakistan and presided over Voodoo ceremonies in West Africa—just some of the tales in this account of Nick’s colourful past. Life on the Edge is a testimony to bygone times when a young maverick foreigner could transform lives while working in some of the most fascinating places on earth.
All of a sudden the idea of my book, which I haven’t even been able to finish seems rather lacking in adventure, no Sharks or spies or shootings, no run ins with the Taliban, no Voodoo.
But he’s definitely put on weight. This last factor doesn’t help me feel any less inadequate.
Maybe I will just keep plodding on, get my little book written, take the steroids, get the R.A. under control and then make my next book a tale of a wild sixty year old, travelling the world with a bald patch, a walking stick and an insatiable appetite for adventure.
In the meantime and to keep my arthritic fingers working I will share a few of my favourite F words to go with Friday with you, in no particular order:-
A fandango has two principal meanings, the first and original being a dance from Spain/Portugal where a couple dance in a lively manner to the music of guitar & castanet.
In the 17th century the Spanish Church tried to ban the fandango as a ‘godless dance’ for its lascivious and wild nature, they ultimately failed.
The story goes that the church called a hearing to investigate the dance, two famous dancers were asked to perform the dance at the trial. They were so popular that everyone else joined in and unsurprisingly the court duly decided to give the Fandango a break.
The second meaning of Fandango follows from the first as a rather wild episode between two people, argumentative or sexual or just plain wild. Either way I think everyone should fandango at least once in their life & better still they should fandango on a regular basis. And should you ask me why then there’s no better explanation than the old Spanish proverb”-
A fandango a day keeps the apothecary away.
Fado is a singing style from Portugal, it has to be said it’s rather melancholic at times, even verging on the downed right miserable, each song is a story of loss, or pain, Some woman’s man has done her wrong, or run off to sea never to return, or the harvest has failed, or the donkey has had a hernia and can’t carry the farmer to market, that kind of thing……. Anyway, in small doses Fado is great, though listening to it too often might well lead to depression, so best limit it.
Fag, excusing the latter-day Amercanism for a bloke that likes bloke action in the rumpy-pumpy department The correct English meaning is slang for a cigarette. I like a fag, despite the incontrovertible evidence of their dire effects on human health I have to say I like a fag. One day I may stop, or they may stop me, but not just yet.
Falafel, I like a falafel. The falafel is generally thought of as an Israeli concoction, indeed I’ve heard it called the national dish of Israel, but this has caused outrage amongst the Palestinian community who call it their own, the Egyptians likewise swear it’s theirs & I’ve heard tell that this tastiest of snacks was actually first made in ancient Babylon. In short like so much else in the middle-east even a humble chick pea based snack can be the cause of argument and strife across borders.
My first real discovery of the falafel was thanks to a particularly grumpy Israeli who owned a fast food joint in Portobello Road with the catchy title The Falafel King. He had his cafe for years and man let me tell you that geezer could make a falafel. Four or five balls of falafel, perfectly crafted, cooked to perfection then combined with salad, tahini, chilli sauce & whole green chillis from a jar. The afore mentioned foodstuffs then expertly placed in a warm pitta bread. The ensemble served with a glass of fresh homemade lemonade. Total price £5.50 and bloody fabulous.
For all the years I frequented that Falafel joint I found this bloke the most miserable of men, he never smiled and always appeared grumpy, once I tried to engage him in conversation but failed abysmally & so never attempted it again. He had the astute business model of employing attractive young helpers, invariably female, foreign & attractive. Sound move.
There was always a queue at the Falafel King – he must have made millions of them, maybe that’s why he was miserable, he was just sick to death of them. Anyway, that inevitable of life, and of stores in Portobello, nothing lasts forever, the Falafel King is no more, the site redeveloped.
But I imagine him now, The Flalafel King, on the beach in Tel Aviv, or Bali, surrounded once again by young beauties, rich from the proceeds of a million chick pea balls.
Foible. I like the sound of this word, along with its meaning, usually described in the dictionary as an odd eccentricity or characteristic an individual may have. The world would be a terribly dull place without those wonderful eccentrics with their foibles.
Fabulist. A teller of relater of tales. Self explanatory really, but without doubt one of mans greatest inventions, the ability to tell stories.
OK must dash, I’ve important things to do, I need to sit in my armchair and watch for the postman, he’s bringing my Steroids prescription.
P.S. For Nicks Novel:-