Saturday, 28 June 2008

Early intermission

Well, I'm taking a break now. The pressure from the DLF (Donkey Liberation Front) has been getting to me. They seem to think that I'm treating donkeys with disrespect. Nothing could be further from the truth. But they are so ornery (look it up). I mean, St Francis called his body 'brother ass', I believe, and no one could accuse him of being unkind to animalls. Some of my best friends are asses. By the way, isn't that a warning sign, when someone (probably on a phone-in programme) says, 'It's not that I have anything against xyz; in fact some of my best friends are xyz, but...'? It's like, 'I'm not a racist, but...'. Or like politicians or religionists saying, 'I have the greatest respect for x (Where x = Rowan Williams or someone), but...', and you know they're going to lay in to him for not doing or saying what they want.

So anyway I'm leaving the house and parish in very good hands, and disappearing off the radar for a bit. Maybe I'll find an internet café near our safe house and keep you briefed on how things are going.

By the way, a friend of mine was going to the Nelson Mandela 90th birthday concert yesterday. I'm longing to hear how it was. I just heard that little clip on the news where the great man was comparing it with the concert given on his 70th. What an incredible journey he and South Africa have travelled, the long road to freedom! I just pray that Zimbabwe's journey will soon end in lasting freedom too.

Thursday, 26 June 2008

Sporting thoughts

Watched the end of the Germany/Turkey game last night (Euro 2008 Semi-final - Football, for those not interested). I don't know why it is, but I always support the underdog. Maybe because I'm British. So I was pleased when Turkey equalised in the 86th minute. They always seem to score at the last minute. But blow me if Larm didn't score the winner for Germany right at the end! Heartbreak for Turkey. Out-last-minuted. Actually, I find it impressive, these teams who won't give up. Turkey's been one. Lesson for us all perhaps, not just athletes.

Respect, by the way, to local girl, Jessica Harrison who's been selected for the Olympics in the Triathlon for France, I heard today. THAT is a real endurance test. Go for it!

Wednesday, 25 June 2008

Where I hang out

This is Stanford in the Vale, in Oxfordshire, UK, the village where I live and work. These were taken a fortnight ago during the two-day summer festival - an ancient village tradition in these parts revived just over 25 years ago. It's one time in the year when most villagers come together for a bit of fun and fund-raising. It helps when the sun is shining! The church is where I'm based, most Sundays. It called St Denys', after the patron saint of France. Apparently his finger was brought here once a year in the Middle Ages - which is perhaps when the festival started.... I feel a bit redundant on days like these, because I can't speak clearly enough for people to catch what I'm saying a lot of the time. So I make do mostly by wandering around in my electric wheelchair and smiling.

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

You DO look well

One of the strange things about having MND (ALS) is how well you look - well, in the earlier stages. There are some tell-tale signs, like the way you walk, or the way you talk, or the stiffness of your fingers, but you LOOK well. And people continue to tell you how well you look, when all the time what you're aware of is how things are beginning to fall apart. You can't avoid the fact that things are going wrong - inside. The amazing thing is how much a minute malfunction in your brain is destroying your previously healthy body.

Well, this is me, five years after diagnosis. What you can't see is I'm in a wheelchair. By now, I can't walk except holding on to my wife or my walking frame. But I reckon you'd say I do look well. And one of the things I'd say is that things don't look all bad from where I'm standing - sorry, sitting. Then I've got a long-drawn out form of the disorder (PLS), whereas most types don't give you long to be philosophical about life.