Thursday, 29 November 2012


Woke this morning to find my wage slip had been delivered, this being the first one since qualifying for SSP ( Statutory Sick Pay), on opening I am to be rewarded with £100, that's with a little tax back. What am I meant to do with all this money, it doesn't even cover my weekly outgoings. Am I able to claim any other benefits whist off work, the simple answer is yes, but not for very much.

A couple of phone calls later and application forms sent for, my grand total of benefits I can claim for are council tax and maybe some interest on my mortgage. Those nice people at the working tax credit said no, the citizens advice people said no, it's no wonder people get angry at those who don't want to work, for those of us who do and need a helping hand when it is needed are politely told to FUCK OFF.

What can I do, I need to be off work to recover, but on the pittance given to me each week how can I afford to do it. I still have my bills to pay, have to buy food, it's a joke that isn't funny. With Christmas coming up, a few bargains are going to be sought out this year, try to do it on the cheap.

Anyway despite all that, I will not resort to watching Jeremy Kyle in the morning, no matter how desperate I get. Be grateful for what you have never earned, for if it is taken away, you may have to get off your arse and do something about it

Wednesday, 28 November 2012


Some of you may have noticed I have been posting a lot of pictures of squirrels on my Facebook page, well yes I have, and as I am off work it's nice to sit in my extension with my breakfast and watch them come down and feed.

Obviously I have been encouraging them by placing monkey nuts at strategic places around my garden. The latest being a metal container, suspended on a chain running across the width of my garden, hoping for a Mission Impossible type retrieval by the squirrels.

Before I was to get comfy with my daily bowl of porridge I checked the contents said container, only to find it was empty, refilled I sat down to see how they got on.

Mission Impossible, squirrel style

Ch Ch Ch Changes

For those of you who have visited my house over many years, you probably will have gazed at my door of faces in the living room, well I am sorry to say it is not there any more. Yesterday my magpie instinct took over as I spotter a nice glazed interior door that someone had finished with, and rather than let it go to waste one quick measurement and it was to be mine. Fortunately my neighbour was collecting his bin and we soon brought the door inside to let it dry off.

Today after re checking my measurements, is was soon hanging in the doorway from living room to kitchen.  All it needs now is a coat of paint and some new handles, Q is somewhat confused by it, but the she is only a cat. Now what to do with the door of faces. Probably chop it down and make the collage into some kind of picture to adorn a wall sometime.

something new


Just a quick note to keep people informed as to where I am up to in my recovery.

Well went to the doctors on Monday for results of last Tuesdays blood test and guess what my HB count was up to a massive 7.7, so right away the doctor recommended more rest. yes it is increasing and when I went for results it was almost a week later, so therefore my levels would have been higher than the lowly 7.7.

Generally I feel much better, my stomach doesn't bother me as much as before, have finished the massive dose of anti biotic I was prescribed, but still have to take 2 iron tablets a day along with a stomach protector.

That being said, walking up hills and stairs do make my heart beat considerably faster, so obviously I'm not going to argue with the doctor and has signed me off work basically for the rest of the year. Fortunately I still have time owing me at work so should be able to use them along with being off sick so I'm not too skint over the festive period. That being said, I would rather be healthy and a bit short of cash than gasping for air on some factory floor.

So there we are, plenty more rest and recuperation, now to get through all those films I've bought over the last few months.

Friday, 23 November 2012

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Feeling Poorly

Well here I am 1 week after it all happened, but the events kinda started a few days before that, I had better recap and bring you up to date.

Last week I was feeling a bit run down, kinda tired all the time, and having very dark poo. Obviously I put that down to a temporary thing, possibly a stomach bug or something. It wasn't until I went to work on Wednesday that things started to get worse. Got to work as normal, but was feeling a little light headed, not having had breakfast yet I thought I would soldier on and see how I felt later on. Had breakfast, but still not feeling any better. Daryl remarked that I was looking a rather pale today and so I wandered into the toilets to have a look. Lo and behold, I am as white as a sheet, wow I thought to my self, that is pasty. Leaving the toilets I continued my day, that was until someone called me over to check something, and a s I bent over to see it, I came over all dizzy and wanted to be sick. Off back to the toilets I went, nausea subsiding, but the dizzyness remained. Ok time to do something about this, do I ring my doctor and not get an appointment for a couple days or go to A & E and be seen pretty quickly. Best bet, ring NHS direct and see what they say. After getting through and describing my symptoms, the answer was simple GO DIRECTLY TO A & E. DO NOT PASS GO DO NOT COLLECT 200

I am not a number.......
So, quickly informing work of my situation, a lift is procured and to A & E I went. For the next couple of hours I am poked prodded, interviewed, blood taken, blood pressure measured and to a side room I am instructed to go, where I am connected to an ECG to check my heart trace. Another consultant comes in, asks me the same questions again, a whispered discussion between himself and a nurse and I am fitted with a cannula and connected to a machine another to keep a check on my heart rate. 115 is my heart rate, not sure if that is the anxiety of being here or a symptom of what is wrong with me. Yet another Doctor comes in, takes one look at me and swiftly informs me I probably have a bleeding ulcer and have to be admitted immediately, without waiting for the results of my blood test. A porter is summoned and I whisked off to a private room, and told to make myself comfortable.

Maybe an hour later another porter knocks on my door and informs me I am to be taken to have a chest x-ray, here we go. That is dutifully done, and i'm transported back to my private room where I wait a few more hours before some food is brought in, and I sit, eat and wait whilst watching the One Show on the TV. At around 8pm yet another porter knocks on my door only to be transported to a ward where I may have to stay for a few days. Here I was informed that by haemoglobin level was a lowly 6.8, were as the average should be around 14/15. I was in the best place that I could be.

Just visiting, I hoped
Well here I was, admitted to hospital with a suspected stomach ulcer and only in the clothes I was standing in. Earlier on Peter, a mate from work, had asked if there was anything he could do for me, and as he had my spare key for my house I took him up on my offer. I told him that in the boot of my car was my gym bag with a full set of clean clothes and if he could drop it off on his way home from work later that evening. Of course being the grand person he is, he did just that. As he could only stop for a short while, it being out of visiting hours he then asked if I needed anything from home, so a short list was compiled, as I had no idea how long I was to be staying here.As of midnight I was to be nil by mouth for tomorrow the camera was to enter my throat and give me some answers, but in the mean time I was to chill and chat with Peter Monk. 

Peter Monk was in the next bed to me and had been here for over a week with an inflamed liver, he was so glad to see someone who was not over 70 and soiling themselves. We chatted about anything and everything that came to mind, and as he put it, I was able to provide some sanity in what was an unreal situation. That being said, we made the best of it, laughing at our respective situation and drank glasses of water as if they were beers, getting to know each other. Just before midnight we retired to our respective beds, with me dressed in hospital provided pjamas. At least I would have some real clothes to wear the next day, courtesy of my good friend Peter.

it was something like this but green
Sleeping was difficult, due to the unfamiliar surroundings, not knowing how things would progress the next day and the cannula in my arm. Due to being nil by mouth I was allowed to sleep in a little longer, but 7.30 I awoke for more tests and observations.  I kept my mum informed the best I could, but with a rapidly draining battery in my mobile and the public payphone being out of order, it was a little problematic. With a HB level of 6.8 the quickest way of getting it higher was a blood transfusion, so for the next 3 hours someone elses blood was slowly mingling with mine. To be honest it did make me feel a little more alert, definitely needed that then. Peter was taken for a scan of his liver, so I read the papers and Viz he had with him to keep my mind of my situation. Around 1pm my friend Peter came to drop off a bag of bits, t-shirts, pants, books, toothbrush and my phone charger. Again he was unable to stay long, what with it being out of visiting hours and work, but I was glad to see him.

A little around 2.30pm a porter appeared to take me for my Endoscopy, to be honest I wasn't that worried about the procedure, for it should give us some answers and how to proceed from here. The new hospital is a warren of passageways, rooms and wards, the porters must have a built in GPS to navigate it all. Again it's all about waiting, the nurses are so busy here, but proffesionality is paramount, and care is in equal measures. Eventually I am to face the camera, a little fear slithers down my spine, but it will soon be over, and I will know. A spray is delivered to my throat, to numb it and possibly stop you from gagging. The camera itself is on the end of a long black tube, maybe as thick as your little finger, but the screen is behind be as I lie on my left side and the investigation begins.

Firstly the tube slides down your throat and you are instructed to swallow, as soon as you have down it goes, not a pleasant sensation, but not too nasty. All that is about to change. The doctor operating the camera has to make it turn and twist to follow your insides, this is where it gets nasty. Part of the tube is rubbing against that little point in your throat that makes you gag, and gag I did. For the next couple of minutes my body convulsed and twitched as the doctor made his was right through to my large intestine, the nurse had her hand on my shoulder telling me to breathe deeply, yes it works, but any more movement and the gagging continues. My eyes are streaming, small amounts of vomit are being removed form my mouth as the doctor takes a few samples from the lining of my stomach for further testing. One last deep breath and the tube is rapidly extracted from me, should I have requested sedation, hmmmm, for a few minutes discomfort as opposed to many hours of feeling drowsy, discomfort is for me thanks.

Mr Endoscope
Sitting up I wipe my eyes, put my glasses back on, wipe my mouth and generally make myself a little more presentable, as for being embarrasses, why, they probably see it many times a day. Straight away the doctor informs me that yes I do have a ulcer, it is in my duodenum, and is beginning to heal, good news then. We chat about how and why, but the prognosis is good, relatively. With this department being so busy it takes a while to summon a porter to return me to my ward, but it allows me to think about where I am with what has happened to me, a sense of relief washes over me. A senior nurse chats with me about possible bacterial infections and treatment, again the future looks good, it is just gonna take a little time.

Back on the ward it is lunch time, potato pie and mushy peas, never has food looked so good. To be honest the food has been quite good, so no complaints there, you know how I like my food. Tucking in, me and Peter discuss our respective outlook, both are positive, time, without sounding trite, is what is going to heal us, that and prescriptive drugs. A little later we are sitting chatting about whatever and a nurse comes in to inform me that over the 3 blood tests I have had, my HB levels started at 6.8, went up after the transfusion, but went down a little, but not too much to be concerned about and the consultant would be discharging me the next day, as long as there are no further complications.

mine is of the Duodenum type
Peter and myself continue chatting for the rest of the evening, he has visitors so politely I give up my chair, climb onto my bed and continue reading my book, Stairway to Heaven by Richard Cole. A warts and all account of touring with Led Zeppelin from the perspective of their tour manager. Again an uncomfortable nights sleep follows, but I have managed to keep my mum informed of where I am, she seems relieved, but still a little worried, she is my mum after all.

The next day brings another set of observations, this is kinda routine for all of us, well they have to know how we are after all, this is a hospital. Thanks to my friend Peter I have clean clothes, so after an uncomfortable shower, dammed cannula, I feel clean and refreshed. All I have to do I wait for the consultant to discuss my treatment, and I will be on my way out of here. Simply put I must have had the ulcer for quite some time, and once in a while it bled, but I never really noticed it until the other day when it must have bled quite a lot. My future is be comprised of a weeks intensive antibiotic treatment of the bacterial infection along with drugs to protect my stomach from the acid it produces and allow the ulcer to heal. This is to be followed by another 3 weeks of the same stomach protecting drug, but only 1 tablet a day instead of 2, and to be followed again my 8 weeks of another drug to keep the level of acid in my stomach under control. This will be topped off with 3 iron tablets a day to help get my HB levels back to to a relative norm. Plus at least 2 weeks off work to rest and recuperate.

Mr H
Peter is to be allowed to go home on Saturday, but to return on Monday to continue his treatment and observations. We sit and chat for the rest of the day until finally I am given all my drugs and shown the door. Peter walks with me and we say our goodbyes, another friend for Facebook and wish him well with his treatment in the future.

Sometime around 7pm I finally get home, quickly unpack, phone my mum to let her know i'm home and what the future holds for me. Time to put my feet up and relax, for the next couple of weeks that is exactly what I have to do, that and visit the doctors for regular blood test to make sure my HB levels are rising.

So that is where I am am at the mo, yesterday I gave a blood sample for testing, and will get the results on Monday. Probably another blood test next week to see if I am fit for work. Generally I feel fine, but walking gets me a little out of breath, and as for stairs and up hills, well my heart still quickens, but that is normal while my HB levels return to norm.

Now to catch up with some of the things I have been putting off, mostly reading books and watching films, but having being prescribed rest, what else is there I can do.

As I said before, time is a great healer, and in my case that is so true, that and many drugs to help me along. So what the future holds only time will tell, but for now no alcohol, no curry, and limit any physical exertion. So it's slippers on, get comfortable and do as little as possible.

Many thanks to all those who expressed concern for my well being, and a special thank you to my good friend Peter, and my mum, just for being.

One last thank you to all the staff at The Royal Blackburn Hospital for all your care and proffesionalism.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Got The Time - Anthrax & Motorhead @ Manchester Apollo November 6th 2012

Oh yes, it's Anthrax
Thanks to Mr Jon Whitehead lending me Master Of Puppets back in 87, I have been a convert to what is known as THRASH METAL. So back then I was able to see many of the major names of the scene, Metallica, Megadeth, Testament, Slayer, but one band eluded me, that being Anthrax. With their punky approach to thrash and a love of Judge Dredd, they soon became one of my fave metal bands, but in 92 Mr Belladonna left the band and replaced by a number of competent singers. None of these had what Joey had, that Dickinsonesque/Dio power vocal, and so my chances of seeing Anthrax disappeared.

Joey Belladonna
BUT in 2005, Joey was invited back to tour with the band, along with John Bush their current singer. This tour was short lived and Joey went back to whatever he was doing before and Anthrax continued with John Bush. My hopes where raised and dashed simultaneously, as I had missed the tour, but a DVD was available, purchases made, viewing commenced and enjoyment followed.

Fast forward to 2010, and the grand reunion and magnificent new album with the wonderful Mr Belladonna on vocals, and a big four tour with Metallica, Megadeth and Slayer. Again getting to these gigs became problematic as most of them were in Europe until they played at Knebworth as part of Sonisphere and a weekend ticket was a little expensive.

So here we are in 2012, noodling on Facebook and a tour has been proposed, Anthrax and Motorhead, with the existing line up. So that means it's Mr Belladonna doing his stuff, time to buy a ticket.

Rob Caggiano
Rob CaggianoWhy is it that no matter how well planned, or careful I am to get somewhere or see something, situations arise to foil it. A wet evenings drive to Manchester eventually led to a huge tailback on the motorway into the city. My sat nav is showing me I have around a mile before I get to the Apollo, but all I can see are brake lights into the distance. Anthrax are the support band for tonight and so will be on stage quite soon. Time ticks on, slowly crawling to my destination, that destination I can now see on the other side of the roundabout. Eventually I am able to park on the spare land round the back of the venue, gathering up my ticket I speedily rush around and enter the Apollo.

A quick look up at the t-shirts and I want one, but the band will be on too soon for me to fight through the queue, that will have to be later, I have a band to see.

Worming my way through the crown I find a nice spot behind the mixing desk, obviously it's the best position for the best sound. A grin is forming on my face, finally I am here.

What can I say, apart from it was quite emotional, they are there, I am here, and playing many of my fave tracks, both old and new.

Frankie Bello
Set List : Worship, Caught In A Mosh, Fight 'Em Til You Can't, Antisocial, Indians, Hymn 1, In The End, Madhouse, Got The Time and I Am The Law.

The sound is perfect, not the usual bassy throb you get these days, but a nicely focused, well rounded, crisp mix. All the band are pumped up, the replacement drummer Jon Dette fills in for Benante due to some personal reasons. All the while Scott Ian whips up the crowd with his enthusiasm, even stopping Indians part way through to make sure the balcony dwellers are having a good time. Joey runs around the stage possessed and rejuvinated with his trademark microphone stand, his voice cutting through the immense sonic assault. At one point just before the start of Indians he spots that someone has a Native American Headress for him, of course he cannot pass this opportunity, makes his way to the fan and commences to wear it for the entire song, running from fellow Anthraxian to Anthraxian what he has on his head. The band love it, and you feel the intensity rise to a Spinal Tap 11. Frankie Bello blitzes through the set, singing along every lyric, stomping from left to right, showing off his skills during Got The Time and its subsequent solo. Rob Caggiano provides a counter point to Scott Ian, widdling when widdling is needed and chugging under his beany hat.

Scott Ian
There is an atmosphere here right now that you cannot fully explain, apart from actually being here, tonight there is a connectivity between the band and audience that I have not experienced that often at gigs, apart from at a Cardiacs gig where you feel you are part of an extended family.

Anthrax end their set with I Am The Law, and we feel it, tonight WE ARE THE LAW, DROKK IT.

Eventually all must come to an end and Motorhead take over the stage, somehow the electricity that charged the room during Anthrax's set has dissapated, well this is Motorhead and they play rock n roll, Lemmy by numbers and all that. I stay to watch their set, I like a few songs, but they do tend to blend into each other after a while. Ah well.

Until next time, maybe a headline tour for Anthrax in 2013, that would be something to look forward to.......

...... and yes I did get myself a t-shirt, nicely emblazoned on the front is Judge Death, with dates on the back. I don't usually buy t-shirts at gigs, but tonight has been a special night, treated myself I did.

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Bonfire Night, well the Saturday Before in Witton Park

As is the tradition to trudge out into the miserable dampness that often accompanies the annual bonfire in Witton Park, I did just that. Wrapped up with my thermal leggings, furry hat and big coat I did go, with camera and tripod to attempt to capture some better images than I have in recent years.

Got myself a good spot, made sure my headphones were playing some good tunes, not wanting to listen the the shite they have coming from 'The Bee' stage, and await the fire and fireworks.

And this is what I managed