MEDICAL – Thursday 19th November, 2020

Today I stopped taking Apixaban on the instructions of Mr R Woderich (consultant urologist) in preparation for the procedure on Tuesday 24th November which is a repeat of a procedure on 27th July, 2020 (rigid uteroscopy, biopsies, washings and stent insertion) which proved inconclusive. I was admitted as a day patient but it was 11 days before the bleeding could be stopped and I could leave hospital.

Understandably I am very reluctant to have this repeat procedure but was told that Dr Tolan would not proceed with radiotherapy on my prostate cancer until it had been established whether the ureter tumour was cancerous or not.

In a telephone conversation a week or so ago Dr Tolan expressed the opinion that I needed more consultation with the urology team and confirmed this in a letter to Dr Bhatnagar A – a copy of which I received today, and which was also copied to Mr R Woderich and Dr Moukas.

Because of my heart problem I am concerned about stopping the anti-coagulant but am also worried about the bleeding

I have heard nothing further from the heart consultant or the urology team.

So that’s where I am up to on this Thursday afternoon in November.

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…I’d stayed on in the Air Force: “re-engaged” (that was the term they used)?

This theory about “parallel universes” , “multiverses”- I’ve never really bought into that; the idea that every possibility has actually happened, in another universe. Why?

But what if I had stayed on – in this universe – how would my life have been different. Well I would have had a proper ‘career, and am sure I would have made Warrant Officer: good pay, nice uniform, status.

I felt “safe” in the RAF. Does that sound odd? In an organization whose main purpose was to fight wars? It’s true though, in the sense that I felt part of something; I had a place, and, in a strange way, I felt I belonged.

So I reminisce, probably editing out the bad bits. But there really were good bits, mostly on my “permanent” station, that camp by the slag heap (the “signals section” was actually built into the slag heap).

Names and faces come floating into consciousness: Tony, Dick, Jim, Phil, another Jim, Norman, Maurice, Jock, and not forgetting John who nowadays would be called gay but that appellation had not come into being in 1956. John was never called “queer” he was just accepted as being “different” . I can remember when all the signal arms started to clatter in unison John would shout out ‘Panic Stations!’

We became good friends. He had a great sense of humour, and loved the theatre (as I did) and we went to shows and to the pub, and I took him home on a couple of occasions. He told my parents his mother worked in a Milliners. ‘Oh, that sounds like a nice job.’ said my mother ‘Yes,’ replied John, ‘and she gets all the hats she can eat’.

He got posted to the Far East but we kept in touch, even after he was demobbed. The last I heard of him he had formed a drag act with a friend: The Dolly Sisters. We lost contact but I still have a photo and he looks brilliant in drag. Funny, he never tried to convert to “bat for the other side”.

And then there were the WAAFs. Lovely girls: Mary, Janet, Sybil, Claire, (gusty) Gale, Dixie, Korky… and many more. Oh yes, and there was the ex Birmingham “clippie” (I can’t remember her name) I went out with a couple of times. One summer evening I took her to Southport on the back of my motorbike, wearing a tight skirt. (I didn’t often wear a tight skirt!). She was a game girl, just hitched it up and away we went.

Then there was Claire She was an ex model, or so she told us. She was lovely looking and we went out a few times. One night at some demob party or other she got drunk, was sick and lost her one false tooth. She wasn’t with me that night but Mary told me about it afterwards. She was duty airwoman and helped Claire to look for with a torch outside the WAAF Block. They didn’t find it and. as it was a front one, Claire kept a low profile until she had another one made by the local dentist.

Ah, Mary. I fell in love with Mary. On Wednesday – Sports afternoon – we used to drive into Southport; six of us in Jim’s car – Sybil, Janet and Dick were the other three. I can still re-live those afternoons and evenings.

I was devastated when Mary got posted to Singapore. I met up with her many years later through a Services web site. She had Parkinson’s disease and we corresponded, and talked, at least once a week, on Skype for two years. She died suddenly, and I travelled to London to attend her funeral. Mary had always told me she would have “Always Look on the Bright Side” sung by Eric Idle at her funeral, and it was played just as we were leaving. The priest looked a bit bemused when he announced it. I felt really close to Mary when I walked out to that funny, uplifting song.

By the way, I didn’t go out with all sixty of the WAAFs on camp, but I was only there eighteen months.

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Tales from Oop t’North (continued)

…’George,’ ‘e said, ‘Am not cut out fer this bullyin’ lark – not like mi brother; he were a natural.’

‘A know.’ A said. ‘By the way ‘ow is your Derek?’

‘Oh, ‘is nor in t’locked ward no more. They say he’ll be able t’come ‘ome fer t’weekend – if he keeps tekin his medication. But ner mind about ‘im. Av gor an idea – how about you becomin’ mi assistant?’

‘Ow ja mean like?’ A ses.

‘Well,’ e ses, ‘you could tek our village an i could do yours. That way nobdy from your village would know ‘owt about it’

‘Yeh but mi Auntie Elsie lives in your village.’

‘Well yer not goin bully yer Auntie Elsie, are yer!’

He said he would mek it worth mi while but A don’t think it’s on. I’d be no good and then folk ud start to complain about ow t’standard o’ bullying had gone done an then everybody would find out that an un-elected bully were doin’ t’job and then ‘ad be in trouble wi t’council.

‘A told ‘im this.

Alfie started to cry…

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Tales from Oop t’North (continued)

…he were suppose t’lay in wait fer me on t’way ‘ome from school but he never showed up. Mi dad were furious. He rang mi Auntie Elsie – she lived in t’same village as Derek and she were posh; she ‘ad a phone. Mi dad ‘ad t’go t’phone box end o t’street.

Anyroad, she said she’d seen a big van come and tek Derek away.

Well, that left a vacancy for a new bully, and in t’proper tradition they ‘ad an election. But some folk said it were rigged, cos Derek’s younger brother Alfie got t’job.

Although in a way t’were a milestone in t’history o t’village cos it were t’first time a coloured lad had bin made bully. Actually Alfie were t’only coloured lad in t’village. That were a reel mystery to me, as it were to Derek’s dad. A think they put it down to what thi call a ‘gene mutation’ – summat like that.

But Alfie weren’t reely cut out fer bein’ a bully. ‘An it weren’t just because it interfered wi’ his dance classes. He said to me one day when he were supposed t’give me a reel going over, ‘…

(to be continued)

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Tales from Oop t’North (continued, by request)

…cos mi toes were covered in chilblains – an this were summa time! Thi got reely bad in t’winter.

Also if our dad were ‘ome from t’pub ad ger a thrashin fer loosin’ mi boots.

‘Course I wer used to violence and bein’ bullied.

When a ‘ear kids nowadays talk about cyber bullyin’ a feels sorry for ’em. We had none o’ this virtual bullying, we ‘ad reel bullyin’ out in t’fresh air. Every village ‘ad its own bully – ‘cept ours cos it were too small. We had to share wi t’next village an’ there were offen a waitin’ list. Still, it were proper bullyin’.

A remember one bully, Derek ‘is name were. A think there were summat wrong wi ‘im cos one day…

(to be continued)

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The sun is not in lockdown

The sun is not in lockdown,

Shout hip hip hip hooray!

The sun is not in lockdown

And he’s coming out to play.

(old song, re-written)

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It’s a long way to Tipperary

Well, it is from Tokyo where this group are playing.

How about this – a First World War marching song played in New Orleans style by a Japanese jazz band.

What? You don’t recognise the tune? Well, it’s in Japanese, innit!

It is a bit rough at first but eventually – about when the pianist comes in for a solo – you will get the tune.

They look like they are enjoying themselves.


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In the street of a thousand households

Where the lamps are hanging lit,

There lives a Chinese maiden –

Who doesn’t come into it.

Instead, in a little brick terrace –

Two up, two down, no bath –

Dwells the mystic, Albert Ernshaw,

Who’s always good for a laugh.

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George says

Sobriety is alright in moderation – just don’t let it become a habit.

(the editor does not necessarily share the views of this contributor)

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