Let’s hear it for the roarie-bummlers.

Feeling a little chirpier right now, funny little word but does seem apposite as spring is in the air. Chirpy, chirpy, cheep, cheep, now there’s a line both Dylan and Cohen wish they’d written. Felt down yesterday mainly because I’d had a little setback regarding sorting out retirement. As ever Kate was suitably sympathetic, she also left a lovely note before leaving for work and then a cheering email from Sue in California hence my current chirpiness.

Actually slept right through the night for first time in a while, except for brief mouth remoisturising. My jaw has been more painful of late, must keep up with those jaw exercises. In her email Sue was sympathising with my comments about cancer treatment: “cancer treatment is fucked up is all I can say. And I know the medical profession has the best intentions, and it’s the best they can do for now, but I’m hoping that soon someone will discover a different and better way”. Maybe the research at my Alma Mater Southampton University in trying to utilise the body’s own immune system will prove fruitful.

In today’s Grauniad (how many of you beautiful readers now think on reading those words that I’ll skip the next bit?) a doctor writes about cancer. An oncologist, Ranjana Srivastava, very sensibly decries cancer patient’s turning to alternative therapies. She tells one patient in answer to the patient’s questions about ‘intravenous vitamins’ and ‘magnet therapy’: “I have lost patients to all of those treatments. If you want my opinion, I’d say avoid them all. Your chemotherapy is going well”. I can totally understand her view but as a cancer patient this isn’t the only view. I have read and heard about all sorts of ‘miracle’ cures brought about by some alternative approach or other and maybe there is something in some of them but until we have more research and evidence and communication I’m sticking with current medical practice. BUT the treatments I and others get are very aggressive with many unpleasant and debilitating ‘side effects’, or, as I prefer, collateral damage. As I’ve already stated the treatment somehow ‘takes over’ from the cancer, it becomes ‘all consuming’. I had four radiotherapy sessions in the three days just prior to christmas (two on one day) and I was in a right old state: really angry, in loads of pain, I had to really force myself to go to hospital, I told Kate I’d had enough. Is it any wonder that patients might want to look for alternatives? Communication about these aspects are so important between medics and patients, I think I’ve been lucky partly because I’m quite articulate and knowledgeable but also because of the communication skills of the medical team I have.

Also the medics don’t yet know the best skin treatment for radiotherapy damage and my unction probably worked better than aqueous cream which was the recommended treatment, and I used natural oils. I’m still planning on ‘marketing’ it Martin!

Despite my current chirpiness I feel impelled to write about something that really saddened me. Robert MacFarlane has been collecting words for a while now that are for natural phenomena and landscapes. Words such as the Scottish ‘roarie-bummlers’ – fast-moving storm clouds, ‘shreep’ – mist clearing slowly, Devonian ‘ammil’- meaning ice on leaves and Fenland ‘fizmer’ – the whispering sound of wind in reeds or grass. Brilliant words eh? and ones I for one had no knowledge of. It was eight years ago when Mr MacFarlane was on the Isle of Lewis when he was given a document of Gaelic words about moorland. At the same time a new edition of the Oxford Junior Dictionary was published, it included for the first time such words as: blog, broadband, celebrity, bullet-point and chatroom. No problem with this, times change and new words and terms are needed for new things. BUT there were a number of words omitted because they were felt to be no longer relevant to modern childhood, words such as: acorn, conker, cygnet, ivy, mistletoe and nectar. Is this a harbinger of the world we’re rushing towards? Do we really want our children to know nothing of such wondrous things as conkers, acorns and mistletoe? let alone roarie-bummlers!

So condom cameron is going to imprison all those public service workers, especially social workers and teachers, who don’t report child abuse. Now this really well thought through proposal is really going to support our already over-burdened and increasingly under-funded social services that I’m sure they are already overwhelmed by those interested in becoming social workers and the prospect of going to jail. Well done condom, at a stroke you’ve made an appalling situation worse. Now I’m with the letter writer who suggests that child abuse might include the abuse generated when a family loses benefits because of sanctions imposed for ‘a minor breach of regulations’. And the first on this letter writer’s hit list for a jail sentence? Why our old friend ignominious deathly smith.

Now, as Aneurin Bevan said what happens to those who choose the ‘middle of the road’ or in modern parlance ‘the centre ground’, they get run over.

Now here’s a picture of that fine beat combo who sang chirpy, chirpy, cheep, cheep:

Manifesto 92: let’s not lose more of our natural history heritage to the modern telecoms revolution, up the roarie-bummlers.

Keep on keeping on, love Duncan.

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