Biopsy blues.

I hate the process that is now a regular feature of my life of going for my ‘checkups’.I found them hard before when each time I had the all-clear; typically I’d be able to not think about them and distract myself one way or another but there would be the date and time of the next appointment in my diary. The prospect of getting bad news begins to gnaw away until dread day arrives and we (as Kate usually accompanies me) hold our breath for what seems like hours until we’re sat in the consulting room, the consultant has stuck the camera down my nose, stuck the metal things in my mouth the better to have a look and felt my neck and say “all looks well”. We breathe again and feel the need to go off and celebrate life. For a while the routine begins to become routine and, at least superficially, the anxiety seems to lessen.

Then I see the consultant my crabby confreres rave about for the first time, I feel comforted that I’m being seen by her but suddenly the routine is shattered as after the camera probe she’s booking me in for a biopsy, saying she’s sure it’s nothing serious but as I’m a ‘high risk’ best to be on the safe side. Such a mixed message; nothing serious and high risk.

I go in for the biopsy a few days before our Rhodes trip. In the past I’ve quite enjoyed going under with a general anaesthetic and tolerate sticking sharp things in different parts of my body. Don’t know what it’s like for others, suspect as with most human reactions we all differ, but I am developing a deeper antipathy to being pierced (no way am I having a tattoo, although I may yet have a piratical earring) and I have to steel myself beforehand. Duncan, you’re just being a fucking wimp you pathetic apology for a human being. And this time the experience of being anaesthetised is very unpleasant. For the first time I wonder about not waking up and a little panic sets in. When I’m injected it feels deeply unpleasant, probably caused by the mild panic, but I ‘go under’ quickly and soon find myself still alive in the recovery room.

I’m ravenous and very thirsty. Only having had water that morning and despite arriving at just after 7 I was the last of that morning’s cohort to be done at 3.15. Given some water then wheeled back to the ward for tea and toast. There are others around me who’ve had biopsies like me or minor operations. The bloke next to me has had something done to his nose, he starts to suffer a nosebleed, a little at first then it’s flooding out. He doesn’t ask for help but I call for a nurse with my hoarsened biopsied throat. Oh the English stiff upper lip, don’t make a fuss just bleed everywhere. Don’t make a fuss just vote fucking tory even though they’ll continue to stiff you.

Kate arrives, we ask if the consultant who did the biopsy is around, she soon appears and says there’s nothing untoward, Kate looks at my clipboard and it says nothing clinically concerning. We’re relieved and toddle off to Rhodes. Has anyone else experienced leaving Rhodes airport on a busy Saturday night? Tuesday arrives and it’s off for my ‘checkup’, despite previous assurances we both hold our breaths again. There’s a 30 minute delay, always helps, a nurse calls me in, we wait for a consultant; it’s rare you see the same one twice running. Kate and I chat in that slightly anxious way, I look at the camera probe that I know is going to be pushed down my nose again until it gets to my throat and causes my eyes to water and the gagging to start. The consultant enters, this time it’s the boss consultant, he asks how I am, I say anxious as I’m waiting for biopsy result. He expresses some surprise that I don’t know and tells us it’s fine. We breathe. He sticks the metal spatula type things in my mouth, the camera down my nose and feels my neck for far longer than any doctor’s done before. Why? I worry. Kate says he fancies me. He goes off to double check biopsy notes and confirms result. I ask what it could be, he says just some inflammation adding that he could look down anyone’s throat at any time and there’d probably be some inflammation.

We go off and celebrate life, this time with a particularly lovely bottle of Venetian bubbly. That night I start falling asleep earlier than usual, anxiety and worry once relieved allow the tiredness.

I wake, or half-wake as is usual now with my throat demanding relief and the rest of my body saying piss off we need sleep. After making coffee I feel flat and write this blog. The writing as ever helps but I know that in 8 week’s time the cycle will repeat.

I will make no flippant judgment on myself, no dark humour as we often use, just finish my coffee and do some work in the ravaged garden.

Need a Kliban to cheer me up.


Keep on keeping on, love Duncan.

PS haven’t yet decided which soccer team I’ll be supporting next season.



Colossal Rhodes

Returned from our Aegean sojourn browner of skin and lighter of wallet, but Kate’s on the case and is putting in a long shift today whilst I ponce around tapping my keyboard. Overall a successful family holiday but that’s it, no more, all our future holidays will be selfishly ours. Selflessness has it’s price and Kate particularly goes the extra mile as they say, whoever the fuck they are, to try and ensure everyone has a good time. We took Grace and Ruby along with a friend each and it’s a bit like all the school trips I did making sure everyone is safe and happy.

But we did like Rhodes and I was especially taken by the old town of Rhodes; a beautiful medieval city. Our family school-like trip to the place provided a lovely contrast which some of you parents might appreciate. Now many of our progeny (and to some extent our good selves) go shopping to demonstrate our existence and Rhodes like most places is one of commerce. Many of the streets of the old town are filled with places selling stuff and even before we entered we were being assailed by the younger generation about going to particular branches of global commercial chains to which assurances were given but would happen after we’d spent some time in the old town (the global commercial chains being in the ‘new town’).

We entered the old town through wonderful medieval gates, then walked along ancient streets essentially traffic free apart from the occasional scooter. There were many tourist shops, thousands of tourist shops, many selling very similar stuff but there was great variety. There was also the opportunity for some members of the family/school group to look at a range of buildings going back to Hellenic times. We had a very tasty and inexpensive lunch in a welcoming taverna then went to the new town. It was very hot, there was much noisy traffic. The progeny visited the global chains for a couple of hours but we soon found ourselves back in the old town without protest from the progeny. Although not commented on, I think that they preferred the experience in the old town.

And Rhodes is also famous for it’s Colossus, a massive statue of the Greek titan-god of the sun Helios. He stands astride the walls of the harbour entrance and sailors have for millennia caressed his manhood on leaving the harbour to bring them luck on their voyages. After so many caresses his manhood is now not what it was.

Well sticking with the commercial theme and after a couple of weeks away from the British media it was heartwarming to hear a politician on the toady show laying in to a klepto. The politician was Frank Field and the klepto philip green. Mr Field, using pretty straightforward language, said that green should simply write a cheque to make good the BHS pension shortfall. Only fair as green and his wife have plundered said pension. The toady presenters tried feebly to try and apportion blame to others such as the auditors and regulators but Mr Field succinctly said they too have been fingered but the primary responsibility lay with green. Apparently the top shop pension fund is also now in jeopardy courtesy of kleptogreen.

It was so refreshing to hear someone actually go for those actually responsible. As a young man I became aware that those at ‘the top’ justified their ill-gotten loot by stating that it was because they were responsible. The only thing these kleptos such as green and ashley have been responsible for is their thievery.

Had a phone call yesterday from an Owen Smith (who he?) activist asking who I was going to vote for in the Labour leadership. After saying Mr Jeremy he went on about his ‘unelectability’. I think this means that Mr Jeremy might be proposing stuff that the kleptos and their acolytes don’t like such as more council housing, fairer sharing of the common wealth, nationalising things like the railways, a saner policy on nuclear weapons and suchlike. And if one stands back a little from the sound and fury of the right wing media and look at the legacies say of condom and bliar, what do we see? And don’t get me started on the legacies of bunter such as the mobile saunas which roam the streets of London. See new mayor Khan has already cancelled orders for any new routemasters.

Now I must attend to our much neglected garden to get it presentable for our impending lily party. Made me so very sad to return to a garden with so much dead and dying plant life, but Kate bucked me up yesterday and we boosted the commercial profits of our lovely local garden centre.

Also off to hospital tomorrow for results of biopsy.


Keep on keeping on, love Duncan.


Waiting On A Sunny Day.

Not written anything for a little while, maybe I’ve just been overwhelmed by the amount of stuff happening. My fevered little brain can’t cope with the overload of it all. Good job we’re off on holiday to Rhodes for a couple of weeks.

Just listening to crusader bliar and it briefly crosses my mind that now knowing what he helped unleash there would have been a case for forceful change of his regime, and he definitely had weapons of mass destruction. With our knowledge of historical precedent there may well also be a case for removal of drumf, last year trump claimed that the world would be a better place if saddam and gaddafi were still alive as they knew how to sort out terrorists. It’s a mad world.

We don’t seem to learn; then crusader bliar took us to war based on dubious information and now we leave the European Union based on dubious information.

And the Welsh dream slipped away last night but it gives the dear old Portuguese a chance at last to contest a final, they came close in 1966.

And poor djokovic, having to play on a lesser court led to his demise.

Took Grace to look around Bath Spa University and I was blown away, it is easily the most beautiful university I’ve ever seen. So, such is modern life, I google to see how it rates with others. A futile exercise as it’s very subjective, which is OK, I just know that I had a very lovely experience wandering round with my lovely daughter.

And it’s local pub is called The Globe which is the name of our local. And whilst there last night Hector mentioned an article he’d read about what a wonderful experience it is to be at a Springsteen concert. We then tried to dissect why this is so. And the wonderful serendipity of googling, which I suppose we should celebrate now before the algorithms get so good that we’re channeled exactly the way they want us to be channeled, and whilst looking for confirmation of my feelings about Bath Spa I came across this:

Which I very subjectively think captures why Bruce is the greatest live popular musician. I’m crying now as this is such a beautiful antidote to all the other bollocks in the world. We’re off for some sunny days in Rhodes, Kate most of all deserves some sunny days.

Keep on keeping on, love Duncan.


Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau

Reclaiming my Welsh ancestry, my grandmother was a Jones (so I’m Smith and Jones). The contrast between the abject English team and it’s neanderthal supporters and the wonderfully exuberant Welsh team and their supporters is so tangible you can taste it. And to come barely a week after the brexit bollocks provides such an apposite counterpoint. Watched the game last night in my local pub with Hector and Tim and returned home in good humour. Kate and I watched some TV, a recording of the desultory Question Time which just lowered my mood and then a review of the day’s earlier commemoration of the Battle of the Somme. As proceedings unfolded I became increasingly uncomfortable. This country’s war remembrance industry justifiably to some extent is about those who fought and died. But there’s more that I find distinctly dodgy as it only focuses on British heroism. This is then reinforced by the second world war with our doughty island holding out against nazi Germany. This one-sided view of history keeps being reinforced; “two world wars and one world cup doo dah doo dah”. We see ourselves as unique, British, or more precisely, English exceptionalism. We view the rest of Europe as ‘other’, as ‘alien’. The English soccer team’s supporters go over to France reimagining themselves as invading armies of yore. We then vote to ‘leave Europe’. What an absolutely vacuous phrase. Of course we are an island but we are of the European continent. We are,right now, showing a very ugly face to the rest of the world.

Instead go to this link for a far more uplifting example of national support:

So, let’s have a Wales Iceland final and we can have the equally spine tingling Icelandic chant.

Keep on keeping on, love Duncan.

Personal and National Anxiety.

As well as the disappointment of the referendum Kate and myself have been living with the anxiety lately of me having a biopsy yesterday to check out some untowardness the consultant saw in my throat at my last check-up. Despite the consultant saying she was sure it wasn’t cancerous I’m afraid it’s hard to not contemplate a return of the crabby one. It was compounded for us as it has happened just before we’re due to go on the family holiday as it did two years ago. On the day we left for France 2 years ago we stopped at Poole Hospital for me to see the doctor who rather too excitedly for my liking showed me the image of the lesion in my throat. Put a little damper on that holiday.

So it was with some trepidation Kate dropped me off just after 7 at the day surgery unit. It was particularly busy and apparently there were a few emergencies and I drew the shortest straw as I was the last to go to theatre at just after 3, read all the paper and most of my book. Saw a number of people, as you do nowadays, all asking similar questions but did allow me to reprise my answer to the any allergies question with: only farage. Interesting the variety of responses.

With some things in life repetition makes them less daunting or scary. I’m afraid that I’ve found the opposite with my repetitive visits to hospital. With the initial visits a couple of years ago I wasn’t too fazed, now I find myself thinking dark thoughts much more. Apart from the anxiety of a crabby return yesterday I imagined that going under with the general anaesthetic would be the last experience of my life. I’ve had so many pointy things stuck in my hands and arms that my previously prominent veins aren’t now so prominent. In the past I’ve quite enjoyed ‘going under’, the drug-like losing control and talking more than the usual gibberish. This time it was far quicker and more unpleasant.

Anyway I did come round, unless I’m now existing in some other life and I’m writing this in a parallel universe, and was told by the consultant that it isn’t cancer. So Kate and I can happily go off to Rhodes next week and worry about something else.

And my lovely Welsh friend Julie sent me a poem written by a poet friend of hers about his thoughts on the brexit bollocks:

“In Time of Darkness

“If we are victorious in one more battle… we shall be utterly ruined.”



I journeyed last night through a hollow bone

Down dank, dark channels to the root of the world,

Tumbling out onto a devastated land

Where broken forests and stagnant waters,

Fouled by the filth of a million lies,

Festered under Yeats’s pitiless sun.

Great splintered trees stood shattered by the fist

Of a child-like giant who, quite unthinking,

Had smashed his toys, his high seat, and his realm.


I heard the roar of the duped, and the baffled,

Asking how it happened, and could they go back,

And elsewhere heard the whimpers of the old —

Blinded by the dazzle of life-long plenty,

Fearful of the foreign, envious of youth —

Who, waving the tattered banners of triumph,

Had quailed when struck by the light of loathing

Burning in the eyes of the young they’d betrayed.


Now it comes down… the hateful hammer falls

And now our choices limp starkly into view.

Now the mob rouses, stirred to bitter spleen,

Minded to take payment, for everything.

Now sister looks at brother, mother at son,

And friends are unable to ask the question —

For fear of learning what the answer may be,

For fear of finding the fragile cup broken.


Meanwhile the princes of entitlement,

Who partied blithely to the lip of ruin,

Languidly step away from their vomit,

As the cruel deceivers hide like wolves

In blood-spattered thickets of denial,

And the dog-whistlers, with their piercing calls,

Practice surprise as the pit-bulls arrive,

Snarling, barking their hatred of the other.


For the worst is come, is risen amongst us.

We are at the mercy of the lords of spite.

No one takes a hand. No one meets an eye.

No one owns their part in the catastrophe.

William Ayot

June 2016″

And I am now regularly wearing a safety pin, checkout #safetypin, a simple way to show a little signal to immigrants that not all of us hate and wish ill of them.

Cripes, bunter has maybe shown a little self-awareness, even though he still couches it in his pseudo-classical bollocks.

I’m thinking I’m with Jeanette Winterson and others who are minded that the formation of an alliance of so-called ‘progressives’ to counter the conservatives, the tts, the kleptos, the ucrappers, the xenophobes, the reactionaries, the little englanders, and the like is what we need. Perhaps something like Podemos in Spain and promoting the likes of Mondragon in Spain


Keep on keeping on, love Duncan.