Get back to Canadia, you!

I took my English class yesterday. The class tripled in size from last week, such is my popularity ( presumably ) A 200% increase is a stat anyone would be proud of, right?

Ok so it was 2, and yesterday it was 6. … but still! I made it fun ( I think ). What seems to work ( based on all the lessons thus far… that’s both of them ) is to have a couple of main topics ( yesterday it was telling the time in English, and booking doctors’ appointments on the phone/online ) and having lots of conversation around the themes, with me correcting pronunciation and word order etc.
We strayed onto Harry and Meghan and the Royal fam. Cor, the foreigners living amongst us don’t half like the royals … they all had pretty strong opinions on those 2 anyway. I’ve heard that ‘ Meghan has been the victim of racism because she is a woman of colour’ a lot, though I have doubted that since I’ve personally not heard anything adverse to do with her being not ‘ pure white’ from anyone I know, but yesterday I was very surprised/ amused to hear how much the non British born ( and not white ) ladies of North Wesr London dislike her. Yep, she got a right slagging off for lots of things, but definitely not for being mixed race. Given apparently 1 in 8 people living in the UK are ‘ immigrants’ then if yesterday’s sample was representative then that’s at least 15% of us here that don’t like Megs ( and it’s bugger all to do with her having a black mum ). Sad how the racist anti black card gets so readily played, I think.

And they LOVED Princess Di, and really really didn’t like ‘ Kamelia ‘. I did correct the name pronunciation again and again, but Kamelia she remained. When I said that I knew her and she was ever so nice, they didn’t seem to believe it, so I had to show em photographic evidence. That didn’t stop em laying into her though! What the hell did/does Chazza see in her seemed to be the gist of it.

Me talking to Kamelia ( or Cammy, as she prefers ). As you can see, there were 3 of us in that marriage, so as someone once said … ‘ it was a bit crowded …’

Anyway…. the Welsh indoctrination has subtlety begun. I’ve got them saying ‘ How’s it goin’? ‘ and repeating’ whose horse is that donkey?’ Very handy expression that, up there in Greenford.

It won’t be long before Tidy is ringing out in the mosques of northwest London…

English pidgin..

Cool what you see when you’re out and about in London.
I asked these 2 fellas why they had hawks in Brentford…?

Pest control, he said, and told me the ‘ clients’ hire them and their 2 Harris hawks for an hour every fortnight. That’s enough to scare ( nope, not kill he said ) the pigeons away apparently.

I was surprised to hear, and I thought he was messin’ ( but he wasn’t ) that they come at a different time every 2 weeks because otherwise the pigeons would learn just to avoid that hour at the same time every 2 weeks.
Who’d have thunk pigeons were that clever?? As the fella said though… there’s a reason why pigeons are so ‘ successful’ at populating an area.

I might train my budgies to scare things away? Just gotta think of something that they might frighten first….

‘Un Ford ?
Richard?

Rain

I went to the theatre last night with Lily. We saw Dial M for Murder. Wow that’s a good play… ever so clever, it is.. Richmond theatre does short runs of plays before they go on elsewhere, I think. Most plays are good, but not all of em. Last night was brilliant though.

Tonight I wheeled through the relentless rain to listen to a talk on Eel Pie Island. No, that was the subject, not the location of the talk… The island is one in the Thames between Twickenham and Richmond. Blimey it’s had some history. From music venues to hippy commune, to Ship building and yacht clubs etc etc. People like The Rolling Stones played there often back in the day. There’s a museum that is dedicated to it, to which I shall go once it stops bloody raining. Tomorrow I have to go to Kings Cross for a medical thing and hope I don’t get another soaking in the process. As buses just don’t work for me, I have to get to accessible Tube stations, all of which are 3km away from me, guaranteeing I get properly wet on the way to them.. and it’s not like I can just jump up and change my clothes. Once wet I stay wet… I could always just stay at home…?

Nah, I don’t think so.

Big Ted.

Last week I went to a day of TED Talks. Most people know what those are, but it you don’t then look them up on the net. They are ‘ inspiring’ talks by all sorts of people on all sorts of subjects. The day was held in Kingston, in a theatre. It was pretty good listening, and a good day out. My buddy Rob S suggested we go, after which I got free tickets ( because one of the speakers was talk about wheelchair accessible maps on Google ). Good for their image rights to have REAL disabled people listening.. and hey, I’m not objecting.
The talks are often by people who have ‘ suffered a misfortune and endured’ but not all the talks have to be, by any means. I have to say that my own life story events are ( in my opinion anyway ) more, well, crushing than any I heard this day… but that doesn’t mean I’m demeaning the tales I heard. I think to do a talk you have to have ‘ bounced back’ so I’m not sure I qualify fully to appear on stage just yet…. but maybe in the future?! I think I’ve got to achieve a bit more before I’d want to do that.
Thanks to Rob for suggesting!

In my class yesterday both ladies indicated to me that they find it very hard to communicate on the phone, with doctors’ secretaries. Well blimey, don’t we all? They’re all impatient and intolerant dragons, aren’t they… they must receive special training as they all seem to have that manner about them.
It means that booking appointments to see a doctor is an issue for them, so I’ll work on that next week.
I will be sure to mention to Julie Andrews though, that after getting her prescription from the GP……..

A Spoonful of Sugar will make the medicine go down….

( tho in the most peculiar way… ! )

🙂

Tidy!

And I’m very happy to say that my daughter, Lily, has again been offered a place at Oxford university, starting in October. She has to get another A in another A level to qualify but that ought be plain sailing this time around for her. She’s really something… it’s not at all common for them to give ANYONE a second chance, but they have given her that second bite of the cherry. Go Lily, go. Her perseverance and achievement, despite what’s happened to her parents these last 6 years, is really really incredible. I’m very proud of what she’s done, as I’m sure is her mum.

As for me, today I took my first session as a volunteer teacher. I survived the wheelchair in the rain to Greenford and met two students for a lesson. They are both ladies who have lived for a long time in London, but have never had English taught to them, or at least not ‘ properly’. They can both speak ‘pidgin English ‘ – coo, that’s something ( there’s a joke in there somewhere ) but have pretty heavy accents. I see my job as working on the accents and pronunciation, with a view to enabling them to do things/ access services they currently do not/ find daunting.

I asked the first her name. When she said ‘ Julie Andrews ‘ I thought she at least had a grasp on random humour, and almost said ‘ I’m Dick ( Van Dyke ) ‘ but i didn’t…

Turns out it’s her real name, and she’s never heard of the actress namesake? What are the chances of that then? I’ll hold off on the Mary Poppins jokes until her English improves, and then teach her to spell the longest word in the English dictionary…. supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.

Sounds like a good lesson plan to me, anyway.

Jan 2020.

As since my injury I’ve not been able to read books ( or at least maybe have no urge to, for some reason ) I prefer audiobooks. Well you just ask Alexa to begin where you / it / she left off, and you can listen whilst otherwise engaged doing other things. For me that works, though I have to say if I don’t get my bean flicked in the first 30 minutes I tend to just abandon the title and do summat else.
Anyway, on the back of seeing Malc Gladwell speak a month or so ago, I bought his book ‘ Talking to Strangers’ on audiobook. Doh, as it happened, ChrisCats bought me a ( signed !) copy for Xmas… isn’t that always the way ?!

Anyway ( again ) its a bloody fascinating listen. All about human interactions with one another and ( essentially ) how we by and large are ever so likely to NOT be able to make accurate judgements about the person ( stranger ) we talk/ listen to. On that basis then I’m undoubtedly wrong about Malcolm Gladwell in thinking he’s a good bloke, and he’s probably a nasty psychopath…

There’s all sorts covered in the book, from interactions between cops and drivers, to cracking spies under interrogation. All the time, we believe people who are lying, and disbelieve people who are telling the truth. We ‘ rely ‘ on ‘ a feeling ‘ about a person’s character, rather than the sometimes rather obvious evidence to the contrary. Judges in court are no better at it than anyone else, and FBI agents get it wrong nearly all the time! There was a lot about Cuba and the US, and the spying that went on in Cuba by the Yanks. The Americans thought they were SO clever, having ‘ infiltrated’ the Cuban system but in fact ALL of their spies were double agents. They had a system whereby they’d use lie detector machines to interview their spies when they came back onto American soil, but when they nearly all failed the tests ( ie the machine said they were all lying ) rather than abide by the machine evidence, in their absolute arrogance and certainty that USA had the best spy network ever, they scrapped the lie detector tests and instead relied on ‘ instinct ‘ when interviewing their agents. As a result Cuba fed the USA complete nonsense for a decade, and ‘ the world’s most powerful nation’ was toyed with by an island no bigger than Florida state. What the book impresses on you is that you should judge ( if you have/want to ) based on the EVIDENCE rather than on any impression someone makes on you via their personality ( or lack of ). We’ve all done it. … you like or dislike/ trust or mistrust someone based on how nice/ smart/clever/ handsome/pretty they are, rather than on what the factual evidence of their behaviour… and we all make mistakes all the bloody time. Think about it – who are you most likely to believe when they tell you a hard luck story, the pretty, smiling, smartly dressed young woman carrying the tiny baby, or the tattooed skinhead smelling of beer telling exactly the same story?
They conducted a trial using a ‘computer Judge ‘ to give verdicts based on evidence, and nothing else, using thousands of real trial transcripts. If the defendant reoffended upon release, he was deemed likely to probably been guilty too of the crime he’d been charged with but released ( for the purposes of this experiment ). The computer Judge would have banged him up 80% of the time compared to the human Judge who only found him guilty 54% of the time.
So we can expect not only driverless cars to improve road safety in future, but also robot judges who aren’t swayed a jot by tears/ skirt length/ expensive hair or smooth talking.
Bring it on, I say. Since there are quite clearly so many wrong verdicts already, using humans, what’s the logical objection to trial by computer …?

Ref the Americans – well they may think they’re always gonna win, but time and time again they don’t really, do they. They certainly have the firepower, but they aren’t so good at the other stuff, and tend to find their presence ‘ misunderstood’. Their intentions may be good, but their presence/ interference in others countries is more often than not objected to. Peoples just don’t understand the strangers… it’s all a bit tense in the Middle East just now, and once again the Americans may have messed up. There’s trouble ahead for sure, and there’s are now ‘ unstable ‘ people with their fingers on nuclear buttons/ missile controls all over the world. We may yet not die of global warming, instead being fried all of a sudden by missile warfare.

On a lighter note….Me, our Wend, and Marky P went to a comedy club on Saturday. After about 30 gigs in the last 3 months, I’ve not got ANY in January, but there’s still lots to do in The Smoke.
Roger the Lodger is leaving next week ( oh I’ll miss his cheerful chatter ….. mmmm ) and I’ll no doubt get another one ( perhaps ‘ choosing more carefully’ next time – not that he was a bad guy, for sure. The Invisible mute Man might’ve been more engaging, but that’s not all bad! Let’s see what happens next.. ) Tonight I see Steve Backshall ( the telly adventurer ) at the Royal Geograpical Society and I embark on something on Wednesday ( watch this space then ) that’s new in my life.

I’ve been taking Probiotics for 2 months as well as a dietary enzyme help, and also changed my diet a fair bit. Cos Im paralysed and don’t have use of the lower bit of my colon, my gut is rather compromised. Raw food like salads is healthy but hard to digest, particularly if not chewed to smithereens before swallowing. So I’ve cut out fibrous salads and also liquidise fruit into smoothies so it’s easier to break down inside. Result – far less tendency to bloat and less spasms. That’s a winner then. I could take it further and eat nothing at all? But it might be a fairly short trial and a slow death.

With thanks.

Well it would seem to be popular with my readers that Wendy came to her senses ( AKA yours truly realised what he’d almost lost ..apologised a fair bit and pledged to change what he can. She accepts tho that some things aren’t so malleable for me in my situation, and the fact that, well, you can’t polish a turd…..). Thank you peeps for your best wishes!

Whilst temporarily single I went out ( no, not on the pull ) with ChrisCatsUnfortunatesClub. Me, him, and Paul the blind fella. What an irresistible collective fanny magnet we ought be. Sadly, Bolt the dog was ill, so all females kept their distance. Mmmm, I’ll have to start smuggling a budgie out with me, maybe?

Paul started losing his sight in his 20’s. Me being an optometrist type is aware more than most of visual empathy and relating factually too. We had a great ( and female free ) night on the town ( aka sat in a well lit and quiet, and accessible pub ). Never mind. It was a laugh. We have a Whatsapp group which has a picture title that incorporates all our disabilities too…

I know…. cute. Like us!

And the happy news is..

Yes, Wendy and I are reunited. Too much gone through, too much intertwined, and too much love to become ex’s.

We are both very happy about that! ❤️

And the 🦜🦜s are far safer with her around!

As if to mark her territory afresh, Wendy went out foraging for logs in the river. Yes, I know that’s not very West London… but she’s from Africa, where things are different. Half babe, half lumberjack, she returned with 2 large logs ( well, more small trees ) and built an insect friendly wood pile in my garden.
See… all the hottest chicks are eco warriors. Everyone knows that…

All as not expected..

And thanks to Chris and Rob, then Chris and Sarah, and Tony and Teddy, Christmas Day ( as in the actual one – the 25th ) was just brilliant. When you are primed for not much at all, and then you get pub, mates, a family dinner and a lot of laughs, and even sunny weather (!) then what more can you ask for..

Wendy and I spent a while together too. Thanks to her for that. She’s about as good as a person can be, I have to say, and I do hope she has a happy life, because she really really deserves to. When people break up, it’s usually down to both parties, rather than just one, but for the record I’ll say I can’t blame her at all for her and I separating. She was way too good for me!

👍

And another Christmas Day today seeing Marky P and Mrs Marky P, and their lovely family, and then opening presents with my daughter Lily.
Tomorrow it’s drinks in the pub with ChrisCats and Rob, with Chris Snr, and well, possibly even more. ..

Happy Christmas to anyone reading this.
x