Tesco Delivery Man, from Shielder to non Shielder

shopping on the floor

shielding shopping

This Tesco delivery man didn’t want to be photographed, nevertheless, I showed him my blog and photos of many of his colleagues which he enjoyed. Because of lockdown, delivery men aren’t allowed into houses to help with shopping so I sit on the piano stool by the door and take out all items of the crates, some one by one, because they are heavy.  I don’t have bags because that’s not saving the planet and rightly so, it’s an extra 40p.

While I take out each item, the delivery man tells me his story. He isn’t quite sure of his delivery man protocol because he was shielding during the last lockdown, but this lockdown he was told he wasn’t ill enough. I asked him why this was. He told me because he hadn’t had his usual consultations and that he was off his medication, “It was the medication that stuffed me up in the first place. They gave me steroids for five years and it was that gave me…” The man proceeded to tell me a list of his ailments, diseases, diagnoses, conditions, all of which I have forgotten, I’m not one for remembering labels, people YES, thoughts and feelings YES, acknowledging pain YES. But NOT labels. This delivery man was upset, angry, frustrated, exhausted and I suspect in physical pain. We’re all in some pain and/or anxiety, life is hard at the best of times, some of us are more aware than others, expressed in different forms, all pain, all dis-ease tells our unique story. My story is in the making in the book I am writing/editing, gosh it takes forever the edits.

(By the by the way, a friend asked me why I wouldn’t want a vaccine of any sort when I was a user of recreational drugs in my youth. Firstly, I don’t want bits of male foetus in me, secondly, I have worked so hard on my body with the help of the most wonderful homeopath akin to the Queen’s, and thirdly, I took recreational drugs to relieve emotional pain, but then came the physical pain and MS numbness and blurred vision, my brain couldn’t listen, and then came the therapy to help me see. The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel Van Der Kolk explains this well. I’m sure Mr Van Der Kolk has a few things to say about this plandemic.)

Back to Tesco. How totally patronising, mind numbingly insulting is this email I received from them today, just take a look …

Santa’s making a
list and checking
it twice

Have you been naughty or nice this year? Whether it was a dodgy DIY haircut or making up homework for the kids to get a little quiet time, have you had any naughty little slip-ups year?

37% I’ve accidently given a relative a dodgy home haircut

5% I’ve made up homework for the kids

48% I’ve forgotten to sing Happy Birthday while washing my hands

10% I’m guilty of sneakily cheating on a virtual quiz

Fuck off, fuck off,  fuck off … I immensely value your Tesco delivery men, and am very grateful that (unlike last year) you have pickled walnuts on your shelves, but I object to this shit – fucking quizzes, happy fucking birthday hand wanking and oh, the hilarity of cutting hair when we’re not qualified. I’ve never read such tripe and been so insulted, that’s what you think I do Tesco, or even think about, this is some of the worst advertising I’ve ever come across, is it supposed to be funny? That’s what has been difficult this year? Really?

Fuck off mainstream media, fuck off mass media, just fuck off. It’s time to change Mr Tesco, no room in the bunker for you mate, stop tittle tattling over last lockdown. We have been locked in, shut down, had our human rights and livings eroded, mental health and economy devastated due to the disproportionate fear-based response to this virus. We’ve been kept in isolation, prevented from spending time with our friends and family and like the economy, most days I feel I could be on the brink of collapse.

The fight in me at least relieves symptoms, writing helps, I know this because I used to run a writing as therapy group for people with MS in the Peckham library.  I was in Peckham Rye park yesterday and Alice Cooper’s song “Don’t give Up” came up on my Spotify. It helped me enormously, Alice originally wrote the track about suicide, but then Covid came and the lyrics seemed to just fit…. And, of course, suicide rates have increased and will increase, just wait until those 2020 figures come in this time next year, in my work and life communities, every week I hear of another young person having taken their life.

Here is a poem I wrote about fucking on the bowling green in Peckham Rye Park

Comfortably

I complained about his dick tion

But I loved his stroke

He was paralysed right down his right side

He could do double with his left

With slurred speech he told me to fuck off about my complaint about his dick tion

We walked through Peckham Rye Park

I hate walking.  He loves walking with three-pronged stick

Like Jake the Peg, diddle, diddle, diddle, de

Hung to left

It was a full moon.  We fucked on the bowling green

Comfortably

Peckham Rye Bowling Green Sign

A good place to fuck in the summer

Masked Tesco Delivery Man suggested I hold something phallic

White man in Tesco Delivery outfit with a mask next to a white woman in her 50s holding a bunch of bananas

Every year, my parents and my sister would go on our annual family holiday and stay in a caravan in Cromer, Norfolk. One year, the Gibbons family joined us for a day. The Gibbons had three children, two girls the same age as my sister and I, and a younger boy. It rained all day so the nine of us spent the day in the small caravan. As far as I can remember, we played cards.

The boy, who then was probably about five, asked questions during the day, like – Why were we scared of the lightning? How did the funny little gas lights work?  Why did Dad win at cards?  After each question, Mr and Mrs Gibbons, stopped what they were doing, and answered the boy. I was intrigued by these parents taking so much interest in their child, I enjoyed listening to their exchanges. My parents, however, found the interruptions extremely irritating. “Bloody little nuisance,” “spoilt child,” “they’ll make him into a little monster,” that kind of thing.

I’ve talked about this memory in therapy. My childhood was one to not question, to accept, to believe teachers, to go to Sunday school. I bunked school and Sunday school, none of it made sense. Back then, I knew my parent’s irritation came from a place of envy, and being around difference. They never asked me questions, and I stopped asking them questions, years before the incident with the Gibbons.

In my early thirties, years into my therapy, I tried asking my parents questions again, I was met with defensive, sometimes angry responses. I learned my relationship with my parents, would always have such limitations, but we got on, I accepted this.

Looking at the world now, with my child’s eyes perhaps, I want to know answers that the young Master Gibbons felt able to ask. Therapy allowed me to develop my voice, even if I’m faced with an angry, defensive voice, I will continue to ask.

The more we know, of course, the less we understand, but the process of trying to understand, holds with it, human communicating, striving for what is right and true to each, even if all our truths are different. As a psychotherapist, it is OUR story that is the most relevant in understanding, our story will always differ from the next, even if we are born in the same household, as indeed my sister and I were, our experience was very different, but often the same.  I wonder if she remembers this day in the caravan?

If my father hadn’t cheated on my mother, and they’d had a good relationship, perhaps I would be more trusting, believe everything I hear, be content and be a ‘good’ abiding citizen with government guidelines? But when nothing makes sense, I cannot, will not. The questions in my family were never answered, and the world’s questions may never be answered, people die with secrets, but the legacy of the burden (i.e. Jimmy Saville’s victims) will go on for lifetimes. The gut always tells us that something is up, whether in an unconscious, perhaps physical manifestation, or a feeling, all are linked.

London, where I live, moves into a new lockdown. Lockdowns were a term I remember being used by my boyfriend Keevan (partner, No. 31, in my book ‘From Essex to London in 101 Boyfriends’), when he was in prison. How can it be, I am locked up, have been locked up? What have I done? At least Keevan knew when he would be free from his imprisonment and was guilty of a crime.

Halloween, the full and blue moon and Jimmy Saville’s birthday, brought about news of the lockdown, Guy Fawkes night begins the lockdown, we think, if the Tory backbenchers go with it, will it depend on the US election?

Here is my poem and then below, lyrics of a song by Ewan MacColl (Kirsty McColl’s Dad) and Peggy Seeger, it’s a beautiful song, I recommend a listen or two.

Scene but not Herd – Liz Bentley

“Moo!” said the solitary cow

“What’s your intention?” asked the drama student with intentions to direct

The Ballard of Accounting – (Ewan McColl and Peggy Seeger)

In the morning we built the city

In the afternoon walked through its streets

Everyone saw us leaving

We wandered through our days as if they would never end

All of us imagined we had endless time to spend

We hardly saw the crossroads and small attention gave

To landmarks of the journey from the cradle to the grave

Did you learn to dream in the morning?

Abandon dreams in the afternoon?

Wait without hope in the evening?

Did you stand there in the traces and let ’em feed you lies?

Did you trail along behind them wearing blinkers on your eyes?

Did you kiss the foot that kicked you, did you thank them for their scorn?

Did you ask for their forgiveness for the act of being born

Act of being born, act of being born?

Did you alter the face of the city?

Make any change in the world you found?

Or did you observe all the warnings?

Did you read the trespass notices, did you keep off the grass?

Did you shuffle up the pavements just to let your betters pass?

Did you learn to keep your mouth shut, were you seen but never heard?

Did you learn to be obedient and jump to at a word

Jump to at a word?

Did you demand any answers?

The who and the what and the reason why?

Did you ever question the setup?

Did you stand aside and let ’em choose while you took second best?

Did you let ’em skim the cream off and give you the rest?

Did you settle for the shoddy and did you think it right?

To let ’em rob you right and left and never make a fight

Never make a fight, never make a fight?

What did you learn in the morning?

What did you know in the afternoon?

Were you content in the evening?

Did they teach you how to question when you were at the school?

Did the factory help you grow, were you the maker or the tool?

Did the place where you were living enrich your life and then

Did you reach some understanding of all your fellow men

All your fellow men, all your fellow men?Two white women wearing tin foil hats on halloween

tin foil hats for halloween

Tesco Delivery Man has arrived and I’m still in my dressing gown. What on earth is going on?

White Tesco delivery man standing next to a white woman in her 50s in a dressing gown

Tesco Delivery Man and I’m still in my dressing gown

What a few weeks. Where shall I begin? Insomnia. Two weeks of waking up two hours after I went to sleep, then spending the rest of the night thinking, putting two and two together to make four, four and four together to make exactly eight, a hundred and a hundred, and so it went on. Then it dawned on me. The Great Reset, and I researched more, about the founder/author, Klaus Schwab, who was brought up in Nazi Germany, then I’m thinking about Alice Miller, ‘For Your Own Good: The Roots of Violence in Child-Rearing’. And then I make more sums about Klaus Schwab’s childhood, he is 83 now, the book came out in June, how did he write that so quickly? ‘All the world’s a stage’, what are we really playing in the name of ‘For your own good’? Some think that the sequel to this book is known to all world leaders. It sounds like utopia but how will it happen? However it happens, whatever happens, it’s likely to be in the name of ‘For your own good’.

Our world has been gearing up for this. I became aware in mental health when our Southwark (and everywhere else) holistic therapists were got rid of from primary care. We fought to save our services, to no avail, of course. I didn’t lose my job because I did a CBT course at the Maudsley, and for the rest of my time in the NHS, I pretended, I complied, I made up the stats in order to keep my job, whilst offering my patients my ‘true self’ in the room. I was complicit to use this method, going along with something I resisted so much. It’s not surprising I became ill and had to leave. CBT is useful for a symptom, but it often stops there, mind control, changing your thoughts, why should we change our thoughts? CBT rarely explores, and EXPOSES the cause. Many years ago, I performed at a conference on ‘hearing voices’ at the Wellcome Trust, curated by the wonderful Dolly Sen. “We want our voices heard”, sung the crowds of patients and carers alike. In my CBT course I cried “What about dreams?” the tutor said “Dreams? We don’t do dreams”. Like we can’t sing in a church now, and I can’t swim butterfly in a public pool because my splashing may infect someone with Covid.

Boris Johnson belittled Muslim women not so long ago, we are now all letterboxes. Well, I’m exempt so I’m not a letterbox. I will not have rubbish put into my box. It’s time to stand up for ourselves, but how do we do it? Liverpool did it, they wouldn’t let the police shut down their gym, their fines paid by supporters. They are safe places and promote health and wellbeing. This is madness and is pushing us to our limits, how far will governments, the WHO and whoever else is pulling the strings go? It is far easier to comply and remain hostage, than challenge. Our internet sets us up to divide, algorithums take us to places that fracture our relationships, confuse us, keep us in fear. The vaccine, like Prozac, like CBT never was and never will be the solution.

Our world is reacting to a symptom, wearing the masks, washing the hands, it’s as insane as the sanitizers used, every few hours, or in some cases, every few minutes. It reminds me of working with an OCD hand-washer, red rare hands, a symptom of self-harm from childhood trauma. The world trauma, decades, hundreds of years of abuse, is coming out. The amount of people searching for mental health services is taking its toll. It’s overwhelming. I have never been so inundated with people asking for help. Today I needed to call BT, it didn’t take long before the Scottish technician picked up on my empathy and told me his story. He has been on a waiting list for 3 months to talk with a mental health nurse. His 20 minutes phone consultation is at the end of November, we were on the phone for 40 minutes. My daughter’s school ‘Place to Be’ has a waiting list too long for her to wait. The kids are saying they feel ‘dead’ inside. The older ones are getting drunk and having accidents, or rather ‘onpurposes’ (I studied the psychosomatics of accidents in my Masters degree), turning up in A and E. And I’m getting calls from as far away as Harrow, as us therapists are all so busy. And that’s just talking therapy, with the new lockdowns coming we will be more overloaded as body therapists will no longer be able to work, again, their businesses still not recovered from the first lockdown.

During my insomnia, I have become acutely aware of a higher consciousness, I am an interpreter of the unconscious afterall, it is my duty, it is what I was put on this planet to do, I cannot stop this process. Once you become aware of something, you can’t put it back, it’s out there, but others don’t like it and attack. “Stop watching all this conspiracy theorist stuff”. I will not let the lies seep into my body and become ill, I will not pretend, like I did when I worked in the NHS, obscure statistics so I obeyed the NHS ridiculous (sometimes harmful) protocols, and believe me, they are so ridiculous that the patient, the human, could get lost, and that was over a decade ago.

For the last 6 months, I have felt like the little boy in the Emporer’s new clothes, now I feel like the prince in sleeping beauty, trying to cut through the dark forest to wake up the sleeping kingdom. I have found myself praying and when the new moon came, my insomnia subsided. My homeopath calls me the ‘Unsleeping beauty’. While I am unsleeping, I am continually asking questions, why? why? why? Why did they put covid on my friend’s dad’s death certificate and then change it when she challenged them? Why is it that the press tells us hospital beds are full when some hospitals have as few as 8 covid beds anyway and NHS staff are saying otherwise? Why doesn’t the BBC tell us when the deaths are very low in one day? Why doesn’t anyone remind us that the flu has a vaccinne yet still kills between 45 and 65,000 a year. I could go on and on, but I’m cooking a nice organic chicken in a bit. Ultimately, I haven’t a clue what’s going on, but I’m exploring what’s going on in my mind.

Below is a photo of the print ‘Mad Bonce’ I bought from the amazing artist and editor of DAO, Colin Hambrook, it depicts exactly what has been going on in my head during all these sleepless nights. It was a no brainer to buy from his website, the last time I had so much fun shopping was buying underwear from John Lewis with my husband, just before lockdown. Blue Water was dead, that will be the last time I shall be trying on underwear in a shop. But, Colin’s website is very much alive. We can’t stop being human, our dreams are very real right now, I’d love to tell you mine but there are too many. Oh, sod it, here’s one, I go back to my old family home, my kids are expected to arrive and when I go up to the attic space where I should be staying with my family, there is no roof, I question the parental figure downstairs who I don’t seem to know anymore “How can we stay there, what happens if it rains? Why have you had no roof on this house, for so long?”

My friend has put a bet on that Doris will get on his Santa costume and ‘give’ us Xmas. All I know is that my two friends, one a Selfridges Santa, one a Legoland Santa, have no work this year.

I wrote this poem in 1988, it goes well with Colin’s print, methinks. And below is the original picture I drew for the poem. Call me a nut job, shame or blame me for not wearing a mask, tell me to stop reading conspiracy theories – but it is the nut that sews the seed, the’ nut’ that does the ‘job’. My nut is connected to my gut. My gut says this is NOT for our own good. We need to socialize with our loved ones, be at their sides when dying in hospital beds, care not control and protocol, connectivenesses has never been so important. I am the sanest I have ever been. The strategies and tactics for this great reset are alarming, but that’s for another time, right now I’m thinking of roast chicken and I want a good nights sleep.

Living in a Squat with Uncle Pervious (1988)

An opening head

An exploding brain

Is keeping me sane

Diidle which reads an opening head, and exploding brain, keeping me sane

An opening head, brain sane, not sanitisedIllustrated artwork showing the cross section of a head with people in different rooms inside it

‘Mad Bonce’ by Colin Hambrook

Tesco Delivery Man, up close and personal

Black man in Tesco delivery uniform with a white woman in her 50s, standing in front of his van, smiling

This week has been another difficult week. I’ll start with the Tesco Delivery Man who totally brightened up the week, by the way, for the purpose of people who are offended that we are breaking the ‘rules’, I’ll tell you, there is a possibility this photo was taken before lockdown, last March. Why do I find myself saying this? For fear of an aggressive attack from friends or anyone who sees this, or Tesco firing my lovely Delivery Man. I am scared of attack, just by having a photo of me with this man, enjoying interaction, neither of us wearing masks, neither of us 2 metres apart. During lockdown, one of my Tesco delivery men was sooo happy that I would talk with him, he came into the house, took off his mask and hugged me. He may not have been hugged for weeks, I kept that such a secret for fear of people thinking I now had the plague. By the way, if you’re organising a funeral, speak with the crematorium first about the seating, I have just seen footage of a family at a crematorium in Milton Keynes, they had to sit apart (obviously, because of this inhumane ‘rule’), when their father was being cremated (at least in Southampton crem we were allowed to sit with partners! Well, some of us were). When the ceremony began, the sons pull their seats over to sit with their Mum, who was, obviously, distressed, another man does the same to sit with his wife, then, a masked security man interrupts the service and tells them to stay sat apart, despite this family having been bubbled for weeks, caring for their father. This isn’t human. ‘BUBBLED’ for fuck sake, all these terms, all nonsense. I can’t believe I’m even writing them, endorsing their existence. And as for kids not being allowed to sing happy birthday in school, and as for no singing and dancing in pubs, and as for, and I kid you not, in London Fields Taproom they state, within their house rules, “No handshaking, high fiving or extended eye contact with anyone not on your table” I kid you not. NO EXTENDED EYE CONTACT WITH ANYONE, I REPEAT ANYONE, NOT ON YOUR TABLE.

This week I started back at the FE college I work. My body seized up, fizzing MS symptoms in my legs as I took on the anxiety, tension, stress from the vibrations and all I encountered. No “Hello, how are you?” It’s “Have you got a mask?” Orders, “Walk that way, not this way.” “Is this room big enough for two people?” Every new encounter is like playing a game of snakes and ladders, as a disabled person, this is difficult, stressful and sometimes impossible. Wearing my mask exempt lanyard, I get dirty looks, some run away from me, like I’ve got the plague “Why are you exempt?” some ask, “If you get me a seat, I shall tell you. The short version takes 5 minutes, the longer version is a weekend mind/body workshop, it begins with childhood trauma includes the psychology of brainwashing, the theory behind ‘divide and conquer’, an in-depth session on how our immune system works with viruses, and what a post virus is all about and how to deal with it, what fear is, and how it can be turned into aggression and control, then, towards the end of the show, I get out a vapour and ask to borrow a mask and I shall blow through so you can see the vapour coming out. I shall also provide a reading list, and video list. Actually, this will be a week-long course, I’ll invite guest doctors, nutritionists, immunologists and the Queen’s homeopath.”

The anxiety and tension all around has turned into aggression, thermometer guns point at our heads as the world, THE WORLD (apart from Nicaragua), is swept along, engrained in powerful dynamics that aren’t easily explained. Do you remember when mandatory vaccinations, cashless society, facial recognition, mass censorship, microchips and 5g infrastructure, used to be a conspiracy theory?

Watching Professor Wittless and Sir Patrick Unbalanced (who we now know has shares in the vaccine companies), is like watching a punch and Judy show, bashing sausages over a Doris Johnson who has his legs crossed, like a child crossing his fingers behind his back because he’s lying, but probably doesn’t understand why he is lying. Nothing is true on the BBC, I’m telling you, just the latest warped scores coming in, who’s in the lead re cases? Let’s get the students up there, they’re at the top of the league right now. The 2nd wave is about testing, that’s all, tests that Madge Hancock admits aren’t reliable, at all. And they’re not. We don’t need names/testing for viruses, we don’t need names for storms, they are storms. This is not a pandemic, it’s not a plague, it’s a plandemic, a psychological experiment, set up to scare the crap out of us all and take away our liberty.

I’m a nut job if you like, but the job of the nut is to sew the seed, and the tree grows. I listen to my gut, it’s always right, and my MS symptoms tell me what’s going on, with the link between my mind and body, and my world. I need to feel liberated as an adult, my childhood was not, I was intruded upon and I shall not allow rules to intrude upon my liberty as an adult. A paedo ring will practice for decades, sometimes lifetimes before lines of enquiry are pursued and justice is upheld, take Jimmy Saville, the hidden interview with Johnny Lydon that emerged from the BBC, decades later, says it all. Just you wait, he says. Who believed that our lovable Rolf Harris would do such things? The paedos and world leaders (basically the drug companies running the world/WHO) are not so different, their intercourse is power instead of children, I only hope instead!

When I think about the kids right now, I am reminded of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, the child catcher and the Pied Piper of Hamelin, Doris and politicians are tricked by world leaders and now our kids and us (treated like the rats), will pay for decades to come. “We’re all doomed. Doomed” says Private Frazer of Dad’s Army. Our daily death toll (and I’m not talking of Coronavirus, this was always a low mortality rate, says so on the government website), I’m talking deaths from suicide, undiagnosed cancer, respiratory and heart diseases, deaths of broken hearts, literally broken hearts, I was born with a hole in my heart, it’s taken a lifetime to understand the whole of the heart) reminds me of the film Death Race 2000, all countries competing.

When I went to East Berlin in 1987, just for one day (and they kicked me out at Checkpoint Charlie cause I looked like a punk, I had to redress and go via the underground the following day), just 6 months before, David Bowie sang Heros over the Berlin wall which caused riots in the East. The wall did come down, and so will ours, with the masks. We’re not all doomed, I promise you. Good will always override bad. I visualise David, in Mars, looking down on us (certainly not up), singing Heros, if only he would come back, just for one day, to see this madness and sing me a rendition of the laughing gnome, my favourite Bowie song, and why I have an obsession with gnomes. On this note I shall write (I have only sung this song twice before) the lyrics of my interpretation of Star Man. It is about a Spa Man, and no one has been able to enjoy a spa for months. My husband and I, however, sought out a wood-burning hot tub in Suffolk for our anniversary weekend, I am truly grateful for this.

SPA MAN

Didn’t know what time it was but the lights were low, o , o

A leaned back, in the hot tub ,o,o,o

A French couple were gettting it on, o , o, o, o, o,

da, da da da da da

There’s Spa Man, waiting in the corner

He’d like to come and meet us

But he’s stuck there in the sauna

There’s a Spa Man, waiting in the corner

He’s told us not to blow it

Cause he knows he’d get kicked out if he did

He told me

Keep the children away

Keep the children away from me

Let all the children boogie

I had to phone someone so I picked on you, oo , oo

Hey that’s far out, the car’s broken down too, oo , oo

Switch it on and off and it may start again, o, o ,o, o, o

Look out the window I can see your lights on

I should be able to find out what’s wrong, ong , ong

There’s a Car Man, waiting in the lane

He’s come out now to meet me

He’s not charging me a call out fee

There’s a Car Man, waiitng in the lane

He’s told me not to blow it

cause he knows that would be too exciting, he told me

Keep the children away

Keep the children away from me

Let all the children boogie

I had to buy a drink so I picked on you, oo, oo

That’s far out, I can make orgasm cocktails too, oo , oo

There was a group of under 18’s queuing up for the pub loo, oo, oo

There’s a Bar Man, stuck behind the bar

He’d like to come and meet us but he’s shift doesn’t end til Xmas

There’s a Bar Man, stuck behind the bar

He’s told me not to blow his cover

Cause he knows I’m not an underage lover

He told me

Keep the children away

Keep the children away from me

Let all the children boogie

I didn’t know what time it was but it wouldn’t matter to you, oo , oo

You’re up day and night with the sheep and cows, moo, oo , oo

It’s a hard and isolated life for you, oo, oo

There’s a Farm Hand, waiting in the barn

He’d like to come and meet us

But he can’t get off the farm

There’s a Farm Hand, waiting in the barn

He told us not to blow his mind

With relationships of a human kind

He told me

Keep the sheep away

Keep the sheep away from me

Let all the sheep boogie

A white bald man with a beard in a outdoor hot tub waving

My husband, (No. 101 in my book, from Essex to London in 101 boyfriends) the nearest we could get to a spa, in these difficult times celebrating our wedding anniversary

Communicating with the Tesco Delivery Man, nearly in the dark

The nights are drawing in and so are our liberties, freedoms, human rights. I feel like I’m living in a dictatorship, not a pandemic. All these RULES, I don’t understand, and can’t keep up with. The rule of 6? I think Doris must have spelt it wrong and meant the rule of sex, we must keep our sexual partners down to 5, or under, I’m assuming.

Earlier in the year, before the Coronavirus pandemic, I read a book called ‘Stop reading the news: a manifesto for a happier, healthier and wiser life.’ And it works. I recommend it. The author, Rolf Dobelli, writes that 90% of news doesn’t happen, hasn’t happened, will never happen, is bullshit etc. So, if I spend half an hour a day reading or watching the news, I’ve wasted 27 minutes of that day, absorbing shite. Dobelli asks the question, what do you remember about the news you have read over the last ten years? It’s likely only to be main events, like Grenfell, and smaller events that have an impact on our individual lives, like I won’t forget there was a stabbing two weekends ago, a few houses up, then the perpetrator stabbed someone on the bus, then was caught. Deaths by stabbings and suicides are increasing, (as are deaths from NHS services been shut down for so long) when people are oppressed and have been for a long time, of course, they attack themselves or others, our neighbour a victim and a man on the bus in this case. Kids are bored, frustrated, scared, they want us to know they are scared, paranoid. A brick landed in my small Peckham patio from the park. Luckily it didn’t hit me, or any of my gnomes. The perpetrator owned up, I commended him on his honesty. He’s a kid, a sad, troubled kid, bored shitless and bullied into chucking bricks.

My external news, usually comes via friends, our kids, clients and from Lewisham college where I work as an external supervisor.  Because I write this blog, friends send me news that comes up in relation to Tesco. I like this, I prefer it from when I get stuff sent to me when a new MS ‘cure’ makes headlines. For decades I’ve been sent articles and case histories telling me the wonders of Beta interferon, statins, stem cell therapy, antidepressants, and so on. Bullshit, but people are trying to be kind.

Last night I was watching the final episode of ‘Des’ on ITV, I like stuff on serial killers, anyway, a Tesco clubcard advert came up. Ping ping ping, club card savings everywhere, it’s like an Easter Egg hunt, as I use club card, all my shopping is known. If the government wanted to find out whether I drunk more alcohol units than I should, they could ask Tesco. And now, I can’t have more than 6 in my house, it can’t be that I had a party every week. Clever, or am I as paranoid as the kids. I’ve worked with OCD hand washers, red raw skin. It hurts.

This week two nuggets of Tesco news. No. 1 Tesco are soon to be trying out drones for orders under £30, it will take half an hour from when you order, then a little bag will be delivered into your space outside, assuming you have a space outside, if I was still living in a tower block, I imagine they’d drop on the roof of the 20th floor? Where people go to commit suicide. The drone will have a camera on it, which for me, in the summer they would see me half-naked, and enjoy my gnomes, in the winter it will be less attractive and cold for me. But, oh how I would miss my delivery men, my weekly catch up with human beings who have different lives and interesting outlooks. No. 2 The other Tesco nugget came in from the Daily Mash, it was, of course, a satire, yet it disturbed me that there is a satire about this, suggesting that the middle/upper classes don’t know how to address people of difference, ie the Tesco Delivery Men, in any way, I guess they don’t, I guess they would prefer the drone so they don’t have to communicate with a man or woman who they perceive as different, and working their arse off for not much money etc.

I don’t want the rule of 6, I don’t want drones, and I don’t like club cards, I don’t like cards, just birthday cards, I don’t like drugs, vaccines, cures that aren’t, I just like glasses of wine. Social media and Facebook are aware that I’m not taking all the shit the mass media, the United Nations, the World Health Organisation and the government are wanting me to absorb, but they need to triumph so they’re trying to poison me. The advert below came on my feed. If I ate something from the below I would throw it right back up, like a bulimic. Before the advert is a poem I wrote about bulimia. Facebook has given up sending me menopause and pension stuff, now they want to kill me off with what looks like hospital food (or as my friend Caroline said, the peas look like alien brain). Keep flossing your teeth folks. Oh, it just occurred to me, dental appointments are becoming such a rare thing, we’ll be pulling our own teeth out and will need sloppy food, that’s it! There’s always a reason.

Dental Floss is Absolutely Fantastic

Thanks to being bulimic for most of my teens

My gums became rotten and my teeth did not gleem

But when I realised what a terrible mess

I was in, and not looking my best

I stopped throwing up

And wen to the dentist doc

Who sorted me out

I flossed every day

Up, down and every way

Then the bleeding stopped

I could open up my chops

With a beatuful smile

And the teeth whitener lasts a while

A food ad on Facebook showing weirly shaped sausages, a bizarre mound of pes and mashed potato in a swirl
Facebook ads, how dare they

Waiting for the Tesco Delivery Man while recovering from Queueing

Tesco Delivery is great because it doesn’t involve any queueing and the delivery men are personable, friendly, helpful. This week I had to endure queueing to great extent. A visit to the post office (traumatic), and a visit to the bank. At Barclays, I stood with my daughter patientley, meditating. I didn’t have my stick seat with me unfortunately, I forgot. I asked my daughter to wait in the queue so I could go sit in the very empty waiting area of the bank. There is now only one cashier working, anti social distancing and all that, keeping the staff safe, and all of us safe, and all that.

The people in the queue understood exactly what I was doing, we’d been chatting, the man in front of me was an estate agent and had been there 40 minutes already, he wouldn’t get his lunch, the man behind me was a car mechanic who’s branch in Norwood has recently closed. I was wearing my ‘invisible disablity’ lanyard. When I walked into the bank the Barclays masked security woman looked (difficulty to see how she looked in a mask but fear is easy, you can feel it too) fearful. She put her arms out in front of her and shouted “two meters”. I looked about and became stressed as I didn’t think I was standing near her and there wasn’t any markings and I didn’t have a tape measure. I tried to explain what I needed, “the bank closes at 2,” she said. “I know” I said. She couldn’t hear me and the stress (as stress does) went straight into my legs and I couldn’t stand up any longer. She wouldn’t let me sit on a waiting room chair so I sat on the floor, using my yogic skills so I looked like a gliding goddess sitting down to meditate as opposed to the embaressing collapse, of my time before yoga. I continued talking wth her, taking deep breathes, trying to explain my dilemma. She then got a wooden stool from somewhere and placed it outside on the kerb, by my daughter in the queue, but ON the kerb, “I don’t feel safe there,” I said. “It’s too near the road.” She was angry, and at that point I honestly felt that she would have liked me to have been run over by a bus. I put the stool back by the safe walls of the bank and continued to wait.

This is what is keeping us safe. While we’re all keeping each other safe, our banks, post offices, community spaces, gp surgery’s, mental health services (and don’t get me started on that one) are all closing or reducing services. Try to get your ears syringed? I think this service has gone now on the NHS because they don’t want us to hear. Try to get a dental appointment? I think this service has gone now because they don’t want us to talk, you can’t talk if your teeth have dropped out? Try to get a contraceptive cap taken out? (I’m meno but I know someone who’s been quoted £400 privately) they don’t want us to have babies?! My husband has just come back from Rippon where there is no bank, its a small city, the bank van which usually parks outside the city once a week or so has not been seen since lockdown. When I rang Barclays, in the first instance, they told me that the issue I had, had to be dealt by a real life cashier. We cannot exist online only. It’s not possible. Oh for human contact without fear and anxiety.

I didn’t want to rant on this post but I am struggling with this fast changing world, I knew it was coming, I’ve known for years, but CV19 has made this all happen before we’ve had a chance to even think, process, demonstrate, be equipped for, process mentally. I feel like a prisoner sometimes, but not because I can’t go out, because when I go out, I feel like I’m a nuisance because of my questioning or requests for services or help.

But, onwards and upwards, while I breathe I am still very much alive, even though I’ve got gastroenteritis so I can’t enjoy food or beer right now, oh, poooooor meeeeee … apparantly there’s a lot of it about ….

Tesco Delivery Men bringing plastic I have to have and they won’t take back

A white woman in her fifties stands at a doorway smiling holding a plastic bag as a black tesco delivery man peers in towards the camera also smiling.

I hate all this extra plastic (you can’t receive Tesco delivery shopping any other way now), there is no scientific evidence (and even if there was I’m sceptical as science changes so fast, and each scientist changes their minds, just look into Pasteur and Bechamp), you can’t get a virus from a surface or plastic unless someone has sneezed into the plastic and then you touch the snot and put it in your mouth or another orifice.  Reminds me of when I was dating Steven Dayer, me and a friend, and him and his mate Simon, met in the Wimpy. Simon sneezed and snot landed on the top of my milkshake. I was so excited to be with Steve (I was 15 and he was 18, he is my 14th boyfriend in my book ‘From Essex to London in 101 Boyfriends’, by the way I am rewriting in the present tense, sounds better I reckon…)  I just carried on drinking the milkshake until I was slurping with the straw making that horrible noise that my husband complains about when I’m slurping the ice at the end of a gin and tonic.

Plastic, plastic and more plastic bags, it’s horrible, and as for the masks, I keep seeing them littered everywhere I go, I don’t go many places, there is even a black fabric one outside my house, it’s sinister. I hate it. I am fortunately exempt from wearing a mask, I can have this little hate masking wearing little chat to myself and it doesn’t matter, but I don’t dare bring it up at the dinner table as I am berated by my family for my anti-mask views. My daughter wears her mask with pride, and she is a pretty dab hand at the tarot cards too, something she has been working on since homeschooling. That and dying her hair blue. Oh, and we got her passport back. It was found by immigration at Gatwick, her Dad took her there on the train to get it. There was a bit of a kafuffle because she didn’t have any ID on her, she has grown so much in the last two years she doesn’t look the same.  Anyway, they let her have it on the basis of ‘who would come all the way on the train to Gatwick on one of the hottest days of the year?’.

All this plastic and rubbish reminds me of a poem I wrote when my daughter was a baby. I feel similarly now re getting away, this Monday I’m going to stay in a cabin, rather than a bin, since menopause my girth is a tad wider so I may not fit in a standard bin anymore, having said that, I’m older and shrinking so it might balance itself out.

Did anyone notice the spelling error on my last blog? I spelled eyesore, isaw.  I wished I’d had the dyslexia tests, but, who cares, I reckon anyone reading would have known what I was going on about…

 

My Great Big Green Bin

 

I really enjoyed cleaning out my great big green bin

I used a broom to get out the grime

It’s so big, I’m so small, I nearly fell in

 

Some of my neighbours pay a small company to do it for them

I don’t know how much it costs, it might be £10 a month but that’s not the point

A truck arrives after the refuse collection

But cleaning my bin gives me so much satisfaction

 

Flash, flash, it’s clean in a flash

Flash, flash, it’s clean using Flash

I get inside and stay for a while

My house is full, so is the shed

In the bin it’s quiet as a mouse

Not like the house

 

I went to B & Q to buy a roof light

So I can read in my bin

I’ve never read much

I didn’t go school much

Or go to college

I’ve always been out of touch

 

I’m staying in the bin for as long as I can

I did, but fell asleep and into a dream

A magic carpet that took me back to B & Q

There was a man, looked like my father

I was trying to read the instructions of a power drill

And he shouted “No, no

NO, NOOOOOoooo”

 

I awoke, with a filled nappy bag landing on my head

The morning poo from my baby

I’d been in there all night

My partner thought I’d met Jude Law in the local pub

And decided to stay out

But that, unfortunately, could never happen, again

 

A big sheet of plastic on a kitchen bench

 

No Tesco, too busy having fun at airports

photo of a womn being tested with a swab being inserted into her mouth and screens around her
Covid testing at Corfu airport

…I am in one of the those ‘little boy in the Emporer’s new clothes’ moods where I am screaming “listen all, Covid 19 is a political pandemic, the world has gone mad, don’t be afraid, don’t panic about anything, the more stress and cortisol you reap in your body the more you will be affected by everything, even toothache… don’t be fearful, this is NOT normal what is happening, wearing masks isn’t normal, just stop and think, don’t read the news, don’t listen to the media” but nobody will listen to me anyway, I can carry on, but then I may be attacked and called a ‘nut job’ and I’ll have to accept that with grace. It will take years to repair the psychologial damage of this Politial Pandemic.  Poor Liz, she’s a bit bonkers. So, I will be a nut, doing it’s job and the nut job went on holiday and here is how it went.

To celebrate my shielding advice for 1st August (i.e no longer necessary because the sun turned one day), I took the first flight out of Gatwick at 5.55am.  Ariving in Corfu at 11am. From the half filled plane load, I seemed to be the only one to be dragged off for testing. I don’t think it was a proper test, I asked the Dr not to hurt me and could my daughter take a photo and she did and he didn’t. He just waggled a stick about in my mouth and I never heard anymore about it. At the same time the Dr was waggling, my phone rang. Eager to hear our taxi driver Nikos’s voice, I was surprised to see the call was coming from Turo in Cornwall. I nearly didn’t answer it and then remembered that my son is in Falmouth, he is at uni there, having lots of fun and thinking similarly to me re CV. He also should be writing his CV to get a job, there are jobs in Falmouth apparently as half of Britian are holidaying there.

“I’m okay,” he said, sounding not okay

“I’ve just arrived in Corfu, I’m having a covid test, what’s going on?”

“I couldn’t remember Dad’s number.  I’m in hospital.  I fell off a roof.”

My son is lucky to be a alive, he landed on concrete on his feet, he got away with stitches in his head and a few weeks on crutches (bring on insomnia and dreams of falling off buildings for the entire holiday).  On arrival at our wonderful accomodaton in Pelekas, where I have been staying for over 35 years, we met with old friends. A few hours later of stress and worry and phone calls to many people, and my son’s Dad – we sorted what was to be done. At the point where I thought I could begin to enjoy my holiday, I slipped over water on the floor outside the toilet, re stessing my meniscus scarring which meant I could hardly walk, MS is bad enough, each step is fully meditated and I actually can’t walk wearing a fucking mask, and I can’t hear people either because I lip read a lot, stop Liz, get back to the holiday (I’ve always wondered why I never knew the colour of all my boyfriend’s eyes).

The following morning we decided to hire a car for 3 days (we were only there for 6 because our original flight got cancelled, in cohoot with Covid shielding probably, stop Liz), and just before we went to pick it up, my husband realised he had forgotten his licence. Nondes, who knows us, let him have a scooter to help ferry us all to the beach etc. I had also forgotten how difficult the dynamics between three teenage girls might be.  Ho hum.  And then the storm came down, very unusual for rain in August there.  It passed over and everything dried out and we celebrated Belguim Spiros 50th birthday, his big party had been cancelled, we made up a few numbers.  I don’t know Spiros well but I do now, Pelekas is like that. He bought lots of B52’s.

On a half empty Pelekas beach I was pleased to find Yannis bar (Yannis is about 90 now) was alive and kicking and serving the best and cheapest food and drinks.  His very young wife Sonya was wearing a mask and tending to his poor toe which is doing that overlapping thing, it looked nasty.  The nasty, isaw of a chain hotel the otherside of the beach was closed. Good, lets hope sprouting olive trees disturb its foundations and claim back their space.  I made another new friend who was doing his rehab there.  We’ve been facebook friends for years but I’d never met him.  He was 11 days in and doing well.  More friends were arriving as we were leaving. I was very excited to find that the new bar they have just built in Corfu airport is called Bentley’s. Finally, to top off the holiday in style, at Gatwick, my daughter left her passport on the plane. It is lost and we were the last to get out of Gatwick that night, like Nondes, our very lovely taxi driver, Ahmed, waited for us but berated his boss because he said he really shouldn’t be taking the five of us.

Remember:  Mask mask and Screens screen ….  I need a holiday now.

Here is another poem I wrote when I went to Pelekas the day after my mother’s funeral, Gatwick features in it too, making it even more relevant for this blog.

 

The Lilo of Double Standards

I had a holiday booked when my mother was dying

She had days to live, it was just over a week I was due flying

I rang the funeral directors but they were unable to book

She had to be dead first, but they did have a look

At the diary where a bank holiday appeared

My mother had to die that day

Or I would not get to go away

 

The thunderstorm stopped her heart

Crematorium – Terminal – her depart

Gatwick – North Terminal – my depart

 

Twenty four hours it took to book

My dad with Alzheimer’s got out his check book

My sister was pleased, she had to get back to Wales

To her husband working on the farm

Before he did any self-harm

The funeral went quick and well

I necked back the whiskey and danced til the last bell

The next day I stepped into the Ionian Sea

And grieved on the lilo of double standards

 

 

photo of a sign for a kitchen bar hanging from an airport ceiling
Bentley’s bar comes to Corfu Airport

Waiting for the Tesco Delivery Man – Rejection and Resignation, and trying to find the sense in the Chaos

Liz with Tesco Delivery Man
Liz with lovely Tesco Delivery Man who nearly delivered to the scary house

One of the reasons I love writing this blog for DAO, is that my work is totally accepted. I’m not told it needs structure, or that there have been more than 5 submissions an hour during lockdown. I love that I write and my writing gets published in it’s sometimes chaotic state. There is always so much to learn as a writer, the learning is as painful as my therapy was to get it out in the first place.  I think what I need is a mentor, yes, that is what I need. One who has the time, like my old therapist had, to go through it, the process with me, and make sense of it all, get the disorder into order.  Or is this me just feeling resigned?

What I have learned about the Coronavirus is that I do not resign myself in accepting anything. I disbelieve everything I am told by our media, government or our World Health Organisations. I stay local, I ask my neighbour who is an ICU doctor in St Geroge’s hospital, I observe what is going on in the streets of Peckham, and I listen to my clients stories, they have families worldwide, they tell me about the bigger world. This is what I take in and where I make my judgments, if at all. I am a maverick.

One of the dilemmas of being sometimes ‘choatic’ is that I’m trying not to be but I can’t help but be. This blog is chaotic already, I have moved from writing about writing in an ambiguous way (I am starting to send my work to agents and am beginning to acquire the rejections letters) to writing about the Coronavirus.  When I listen to a story, when I dig a little deeper, the story is so much more complicated, and yet somehow, somewhere, I need to make my story less chaotic, get rid of what is not meaningful. My life’s work as a psychotherapist “whatever you tell me is valuable, whatever you write is right” it is all part of the story, but it is has to be condensed into something that is tangible. That is the hard bit.

One of the things I struggle with as a writer is reading. I am writing books yet I don’t read many. My husband used to joke about it, four years into our relationship he pointed out that I had the same book by the side of my bed from when we had met. Those years were particulary difficult for me. I went on a holiday soon after and re-read the book. I had started it about 20 times. Hanif Kureishi, Something to Tell You, it is about a middle aged therapist.  I am a middle aged therapist, I can now remember nothing other than that about the book. It clearly wasn’t internalised.

What is a book?  What book do you remember?  What books stay in your mind? I worry I am losing my memory. My mother got vascula dementia, my father alzheimers, is it early onset? Sometimes my husband and I decide to watch a film, sometimes ten minutes in we look at each other and wonder whether we have seen the film before, often we have.

Moving on, in my chaotic style, in the photo I am holding some watercress, I am not worried about getting Coronavirus because my homeopath is as good as the Queen and Prince Charle’s one, I am more worried about getting liver flukes from the watercress as I didn’t wash it.  I am notorious about forgetting to wash my veg. Hands yes, veg no.

Here is a poem I made into a song about my father’s Alzeimers.  It goes, la la la la la ,  B minor, 2/4 time.

Ken Dodd’s Dad’s Dog’s Dead

Where’s the dog?
The dog’s dead
Where’s the dog?
The dog’s dead
Where’s the dog?
The dog is dead

Oh yes, he was doing piddles on the kitchen floor
No Dad, he collapsed and couldn’t get up anymore

Where’s your mother?
My mother’s dead
Where’s your mother?
My mother’s dead
Where’s your mother?
My mother is dead

Oh yes, she’s next door making sure their cat is fed
No Dad, she died in a hosital bed

Ken Dodd’s Dad’s Dog’s Dead