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

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

I was out when Tesco Delivery came and home schooling ends

Front cover the DVD of Eraserhead, a white man with wild eyes and very tall hair
DVD Eraserhead

I was out when Tesco came last, my husband received the Delivery Man and put the shopping away. He did it really well, I could find everything and there wasn’t any wierd food in wierd places.  I found carrots in the freezer recently. We are all very busy and very stressed and anxious at times and do wierd things. I can’t find my glasses when they are on my head and I put my door keys in the fridge. I often get to the top of the stairs and wonder what I’m doing there. This is all normal.

Last night we watched my all-time favourite film, David Lynch’s ‘Eraserhead’.  I hadn’t watched it for a long time but had bought the DVD at some point when I knew I would want to watch it again.  We sat down with our 3 girls and put the blinds down. By the end of the film, only our 16-year-old remained on the sofa.  “That was the wierdest film ever” she said. In the morning one of our 14-year-olds asked me what had happened in the end.

I watched Eraserhead for the first time when I was about 17. It put me off quails for life. I cannot describe the film, you have to watch it. When I first got pregnant I had nightmares that I would have an Eraserhead baby, my unconscious deciding that I could only produce a monster.  When I was diagnosed with MS everyone wrote me off in the ‘having kids’ department. My Dad told me that he knew a woman with MS and she was happy with no kids, or a husband.

20 years ago, just before my first pregnancy, I began writing a novel called FERTILE. I sent it to about six agents. One agent asked to see the full book, I finished it quickly and sent it back to her. Her comments were:

“It is too personal and has too many descriptions of bodily functions for my taste.”

I took one of the chapters of FERTILE to an open mic spoken word poetry night, people laughed. That’s how my sit-down comedy began.

I have returned to FERTILE to re-edit the book, after 20 years. It is a book that has been under the bed, waiting for the right time to come out. Now, we can be more personal and bodily functions are all the rage, even though we have to wear masks to keep some of the more infected ones at bay.

I have written a letter to agents, after my next edit over the summer when I take time out from work, I shall send out to about 666, and collect the rejection letters. I kind of get a kick out of being rejected, that is the masochist in me. I know my writing is good enough, so it doesn’t matter, it is all subject to taste. If my favourite film is Eraserhead, it is befitting that my writing could be the weirdest you’ve ever read.

Hooray, homeschooling is nearly over and my carpenter husband is back working in his workshop and has just come home.

 

Today I got my spirit level

With my sliding bevel

I screwed in with the impact driver

Today the random orbital sander

Came in handier

Than the scraper

And the stud detector wasn’t sure

Whether to use the circular or the Japanese saw

 

My cordless drill, will with the offset chuck

And the moisture meter will tell me

If you are ready to fuck

Tonight

 

Whether you wear the PVA or the PU glue

With my forstner bit I will screw driver you

We can have a bit of fun

With the pincers, moll grips and the

No nonsense foam applicator gun

 

And if the sash or G-clamp gets too much

I’ll use the Vernier gauge and edge with the edge

bander

1\4 inch or 1/2 inch router

And belt sander

 

Now it’s time for a biscuit

Joiner and count my chisels

 

Tomorrow I’ll get onto the woodturning lathe

And mortisser (which is not set up yet)

And have a go with the bastard file

Though this is crossing a line

And verging on metal work

 

It’s time for bed

With my long nose plyers

Quick check in the mirror

At the pillar, drill

And reciprocating saw

And laminate trimmer

 

P.S. When I saw Eraserhead, first time, I remember my boyfriend’s Mum (at the time), sat on the sofa, trying to get off with one of his mates…

 

A birthday, a funeral, and a Tesco Delivery Man

Last week I performed an ‘Artist Presentation’ for DAO. Here is the link if you weren’t able to join me live.

Thank you to all who were there and asked questions. If there are any unanswered questions, please do comment below and I will answer.

On my birthday, the following day after the presentation, I went to a family funeral in Southampton. My sister stayed with me, she drove up from Wales. The fear of the virus is more prevalent where she lives, despite the fact there have been no cases in Ceredigion.  Her peers and colleagues were shocked that she would drive to Peckham and then to Southampton.  They, in fear of her bringing back the plague, but she is a key worker, she is needed to work, as more in fear are furloughed, isolating.

A white woman standing at a door while a black Tesco delivery man brings crates of shopping to it
Liz and all the plastic with Tesco Delivery Man

The Crematorium bouncers allowed 18 of us in, my husband was no 19, but he sneaked in, I was fortunate I could be with him. The chairs were spread so my sister couldn’t sit with us.  After the beautiful and honest ceremony, our family hugged, we could not do it without hugging.

So, now, I am another year older, 56, that’s older. I never expected to live till I was past 25. I had a suicide pact when I was 16 with one of my boyfriends that at age 25, we would kill ourselves. We decided that being an adult with responsibilities was boring. We did not know at that time our brains would change and these feeling would subside, most of the time.

Our beloved Kay’s feelings of suicide did not subside, although she died of cancer, her fight for what is right in the treatment of child abuse, kept going. She was a mighty strong woman to have survived so well. She was beautiful, inside and out.  When she was well, she would care for others in voluntary settings, of course she would understand.  I am so happy I spent the new year and my last birthday with her and my cousin.

RIP Kay

What is a conspiratorialist?

I am.

Lock up and hide.

Social distancing divide

And conquer

Fear and more fear

We are all infected. We all have pieces of the virus in us. The fear compartment of the virus within us will make us take a vaccine. But what will be injecting ourselves with?

Coming soon, Covid 19.2, to a town near you

Dependency on a socialised system.  Controlled, over everything.

The media

Trump, the most powerful man in the world.

Chlorinated chicken.

And here is a poem about turkeys and being socially correct, it is always a worry to me. I never want to offend. It is about Christmas too, that is Perverse because we are the furthest, we could be from Christmas and yet it looms as the earth circles the sun each day. Or does the sun circle the earth. I am no scientist. Does it matter?

PC Turkey Lurkey

Turkey lurking in the freezer

Friends with children over for tea

“I’ll get the ice-cream,” says a mum

“No!” I shout, “I’ll get it, don’t look in there”

Nobody must see

Except you and me

Bernard Matthews has a nice smile

But his voice is sinister like a paedophile

No its not, that’s a terrible thing to say

He’s probably a really nice man and gay

No, I can’t say that

He’s just a nice man who’s into poultry

 

Tesco bigger and better plastic bags
Covid and more and more plastic

 

 

 

 

 

Husband Rupert assisting Tesco Delivery Man

A white bald man stands at a doorway as another white bald man in a tesco delivery uniform stands on the other side with crates of shopping
Husband assisting Tesco Delivery Man

Here is a photo of my husband with the Tesco Delivery Man, in theory, as I am home shielding, I shouldn’t have been sleeping in the same bed as him, or enjoying baths together, or indeed eating together, for however many weeks it has been.

Lord Baden Powell’s statue has come down.  My dad would be turning in his grave if his ashes hadn’t been thrown off Southend Pier.  My mother’s ashes were thrown off Cromer pier where we used to go on holidays. My sister and I hoped that if they wanted to be together, they’d merge somewhere along the English Channel and the North Sea.

My parents lived for Scouting. As adults they became members of a Methodist church Scout guild and they remained members throughout their lives.  Both my parents helped produce Scout Gang Shows and my father was the store’s manager every four years when 2,500 Scouts, from all over the world, descended on Belchamps, in Hockley, for the Essex Scout Jamboree. The 1980 Jamboree is documented in my blog ‘From Essex to London in 101 boyfriends’ (it is now a book called ‘Jigsaw’ which will be published soon, I hope, well, in the next two years).

As for Baden Powell and Hitler, one night I was performing at a cabaret night, wearing my Brownie Uniform (it still fits) at an Edinburgh Fringe venue (my shows were daytime and in the evenings I guested at various comedy and cabaret nights).

“You look like Hitler Youth” someone said as I got up on stage.  On researching the link between Baden Powel and Hitler, it turns out that Scout groups did join up with Hitler Youth for camping trips etc. There was a play written by Glenn Chandler and put on at Edinburgh Fringe last year, “Baden-Powell instigated it. He was fooled by Hitler, who he thought was fighting communists”. Glenn Chandler says about his play “The Good Scout”.

We are all fighting the ‘Virus’, well we think we’re fighting the virus. The virus is part of nature, we are fighting much, much, more under the surface.

Perhaps the statue could be left up, with another two built either side, one of a the “Good Boy Scout” and one of a “Hitler Youth” boy, two vulnerable children with two very different ‘fathers’.

This blog is not as long or polished as the others because I am working on my artist presentation.  Keep the time in your diary free, 24th June 3pm, Facebook live! With a Q and A. Can’t wait, I have a surprise guest appearance.

 

Here is a poem about one of the many boyfriends I had at the 1980 Essex International Jamboree.  Just me and a friend were helping my father dole out the food to the 2,500 scouts.  We were the only girls camping there.

 

Austrian Boy Scouts

 

Korben Rupert

Lovely

 

 

Liz Bentley photographing Tesco Delivery Man, no selfie as was in a bikini

 

Tesco Delivery Man and Van

I didn’t take a photo of me this time. I was sunbathing on our Peckham Patio in my bikini. When Tesco delivery man arrived I couldn’t find my clothes, just like Barbara Windsor in the Carry on films, but I’m older than she was when she did that sort of thing.  So I let the man in, then flustered around hopelessly looking for my shorts. He came into the house and brought all the shopping in, he was a fearless Tesco Delivery Man, and rather lovely, as they all are.

I’m doing dry June. I’m bored of alcohol and lockdown and lockdown and alcohol, I’m bored of so much right now and struggling to express my feelings because everyone is feeling so different so much of the time and I am concerned I may offend, be taken the wrong way. And frustrated, upset, angry about so much.  We all have our family crises inside and outside of our lockdown situations. The ism’s are bigger than ever, if we are prone to OCD, the OCD is ever more present, if we are prone to denial, we will be in denial, if we are an abuser, we will abuse more and doors are closed tighter. A loved one is in ICU, not for CV, but for years and years of being a ‘number’ in the mental health system, drugs more drugs and more drugs, rotting her consciousness and everything else including her body ignored, drugs will shut you up, but destroy you, slowly, and now they are.

I remember performing at a  ‘hearing voices’ conference years ago at the Welcome centre with Dolly Sen. I will never forget the chorus from the audience “We want our voices heard”, not dumbed down. A voice is so real to me and I hear it echoing from the ICU.  It’s not fair and it never will be.

My 92 year old uncle Peter always says “there is no such thing as a problem, just a solution” yet during our last phone call he resited this:

“It’s the rich wot get the pleasure

The poor wot get the blame (and the pain (my addition))

It’s the same the whole world over

Ain’t it a bloody shame”

 

To find a solution to any of the feelings I have re all this world change feels impossble. Another reason to cut out my alcohol drinking, I need to have the clearest head possible, and I’m preparing for a 30 minute artist presentation for DOA, to be aired on 24th June at 3pm.  To be given this opportunity fills me with love for DAO and the organisations who have helped me to create and keep me sane. I want the presentation to be brilliant! Liz Bentley brilliant, that means, raw, honest and perverse.  Here is a new poem, but before, how the fuck are car showrooms so important to open sooner, and how the fuck did this government pass a LAW that having sex with someone from a different household is now illegal? A law.

 

The Gaze I Crave

 

I didn’t want masks, to mask

I didn’t want sreens to screen

I didn’t want Brexit

I didn’t want, I never wanted a Tory government

I didn’t want my kids education to be interruped

(How the fuck does my son do a popular music degree online?)

I didn’t want to homeschool my daughter (she’s at the age of trying to separate from me, I’m the last person she wants in her face over her studies)

I didn’t want computers, I remember when the first computers came into the office I worked in

I didn’t want them, I didn’t want the training to learn how to use them (see certificate)

The Gaze I craved was gone and my 45wpm typing speed didn’t matter anymore

 

I didn’t want the internet, I didn’t want internet porn

One of my boyfriends got it first so I went into a chat room

It excited then disturbed me

I didn’t want mobile phones

My best friend who I met on a nudist beach in Greece, she lives in Cambridge, I met her in the early 80’s, when we were in our early 20’s. We kept in touch in a more intimate way than on Facebook posts

I so so so so did not want the internet

I did not want to have to remember passwords, maybe one would be ok, like that of a secret diary, but not a book full of numbers, letters, higher case, lower case, pound sign, star, & ….. I didn’t want an Email address

I didn’t want to be a number

I am a number

The home shielding team rang and said “How are you?”

I said “Are you really asking me how I am? Do you really want to know how I am”

“What’s you gp’s address?” They said

I am a number

A human

No, I am a number

The gaze I craved has gone

 

my first and only computer certificate 1983
‘this report is based on factors observed in class and should not be taken as a prediction of future performances’

 

 

Liz Bentley anti-social distancing with the Tesco Delivery Man

 

Liz Bentley antisocial distancing with the Tesco Delivery Man

 

Apart from this week being horrendous, and my worse lockdown week ever, some thoughts have emerged about the past and the present.  Many psychotherapists are working very much in the present, and so am I, to an extent. However, while some of us have been going through our old photos, I have also been immersed in the phenomena that is nostalgia, and remembering how we are all unique in our thinking and experiencing of past events, particularly from childhood.

I have joined a new Facebook group, set up for us oldies living (or having lived) in my home town of Rayleigh in Essex.  I have been having great fun, posting pictures, reading anecdotes and coming across old school friends etc. There’s the fun, now here’s the darker side to this nostalgia.

I didn’t read the posts mentioned, but there was clearly some accusation of teachers being abusers, which had to be stopped, i.e. people naming and shaming, not on, but to me, it hi lighted again the abuse in the 70’s, the Saville years, and how much of it went on, like it was okay. What was encouraging about the Facebook group was that friends were able to at least discuss the dilemma, as opposed to remembering ‘just’ the good old bits like the chocolate blamonge and marbles.

I am curious to see if any of the three girls that beat me up on Charles and Diana, royal wedding day will appear in any of the feeds, they are likely to have different surnames, and strangely I remember those more than their first names, but I remember the main girl, the ringleader. What will I do if they are on there? Do I ask whether they remember the day when ….?

I have already been connected with one of my oldest best friend and an old boyfriend (Yes, one of the 101), he wondered whether I remembered him, of course I remembered him, I remember them all, I have anecdotes with him, some in my book under a psyeudenum). Then I worried that I’d been nice to him back then, I think I was, I must have been because otherwise he wouldn’t have made himself known, I guess. I was so troubled back then, still am when the going gets tough, but years of therapy have given me everything I have now.

I wrote my ‘Thank you Universe’ and it is published in my 2nd poetry anthology, ‘£500 a line and other poems’. That assault from those girls was never forgotten by me, forgiven yes, but it fucking hurt. Neither was the inappropriateness of my flute teacher, it was disgusting, and he was called Mr Long, but what was going on at home was just as bad, it follows you around …… difficult to shake off, like a virus.

Here is the poem, I am still thanking the Universe for everything I have, but there is still room for feeling disgruntled, upset, worried, anxious, angry, jealous, shamed, guilty, all those normal human feelings. The world is bi polar but we don’t have to adhere to that label. (p.s. I don’t have a Vauxhall Zafira anymore and I was a big fan of Jeremy Irons before he did that worrying interview and Mr Long didn’t work at my school, he worked in the Saturday morning music school at Dene’s)

Thank You Universe

Thank you universe for those beautiful hand embroidered pictures that auntie Brenda made last Christmas that I forgot to thank her for.

Thank you universe for our times of celebration, Christmas, New Year, Easter, Divali, all those wonderful bank holidays when we get together with our families.  Thank you for the happiness and great joy it brings to us all.

Thank you universe for the amazing gift of life, Jesus’s life, Jeremy Iron’s life – all life. Thank you to my mother and father for bringing me into this life.

Thank you for the wonderful education I had, without which, I wouldn’t have been told recently how unique my ignorance is.

Thank you for the joy of love, sex and sexually transmitted diseases that gave my sister and I something in common.

Thank you for my boyfriend Mark Sidnell for not walking me home from the pub on 29th July 1981 so that Janet Bloomfield could beat me up in confidence so I will never forget the date when Charles and Diana got married which often comes up in pub quizzes.

Thank you Auntie Brenda for never taking me to France like you promised because I eventually went to Paris via the Channel tunnel instead of a crappy old boat trip to Calais

Thank you princess Diana for dieing on 31st August 1997 and making my day trip to Paris so much more exciting and memorable and making me want to thank Auntie Brenda even more.

Thank you Janet Bloomfield for apologizing for beating me up because you got the wrong person and thank you to my mother for giving me her passive-aggressive genes so I would forgive Janet Bloomfield but suppress my anger that then made my legs numb and my eyes blurred.

Thank you Dr Bari for diagnosing these symptoms as multiple sclerosis, without which I would not be driving my brand new motorbility Vauxhall Zafira 2.2 with air conditioning and power steering, complete with the blue badge for parking, the freedom pass and exemption from the congestion charge.

Thank you Ronald Mac Donald for providing me with soft white toilet paper for all the years I was unemployed and thank you Ronald Mac Donald for putting locks on your toilet roll holders, giving me the incentive to look for a job.

Thank you to my old flute teacher Mr Long (a short man who abused me at school), without him I would never have gone into therapy, psychoanalysed my MS symptoms away and found a career in therapy and thank you to all the other Mr Longs out there who keep me in employment.

And lastly, thank you universe for the Rasta Father Christmas’s that can occasionally be seen inside a whole peanut if you look really closely.