Breath Of Life

The life and times of Mr Mark Allen....

Friday, February 25, 2005

Scissor Sisters v Cannock


I went into Cannock today to try and get my phone sorted....I still can't download 'truetones' - those ringtones that sound like real songs...

For the second time the people at the Orange shop couldn't help me....nor could the people at the Orange call centre!

In the end I downloaded a Scissor Sisters track to the Mp3 part of my phone...but we still couldn't turn it into a ringtone...

They suggested I download something from the Orange website onto my computer, attached my phone to the PC and put the Mp3 file into 'my documents'...

If I could get behind the PC to plug my phone into the USB port I would!!!

At least the exercise of walking round Cannock did me good....with all the snow I have been reduced to using an exercise bike for the last couple of days!

I think Gremlins are following me as I my PC kept crashing always does it when I am chatting to someone interesting on MSM!!!

C'est la vie!

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

True tones and shivering badgers


The cold bite is literally taking my breath away….But I have to go out or risk infections festering inside so I am the one shivering outside shops, wandering what excuse I need to go in in the warm one more time!

I had blood tests on Tuesday and everything was normal! At last a part of my body that works as it’s meant to. I saw a badger from my bedroom on the same day…so I think it’s a sign. I was going to go to Cornerstone cafe....but it was too cold to go anywhere but home!

A bizarre thing happened on MSM….Somebody I vaguely knew came on-line and we chatted for a while. Then she became evil! She just comes back with an insult whatever I say to her….I don’t even know who she is now….I think she has me confused with one of her ex’s or something.

So Carlie….I am sending you a big warm hug….I think you need it!

Broadband Hell…I decided to change to Tiscali Broadband because it was the same price as my dial-up…..the kit, software, modem, phone filters all arrived.

I tried to instsall it (with the help of Mr P!) and we kept getting the message the signal was being split….I eventuaqlly downloaded the destruction page and apparently we need an ASDL filter on every phone in the house AND we can’t use a normal phone extension to link the phone socket to the modem,…So we need a new phone socket near the computer or pay a ridiculous amount of money for a special long cable.

Why didn’t they tell me all of this before the stiff arrived and I could have started the ball rolling to get all this sorted!

My on-going battle with Orange took another turn. I have ‘true’ tones on my mobile which apparently allow me to download these realistic tunes. I went onto WAP and I couldn’t find one ‘true’ tone there.

The Orange shop couldn’t help me and I have rang up Orange twice now and got two different solutions, neither work. Back to carrier pigeon.

Well the snow hits Old Blighty and yet again the we can’t cope….We get it every year.......enjoy the beauty of it all! I saw a badger last night shivering....That is not a euphanism!

Music: Still working on that Erasure review for Ciao! + Moby

Friday, February 18, 2005

Colds Days, Brownhills and Newts

How Now Blogerooneys?

It’s been a mixed few days in Mark Mansions….It’s been damn cold out so I haven’t been out much….but if I don’t go out the stuff doesn’t lift from my lungs and I end up up all night hacking my guts up…..vicious circle…

Valentine’s Day was ONE YEAR since I went for my transplant assessment. I went onto the list in March and they told me there was an average wait of three months…ho hum.

There again if one of the false alarms in May or July (where the op was cancelled at the last minute) had gone ahead they wouldn’t have been too far out…

One has to be philosophical and think……they are just waiting for the perfect lungs for my body so I will be perfect and ready to surf and mountain bike again….

But one does lie awake in bed thinking if it will ever come....that chance to be normal not be looked at with pitying glances in Sainsbury's, to work again......I can't understand people not wanting to work! How bored must they get?

I went for a blood test on Tuesday (doctors waiting room full of disease and snotty kids) so thought I would cheer myself up with a visit to the erm..lovingly named Brownhills Market….the site of so many bargains in my youth. I haven’t got that much bigger so it must have shrunk!

All the Sikhs in big jumpers selling jeans seemed to have found other employment…or a more profitable market…It’s half-term, but even the munchkins and rug-rats seemed to stay away. I did get some stuff but for legal reasons cannot say what….

Talking of which I got invited to Mrs P’s house as I was wandering between coffee stands….but her son pooed himself so I was promptly uninvited because she couldn’t get rid of the smell….luuuvvverly image eh?!

The terrible winds blew the gate down at the end of the garden…It’s a fake one that makes it look as though we own the wasteland the other side too. Shhhh don’t tell!

I have been pottering about on the newly-tuned piano….trying out some Beatles and Kinks stuff tonight….all good fun until a note sticks and the momentum disappears…I bet Elton never had this problem!

My French friend Miss N came round on Wednesday….We gossiped about old times..We climbed Ben Nevis together and youth hosteled around Scotland…way back when….We were trying to put years on the memories….was that 96 or 97??? It’s a struggle! We also have a mad mutual friend who happens to be an ex of mine…

In the real world: Ken Livingstone has really put his foot in it hasn’t he….He insults a Jewish journo, claims it was the paper he was insulting (but that didn’t stop Red Ken pocketing £30,000 in two years ‘writing’ ahem ‘food reviews’ for said publication in two years, according to The Times.)

How come only celebrities get that sort of money for doing so little when they need the cash least….The poor reporters on that paper probably work full time for less than £18,000 a year and that included death knocks, unsociable hours and working bank holidays. I know because I have done it!!!

The man keeps lizards though? How much love can you get from a lizard (don’t answer!) so he is probably feeling the strain! BLOKE AT PUB: Why do you call your pet Tiny, Mr Livingstone…?” Ken: “Because it’s my newt”…groan at leisure!!!!

Music: Ian Brown, Green Day

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Honey on Weetabix rocks my world

Wednesday was my outpatients appointment…..They have a good system in Ward 26 in Heartlands, Birmingham, where you stay in one room and the doctors and specialists come to you rather than the other way round…It actually seems to work!

Unfortunately there is no disabled parking anywhere near the ward though so I was exhausted by the time I had walked across the hospital grounds to the appointment…making any tests they do inaccurate.

My blowing tests were actually up and everything else was stable…which was better than I thought…..I only had one form of infection in my sputum too…(Who was the ‘pleasant’ job of testing this stuff?) But the results are always a couple of weeks, or longer, old of course….

All the dieticians were off sick…I think it must have been something they ate! They are all so thin…When I was in hospital one of them asked me if I wanted some snacks….I said yes and she gave me a bag of crisps and chocolates… This is a dietician!!! I am not thin I am 85kg. I am bulky!

I also have CF-related diabetes….This differs from the normal kind in that I don’t have to modify my diet…I can still have sugar in my tea and honey on my Weetabix! Have you ever tried honey on Weetabix….lovely! But still…how sugary are those snacks?

If I am still ‘untransplanted’ in May they (doctor-types) will put me on a course of antibiotics (IVs aaaagh)…..

We got a letter to say Staffordshire General Hospital are looking into the complaints we made against them and are launching an inquiry…. Watch this space! This will be electric. If only I was still working of the Express and Star..

Talking of which I put an article in the Mercury this week about a well-known villager who died recently…and the family rang me up to thank me….

It’s more thanks than the Mercury have ever given me….ungrateful gits! I always used to tip them off first with stories, but I never got thanks…even when they were used on the front page.

Mr T is doing our electrics….Its not Mr T from ‘The A Team’ but a friend whose surname starts with T…I don’t really like putting people’s names on the net….and this afternoon the elecrics were off so mum and I went into Lichfield. BUT how funny would it be if it was Mr T?!!!

I was having a tough afternoon lung-wise so bought the NME and sat in a lovely café drinking ginger tea and watching the world and his wife go by….

I went to a health food shop – yes I get the irony of someone in my condition going into a health food shop! – and bought some nuts and a fruit bar….I got served by a girl with a lovely smile….that kind of this can make one’s day eh? Those of you who know Lichfield know the place and the girl!

So Charles and Camille announced they are to marry….Not many people cheat on their wife for an older woman….So I suppose he must be in love with the old goat!

Watched the NME Awards on TV then worked out Franz Ferdinand’s ‘Take Me Out’ on the piano…..I realised I had most of the music that won….I normally pride myself on NOT having it! Is my taste mellowing or the UK’s taste getting more like mine…

Still Robbie Williams winning the best song I the last 25 years is a travesty! I know he is a Staffordshire lad but please……

Today’s Music: Kraftwerk, Joy Division, Can

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Bad Krishna Transvestite v Mark

Hello Bloggerdeers,

I went to Aldi in Lichfield, because from there it’s a short downhill walk to Tesco (a favourite coffee haunt!) But my trip was prematurely cut short….

A strange Hari Krishna type entered the shop, but he was the HK of the rubbish transvestites in "Little Britain"…He looked seriously freaky and had a face even Pete Doherty would have called pale! (Talking of which, isn't it funny when highbrow papers like The Times talk about youth culture...)

He (the Krishna man, not Peter Doherty!) only had the robes on his bottom half, but wore a normal sweatshirt on top and had long hair….He asked some elderly couple if they knew “him” and pointed at me…then started calling after me saying he could “help” me….

I hid in a queue, then left when I thought he wouldn’t see me….narrow escape. I always seem to attract the strange types….hmmm perhaps they see a kindred soul..

Anyway….I got back and it was time for my computer class…I finished my ECDL in the summer and am now doing Clait Plus…damn challenging due to the four hour exams with only three errors allowed per module…..It seemed to drag…or was I just thinking of the strange man I didn’t meet earlier…I am working through making cluster graphs with mathematical formulae. It is exercise for the brain but SO DAMN BORING!

No sooner had I done a set of nebulisers and the breathing exercises, had something to eat when my friend Mr P came round with a Moby DVD got me and a CD of a band he saw in Prague……

I am well behind in my listening…am now listening to REM’s last album, yes I know it’s SO 30-something to get something from REM but I challenge anyone not to be moved by past gloried such as "Everybody Hurts".

Unfortunately there is nothing so great on this one, but I think its going to be one of those years this year. (Oh Happy New Year to any Chinese folk out there for tomorrow!)

I got Erasure’s latest album last week and at the moment I am waiting for it to give me something. I bought all three versions of Erasure's last single Breathe…I can’t work out if that is obsessive, mad, sad or just comforting. Bands like Erasure and REM can always be relied on to make comforting albums...

It’s a hospital outpatients appointment tomorrow. Which means putting everything I need for Newcastle if I get the transplant call IN the car, because if we get the call while I am at my outpatients in Brum by uncle will drive our car up to the North East….I have to do this everytime I got more than 30 minutes from home….which means I rarely do….

Anyway the hospital always gets me nervous, my sugar levels are all over the place today and I haven’t slept well….may take a painkiller tonight to actually have the energy for clearing my lungs at 7.30am and recovering in time to hit the road at about 9am…...Wish me luck and pray I don't dream of transvestite Hari Krishna men!

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Disabled v Mother and Child

Hiya Blogerettes!

We went to that Sainsbury's at Cannock's Orbital centre today, chauffeured by my mum, as I can't drive again until after my transplant - bah! - and being cold and miserable (or despite it being cold and miserable) all the disabled parking spaces were taken near the entrance...

There were however some mother and child spaces still available....So, as I can't walk far with my oxygen cylinder over my shoulder, we parked in one of those...

A 4X4 "Chelsea Tractor" pulled up next to me with a posh looking 40-something driving and her two five-or-sex-year-old brats screaming at each other....

She took a look at us and said: "Do you know these are mother and child spaces only?"

I took a look at her and said: "I didn't choose to be dying...But you chose to have those brats...Who are big and ugly enough to walk more than 10 yards to the supermarket.."

Ok so I overrated the melodrama for her benefit (and for yours!) but you get the idea...

She stormed off muttering something under her breath....And I felt 10 foot tall...!

I bet they live five minutes from school but still drops them off in that "thing"...LOL...Obesity beckons.

Seriously...Am I right?

Anyway....they have forecast a very cold night in Old Blighty....down to -10c in some time for a hot bath....Ciao! xxx

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

National Incapacity Scroungers

Hiya Blogheads! I'm knackered.....But its been a week since my last hospitalisation and my body is still not emitting any nastiness (apart from the normal!)

I spent a good proportion of the night coughing. But there was no blood or guts therein! Hurrah!

Anyway....I am nursing an aching head...My second nebuliser of the morning (Taurolin) goes in a mask which makes me look and sound like Darth Vader.....I had set it all up and it fell apart.

This caused me to snap and throw the neb pots at the machine, of course they rebounded and hit me on the head.....There is a lesson in there somewhere.

After a trip to the building society to keep my finances up to date (alwayss a chore) I listened to a debate on the radio about Incapacity Benefit.

What nobody seems to mention is that those of use who have lived abroad come home to find all our National Insurance contributions are re-set at zero so we can't get Incapacity Benefit! This goes for Jobseekers Allowance too.

I was told that despite having paid all my UK taxes for years when I was a journalist it all counts for nothing when I want to claim.

I went to a cafe in Burntwood and heard two women talking about how ill they were and the I.B they were claiming.....They were walking around without oxygen damn. How ill can they be?

I bet they haven't paid as much tax as me....They aren't abandoned by the State....Tony Blair knows his constituents...

I have a friend who has had mental health problems... She now works and gets more I.C Benefit than her first year of claiming....

I wrote to my local who told me there were no plans to change the law in my favour....

Perhaps I should have come in as an illegal immigrant...They seem to get everything paid for until their case is heard....

I wonder if I would enjoy the same courtesy if I turned up in Turkey?

Anyway.....My ex's step dad is coming round later to take me for a drink.....It my first time in a smokey atmosphere for weeks so may just go for an hour to get stuff off my chest! (literally!)

A bientot