Breath Of Life

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

Friday, April 29, 2005

TV Dave, Pommy Johnson and the 'Cash 'n' Curry'

First news. The TV crew are coming to film my outpatients appointment on Wednesday and staying with me for the day, so will be 'socialising' in the PG for them to film too!

It was a friend’s b’day on Wednesday - curry time - but my preperation shave to start early. I have to time all my medication so I won’t have any to do in the evening.

I also went to the supermarket, a little exercise, not too much leaving me whacked for tonight but a little to bring some stuff up so I don’t end up coughing all night.

After a set of nebulisers about 5pm I did my insulin slightly early and checked my sugar levels, they were a little low so had a muesli bar and some Italian bread.

I filled up two oxygen cylinders, one for the car and one to take with me. I could use one in the car so I had a complete full one to go to the curry house.

There is nothing more self-conscious than me with two cylinders over my back looking like Jacque Cousteau!

Mum had a meeting. I am having to rely on her to take me everywhere as I can’t drive attached to oxygen as the cylinder has to be kept upright and I have to be in control.

She picked me and my friend up and we headed to the restaurant. It was a chilly night (in more ways than one - bad joke to curry favour with readers?!) It was a steep flight on stairs up and I was out of breath by the time I got up…..

I enjoyed the evening, but was constantly checking my O2 levels, especially as the food seemed to take ages. But it was worth it, great meal.

I chose the Lamb Balti because the ingredients to the balti dishes read like a health food book, garlic, ginger, herbs, spices (I reckon a balti is part of a balanced rounded diet and cumin is meant to be especially good for CF patients) But its all important to keep healthy as possible to give the transplant as good a chance as possible to work.

I wasn’t too sure about the nutritional value of the multi-coloured rice and tikka naam I shared with Mr P though! Or the blond(e) hair I found in the mango chutney. Since all the staff were of Bangladeshi origin I summised it must be Labrador!

Our side of the table also swore we saw part of the kitchen on fire…

The bloke on my left was very funny. He got camper as he got drunker. After a bottle of wine to himself he ended up like Julian Clary. I was amused. He was entertaining.

There was also quiz-whizz TV Dave (who is so-called because of his love of vintage TV and not cross-dressing - Apparently he is now to be known as digital Dave!)

The others included a lady who looked way to young to have a daughter of 13, and three other friends of Mr P, who were at the other end of the table and I didn’t really chat to. They seemed nice though...

I called mum to give me a lift back at about 9.45pm…we had paid the bill and were just chatting. It was heaven to get into the cold, even though the cold air winds me.

I noticed the warm hand towels were from a place called 'Cash 'n' Curry' (well it amused me!)

When our lift came I change back on the other oxygen…I had little or no voice left by then and my throat was hoarser than an donkey’s yawn but I felt good I had socialised without too many ill effects.

I did my nebulisers and took my drugs when I came in….before my late-night physio session….I took a hot ginger with honey to bed and started reading a book about Angels.

It takes the Christian, Jewish, Islamic and folk version of angels and examines the scriptures behind them….Kabbalists, like Madonna and Britney are big angel fans apparently…

Bizarely a woman on Richard and Judy yesterday said we all have guardian angels. One of the signs of these are the finding of a dove’s feather

When mum and dad came over to Korea because doctors didn’t think I would last the weekend, mum found a dove’s feather in the airport.

The next time they called the hospital I had started to fight back! Ho hum eh? Makes one think!

Bizarre Aussie factof the day one: Aussie comic Pommy Johnson, who I met at a comedy festival in Melbourne in 2000 (Espy Pub, St Kilda) plays a gig on Thursday in Lichfield’s George Hotel. It's a pity I won't really be up to going.

Bizarre Aussie fact of the day two: My sexy friend Naomi - look on for a piccie of her - e-mailed to say she has booked her flights to come and see me in December! Yippee. She rocks! I just hope I am all operated on by then and can show her round...She is flying into London? What is it about London? lol

Don't know if this pic will upload......

Hugs to one and all!

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Dropped PCs and More TV than Mp3!


Welcome to more of my humble mutterings on nothing in particular.

I got the CD back today I sent to Australia before Christmas - with the wrong address - God bless the Royal Mail.

This is the same Royal Mail (Parcel Force) that delivered a computer given to me by Mrs W-B, that had obviously been droppped from a great height.

Luckily a family friend Mr D (who basically invented the computer system on the London Underground) put it back together again Humpty Dumpty style.

Mum and I have been putting a letter together in support of the design we want on Dad's headstone.....It is taking ages of re-wording and changing...everyhing must be totally right.

A headstone will be there for centuries and is often the only surviving item dedicated to someone for future generations to see. It took mum ages to word it. Now we have to make sure the Masonic image is accepted by the Diocese.

I don't think there will be a problem as Masons meet for services in Lichfield Cathedral!

It turns out The St George's Day do (that was held this year for CF - in memory of dad who started the event two years ago) and G.O.S.H was spnsored by the we should get some of the ticket price back for the charities.

I will keep you posted on this one as we only made £90 - to be divided between the causes - on the raffle...and all the pub did was provide the food (for £16 a head!)

The BBC TV people say they are interested in filming my hospital visit next Wednesday (4th) so WATCH THIS SPACE....

Their colleagues at BBC WM by contrast cannot seem to decide what they want from me.

I did them a set of Mp3 diaries, which were edited by Mr M into bite-size chunks...They only used one since my interview. But now want some more....

What I can't understand is why they want more when they haven't used what I gave them the first time yet....There is nothing there that isn't relevant now.

It's like someone asking for more gravy - having no intention of finishing what is on their plate (or something like that!)

I am continuing with my web design at Lichfield College.....but no-one seems to be able to help me if I get

I am off to Mr P's 43rd b'day do will fill you in on any gossip there gained! I am a little worred as the stairs to the curry house are steep....and probably littered with naan!

Fingers crossed but we MAY have sold the some folk musicians. A deposit has been paid...but lets not count our chickens, tempt fate or do any of the other things we can't do.....

Huggles and snuggles xxxxxx

Music: Rufus Wainwright, Basement Jaxx, Daftpunk

Sunday, April 24, 2005

St George and the Ghostbusters

Hiya Blogettes,

Sorry for my lack of scribblings this week but we have had visitors most days...J and B came early in the week (lovely sweater - he he) and Mr and Mrs D Thursday to Sunday.

I took refuge from all the blanket Papal coverage on TV to go to Lichfield, where I got rained and hailed that some divine comedy?

I found myself pressed to the wall at Dr Johnson's Birthplace Museum to avoid the downpour, much to the humour of the staff at Holland and Barratt!

Spent great night in 'the doghouse' with Mr S....He makes a mean meat sandwich too (no that's not an euphonism!) He even has a real dog, who stayed in the house...irony lost on a Staffordshire Bull Terrier..

Mr S once held a mic on stage for Ozzy cool is that? Answer = very.

It was the St George's Day party at the Park Gate this Saturday...lots of food and drink was scoffed and the great man toasted many a time.

A big hello to the people from Hull (Hell? Hole?) who came along after seeing their side getting thumped by Walsall!

There seems to be a new waitress at the PG...always a bonus. I wondered why Mr W and his brother-in-law were facing towards the bar when I found them!

I got a call on Friday from a lady who is a real life Ghostbuster and has found Cannock Wood (our little village) is on a pshychic fault-line...How Buffy-esque is that?

They have discovered working windmill noises at the disused windmill and strange lights in the village hall among other thing....

I have put a little bit in this week's Mercury about it but want to do a feature on these people. Talking of the Mercury they finally gave a good show to the pavilion story and printed a pic of mum and I next to my story.

Unfortunately we didn't get a Mercury delivered.....I went in to complain and despite doing the village news for free and NOT having one delivered had to pay for my copy! Go figure.

But the strangest thing happened tonight. I tried to go on the paranormal investigators' website and it crashed my computer....spooky or what?!

It was great to see Mr and Mrs B and young Jessica on Saturday afternoon....We all go back a long way, apart from Jessica as she is just a little 'un!

Mrs B is the oldest of a line of sisters. They always seemed to have visitors on Sunday lunchtimes! Spot a pattern? Happy days....

Oh What A World We Live In - so sang Rufus Wainwright...and he's damn right (see my review at

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Countdown to IV-hell

It's less than a month before I will be prisoner of my next set of IV antibiotics, which mean, with my 4X a day nebs, physiotherapy, IVs, tablets, injections and potions I don’t really get much time to do anything except medicate myself.

Monday I had an ENT appointment in Heartlands, Birmingham. I never sleep before a hospital appointment. My SATS, blood sugars and even the condition of my skin and hair go haywire in the run up to one.

Mum had to pack the car full of oxygen containers, overnight bags and a couple of days worth of nebulisers and other medication in case we got the call and had to go to Newcastle straight from Birmingham….It has happened before…to me!

My consultant sprayed asaesthetic stuff up my nostrils and then put a probe up my nose and down past my tonsils to have a look at my trachea…Its not very pleasant but not too bad as although awake one is numb.

I did cough a little blood out later. But I was not too worried. My body doesn’t react kindly to being prodded with long tubes from the inside! I was also very tense.

I hate hospital days. I am just paranoid of them finding something awful, or catching something awful from the gauntlet of immigrants you run going through outpatients.

I may sound xenophobic or paranoid. But its not without good reason. I have been on a bed next to someone with T.B….and this is Birmingham not Calcutta!

If I caught something like that it would be lethal for me. I haven’t got the defences against it. There should be more stringent testing on arrival in the UK and that definitely should include a basic English language test for would-be doctors.

Anyway….that over with we went to ASDA in Minworth…It’s nice and large and I bought some vest tops for the summer. They come up quite close to the neck. I like.

I have spent three evenings this week at computer class. I needed to do my Presentation Graphics exam for CLAIT PLUS but there was no assessment time available for Monday evenings so I went and practiced and did the exam Tuesday and Wednesday.

I have finished the modules I need now, but am going to do Website Design for fun (!) anyway. I may need it if I fail one of the other components!

I went to the Express and Star and ordered some copies of the photo of Dad’s plaque that went in the paper last week…I bumped into one of the reporters there and had a good chat.

I saw a really fat man putting up Labour Party banners in Burntwood. I guess Tony's cronies aren’t so sleek now are they. Perhaps he overdid Jamie's dinners!

Talking of politics...I see Michael Fabricant has been publicising the organ donor register...I would vote for him, but he's not in my constituency. Seeing how Birmingham do their postal ballot papers that doesn't seem to matter!

Can you believe that when I did my news round up last Blog I forgot about the General Election….Britain splits into two until May 5, the fanatical and the apathetic.

Can I say hi to Miss Chartaud who reads this Blog regularly. (Gosh I sound like a commercial redio DJ!) I love the forwards she sends me, especially trying to translate them without cheating (using the Google disctionary.)

I put a little piece on the Natalie Imbruglia album on Ciao if you want to take a look...Sorry Nat. I know I went travelling with your sister but I don't really like your new album!

Good luck with the DJ-ing Matt....I hope the crowd enjoy Guru Josh and The Inspiral Carpets!

My achievement of the week.....entering a team in the Daily Telegraph fantasy cricket league...

More news on the radio/TV stuff asap. Watch this space!

Music: QOTSA, Cake, The Futureheads

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Popes and Rainbows


What a week eh? Pope dies, Pope buried, Longbridge goes bust, Charles gets married, Grand National run and won (yey!) and you get to read my blog.....does it get much busier?

After the re-enactment of the plaque dedication ceremony for Dad on Tuesday is was in the Express and Star on Wednesday and The Post on Thursday....

Bizarrely it was not in the Mercury or The Chronicle, despite me doing a weekly piece for The Mercury and the Chronicle calling me up about the story...ho hum

I must be losing my media touch....

The BBC Claire didn't get my e-mail until after the event. That will teach me to be lazy and not use the phone! Note to self - *be proactive!*

I would put links to the stories, but when I do that it seems to totally mess-up the layout of the blog.

Anyone who can explain why and a solution or wants me to forward the scanned copy of the story, please e-mail me!

(It's a damn arty picture in the Star, but my head looks strange...perhaps I look like that?!!!)

There's a lot of village politics over who was invited to the ceremony (or more like who wasn't)...Luckily I didn't arrange the (lack of) guest list...NOT GUILTY Y'HONOUR!

Anyway, I had a nice evening as I got a call from a friend who I hadn't heard from in months and its always nice when that happens isn't it?

It snowed and hailed on that meant to happen in April?

I got a Sex Pistols and a Nelly Furtado album out from the library...I love the Sid Vicious verosn of My Way which is played in the trailors for Cassanova at the moment...

I hit Brownhills market on Saturday (and the wind hit me!) and came back with six albums, including QOTSA, Daft Punk, Athlete and Basement Jaxx. So my musical cup runethover!

My novelty purchases for the day were an Inspiral Carpets CD single (which will be heading Matt's way in some form soon!) and some St George's Day cards.

I had dinner at Mr and Mrs S's house (the Victoria from 'a tale of two Vickies') She told me our old office in Stafford has taken on loads more reporters, a features writer and sub....I only hope they can find enough stories to keep them busy.

*Did anyone see the double rainbow on Wednesday evening?.....It was the only time I saw something beautiful when leaving Lichfield College!

*We won on the National, but also picked three donkeys so probably haven't gained much!

*If you go into Holland and Barrett in Lichfield say hello to Miss J!

Music: Rufus Wainwright

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

New Pavilion dedicated to my Dad

Sunday was a bit of a momentous day….the new cricket pavilion was opened and I unveiled a lovely plaque in Dad’s memory and cut a ribbon…very D-list celeb eh?

I expect he’s up there chatting to the pope, smoking his cigar and saying “I bet you haven’t had a cricket pavilion dedicated to you!” before launching into a joke involving a choirboy, a priest and a nun (erm….probably!)

Mum and I went down to the field (she had baked a cricket cake) and the ceremony took place before the game, we were both given honourary membership of CWCC, then I went to the pub with the usual suspects.

They are planning a St George’s Day event at the Park Gate Inn, again with Dad in mind, as he organised last year’s celebration, dressed as St George in his Knights Templar kit.

I spent the evening doing the village news column and preparing something on the pavilion for the local press, none of who were invited to the event (doh!)

Its now Tuesday and it has been a bit of a media circus again today (more crusty old carnies than Cirque De Soleil, despite my French friend visiting!)

I put a story together about the pavilion opening yesterday and e-mailed it out to all the local media. Today the Express and Star wanted a pic at 11am.

We got hold of a key last night and screwdriver to open the door. The Express & Star did an arty pic looking at me through a reflection of the plaque….Should be in tomorrow!

Since I used to be an Express and Star journo, we chatted about who was there now, who was on stress leave and who would be ‘moved’ to the Dudley outpost.

They are expanding the Stafford office, with new reporters, snappers and subs. It should be interesting to see whether they can find any more news.

I still hark back to the golden days of Tony R. Tony M, Sarah K, Victoria, Amber, George, Dave and I…with little Sue Lee on the Chronicle. Only Tony R remains.

Nathalie, my French friend, arrived, but we could only chat for a few minutes (on the field!) as I had a hair appointment at 11.45am. Then she had to go!

Then the phone calls started coming in reply to the press release and I tried to send some additional pics that Mr P sent me last night, (credit to him for burning the midnight oil, burning his candle at both ends (!) etc etc..) but Hotmail was not playing the game!

I have just snatched a few minutes, between fine tweaking some adverts to try and sell our motorcaravan, before computer class tonight.

Good news. The internal marker found no mistakes in my last three-hour marathon of an exam (or can we call it a Snickers of an exam?)

Oh and I accidentally left my Mp3 player recording while I was at the hairdressers, so if any gossip finds its way onto Radio WM…..guilty as charged!

I must admit its been hard fitting in all my medication today so may have to make sure I do everything by the book this evening.

That Moby CD has started to grow on me, like a fungus(?) Strangely alluring!

Friday, April 01, 2005

Tale Of Two Vickies


Last night was given over to all things Shrek...but do 'Flumps' really taste better dipped in wine....? Somebody obviously thinks so - you know who you are! - this writer thinks not!

I was suprised to find myself on Page 2 of the Burntwood Post bizarre? It always nice when people say nice things about one in the press!

Met Mrs S in the cafe over the Chase lunchtime....It was hot Horlicks weather but the wildlife still found time to come and see us....

Then Mrs P came round with her two children. Looking back I have seen two married women called Victoria/Vickie today...If people didn't know us

I really enjoyed having friends round last night but it exhasted me and my throat suffered this morning.....(was it the talking or the whiskey? - probably both!)

I phoned my consultant about the letter I didn't understand and she kind of explained what it meant.....but I think I will book an appointment with a practice nurse next week.

Time to drink a few pints of hot water and lemon/honey......


Music: The Killers, The Bravery