On Reaching 70

Today, I turn 70 and I’m happy. To be truthful, as much relieved as happy, perhaps more so.
Fifteen years ago I was sure the end was near, I was miserable in many ways, a damaged lower back which surgery didn’t cure, lousy osteoarthritis in the right hip, a mild stroke, and frequent and sustained bouts of depression where I went for days without speaking to anyone. On a few occasions I did think about a self-induced end but fought off the thought each time by telling myself how selfish it would be and how unfair to those close to me.
Then a recovery of sorts, a more positive outlook and disposition, a new calm, a new tolerance of self and of others and the understanding that the heart must rule. Fifteen years on, I’m still here.
I don’t travel these days, only in my mind. I still walk in the Black Forest, look down on the Vale of Kashmir with the white giants of the Himalayas rising behind, see Japan at cherry blossom time and watch the dawn break at Uluru.
With the love and support of family and friends and with kind light, moon and/or candle, behind me I intend to go on for a few years more.

Many many thanks

Many many thanks to everyone who ‘liked’ me and who sent messages of love, concern and support – you are true and genuine, and I feel lucky to know you.
A special THANK YOU to Chris for his thoughtful and beautiful piece honouring our friendship, I was and am deeply touched.
At the moment I’m so so, it will take a while to be back to full power.
In the meantime, please bear with me and please know I care.

With love

john

My A-Z

I’m

arthritic
balding
compassionate
dutiful
eclectic
fair
generous
humane
intuitive
Joycean
kind
lazy (at times)
musical
numerate
outspoken
politically incorrect
quixotic
radical
sane (whatever that is)
trilingual
untamed
vacant (at times)
wicked (sense of humour)
xenophilic
young at heart
Zen

Conference Co-ordinator

The male variety is usually harried and under a great deal of self-imposed pressure, hence the quick movements, the stolen glances at the watch, the tousled hair and the underfed look. His female counterpart is much more self-possessed and often cuts a forbidding figure in her sensible black shoes and long grey pleated skirt. Other marks of identification are the swept-back hair, the sawn-off spectacles, the single row of cultured pearls, the carefully pared pencil and the black clipboard. You just know at a glance she has every intention of making the thing run as smoothly as possible.

away

Friends,

The bones of a novel lie in my head and before they degenerate beyond redemption
i intend fleshing them. My eyes allow only short bursts of work so a long document is challenging. The book may not amount to much – so many books don’t –
but i’ll give it a try.

I’ll be away from blogland some months but i will return.
In the meantime, keep posting.

Peace and Love

john

101 jots – (xci – ci)

(xci)

Have another boob job,
botox your lips again,
have a nose job
and shlop a ton of muck on your puss.

Now you look pretty.

We like you,
you make us a pile of money.

(xcii)

I’m the portly entity they have to impress,
commoners labouring in the kitchen
preparing and presenting their signature creations.
I love to see them tremble, waiting for my verdict.
I give most dishes the thumbs down…after i’ve eaten.

It’s good to be the king.

(xciii)

History is kind to those who write it.

(xciv)

We know where Tom sits with book and coffee,
we have our eye on him.

Tom reads books he doesn’t have to,
history books we didn’t write.
Tom is a threat.

(xcv)

BREAKING NEWS

Singapore family survives without maid for 24 hours.

(xcvi)

Lucky i was there when ma fell off the ladder
and broke her leg, i was able to record and upload.
‘Call an ambulance,’ she said.
‘First things first,’ i said.

(xcvii)

Depression is a word too depressing to use
so now we call it recession.

(xcviii)

I’m happy with little, my wealth never runs out.

(xcix)

The English football team –
brilliant on paper, shit on grass.

Arthur Smith

(c)

In a direct message Miranda tells me
she has a cure for erectile dysfunction.
It sounds so simple i’d have to be hard up to believe her.

(ci)

James Baldwin wrote:
The world is white no longer, and it will never be white again.

The Western party is over
and the white man’s sun has set. Period.

*****************************************

101 jots – (lxxxi – xc)

(lxxxi)

To plunder, to lie, to show your arse
are three essentials for climbing high.

Aristophanes

(lxxxii)

These days so many drama queens play professional tennis
and almost all of them men.

(lxxxiii)

It’s the intention of every interviewer on TV
to deliver a lecture instead of asking a question.

(lxxxiv)

Dearest Pam,
Your left ham is exceeded in beauty only by your right
but i have to say scram Pam, you’re spam!

(lxxxv)

You have the right to bear arms.
It’s enshrined and won’t be changed.
Even if you wanted change, it’s too late;
there are millions of guns out there
and people willing to use them.

Will there be another mass execution?

(lxxxvi)

The English are at their silliest and most embarrassing
when talking about the Royal Family and commentating on sport.

(lxxxvii)

Of course you have the right to freedom of expression,
we encourage and support it;
unfortunately, we can’t offer you protection 24/7
so bear in mind you may have to die for your right.

(lxxxviii)

Golf is the perfect game for today,
you can actually gain weight while playing.

(lxxxix)

Big game hunting would be fun
if the big game had guns.

(xc)

Shaw is right:
it’s not about having good manners or bad manners
but having the same manner for all human souls.

101 jots – (lxxi – lxxx)

(lxxi)

Pretty Macho
walking down the street
Pretty Macho
the kind girls like to meet
Pretty Macho…
Mercy!

Tell me, Macho Man,
confidential like, just between us men,
is that great burden that makes walking so difficult
a pouch or a gift of Nature?

(lxxii)

You have no idea what it cost to keep the old man in poverty.

Mountbatten on Gandhi

(lxxiii)

When we lived in India, my parents were oblivious to
everything Indian except their servants.

Rumer Godden

The English in Burma, Malaysia, Kenya and Rhodesia
were oblivious, too, but to be fair
one or two knew one or two of the servants’ names.

(lxxiv)

Baby and Child Care –
questions parents ask and unsuitable answers:

Q. What would cause my child’s bowel movements to turn green?
A. Listening to Barry Manilow.

Q. What can i give my infant for constipation?
A. A really good fright.

Q. How can i get my 11-year-old son to eat vegetables?
A. Tell him if he doesn’t you’ll send him to be an altar boy.

(lxxv)

rhymes with ‘bright’
plus like wicked bad like
like when you have the flu
what you feel like like

(lxxvi)

I’ve never had a problem with drugs.
I’ve had problems with the police.

Keith Richards

(lxxvii)

BREAKING NEWS BREAKING NEWS

Well, i don’t actually break it,
my masters upstairs do that,
they break it and re-shape it to suit their agenda.
I’m just the front with the shiny legs and perfect teeth
you’re expected to take seriously.

(lxxviii)

News doesn’t happen at weekends,
TV channels have only a skeleton staff.

(lxxix)

An afternoon garden party is without character
until it’s ruined by a good shower of rain.

(lxxx)

We gamble your money
and when we lose it you bail us out
because we’re too big to fail.
Call us irresponsible, call us unreliable
and call us names like banksta and thief – we don’t mind.
As long as you don’t have the guts to put us in jail
we’ll go on being masters of the universe.

btw, now that we’re in the black again
we’re awarding ourselves bonuses.
And just for the record, we walk on water.

101 jots – (lxi – lxx)

(lxi)

There’s something strange about ankle socks; unnatural.

(lxii)

There’s no need to do any housework at all.
After the first four years the dirt doesn’t get any worse.

Quentin Crisp

(lxiii)

Death doesn’t ask if your work is finished or not.

(lxiv)

A bellygod is an obese man;
bellygoddess is even more appealing.

(lxv)

…inflation concern eases on oil drop;
scandal grew from numbers too embarrassing to release;
aluminium shipments seen hurting other producers;
world’s wildest stock market submits to Communist Party rule;
CFO says ‘very confident’ after stock rout;
nifty futures drop amid earnings;
anti-pollution drive starts to bite…

Who’s interested in that shit?

(lxvi)

The length of a film should be directly related to
the endurance of the human bladder.

Alfred Hitchcock

(lxvii)

MAN SURVIVES SHARK ATTACK

Tell me, was the shark in the man’s livingroom or the man in the shark’s?

(lxviii)

Now is the Orwellian winter of our discontent
made pretend summer

Now is the Orwellian summer of our content
made pretend winter

Now are summer and winter Orwellian.

(lxix)

The three most dreaded words
the visitor to a government office hears are
‘have a seat’

(lxx)

He shows great originality
which must be curbed at all cost.

Peter Ustinov’s school report