Kate Bush

I dreamed about Kate Bush last night.

Signed to EMI Records at 16, she released her first album aged 19.

Her biggest hit (and the first self-penned single by a female to hit #1 in the UK) was Wuthering Heights...



... her next release was the haunting Man With The Child In His Eyes ...



The never-ending freight train ...

THIS IS ONE THING I find ridiculous about Britain. Not only are our skyscrapers embarrassingly squat at a mere 50-floors maximum (pah!) ~ but our goods trains are far too short. They should be like this American one, only longer.
And doesn't it sound amazing!)


The train to China!


THE CHINESE GOVERNMENT is planning a transcontinental high speed rail link that could take passengers from London to Beijing in as little as 48 hours!

Now I know where I wanna go by train next after Berlin!

When I'm in Beijing I'd love to take the Himalayan express to Lhasa in Tibet. At 15000 metres it's the highest railway in the world, with oxygen tanks on all trains in case passengers get altitude sickness!

As well as the Euro-route, the Chinese government are also planning a line via Korea to TOKYO.



The future's bright. The future's on rails!

Huge Bag Found on Street!






SURELY THIS IS A SIGN! I found an enormous sports bag ~ almost big enough to hold golf clubs and hence lots of German books and clothes ~ with trundlesome wheels on the bottom at the end of the next road along from me yesterday afternoon, so I thoroughly enjoyed trundling it behind me, imagining I was on the way to the Saint Pancreas International for the beginning of my Berlin expedition.

I know what y'all are thinking: Let's wait and see what actually happens. I've heard enough bluster and guff from this blogger to keep a fleet of hot air balloons afloat!

Well I am going to Berlin. Berlin is one of my top three "most want to see" cities on earth, along with New York and Tokyo.

I don't know how on earth I'm going to get there, by the way. Not a single website I've found will sell me one all-in ticket London to Berlin return. I don't know why. Only last month I heard a government minister blustering about high-speed rail infrastructure. What's the point of all those whizzy trains and new tracks if you can't go where you want? I am NOT going by plane, unless I really have to. It's the stopovers along the way (and it's looking like Paris at the moment, with a €50 sleeper "couchette" each way, which would push the cost of tickets up to £170) that are half the fun. If I took the Eurostar out of London on a Sunday, I could see the Paris bird-market, which is amazing. All those feathery little pixies tweetling away on the pavements...

Today I found a book by my illustrious old German teacher, who (I found out years later) was being tipped as a potential Nobel laureate ~ until he died in a car crash in 2001. Austerlitz by W G Sebald. He was known to us at UEA as Max Sebald and he taught my German grammar class. OK, I seem to recall it might have been just once when the ordinary teacher was sick, but he did teach me German grammar!

Click here for a beautiful blogger's writeup on the marché aux oiseaux in Paris ...

I'm going to Berlin!

200mph/320kph GERMAN ICE TRAINS will run direct London to Frankfurt in three years' time, it was announced last week. I found out at the same time that Deutsche Bahn offer fares (one-way though ~ there had to be a catch!) from London to anywhere in Germany for under €50! The only (other) catch is you currently have to change trains at Brussels. A rail website gave two prospective rail routes to Berlin.
ROUTE 1: Eurostar London to Brussels Midi; Brussels to Cologne; Cologne to Berlin. Each journey taking about two hours.
ROUTE 2: Eurostar to Paris Nord in late afternoon; metro (or just walk 10 mins) to Gare de l'Est; night train direct to Berlin. If you don't get a berth and are willing to camp out in an ordinary seat the fare is under €30 one way!
I LOVE TRAINS anyhow, but it's the fact that you're hardly allowed any luggage on budget flights that really swung it for me.
I wanted to return home with a couple of year's worth of brilliant German books. That is, a weight-restriction-busting entire suitcase full of weighty tomes. Which you can't even keep with you on an aeroplane, and then if you kick off at the terminal because your luggage has basically been STOLEN, BA will prosecute and slap you with a lifetime ban (if you're Naomi Campbell)...
(A THIRD OPTION could be to fly, e.g. by Air Berlin ~ and buy a Kindle!)
SO I THOUGHT ~ if this is possible on one ticket; and most things are possible if you want them enough ~ it might be nice to overnight in Brussels, take a late night train to Cologne, spend the day there, moving on at night to Berlin arriving late at whatever room I've booked there (or park bench/space under a bridge (joke! I'm not into that kind of holiday any more. I "celebrated" new year 1991 going into 1992 with a crazed Japanese tourist, sleeping with homeless Berbers at Fez station. My Welcome to 1992 came at 6am when an angry station master started hitting my companions with a broom. He stopped what he was doing and looked aghast when he spotted my blond hair and pale face. In a way it was good he woke us up as I'd woken at five, convinced the poor old man next to me had died in the frosty night.)
Anyway, back to Berlin. I'm so excited. I'm going somewhere! At last!
Now I need my eyes and teeth seeing to. No cig-stained gnashers and new glasses or contact lenses. I'm not travelling Europe with my current intellectual scarecrow look.
Also I was looking into taking a night train to Budapest or Prague. (Budapest, I think. Everyone does Prague.)
I'm so excited! All these years of German and did you know, I've yet to set foot on German soil!
You'll all know when this happens as pictures of clean streets and exotic posts shall suddenly appear ...
In times past, I had always assumed this type of expedition would have to wait until I'd cleaned myself up enough to be OFF METHADONE.
I didn't realize, you see, that I'm allowed to travel with methadone ~ which they'd give in pills to prevent spillage tragedies. All I need do is provide proof of travel (ie a ticket) and enough notice and the druggieservice will give a certificate saying I'm entitled to hobnob across the EU with hardcore narcotics in my possession...
It's nearly 12 years since I went anywhere abroad. My feet are itching now, even more than that pussing wound on my leg!

***I JUST CHECKED AIR BERLIN's prices and was quoted €294.95 departing London Stanstead on September 28, returning from Berlin on October 7! Something tells me it's gonna be the train.***

Deutsche Bahn: bahn.de
Rail Booking: seat61.com
European Rail Ticket: raileurope.com
SNCB Europe: b-europe.com/Travel
British Rail Tickets: thetrainline.com

AN INTERRAIL (EURAIL) PASS valid for travel on 5 days out of 10 costs only £224!
http://www.internationalrail.com/interrail/interrail-global-pass.aspx
A NEW COSTUME DRAMA hit our screens tonight. Downtown Abbey on ITV. In common with the BBC's dreary, bourgeois Larkrise to Candleford, it's an original, not based on any classic novel.* But it's quite good. A modern Upstairs Downstairs. And it stars Dame Maggie Smith. If you're reading this on foreign shores, keep a look out for it. If you like historical drama, you'll probably like this. I think historical is the only stuff produced for British TV that's in the same league as the best American telly.

My one gripe with the genre is its tendency to reinterpret the past in the light of modern (politically correct) outlooks. For example the master of the house objects to a war-wounded servant being referred to as a cripple. "I hate that word." But in those days that was the expression; nothing condescending or insulting was meant by it. Here's the trailer. Perhaps someone'll load a longer extract to Youtube by next week ...

*that statement isn't quite true: according to the BBC's website, Lark Rise is based on Flora Thompson's memoir of her Oxfordshire childhood...



THE WOUND ON MY LEG is less manky since I stopped covering it up and have been cleaning it with alcoholic ("pre-injection") swabs every few hours. It isn't oozing chocolate sauce, just a hint of strawberry. It still smells like a drain, just not as strong. My wound and I are off to hospital tomorrow to see what the emergency doctors think of it...

I hope y'all had a cheery weekend. What are you doing next week? I'm making a start cleaning my life up in a literal sense. My house is a mess. I have that festering sore on my leg. Not a clean stitch to wear. I have to wash my jeans as they've absorbed pus down the leg. So I'm starting by laundering my clothes so I can skulk into casualty (that's the ER to you Americans) looking at least vaguely respectable. Then I'll get the wound seen to and hopefully dressed. Then I can set about cleaning my house. It was cleaning my house that set it off last time, with things knocking into it making it bleed. It's been itching lately. Itching is a good sign with these things; in my experience it tends to mean they're healing.

The Stew Catastrophe!

LAST WEEK I made a wonderful stew with lamb and noodles {not noodles ~ DUMPLINGS; Knödel!} (I translated this post from German) and delicious spices. The ingredients were: 1kg (2.2lbs) neck of lamb; 2 large red onions; half a bulb (about 5 cloves) fresh garlic; a double handful mushrooms; a double handful okra/gumbo/ladies' fingers; 2 huge carrots; one tin black beans; one can chopped tomatoes.

The herbs and spices were:
Half teespoon ginger
Half teespoon garam masala
Half teespoon each: Tescos Value, Chinese and Jamaican (Mr Brown's) currypowder
2 tablespoons Lea & Perrins Worcester Sauce
About a third of a teaspoon Chinese five spice seasoning
About three teaspoons "chicken seasoning" (salt, 30% paprika, celery... etc)
Home-dried mint leaves
Mixed herbs
Half teaspoon Colmans English Mustard

I cooked it slowly for at least three hours, after which time the lamb was so tender it was literally falling off the bone. It did taste slightly burnt, which I blamed on the new pan...

The next day I reheated it to add my dumplings. Catastrophe! It came back all burnt! Like a liquid barbecue. Ugh. I could only eat the meat (I quite like incinerated meat). But carbonized vegetables are not to my taste.

It wasn't like everything went black or anything like that. Just this horrible burnt flavour pervaded everything. Not nice. And such a shame as otherwise the spicing, the dumplings... everything was perfect.

Where did I go wrong? Was my new pan too thin? Did I reheat too rapidly?

Or did a goblin sneak into my kitchen when I was too busy losing my old broadband down the loo and mess everything up..??!?


PS- You don't think excessive stirring (well, only once every 20 mins - is that excessive??)... you don't think that might have messed it up, do you...??


Hammy Saturday!

THESE ARE MY (LATE) ROBOROVSKI PYGMY HAMSTERS
Bashful, Itchy and Spherical... who were only 2in/5cm long fully grown ...



HELLO YOU TINY PYGMIES!




HAMSTER SLIDE SHOW



Wishing y'all a wonderful weekend ...

Broadband is back!

I HAVE A NEW SIM CARD firmly taped into the dongle from which a naughty goblin stole it (yes ~ when I was fast asleep. My life is nothing if not bizarre). I searched EVERYWHERE for the missing card and no sign. The only way it can have possibly left my house is by getting stuck to the sole of my boots and trodden out (highly unlikely; I checked the tread and it's not of SIM-card-grabbing proportions) or getting stuck on my bum, falling off in the loo and getting flushed away (my own pet theory). Or God took it to stop me wasting time on the internet (which is quite possible, in my opinion). Or a goblin sneaked in and stole it (my second favourite theory, though I actually believe in God more than goblins). So there we go.

NO BIG NEWS from when I last was "properly" online all those weeks ago ~ EXCEPT I have a horrible old wound on my leg, which is at least 6 weeks old and hurts and just will not heal. The fact that I "might" have accidentally picked at it constantly for the last fortnight after it started itching probably hasn't helped. It was oozing red gunge, so I thought I would "irrigate" it ~ ie wash it out with home-made saline (freshly boiled and cooled water + table salt). This only made the scab soft enough to partly fall off, and now it's oozing chocolate milkshake coloured gunge that reeks (mildly as running sores go, but still disgusting) ~ of rubbish bins. It's only about 1.5"/4cm diametre, tiny as necrotic ulcers go. But I'm worried it might turn into one.

I don't know what to do. I am fed up of being lectured and patronized by doctors about my druggie proclivities.

I covered it in toilet paper taped down with clean newspaper. Think about it, a newpaper fresh off the press is as untouched by human hands as anything else I can think of. 6 hours later I couldn't resist having a good look. Loads of gunge had seeped into the toilet paper ~ and it had dried enough to rip the edge off the scab. Ach!

Now it's covered losely in taped-on (clean) newspaper. Then again it is the 10p Daily Star ~ what's possibly clean about that?? This has stopped the scab getting constantly rubbed off when I walk, which was getting increasingly painful. But the newspaper doesn't stick to the wound. Which will hopefully heal now. Have I done the right thing?

Ach, I must go. Kippers under grill. Hope y'all are well, see yaz!

PS: perhaps I should have maggot therapy

Winter is here!


IT'S RAINING. IT IS MISERABLE. I am miserable.

So I went to Morrisons and bought cheapest brown bread, tomato soup, ground black pepper (to go on the ridiculously over-salty Value Soup), kippers, tea etc etc.

Winter hibernation here we come!

Also my goblin cure should hopefully be with me tomorrow, or the next day at latest. Then I'll have the luxury of home broadband back. Hurrah!

Goblin cure on way!



THE CURE FOR MY BROADBAND GOBLIN-ATTACK should be with me by the end of the week. That is, a new SIM to put in the mobile broadband dongle I was using before.
Then I should be able to stay in touch PROPERLY, as I was doing before this fiasco...
That naughty net-goblin lies vanquished and dead!

THE GOBLIN IS DEAD!
LONG LIVE THE GOBLIN!!

Coloured Chicks!

Multicoloured Friday on Saturday...



Wishing y'all a wonderful weekend!

The News from Britain

POP SINGER George Michael is being severely punished in Pentonville Prison for crashing his 4x4 into a Snappy Snaps photo-shop at 3am while stone out of his brains on cannabis. His third offence.
The newspapers have had a field day. Best of the feast of headlines being "LOCK ME UP BEFORE YOU GO GO"!

HIS "HOLINESS" the Pope is on a State Visit to the UK. I watched the ceremonials on TV with fascination, including boring platitude-ridden speeches, thinking, "If I hear 'hallelujah' sung out in such gormless tones once more I'm gonna punch a hole in the TV set!" Thankfully my knuckles and its screen were saved when the old charlatan, who is as holy as he is young, jumped in his Pope-Mobile and wizzed off.
(Or did something like that.)
I don't know, because I fell unconscious through sheer boredom. I hope any Roman Catholics aren't too offended by my opinions. And I hope the Pope doesn't read this: perhaps he will call fire down from heaven to punish me!

ON A MORE POSITIVE NOTE, I've nearly finished my little story ~ 5000 words done. That's not as much as it might sound to a non-writer. Only about 13 pages in properly set book type. Or about 17 pages in ridiculously blown-up 300-words-a-page modern typeface.

Now I've only nine or so other tales to knock out until I've completed an entire book!

If we could talk to the animals...

... they might say something like this!

TALKING DOGS, CATS AND HAMSTER


...

BIRD TELLS CATS "YOU DON'T NEED TO CHASE US ANY MORE!"



NO BIG NEWS to report. Still working on me story. I've only done 3300 words, but I'm hoping no major goblins are in the text.

No broadband at home has helped me out in a big way. It's made me realize I've been wasting an opportunity to improve myself. To write great literature and change my life. I'm like the man who owns a Lambourghini and only uses it to drive to the corner shop for milk, sugar and a packet of fags!

Must dash ~ "darn" internet caff about to terminate me, as per usual!

The Goblin is dead!

I HAVE VANQUISHED THE GOBLIN... the computer-goblin, that is. Hopefully. Should be back online properly within about a week or so.
Thanks for all your the comments, I've not been able to do much visiting. But hopefully things should all be back to normal soon.
The druggie goblin has been causing me gyp ~ but what's new?
I have been using my time constructively by WRITING INTELLECUAL LITERATURE. OK, not intellectual and not literature. But I've been writing. I completed nearly an entire story!
Sorry I must dash as I'm in a cafe and about to be terminated as per usual.
See yous all soon again, I promise. Take care everyone. I miss you!

THE GOBLIN IS DEAD.
LONG LIVE THE GOBLIN!!

Bonjour!

HI FOLKS. I've still got goblins in the broadband so I'm at the internet place round the corner. I tried logging into my neighbour's system, but could't crack their password... Oddly though there are two networks, BTOpenZone and BTHomeFon that will let me, after registration and a costly SMS payment, log in for the princely sum of £3 for an hour, £5 for a day or £39 for a month! So what is this? Broadband for those who can't be bothered to get it installed? I was on mobile broadband before, which worked perfectly until ... GOBLIN ATTACK!
I could also take the computer to the public library, which is wifi'd up, but I'm afraid of getting infections in the machine... is there any risk? If so, what is it..?

WELL IT'S A ROCKY ROAD to recovery of any kind, as I'm discovering. Every time I try, or even think I'm somewhere near level ground some PERSON will appear, ANOTHER PERSON ~ SOMEONE ELSE will come in and throw everything up in the air, like a mad psychiatrist shovellng cows' diarrhoea in his rose-beds.
All I want is to be left alone.
And to feel OK.
My biggest, biggest problem with methadone is how lousy I feel when I wake up in the morning. Unless I can save the entire dose all day and sleep with it next to me,ready to drink at 4am ~ so I can get up before eight with the level in me high ~ then I will wake feeling like a block of ice, unable to get warm (yet sweating heavily if I wrap up) and craving craving heroin out of my mind while the methadone takes its one hour twenty minutes to come on. (Yet another thing I hate about methadone, it takes so very long to kick in, even if you've been sipping it faithfully for years.) You'd think that by the time I feel OK again I AM OK, but that doesn't usually happen. My mind's in so many pieces by this time, it never goes back together all day.
The worst days on methadone are such empty stretches of blank despair the only constructive thing I can do is go back to bed, cursing my body for ever bothering to wake up and wishing I could have some slider switch installed on the back of my head so that when I'm depressed I can sleep for 23.5 hours out of 24. And when I'm not depressed sleep not at all (sleep, after all, is a big waste of time if you have anything to do). When I used to work proper hours I never had any time outside work for anything except jumping in the bath, eating and going back to work. The entire rest of my life was spent working or sleeping.
I didn't have particularly good mental health in this period.
If I had only discovered heroin many years ago, I'd have gone on it then. Back in the days when the only cure I had for depression was cakes and cocoa and lying in my Arabian Nights style bed with about 15 pillows and eight quilts watching telly. I also used to smoke one cigarette a day. Just the one. Which I'd ponce each evening off the mandy secretary downstairs...
Then along came heroin, a far more efficacious painkiller. And life seemed amazing for a while. The first two years of full-on heroin addiction were like Christmas every day. I got to use my drug of choice morning, noon and night.
Of course I had to beg on the street to get the money to score ~ but even that was a novelty. And I was young.
And didn't look like a bloated, puffy old alcoholic ~ which is how I looked at my worst.
Anyway I decided to throw that life in the trashcan of the past. Still everything is going badly. (Actually I don't expect things ever to go well...)
And I must run. Else the goblins in THIS computer will time me out!
See yers all soon :-)

Time for something new...

THIS ISN'T WORKING ANY MORE.I think I've finally proved to myself that me and heroin do not mix...

If I've learned anything from all those counselling sessions I attended with very mixed feelings over the past year, it's that I've been asleep, and while I slept calamity came. And now it's time to get up, clear up and move on...

I hope you like the hammy picture. It's totally irrelevant, I know; but I thought it looked nice!