Saturday, 24 October 2020

Start a bonfire to change the cake

The ache of a cake

It feels strange, the kind of humour that comes to mind in these times. Greater Manchester of which Mancunium is the centre was moved into Boris Johnson’s Tier 3 level of coronavirus restrictions. It does not change much of what I do, my walks, my apparent self-isolation, my shopping, my churchgoing are all intact.

Thinking of tiers, it might just be a cake of tiers but what will the third tier of cake taste like? I would have no idea, a phantom cake has no context of form or taste, it is a figment of my imagination or a coping mechanism for forces somewhat beyond one’s control.

The national cake is being cut into regional conflicts between the central government and the local leaders, most of the regions not getting enough of cake to keep them fed. But we have Prime Minister whose hands on the till is a wasteful squandering the cake, because he thinks he can both have and eat his cake. A profligate, prodigal, reprobate, he is.

[Quote Brexit: Boris: “Our policy is having our cake and eating it.”]

No change in our pockets

The other night, a man and his dog was accosting anyone who will listen and I was eventually engaged, he had a pocket full of coins that he wanted to exchange for paper money or plastic money as some of our denominations are now. It appears, no one carries money around anymore which is a radical change to our society.

We have inadvertently become a cashless society, I have not taken money out of an automatic teller machine for months, everything is done by contactless payments by mobile phone or bank card. It means you do not have change for anything, especially those in receipt of alms. It got to a point the man walked off into a side alley on the way out of town cursing and raging, having not changed his money and somewhat thinking the world was against him.

A bonfire of useless parliamentarians

We are all up against a lot and it is easy not to see how things have affected others in the midst of things that impact us directly. A number of cultural and traditional events would suffer for this. Halloween coming up at the end of the month will entertain no trick or treat, it would be unsafe to take sweets or treats from strangers.

The 5th of November is Guy Fawkes Night, though you wonder if with the crop of representatives with have in our current parliament, we would not be best served with a bonfire of their vanities. Imagine voting against free school meals and defending the position as if the Tories are the victims rather than the children, some of whom will go to bed hungry. [BBC News: School meals: Marcus Rashford 'proud' of community response]

Locally, it will be no penny for the Guy, an effigy of Guy Fawkes created by kids for which they can ask for donations. For all that we do to maintain a sense of stability, the subtle changes going on around us cannot be ignored. We keep at what we can and hope for the best.

Friday, 23 October 2020

A sentence in gaseous expression

Limited Uber

On Monday, I called an Uber cab to take me to the hospital for a phlebotomy session and to pick up my prescription. The trip was less than 20 minutes and what I was accustomed to had changed. I used to sit in the front seat with the driver and attempt to engage in conversation.

This time, I was in the back seat, wearing a mask, and though there was some driver-rider conversation, I cannot say it was free-flowing as would normally be the case with anyone interested. Breathe, I barely could, but not to suffocation, I even got to blow my nose and I was eventually delivered to my destination.

Flatulent Uber

Before all this pandemic situation however, one considers the case of James Mallett and what a hammer or a hitter he might have been when he let rip the expulsion of gases in flatulence that the Uber driver had no other option but to ask Mr Mallett to exit his vehicle.

Chasers Night Club to which Mr Mallett was going already inebriated seems to have a reputation of patrons resorting to unladylike and ungentlemanly conduct, but one should not be too prejudiced about certain unseemly forms of expression.

Breathless Uber

The driver, Aleksander Bonchev, who has since returned to Bulgaria must have had a hell of a night already before Mr. Mallett compounded it with sharing uninvited bodily functions with the unwitting driver. A fracas resulted in Mr. Mallett beating up Mr Bonchev and in self-defence Mr. Mallett was knocked down.

On the blurt of a fart and everything else that happened afterwards, it became a criminal matter, it has gone to court with Mr. Mallett getting a six-month jail term suspended for 18 months. One can only wonder what he has been bound over for, the obvious being not losing his temper regardless of his state of sobriety, whether he has to plug it in and withhold with great restrain his effluvium, dare he even breathe, that is if Uber has not already banned him from riding their cabs.

What a difference a fart makes and quite radically to people’s lives.

[The Week: Man who farted in Uber ends up in court]

[Bristol Live: Man who farted in Uber ends up in court]

Thursday, 22 October 2020

Thought Picnic: Perspective governs prospect

Full steam ahead

You want to have a sense that the trials and tribulations of these times are not so much a rite of passage even though life is littered with many that test resolve and resolution. In all, you consider that all these things will pass and the dreams you have will also come to pass.

Yet, it has a toll on your mental health and wellbeing, each day, an uphill struggle to maintain calm and latch on to the hope of a future both near and far. It is even more difficult for us who’s partners and loved ones are far away, the restrictions on movement and limitations on travel placing hurdles in our way.

We cannot despair, we need to continue to encourage each other, take each day as it comes, and keep safe for the joy of the not too distant reunions. We cannot think of the time as plans you might put in place now might be upended in a week.

No silly gimmicks

It is like the high-risk country list produced by South Africa at the beginning of the month that required spending at least 10 days in a low-risk country before visiting South Africa for leisure activities. Germany was a low-risk country then and she has appeared on the list of high-risk countries released on Monday.

What we hope would eventually happen is rather than label all as suspicious from one country or a region, it has to come down to the individual. We are not all infected even if there is a high incidence of infections and there is a surge in numbers admitted to hospitals.

We’ll do good

Many of us have been doing the reasonable things, the safe social distancing, avoiding most of the social gatherings, not entertaining guests or strangers, keeping the hygienic codes, working from home, and living primarily in isolation. We have been in personal lockdown mode long before our governments knew the necessity for such. It is such a shame that we all seem to be punished for the unfortunate situations of others.

I think in the end, it will be common sense that prevails in combating this pandemic rather than rules, laws, impositions, fines, enforcements, inducements, or any other means of public coercion. In the UK, it is a given that the government of Boris Johnson is completely clueless, they are just acting for the sake of performance, there is neither aim nor goal that suggests they will ever gain control over the situation.

In my mind, I know it will come good, between Brian and I, we will sustain and support each other, being strong for one another until we can meet up. It’s been a while since January.

Wednesday, 21 October 2020

Lekki! The #EndSARS innocent will be avenged

Cursed are the vagabonds in power

The voice of their blood cries from the ground,
It will not be stilled by the fear of the gun,
They took the lights for the cover of the darkness,
Then shot into the crowd that peacefully protested.

What they hoped will not be witnessed,
Was lit by the moon and stars above,
For nature in the night or day is never blind,
And justice shall come like a raging storm.

The day will not be lost to our remembrance,
Upon the Cains that ordered this carnage,
Shall fall the gnashing of teeth and sorrow,
For which no pity will come to give succour.

We can see their hands in their gilded palaces,
Wet and dripping with the blood of the innocent,
Speaking from both sides of their mouths,
Their fakes smiles and platitudes are rooted in evil.

Maggots shall begin consuming them ere their demise,
Generations after shall carry the lament of gore,
For the innocent shall be fully avenged,
The martyred of Lekki have not gone in vain.

Monday, 19 October 2020

Blessed is the day with all its troubles

The day started slowly

Going from my telephone consultation last Wednesday, it had been arranged that I visit the hospital today to see a phlebotomist and pick up my prescription. It was an afternoon appointment and I had decided I would take the day off.

Waking up a little later than usual, I went for my morning walk and returned home for another nap. At noon, I made what you could term breakfast and soon after called an Uber cab to take me to the hospital. Much as I had considered walking the 6 or so kilometres to the hospital, a headache was not giving me the pleasure of the feat.

Not here nor there

In what was a test of temperament and attitude also quite unusual for my consultant, when I checked in at the pharmacy, my prescription had not been submitted for preparation and it was even suggested I return on another day to collect it. Much as I was having none of it, the pharmacist took the initiative to put things in motion.

At the outpatient’s reception, I was directed to the waiting area for the blood room. We do have a good natter when I visit and she immediately chased up my prescription, altogether, I was assured I can pick it up after the bloods. At least, I was sure the prescription will be correct.

When I was invited to give blood, the phlebotomist could find no recent requests on the computer. There was a pending request from 2018, I think that was when the computer system could not be accessed, and the requirements were written down. No one went back to synchronise the record of activities.

Fixed through communication

The last fulfilled request was in October 2019, which left me wondering about what happened to the vampire conference donations of April 2020. As my consultant had the results for our conversation last week, I guess what is required is a bit more housekeeping to match the blood work requests with the fulfilment of the orders.

Returning to the receptionist, she phoned up the nurses and got the blood requirements straightened out, entered in the computer system and I returned to the waiting room, waiting to be called in again. This time the order was in for just 3 vials of blood, when I usually give 5 or 7 vials. I was not complaining, I could not even see a vein and it required a bit of jiggery-pokery with the needle to get the blood flowing out.

With humour and honour

Before that, I was asked to give a urine sample, on my way in I had only seen the female toilet and telling the nurse, she said, any of the toilets will do. Not that other patients in the waiting room would allow that to happen, as a chorus of voices pointed out the male toilets. The much older man quipped about my having a sex change and I cupped my breast, shock, mirth, and laughter arrived as contortions on the faces of the others. I guess we could all do with a bit of humour.

All done, I picked up my prescription, walked to the Manchester Super Store on Cheetham Hill to get some fresh fruit before boarding the tram back to Manchester Piccadilly and settling for some fresh air in the village garden. Looking at my watch, it was already 5:00 PM, the day had gone but not as eventful as Brian had his, tough and resilient, smiling through it all. I hope he has a good night’s rest. My poor dear, for his good heart, is on for a wonderful blessing. Love him to the stars and beyond.

Sunday, 18 October 2020

Coronavirus streets in Manchester - XIX

See me in the morning

Stepping out of my home before the break of dawn for my walks, I was into my 5th kilometre and 4th crossing of the River Irwell and I as I turned left onto the path, a cyclist was about to crash into me. He apologised saying he never saw me, it was dark, I am dark and at 6 foot tall, I was hardly imposing, maybe I need to get high visibility armbands, because a mishap cannot be afforded.

Then at another brighter time, two men in high visibility gear had entered a park bordered by the oxbow outline of the meandering River Irwell. When I got to them, they were inspecting an abandoned motorcycle leaning on a bench. You wonder, how did it get there?

Trolleys on the roam

That left me a bit flummoxed about the journeys of supermarket trolleys to the banks of the River Irwell, all seem to have travelled and run out of steam somewhere. Marooned on the pavement and tipped over, left in the middle of the path in the park and not with any shopping. Though the ones that have fallen down the sloppy banks of the River Irwell read to try out their amphibian tendencies are the two I have had my eyes one.

Lest I forget, it is getting cold, I usually have to pull up the hand covering sleeves that allows me to hook up the sleeve between my thumb and first finger. So, I am baffled that at temperatures barely in the double figures, ice cream vans have been let loose on some communities, the chimes upsetting the peace and some seeking the joys of a summer, long gone. Three at my last count, I need to understand what is going on.

Until human are considered first

As to whether we would be locked down or not, it has become a battle of wits or rather one of self-preservation. The government has lost its message, conviction, or persuasiveness. Much as they are beginning to forget that they govern by consent, the mantra of saving the NHS has worn thin. What we need is to put people first, their lives and livelihoods, some compassion without bluster and a bit of humility with contriteness about how they got many things wrong.

Most importantly, completely decentralise the testing, the tracing, and the reporting. Let the local experts and talent have more control as they have more visibility and the local knowledge essential for contact tracing and fixing on where the virus is spreading.

There will always be a cost to shutdowns and at this time the government needs to bear it. We need to believe in human ingenuity to revive things that humans do, that applies to the economy and jobs, what we have not yet mastered to bring ourselves back to life once dead.

Richard Quest does not need your permission to be happy

A marriage is a marriage

I did not read of this development until I saw the Facebook posting on a “Friend’s” page that castigated and excoriated it, the comments that followed maintained the same theme. Yes, Richard Quest of CNN had tied the knot in a same-sex marriage ceremony with his long-time partner.

Apart from the Instagram message Richard posted, I do not think it made the news anywhere else except in a sensationalist stance on African newswires in Ghana, Nigeria and Kenya. What is surprising is how little people know about Richard Quest, not that it matters, but he is a gay man, he has spoken about his sexuality a few times, and he has made no secret of his, as it were, proclivities. [Instagram: Questinny]

That is a wrong choice of word, proclivities, but it is a sop to the ne’er-do-wells who cannot countenance the idea of difference in the lives of others. For whilst many may not understand sexualities different from heterosexuality, homosexuality, bisexuality and transsexuality has always been in humanity since long before history was recordable.

It never hindered him

However, this is not the space to argue that, despite and in spite of his sexuality Richard Quest has a high global profile as a news anchor and presenter, his quirks and expression is uniquely individual, entertaining and enlightening, what is not to like about Richard Quest as a professional?

In the aid of full disclosure, I am also a gay man, I have always been a gay man, I did not change from one thing to another and never have I had any interest in the opposite sex, that is just my nature and I make no apology for it. I am engaged to be married to my partner Brian, and once the cloud of this pandemic is lifted, that will be done.

As if you matter

Back to the issue itself, Richard Quest does not need the permission of anyone to be happy, he finds his happiness and fulfilment in the companion he has chosen to spend his life with, who just happens to be male, as much as the person could have been female. It is neither here nor there.

Richard Quest has lived a rich eventful and highly achieving life that he would be proud of and many would aspire to and I celebrate him for having found the kind of exemplary balance in life as in his profession and gone ahead with living his full life.

His gain, your loss

If out of this, some now decide they will no more entertain the views of Richard Quest as he enters our homes on CNN screens globally, that would be your loss because there is no one else that does what he does in such an engaging and interesting way that has brought his global following. What we must agree to disagree on is this, his sexuality is more your problem than it is his.

I wish Richard Quest and Chris Pepesterny a very happy married life, may they grow old together and be beacons of light and hope to many who find it still too difficult to live their best lives. It reminds me of William Haines who forsook a burgeoning acting career in Hollywood in the 1920s for his gay relationship that Joan Crawford was reputed to say, they were “the happiest married couple in Hollywood.”

Now, if you cannot be happy for a happy event in another life because of your prejudices, that, my friend, is entirely your problem, your burden, your whatever it is, but definitely, it is not good.

Blog - Opinion: When William Haines decided against a sham marriage