Friday 29 December 2023

Bloody Christmas

Christmas is finally over, to everyone's great relief and surprise. The celebration, which began in mid-October, finally petered out on the 27th of December. The consolation is hauntingly palpable. Could it be that in all this insane consumerism, we are tragically losing the true meaning of Christmas? Mayhap in all the jingle, tinsel and cheap aftershave, we are missing the quintessence and true message of this ancient fest. Are our livers and waistlines so swollen that we can no longer see the garish socks, worn with gaiety and wanton abandon? Socks so festooned with comic images of Santa that it befuddles our dazed senses and prevents sound judgment. I suspect, as a society, we have lost our way and no longer see 'Christmas'. It has become festooned with cheap flashing lights, gaudy rose-tinted images of sleighs, and cheap aftershave. We no longer connect with the true spirit of Christmas. Everything is viewed through beer-frothed goggles. Could it be that we need to recapture/recapitulate and reinvent the Christmas of yesteryear? Are we so jaded and lost, as a society, that we can no longer restore the sublime Christmases of our youth? However, I am hopeful and imbued with cheap liquor and aftershave. I see a future which is wondrous, meaningful and replete with all manner of things which connect and re-establish the heartwarming, blood-curdling, bone-numbing Christmases we all once knew. This is not the fevered dream or fancy of a madman but the musings of a man with a certificate that verifies and endorses his heart-felt sanity.  This writ is wrote by a MD and psychiatrist of note and notoriety. His musings deserve serious deliberation and contemplation. If you are in the frame of mind to dispute, then be availed of just cause, or keep your silence, unbidden. I digress.

Of course, it is not inconceivable that I'm espousing complete and utter fanny batter and bollocks, as usual. Arse.ArseArseArse......

Thursday 28 December 2023


All Seeing Eye?

Most of this post was written whilst on holiday in the Philippines but completed and edited today, 26th December 2023. Therefore, please excuse the scattered anachronisms.

Is there such a thing, item, form (the Platonic idealisation), incorporeal or otherwise, as Providence? A man of a sensible, rational nature would gladly and clearly proffer the negative. And yet, gentle reader consider my plight and judge accordingly.

As I write, I'm ensconced in a garret in the centre of Manilla in the Philippines. The air conditioner raves hot, and yet I'm cool; no contradiction at all.

I'm a man of moderate short sight, in the right eye. My left eye is beyond prescription and stares with a befuddled and fixed disparity- thus is my visual/usual lot. It bothers me not at all, and my eye, whilst of no practical use, serves as a bejewelled blue ornament of exquisite beauty. Like a beautiful woman of no intellect, it looks divine but is bereft of any practical purpose.  And so, I digress.

Yesterday, I awoke, as is my usual custom, at 8.00am. Normally, my orbs burst asunder and contemplate the world anew. However, on this occasion, both eyelids resisted their true nature and remained fixed, leaden and encrusted. After a little gentle persuasion with warm water, I managed to rend the lids asunder from their pus-laden habitus and thus became acquainted with the issue at hand. For reasons unknown and unforeseen, it appears that I had become the unfortunate recipient, nay victim, of a bilateral bacterial eye infection, mundanely renowned throughout the land as conjunctivitis. Nothing particularly remarkable about this ocular finding, you might say. Tis commonplace and even banal. But here comes the rub. I normally wear a contact lens in my right eye to correct for myopia. As previously mentioned, my left eye remains unsullied by optical intervention. Regardless, a man afflicted with this unfortunate bacterial condition should take wise counsel and not place a contact lens upon an infected eye. At this time, I did not own a pair of prescription glasses and relied on contact lenses as the sole means to correct my vision.

The day prior to my eye disease, I chanced upon an optician proffering/offering a very good deal concerning wearable eyewear (there is no other), and on a whim, I decided to purchase a pair of glasses. Not only were the glasses relatively cheap, but the whole process, from frame selection through to eye test and manufacture, was within 24 hours. On the day of my infection, I was scheduled to pick up my new eyewear.  If I hadn't made the purchase, and due to my subsequent infection, for the next several weeks, I would not have been able to wear contact lenses. Consequently, I would have been doomed to roam the land reviewing the world through a myopic miasma.   

Now Consider This

At the time of purchasing the glasses, I had no idea I would go on to develop an eye infection. The last time I purchased eyewear was over 35 years ago, and these glasses have long become dissimilated unto the cosmos due to the inevitable march/quest of increasing entropy. 

The convergence of the two events, from a statistical perspective, borders on the miraculous.

Could it be that there are other entities or phenomena at work here? Mayhap a guardian Angel sits upon my shoulder, guiding my every move and whim. Or perhaps I should lay off the gin.

Friday 15 December 2023

Commentaries Part I


 All the Philippines is divided into many parts

We have just returned from a 3-week trip to the Philippines, so take this into consideration whilst reading the following. 

And so, this is the start of my commentaries concerning my sojourn in the Philippines. This trip was arranged by my son and his fiancé in celebration of their wedding. It has been decided by powers outside my scope that limited family and friends would come forth to take part in this most wonderful turn of events. Ultimately, my wife and I will spend a total of three weeks in this fascinating country with its many facets, contrasts and contradictions.

We arrived, from New Zealand, after a brief stopover in Australia, finally alighting at Ninoy Aquino Airport Manila on the 24th of November. The journey, as expected, was horrific, but bearable. Surprisingly, the exit from the terminal was swift and without overt bureaucratic and security intervention. The taxi ride from the airport to the hotel was unpleasant as the traffic was unceasingly grim and hectic. Eventually, we arrived at our modest accommodation, exhausted, but grateful for a hot shower and an early night.

Manila is a large city comprising 15 million 'souls'.  We are based in the heart of the city, in a predictably wealthy central hub, aptly named Bonifacio Global City (BGC)

First impressions: Manila, at least, has a thriving middle class, and the centre is dripping with wealth. But that should be of no surprise, and it appears no different from most modern cities that claim to be part of the civilised world. Our stay was but for two nights before being whisked off to the lavish wedding venue. During that time, we were able to savour the local cuisine, which to my palate, was uninspiring- but what do you expect from an uncultured 'boy' from the black country. 

I confess I was particularly surprised by the extent and visibility of security- at least within BGC. Every shop within the many malls was staffed by security guards, a good proportion sporting holstered pistols. It was a most perplexing conundrum considering how safe the environment felt (oxymoron). Banks warranted special treatment with guards equipped with sawn-off shotguns. Intriguingly, I saw no visible evidence of the police force- maybe I should give them a phone- or maybe not.  

More to come.