Monday, August 29, 2022


Nothing to say

I feel I have less to say these days. And that's not like me at all.

I read the newspapers and walk the dogs and play my games, do my chores. I just don't seem to generate the same yield of rants and opinions that I did even a year and a half ago.

This must be part and parcel of the general decline in my brain activity. 

I've had the intention of reading lots of Dungeons and Dragons books and have achieved very little - a chapter a day at best. Disappointing.

I still have my lists. My reminders on my calendar that pop up to put me back on the tracks.

God it's easy to ignore those. 

In fact I laugh in the face of digital pop-up reminders! 

I chat over the news with J, but less so I think these days. It may be that with the 5th rate venal scum we have running the country that it's just too depressing to talk about any more.

D&G Decline?

We keep on cancelling the Monday evening sessions. Sometimes people just don't respond on the WhatsApp messages if they're able to attend or not. It may just be my perception of things but I feel there's a decline in the energy - the positivity - that used to drive the games.

It may be the particular adventure we're doing is less interesting, my DMing (Dungeon Mastering) or just that people are tired after work, the campaign has just atrophied, or something else. 

Maybe it's just my perception.

Perceptions are everything though. 

I get concerned as I drift off into the Astral plane of dementia, that the silvery cords that bind me to you, the world and everyone and everything are disintegrating atom by atom, molecule by molecule.

They are here...
(This is a big D&D reference from the Astral Projection spell!)

Already I feel more distant than I did when I started this blog 9 months ago. 

Increasingly separated from everything until there is nothing.

Oh well, look on the bright side.


Finally Retiring

I've sold my van, which is being picked up next week, and 2 of my masonry chums are coming to buy my old tools, though I am  keeping my hand tools for futile purposes.

2 other friends have asked me to carve a green man for each of them. I'm happy to do this. Whether I get round to doing it is another thing, but as usual I INTEND to do it. It's a great get-out clause I learned from an old (non-masonry) boss years ago. We INTEND to be there. We INTEND to win. I INTEND to knock smack on the head, etc etc..

I'm not really on smack by the way.

Finally I'm doing something meaningful and getting shit done.

A new world beckons. I shall visit my friends, sort out the house, sell things on Ebay, run myriad games groups.

Well, I intend to of course...

Monday, August 22, 2022

My Brain has Stalled...

Have you seen my sausage?

 I talk a good game at times. Like a lot of people I have great advice for everyone on how to live. 

Today I am on the struggle bus, as J calls it. 

We walk 3 dogs every morning. Today X's Dachshund ran off in the woods. For 40 minutes we were in stress-city calling him, chasing him, calling him again. Hearing him bark in the distance. 

The other 2 dogs  - Wilbur especially - were getting stressed by it all. Why weren't we moving? Canine panic!

For us humans it was worse on J than it was for me. The very thought of losing another person's dog is so horribly stressful.

Eventually we got him. He had crossed the road a few times (not good) and I managed to lure him from 20 feet. He'd obviously scared himself witless and it was a huge relief to all. 

When we got home J had to jump straight into work. 

That's not the best way to start the week of course.

I can hear J upstairs. Sounds like she's up against it at work but I may be wrong. 

Me, I just can't get going, which is why I'm writing this.

I had a list of things to do - admin things relating to closing down my business. They'll wait till tomorrow.

I have some other things to do - physical stuff like putting some weeds and plants through the garden mincer and cutting a tile for a neighbour's DIY project. I can do those and at least they will be the boxes that I tick today,

Let's not set our sights too high today: listen to my body; listen to my brain.

I ❤️ Unimogs

Like a lot of men my age I'm notoriously difficult (in general too it must be said) but specifically in this instance with regards to buying presents for. 

So for Xmas my family had taken note of me extoling the many virtues of Unimogs - 4 wheel drive utility lorries made by a division of Mercedes - so they got me a driving experience with one!

Now me being me I left the gift card on the bookcase and did little about it as with FTD your executive functions become increasingly inert. After all, it's much safer here in front of the computer surrounded with D&D books.

Cue stepson Ben who prompted me to act, and we booked the session in for Saturday 20th August. We drove there - 5 of us - (leaving the dogs to be capably looked after by a neighbour's son) and had a very pleasant afternoon at in the heart of Kent.

I'd never done off-roading before but it was really fun. Unimogs are quite different to regular vehicles. The 1984 model I drove had 10 gears and lever to make it go forward or reverse, so it was possible (if you were mad) to drive it at 70MPH in reverse. 

It's a very mechanical vehicle and and a very enjoyable experience pootling along. 

I would thoroughly recommend it. 

By the way, I was knackered in the evening, falling asleep on the sofa. J pointed out that it was not the 45 mins of driving the Unimog, but the socialising I had done that day that had done for me. 

And she was spot on.

Dream car...

What is there left to do?

  • Sell van
  • Liquidate (or whatever term they use) company
  • Transfer stuff over to me after taxes etc
  • Sort out the garden
  • Decorate J's bedroom
  • Decorate Ben's old bedroom
  • Other stuff.
That is a lot of stuff. Easy to become quickly overwhelmed. I must break it down into smaller pieces or I'll be having sleepless nights. 

There's always so much to do isn't there?

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Dementia Boiling over

 I'll fight you for a beer

Having FTD BV/SV isn't great. Well, it's shit actually. I get by. I'm keeping busy and active and that's pretty good for me. 

I did a load of gardening last week, filled the skip, ordered things for the house. God - I'd let everything slip for months and months and now there's mountain to climb, but I'm breaking it down into doable chunks. It's good for me to keep active - have lists of achievable tasks for each day and it's good for my mental well-being.

But however much I do, I still have dementia. And it comes to the surface when you are least expecting it.

On Saturday I was at a friend's house. It was a birthday party. We were all sat outside with the blistering heat and the 11 year old daughter of our host was fetching us drinks the whole time.

A new couple joined us, sat at the other end of the table. He had one of those voices that just carried above all others. A sort of unfortunate nasal South eastern accent. He and a woman were talking politics. 

He said a couple of things that jarred with me. "Margaret Thatcher. She had a job to do." It was all sounding rather Daily Mail to me. I had to leave the table.

After a relatively short time everyone apart from him and the woman were indoors. Later, after even more beer in the heat, he was talking to J. She flailed her arms around, gesticulating. 

I couldn't hear what was being said, but neither could I help it anymore. I stormed up to him to berate him of his Daily Mail bollocks and the fact everyone came indoors leaving him outside as that's all they could hear was his voice talking shite.

I was quickly ushered away by everyone.

I'm afraid this is probably the future. I'll expect to be hit a few times in the short and long term. And at the age of 53 never having had a fight in my life, it's probably not the best tactic.

But at the time I was unrepentant and angry at this guy's views.

And another thing...

I woke up sweating with alcohol in the early hours and made my way down to the hammock beside the pool (!) and expected J and everyone else to be furious with me. 

When J found me she was really sweet. I wasn't expecting that reaction. Oddly no one seemed to mind. Maybe I'd said what they were thinking. Or maybe the waters had been calmed with everyone being told I had this weird dementia.

I was too embarrassed to ask. It was S's (our host's) belated birthday party and I'd presumably upset the evening, or had I provided the entertainment? 

We had breakfast and drove home.

We have another 'do' in the near future where I know there are 2 people who drive me nuts with their pro-Putin right wing views. I think avoidance of them and alcohol will be the order of the day.

Improvisational Skills

I DM'd some downtime for the players in last night's session with my Monday crew. You may know we have a WhatsApp group called D&G which was set up before I joined. I asked after a month or 2: 

- Why is the group called D&G?
- Dungeons and Dragons!
- No that's 'D&D' not 'D&G'.
- Oh.

They're all dyslexic, see. No one had noticed.

Anyway, the players finished one part of the adventure. It's kind of done in chapters - modules in old 1st Edition - which they have to complete, and then they have downtime - like a rest back in the town where they live, with minor events thrown in for good measure. 

They had rescued a dwarf called Morley from a hermitage on an island that was under attack from some aquatic zombies. They later revealed to the dwarf that there was a price on his head. Morley, suddenly terrified, pleaded with them and told them he'd been set up.

From here on in I basically improvised a story with counter claims and subterfuge with a powerful local merchant who is very popular with the townsfolk, despite being an utter crook. None of this will play to any single group's  benefit. Any outcome will be a Pyrrhic victory at best. 

Just like real life really.

The session went really well and served to enrich the environment with role-play and (almost) zero combat. 

I really enjoyed doing it and it gave me a lot of confidence and contentment with my neurological faculties, in stark contrast to Saturday night's frolics.



Saturday, August 13, 2022

The Sedentary Life Calls

Busy as a bee

I don't know what the hell has happened with the formatting here. I fxxxing hate centred or justified type. And yes I have been trying to get the formatting back to ranged left.

I've been really busy recently. Following on from the 6 days of work (I worked Monday too putting a sundial pedestal back for a Royal personage in Richmond Park) and so I thought I would continue with the momentum and do lots of work around the house - work I've neglected for months. J is simply too busy with her job to do stuff, so it's only fair I do the janitoring.

And then today…walking the dogs with J. She lets Chippy off who’s going ballistic and he shoots
off. We then saw that he’s not running after squirrels but some deer - he’s a dachshund too, which is comical yet still unacceptable.. Panic takes us. 

I’m wearing sunglasses at 7 in the morning in the expectation that within half an hour I’m really going to need them. I start running not looking at the uneven ground and turn my ankle. 

Oh blast...

So this throws a spanner in the works. I’ve turned ankles and sprained wrists all my life so I know how to deal with them (foot up, ice pack on and off in 20 minute bursts).

Back to the walk and we searched for Chippy for 15 minutes or so. We returned to the spot where he'd disappeared and there he was, coming from the other direction, with a euphoric, deranged face on.

But I’m a bear with a sore head. Don’t come near me.

I will bite. Or throw something. Or worse. 

Oh, if I had napalm right now...

Thing is while I still had the bit between my teeth I was going to start decorating a bedroom next week. Hopefully with a rest I can still do that. 

If not I'll read that ever increasing mountain of D&D books.

Bring on Autumn. The coolness, the water, the colours, the perfumes, the relief from this un-British heat and drought.

So next week we are thankfully forecast lower temperatures and rain. I read today our wonderful privatised water utilities haemorrhage billions of gallons; Thames Water alone 600 million gallons of water A DAY. We have the only privatised water companies in the world, and when they’re not pumping thousands of tons of raw sewage into our lovely rivers they’re awarding themselves and their shareholders millions of pounds in dividends. 

Makes ya proud, don’t it?

Think of the animals

Awful pictures of wildlife that have been killed by dehydration. I’ve got an insect water feeder coming today.

I get very depressed and sad about animals. We treat them so awfully. I still eat meat but I’m veering towards vegetarianism. With the passing days I like to think I would miss meat less and less.

I suspect this is to do with FTD - even though my empathy to humans is diminished I have heightened emotions. Especially towards maltreatment of children and animals.

Current Music and Media Tastes

I’m very much in a practical mode at the moment. I’m really not interested in reading D&D books (despite having bought yet another adventure book…).

What I’m currently into:

George Duke - Fusion

Banda Black Rio - 70s Brazilian funk

YouTube - barely watch it. Ditto Abba.

Samba makes me really happy - keeps my spirits up. It just has that vibrancy and vivacity that is absent from say, this.

Especially when George Duke plays it on Brazilian Love Affair. Don’t like the sloppy R&B stuff, but I do love the fusion!

It’s too much noodling for most. I love to be bombarded with it. I can’t get bored with it. 

As you were.

Sunday, August 7, 2022

I don't do meetings, I just do doing.

Culture of Guff

Having not been in the culture of corporations or medium to large companies for several years, I'd rather forgotten meetings. 

There's a certain type of people who relish meetings. "Goody! We're going to have a meeting!" they cry.

They've been practising their delivery, their jokes (the obvious ones the rest of us think of but can't be bothered to say) which they laugh at themselves, and will drone on and on about the one thing they're interested in that's of little or no interest to the rest of us. 

In my judgmental way, I imagine such people are often pretty ineffective in the workplace, but I digress...

To the rest of us, meetings are an intrusion to an already hectic workload. At best, a necessary evil where 5-10% of the content actually applies to you. 

As you can guess, I was in a meeting the other day. I can't divulge the contents, suffice to say I was no clearer at the end than I was at the beginning.

I used to think a meeting was a sorting office, to provide clarity and strategy in order to efficiently achieve a shared goal.

What an idiot I was!

Now this may just be me being demented, or it may be that in my 20 years absence from the world of meetings, their very nature has changed to become more nuanced and holistic. Perhaps I'm not aware of the subtleties of New Meetings and this is how I fail to grasp the information subtly contained within.

It must be me, as at the end of the meeting almost everyone looked really pleased. However, we did not put a proposition down as to what we wanted to achieve, who we needed to speak to and how we were to communicate it. 

I had mistakenly thought this was the whole point.

When Martin Duncan-Jones - a very clever friend of mine - was at university he was told to not write  essays starting with an assertion, which is then backed up with facts, ending with a conclusion, but to talk about things in a 'perhaps this could be said...perhaps that could be said..." type of way. 

He produced a meandering essay he knew was absolute drivel, and they were so impressed they ended up using it as a teaching-aid.

He realised then the world had gone mad.

Hello world.

The Burden of Dementia

As a person with dementia I'm always trying to delve deep within myself to ascertain what is guiding me at any one moment. Why did I do that, why did I say that to that person, in that way, what makes me happy, what could I do now this minute, what I didn't I like about this or that.

It's all about me, with the odd realisation that I could make the others working upstairs a cup of tea or vacuum the house. 

If something's out of place or someone's left something somewhere it shouldn't be I can get really arsey about it. An obsession with order is very much an FTD trait.

As is lack of empathy.

I don't consider those closest to me a lot of the time  - the space and time they're giving me. Their patience at dealing with me while they deal with their own lives: the cost of living crisis, their own careers, their own money worries, worries about other family members and on it goes.

And for much of the time I'm quite oblivious to their needs. I've become a teenaged me who is happiest gaming or listening to music, with friends. 

I should start going swimming again.

See? No worries at all.

Then it dawns on me and I remember to consider others and that if they left something where it shouldn't be they were busy or tired and it probably doesn't bother them and after all it's not a big deal. 

But that mindset is difficult to sustain.

Dementia is a burden to everyone nearest you.

The last Bay

Back to tangibles...

Worked with Fyfe this week in Teddington. This is my penultimate job. Very simple - to take out a PVC double-glazed window and the bricks and lintel above the window and install brand new hand-carved Bath Stone features to an early 20th century semi-detached house.

Before and After...but can you tell which is which?

The PVC window was held in with just 4 galvanised screws and some mastic but it had been there 20 years or so. The lintel was odd but again like the terrible brickwork, was poorly constructed using pea shingle as aggregate so it was light enough for us to take it out quite easily.

We worked hard and effectively that week. Oddly enough my muscle memory was intact and lifting, sawing and everything else was fine. I guess walking the dogs had prevented me from atrophying too much.

The client was really happy and paid us on the day. It was a job he'd been wanting to do for a few years so it was a great relief for him to finally have it done. Lovely people - I've been lucky for the best part with clients. Only had a couple of cu....nutters.

As these things do, a sleepless Sunday/Monday night and the adrenalin keeps me going, then I crashed at the weekend. Fizzled out.

However, I hope to keep myself going  - this has galvanised me and like Baron Munchausen  I have shaken the dust and cobwebs off and am now striding around the world like a mighty Apollo...

I shall seize the moment with this new found energy and next week: garden-weeding and bramble-destruction! 

I shall use a variety of sharp objects and powered implements. 

Death to invasive flora!!!

Yes, gardening. At least I can do stuff around the house and garden. Being busy is difficult to maintain, but I should be doing odd jobs far more.

Let's see if I can keep the momentum going...