Monday, 23 October 2017

A surprise for tea!

I really should have taken a photo but there wasn't time. Robyn went into town and came back with fish and chips!

I haven't been able to eat fried food for as long as I can remember - certainly not for the last three months but it's probably more like the last six. Not only haven't I had any desire for it, I couldn't have eaten it if I'd wanted to.

Well today a desperate Robyn went out and got some fish and chips and I had some too. The plan had been that I was going to have a children's portion but in the end she just came home with a normal one - and I polished it off.

I certainly didn't feel great after but I wasn't sick. It was nice!

I'm not getting carried away, I didn't sleep at all last night and today the pain has been fairly grim, But I'm still in the ring.

Neil Harris
(a don't stop till you drop production)
Home: helpmesortoutstpeters.blogs[
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Sunday, 22 October 2017


I must be doing something wrong or, there's nothing to be done. Last night, stacked up with painkillers I got 35 minutes sleep and almost woke up before I'd got to sleep. I then spent the next four hours moving about and groaning as quietly as I could.

It hurt so much I couldn't even think.

In the end I got up at 0500 am and moved off very slowly to my armchair. Took more painkillers and got a couple of hours sleep. It's crazy.

I've got a really busy week ahead; a hospital visit, a doctors visit to sort out, a nurses visit to sort out, the shopping. I have no idea how I'm going to get it done.

On the other hand I didn't have too painful a day, Robyn made me a really cool soup and I have started to get my appetite back after about three months. So I'm not sure where I am.

Neil Harris
(a don't stop till you drop production)
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Saturday, 21 October 2017

Happy Holidays!

Today there's a guest Blog from Robyn!;

I have to admit, I don’t know if I ever made a Jack O’Lantern before I met Neil. But once we were together I had to make sure he got to experience EVERY holiday. This year though is a little different. Usually we make our Jack (or Jacks – last year we made two) together. But Neil wore himself out yesterday and didn’t feel like helping.

I spent a few hours the other day picking out the template, I wanted a fiery Jack this year. I also wanted a big one so we purchased a “giant” pumpkin from Tesco last week. So I downloaded the picture of the Jack I wanted, then held a piece of paper up to the screen of my laptop and traced the eyes and mouth. I freehanded the stop of the pumpkin, I went for an open top Jack this year, and I have a surprise for Neil later (something I saw online).

Then I taped the trace to the pumpkin and punched holes around the outline so that the outline would be perforated on the pumpkin.  Then using the knives from the kit (with occasional help from our regular knife) I cut out the face.  


 Now I said that the knife from the kit started to bend before I cut out the design of the top. Here you can see how the knife should look, how it looked after cutting the top out and how it looks now. From straight to a twisted ninety degree angle.

And here you can see Jack in all of his horror.

Hopefully he will frighten the spirits away this Samhain!

Neil Harris(a don't stop till you drop production)Home: helpmesortoutstpeters.blogspot.comContact me:

Friday, 20 October 2017

No Sundance ending.

Well, I finally made it - after a week or so of battling I've got in touch with the Hospice and had a chat with them. I've transferred Doctor, got myself legitimate.

Someone's coming to visit next week and in the mean time I've been given some advice about painkillers. I'm stopping one I've taken for about six months, so I'll be going cold turkey over that. Meanwhile, I'm taking a lot more of another, spread through the day.

I'm sure they know what they are doing and confident it will work, but I've been very depressed all day.

Ever since I was diagnosed, I knew how bad my cancer was, I had no illusions. If I had, I would have soon lost them. Treatment after treatment failed far too quickly, some didn't work at all.

I shook my cancer by the throat. Every time a Doctor or a nurse looked at my file and their head slumped, shoulders fell as they read it......I put my hands around the cancers throat and just squeezed.

I fought tooth and nail.

Now, it's all about acceptance. A passive acceptance of losing and that's not what I'm about.

Partly, I think, it's the difference between men and women. Robyn says it's no surprise that women are more accepting of things like this; they've been oppressed for 100,000's of thousands of years - how else do you deal with it.

Me, I'm looking for a Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid ending. Running at the guns, going out in a blaze of glory.

This, is all a lot harder to deal with.

So, I'm doing the right thing, but I'm still sad about it all.

Neil Harris
(a don't stop till you drop production)
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Thursday, 19 October 2017

Should have just gone home.

I knew today was going to be tough but I didn't realise how hard it was going to be.

I'd been putting off going to register with a new Doctor partly because I didn't want to and partly because I've been in a lot of pain all week. Each day I assumed it would be better if I waited a day.

It wasn't.

Today we went to the Doctor's surgery and then on to Tesco's which isn't far away.

We got there OK, the surgery was nice and modern, quiet and efficient. Unfortunately the helpful receptionist I spoke to on Monday was off work and was replaced by someone less helpful.

I had all the stuff I needed with me, I filled in the forms alright but unfortunately, it all took far too long. Standing by the counter, sitting down on a hard chair, getting up again and waiting at the counter all left me worn out. I've made a complete transfer, a new start and should now be able to access the Palliative care I need.

And at that point I should have just gone home. Sadly, we went on to Tesco's where we found that of all days for it to happen, all the disabled buggies were in use. It just took me too long to get ready in the morning and now it was too busy.

I couldn't walk round, I couldn't sit in the car. I was able to borrow a wheelchair but it didn't fit and I couldn't adjust it properly. My feet were up by my chin, my back was hurting and one wheel kept sending me off to the left.

I'm not used to powering a wheelchair with my arms and the pain in my ribs wasn't helping at all.

I was shattered by the end of the day and snapping at poor Robyn who was doing all the work and didn't deserve it.

I could barely get into the house when we got home.

You cannot imagine how painful things can be. How every step is agony.

Still, we pulled it off.

Neil Harris
(a don't stop till you drop production)
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Wednesday, 18 October 2017

200,000 thankyous.

199,850 views - by tomorrow the Blog should have reached 200, 000 which is something very special.

I probably ought to remind myself why I started the thing in the first place - I was sent home by Ashford and St. Peter's hospitals sent me home for a week with a broken dislocated ankle.

I ended up back at hospital being told I could easily have lost my leg and I needed emergency operations. I had two and was there for the best part of a week.

On my many, later journeys back to hospital I got to talking to people and it was obvious that there were lots of similar or even worse problems. But patients were too scared to complain or do anything about it.

So, I started the Blog to publicise what was going on and provide an internet focus onto the problems.

All these views and years later I'm not at all sure that this has done any good. Problems continue, targets are just being missed, disabled people now have to pay to park their their cars when they attend the hospitals. really, it's got worse since I started.

But I'm not sure - it could well be worse without the glare of publicity. At least that's what I hope and why I go on with this every day.

In the meantime thank you for reading the Blog, getting in touch and sending messages of support. It's all very welcome.

Thank you.

Neil Harris
(a don't stop till you drop production)
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Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Tuesday blues.

I don't know what I've done to deserve it - today a new rib started hurting and got worse through the morning. By lunchtime I was starting to get muscle spasms which were really bizarre.

I'd go into spasm if I coughed or hiccupped or moved too fast or the wrong way. Or if I breathed in all the way.

Really unpleasant.

I was on my own in the afternoon and had a wash. I actually felt I should have waited till Robyn came back because I was so shaky.

I'm back up at hospital in a couple of weeks and it may be possible to get my new rib zapped just like last time but none of this is very good.

Somehow tomorrow I need to sort out registering with the new Doctor.

So it's not a lot of fun at the moment, I'm afraid.

Neil Harris
(a don't stop till you drop production)
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Monday, 16 October 2017

Small world.

Sunday was really rough going - with some new back pains to keep me company. Today, I didn't feel like going to the Doctors to register, I was too shaky and still in a lot of pain. But I did phone them and they should take me on....I'm in the right catchment area.

I'm hoping to go there on Wednesday now.

Meanwhile we were circled by the remnants of a tropical hurricane, which scooted it's way up Ireland missing us.

But all afternoon there was the strangest orange sky and red sun which was either caused by sand sucked up from the Sahara desert or of smoke and ash from wild fires in Portugal.

Either way it was a really strange atmosphere, as though there was about to be an almighty storm but in the end it cleared.

It's a really small world.

Neil Harris
(a don't stop till you drop production)
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Sunday, 15 October 2017

Bad Sunday.

I had another really painful night, with the pain stretching on onto the day. In fact I've developed some new pains in new places which has been very demoralising. Also, I've ben getting Robyn down too, which I don't mean to do and which doesn't help.

It all seemed so much easier when I was on my own and didn't have to worry about the consequences of the illness on someone else. Once you care about someone else it's all much harder, much tougher.

Tomorrow I've got to try to get it together to go off to the one Doctor who may have me and to try and persuade them to let me register. My mobility is definitely suffering and what is really just a short journey to near Tesco's is starting to look like another mountain to climb.

Wish me luck!

Neil Harris
(a don't stop till you drop production)
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Saturday, 14 October 2017

One in Ten.

I've been listening to UB40's 1980 album "Signing Off" again and really enjoying it. The Dub versions are good too.

The music was recorded wherever the band could find somewhere; some in a kitchen with birdsong from the garden preserved in the background!

I think the songs stand up even after all these years;

"One in Ten"

I am the one in ten
A number on a list
I am the one in ten
Even though I don't exist
Nobody Knows me
But I'm always there
A statistic, a reminder
Of a world that doesn't care

My arms enfold the dole queue
Malnutrition dulls my hair
My eyes are black and lifeless
With an underprivileged stare
I'm the beggar on the corner
Will no-one spare a dime?
I'm the child that never learns to read
'Cause no-one spared the time


I'm the murderer and the victim
The licence with the gun
I'm a sad and bruised old lady
In an ally in a slum
I'm a middle aged businessman
With chronic heart disease
I'm another teenaged suicide
In a street that has no trees


I'm a starving third world mother
A refugee without a home
I'm a house wife hooked on Valium
I'm a Pensioner alone
I'm a cancer ridden spectre
Covering the earth
I'm another hungry baby
I'm an accident of birth


Neil Harris
(a don't stop till you drop production)
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Friday, 13 October 2017

Still hanging.

I had another bad night - very painful and that continued through the day.

Worse, I spent most of the time on the internet or hanging on the phone trying to get through to doctor's surgeries.

There's only one Doctor's in my area and I don't want to use them. In fairness, I don't think they would have me either.

Then there's a ring of surgeries about 3 or more miles away but, as I found, each one wouldn't accept me in their catchment area.

I'm tired of scouring websites only to find that there's a map which says they won't help. Or I ring up and hang around waiting for a decision - which doesn't go my way.

At the end of the day I found one surgery - the only one which may just cover this area. I got tired of the Friday phone queue by this time and I'll either try on Monday or, if I'm up to it, we'll just go in and try and sort it out then and there.

I actually started to give up in the middle of all this, which is really bad. I've been so full of fight these past years, I shouldn't let something like this get to me but it has.

Neil Harris
(a don't stop till you drop production)
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Thursday, 12 October 2017

Hunting around.

Another irritating day. We went shopping, although really Robyn did it all; she got me out in the morning rather than in the afternoon like last week, did the driving and the shopping itself.

I was in agony - everything that could possibly hurt......hurt.

Sitting in the passenger seat, I'm not sure I could have done the driving as well and that's new.

We got home and I starting hunting around for a new Doctor so that I can access local Palliative care. I can't/won't use the nearest surgery due to problems I had over my Mum's treatment.

As a result I'm getting turned down because "You're outside our catchement area". Which means that no one may take me. Not sure how I deal with that one.

As it is, I have lots more phone calls to make.

I'm tired out.

Neil Harris
(a don't stop till you drop production)
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Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Thanks Robyn.

I had a really rough day today and last thing at night Robyn sent me over some 70 photos from three years ago, to cheer me up.

There are pictures of us out for walks, watching bands play, just having fun together.

I was well in 2014 but I had just had a really tough year looking after my Mother and meeting Robyn was like a breath of fresh air.

As I think you can see in this one.


Two people very much in love.

Thanks Robyn.

Neil Harris
(a don't stop till you drop production)
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Tuesday, 10 October 2017


I'm mourning the death of a whole ecosystem - potentially a site of special scientific interest.

Robyn washed my car!

My car (known as 'The Pimple') is now nearly 12 years old and has never been washed. Usually, when it rains I wipe the dirt off with an old cloth and it looks as good as new.

Of course, I'm too ill to do that now - it's been over a year.

At the beginning of last year I did a Blog about the ecosystem growing on my car, possibly in the hope that someone (like UNESCO or WWF) might take an interest.

Since then, the organic material that covers my car has given it what some might describe as a rich patina, the kind of surface that would take centuries to build up in the rainforest or the Russian Steppes. 

Sadly, no one ever did take an interest in preserving this unique ecosystem and now the rare mosses and lichens that once called my car home are lost forever.

I asked Robyn to do a guest Blog for me - I was just too distraught.

I Washed The Car!  The Ordeal.

Since I’ve known Neil he has never washed his car A.K.A. The Pimple. Sometimes when we were out and it was raining he would wipe the car off with rags – which I found very embarrassing. You may have seen in an old blog post that Neil had moss and lichen growing on the car that he was very proud of.  He’s also very proud of the various species of spiders that reside in and on the car. I saw them on our first date, I told Neil “There’s a spider in your car” and he responded, “Its fine! It will eat the flies.” I told him when I was taking driving lessons that the first thing I was going to do once I passed the test was take the car to a car wash.

Well, I passed my test almost a month ago and I hadn’t done it. I’m still a bit scared of driving his car. My driving instructor’s car was so easy and lovely to drive, I could drive it the way she was teaching me. But The Pimple is temperamental, if I change down a gear it pretty much stops, and it wants to be changed up way too early so the car makes a lot of noise when I’m driving it, which I don’t like.

Anyway, I hated being out (I try to drive twice a week) with the car so dirty so this morning I said “Why don’t I take the car for a wash?” and surprisingly Neil was alright with it. I’ve been thinking about this for a while. Shirley the neighbor had her car washed last month for her vacation, it cost £30! I knew that would never do. I also knew that as dirty as it was if I took it to one of those £5 hand car washes they would charge extra. So I opted for the self-wash stall at the gas station of our Tesco.

So I drove to the Tesco gas station and pulled in to one of the two stalls; the other was in use. I looked to see how much it was and what type of payment it took and of course it only took change. Neil used to keep a stash of change in the car for parking on our outings but he had taken it into the house so I had to drive out of the gas station and go to the Tesco. Fortunately I had something to pick up so I took £10 out of the ATM and purchased the item with the cash so I’d have change. Unfortunately I was given a £5 note change, so I drove back to the gas station and pulled into the car wash stall, then I walked around to the gas station and asked the attendant for change for the car wash.

I returned to the car wash stall and got out to take pictures of The Pimple before the wash, then I got myself ready. I inserted a coin and nothing happened; the coin just dropped out. I tried other coins since we’ve recently updated our coins, but the machine would not accept old or new coins. Luckily the man in the other stall pulled out so I drove around again (third time is the charm); driving out of the gas station, around a mini roundabout back to the entrance of the gas station praying the whole time that no one would pull into the other stall before I returned.

Someone was there, but he just got out and threw a trash bag into the trash can and drove off. Thank God! So I got out and put the change into the machine and started washing. I didn’t do it in the order on the screen because the car was so dirty. I rinsed, washed (hot water with a brush), rinsed again so I could see what was left and then washed again.

During all this washing a man pulled into the other stall (the one I’d been in that didn’t work). When he got out of his car I told him that I couldn’t get the machine to work but he said “I’ll give it a try anyway” (men!). A few moments later he got back into his car and pulled out of the stall and a few minutes after that he pulled behind me. I still had 6 of the 22 minutes I’d purchased and I wasn’t going to cut my wash short.

In the end the waiting car left me flustered, and I also thought I’ll be nice and leave him a minute. So after another rinse, wax and final rinse I drove away (leaving him a minute of my time). Then I pulled into the Tesco parking lot to take a few pictures because there isn’t really enough room to do it in our driveway. I have to say I’m very pleased with myself and The Pimple doesn’t look so bad when she’s had a wash.


I did promise Neil that I wouldn’t kill the moss and lichen growing on the car. It wasn’t till I was washing it that I realized just how much there was on the car. I know I left it on the rear passenger side window and on a knob on the back, but other than those two places I think it’s all gone.

The Pimple is a lot cleaner than she was at least on the outside but she’s not spotless. Maybe if I make this a regular thing I can get her looking great. Maybe next time I’ll take her to get an inside clean to get rid of all the spiders. But I’m not doing that myself!

Robyn G. May

Neil Harris
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Monday, 9 October 2017

Thatcher's funny friends.

Today more information came to light about Rochdale Councillor, Mayor, Member of Parliament and lifelong serial paedophile Cyril Smith. For much of his adult life he had taken advantage of his dominant position in Rochdale to take advantage of vulnerable children and teenagers being looked after by local social services.

It turns out that Public Prosecutors lied to local journalists, denied that Smith had ever been investigated for offences, something which came to the attention of the Security Services, who did nothing to correct the impression that Smith was an innocent man.

That was not the case in 1988 when Margaret Thatcher as Prime Minister was pushing for Smith to be made a Knight of the Realm. Letters were sent pointing out the various aborted investigations, the allegations and rumours and setting out why Smith should not be considered as a suitable person to be given high political honour. Thatcher ignored these warnings and Smith became a Knight.

I was struck by how similar this was to her relationship with 'Sir' Jimmy Saville, the serial paedophile and abuser, who spent some 11 Christmasses with his friends, the Thatcher's.

Mrs Thatcher recommended Saville four times for his Knighthood, on each occasion she was warned off by civil servants who pointed out the many rumours about his sexual abuse.

For Saville it was to be fifth time lucky.

We can look at Thatcher's friendships and protection of prominent politicians and public figures who faced similar allegations and just wonder; "Exactly what was going on there?"

Neil Harris
(a don't stop till you drop production)
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Sunday, 8 October 2017

Hooded Claw duties.

The only thing I ever really promised Robyn (well, apart from never betraying her) was that I would protect her from 'The Hooded Claw'. By and large I've managed to do it up to now.

Last night I was lying in bed, at 0315am, wide awake and in a lot of pain, listening to some rather sinister noises along the outside wall of our bedroom. Then......some loud bangs and a few crashes.

I should explain that we have been burgled - everyone round here has. There have been plenty of attempts to get into the house too..

So at 0330, with a heavy heart, I got up to go round the house putting on all the lights and checking that no one had got in.

It has to be said that the only thing more painful than lying in bed is getting up. I have to shuffle my poor old legs to the edge of the bed, then lift them over the edge and onto a cardboard box that I have strategically placed on the floor next to me. Then I ease myself up, holding on to the mattress for dear life, then I quickly put on my back brace to hold my back in one piece. Then using a walking frame I struggle up, get my two walking sticks, put my dressing gown on and then shuffle off.

I move with all the speed of an over tired Sloth. I even look like a Sloth.

As I shuffled round the house, throwing on the lights as I went, accompanied by a lot of slow motion moaning, I began to feel that staying in bed might have been a better idea.

When I got back, feeling rather pleased with myself, I told Robyn that I had fulfilled my Hooded Claw Duties, she pointed out that there hadn't actually been a Hooded Claw, so it didn't count.

Which I felt was more than a little unfair.

That being said there was no sign of Sydney the Grumpy Cat, so it was always possible that she had been stolen.

Although, in fact she wasn't.

I collapsed back into bed, took a painkiller and snatched an hour's extra sleep.

Today, oh it hurt!

Neil Harris
(a don't stop till you drop production)
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Saturday, 7 October 2017

Tangled up.

I've had another frustrating week. I need to sort out some 'Palliative care', but I've just had confirmation that I can only do this in the area I'm registered to my General Practitioner in.

For reasons I won't go into, I still use my old Doctor, out of area. So now I can't register.

Worse, where we are is on a 'borderland' - we get moved around whenever some authority wants to move people around. So the Surrey area involves a huge journey, a nightmare which is further and harder than going back to visit the community team for my old area.

Anyway, if I don't get it sorted soon I'll run out of drugs before I get back to Dr Feelgood who prescribed them.

And I'll have to lose my old Doctor's who I've been with for some 25 years and get on with. And (for the same reasons I won't go into) I can't use the nearest and most convenient Doctors to where we are.

I am grumpy.

Neil Harris
(a don't stop till you drop production)
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Friday, 6 October 2017

Theresa May, the walking dead.

I couldn't resist sharing this image put up by The Orgreave Truth and Justice campaign to promote their Sheffield rally and Halloween party on 31st October.

It was prepared well before Theresa May's most recent meltdown at the Tory party conference and shows May, Boris Johnson and Amber Rudd in their true Zombies.

Neil Harris
(a don't stop till you drop production)
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Thursday, 5 October 2017

In the sun.

Feeling sorry for myself again - had a really bad night and then today we were due to go shopping.

I was pretty much out of it all morning - had a sandwich and a wash, took a pill and then went to Tesco's. The end result was that instead of doing this in the morning, we went in the afternoon when its busy.

Robyn drove and I shuffled along like a snail. At the store I went round on a disabled buggy and then back at home I just slumped back down in my chair, worn out. I actually did nothing.

I'm no longer any use to Robyn or anyone else - I used to do everything, I was the one who looked after everybody. It's difficult to adjust.

As I came out of the house, I was covered by a warm, sultry October sunshine. Waiting in the checkout queue I just basked in the sun, letting it flow over my eyelids.

Just enough to remind me what we missed out on this summer.

Neil Harris
(a don't stop till you drop production)
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Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Autumn Moonlight.

 Autumn moonlight
 a worm digs silently
 into the chestnut.
By Matsuo Basho

Neil Harris
(a don't stop till you drop production)
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Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Music with spirit.

A sad night, listening to a concert by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers recorded in 1980 and which I remember watching back then.

There are plenty of songs that are clearly white American and yet, Petty was big here in the UK long before he was very famous in the States.

Petty somehow became part of 'New Wave', music that was somehow associated with Punk but wasn't Punk by any stretch of the imagination.

Actually, I think it was just new music that didn't have a convenient category to slip into, that was fast and furious in an age of slow, pretentiousness. I remember listening to Petty while I was still at school and thinking of the promise and excitement that was coming.

Music with spirit.

News of Tom Petty's death came after a long and particularly painful and completely sleepless night. Not the best way to hear the news.

Neil Harris
(a don't stop till you drop production)
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Monday, 2 October 2017

Slow motion man.

I'm on my best behaviour at the moment - I'm eating a little bit better than I was which is down to much stronger steroids.

I've been drinking the strawberry milkshakes that Robyn has been making me and occasionally I have one of my special herbal 'teas'.

I grew my 'tea' about three years ago, mainly using ignorance as a guide. The growing was easy, the main problem was preserving the crop, which is something I know nothing about.

I haven't used much of my 'tea' as it was never my thing, really. I grew it for use now when I needed it. I'm not sure how helpful it is but it's pleasant enough.

I've been rewarded with even more pain which is not a good thing at all. We'll have to see how that plays out over the next month and then see what Dr Feelgood suggests.

In the meantime I have things to do, even if I seem to be moving in slow motion.

Neil Harris
(a don't stop till you drop production)
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Sunday, 1 October 2017


Like many people across Europe, I've been watching news reports of the brutal methods used by Spanish police to try and prevent the Catalan regional government from holding a referendum on independence from Spain, with increasing horror.

We always have to remind ourselves that Spain was a fascist dictatorship in the heart of Europe for over 40 years and even after 'democracy' was restored, many features of the Fascist dictatorship were retained.

I was reminded of this when I was in Madrid in 2006 and unexpectedly witnessed the Spanish Riot police getting ready for an evenings entertainment.

By accident, I stumbled on a once a year festival which takes place in a Madrid church. If you are able to get to the alter during a once a year 24 hour period, you will be granted 'three wishes'.

I realised what I had come across when I chanced upon a huge queue of about 5000 elderly ladies, all dressed in black outside the church waiting for the opening of the doors. They were very determined, hunched with old age and poverty and waiting for a chance to bring their families some much needed good fortune.

Facing them were some fairly hefty Catholic Priests, who certainly looked as if they could keep order at quite a rowdy football match.

Much worse was a long line of riot police, also dressed in black, in full armoured riot gear, waving night sticks and banging them provocatively against riot shields every so often.

The little old ladies, who could have been any ones grannies, were facing some very rough treatment - they were up against the church and the State, both given huge powers under Franco and only too ready to misuse them.

It was a sinister and really nasty atmosphere and I've seen a few riots in my time. As they say it was all about to 'go off' and my main concern was to get out of there as quickly as possible.

I have no doubt that the hair pulling, kicking, rubber bullets and tear gas used by the riot police against Catalans queuing up to vote in their referendum is typical of policing in Spain and that later that evening a lot of violence was going to be used against the little old ladies waiting patently for a chance of getting their 'three wishes'..

And which may well be why so many people want independence from Spain in the first place.

Neil Harris
(a don't stop till you drop production)
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Saturday, 30 September 2017

April, Come she will.

April, come she will
When streams are ripe and swelled with rain
May, she will stay
Resting in my arms again

June, she’ll change her tune
In restless walks, she’ll prowl the night
July, she will fly
And give no warning to her flight

August, die she must
The autumn winds blow chilly and cold
September, I’ll remember
A love once new has now grown old

Paul Simon

I've always loved this Simon and Garfunkel song, loosely based on an old English poem.

Neil Harris
(a don't stop till you drop production)
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Friday, 29 September 2017


I had built up my hopes too much - new painkiller and a huge boost to my meds. All of which I hoped would bring down my pain and give me a nights sleep.

Didn't quite work out that way. As they had warned me, my poor old rib hurt a lot worse after the radiotherapy than it did before - that will get better.

Unfortunately, at those times when my ribs got a bit better I realised that I have a problem with another rib, that pain just got hidden by the bigger one.

The new painkiller didn't really sort out my problems and on top of that I stopped using the old one. So.......I was irritable and withdrawing after using it for about 6 months.

I got about an hours sleep all night.

So it shouldn't be a surprise that I got into a real mess with FaceBook. For some unknown reason I was reading a post about Hugh Hefner someone I knew had liked. I have no idea why but I accidentally clicked on 'like' when I didn't agree with it and even worse I also clicked on the new 'love' symbol.

It was some kind of involuntary spasm.

I then forgot how to undo that. At which point the whole FaceBook seemed to go mad and loads more posts came up so that I couldn't get back to the Hefner one.

I spent about 25 minutes tracking it down and working out how to erase my 'Love' symbol from it.

I was very frustrated; a worthless man whose worthless life was spent exploiting women and cheapening all our lives in the process.


Neil Harris
(a don't stop till you drop production) 
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Thursday, 28 September 2017

Hospital day.

I should have guessed from the amount of pain I was in that my trip to hospital wasn't going to go well.

I got the result of my blood test from a month ago and things have got dramatically worse - so a big boost to the strength of my meds and a review next time around. That's not going to be fun.

I had an agonising drive into town and was late because it took me so long to walk in to the ward. I got my infusion and was then sent over to the radiotherapy department for a spot of urgent zapping of my poor rib, which is really painful these days.

Radiotherapy is on the opposite side of the hospital, a long walk on two sticks. It wasn't helped when I chose the wrong corridor and everyone we asked told us we would have to go all the way back and start again.

No way!

We ended up in A and E to find all the exits locked and had to get a nurse to take pity on me and let us out.

At Radiotherapy we had a long wait, which was fine for me although it drove Robyn crazy. I was completely shattered and just slept.

Then I had problems - I can't lie down on my front because of my spine and I haven't laid on my side for nearly two years. I ended up propped up with foam blogs and lying on a trolley. I was in agony and in the end they agreed that as long as I didn't move, I could sit on the trolley and we did it that way without problems.

I've also got a script for some morphine patches which may mean I will still be able to function as the dose is direct and lower.

Eventually, after a really long and exhausting day we made it home.

Cancer sucks, let me tell you.

But I drove both ways and walked a long way, hung around an waited and got treated.

Quite an achievement.

Neil Harris
(a don't stop till you drop production)
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Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Groaning Tortoise.

It was a struggle but I did make it to Tesco's today. It didn't go particularly well - we normally go in the morning, today I only managed to get out of the house after lunch. But we did it.

Obviously we needed the shopping but more importantly, I have to get up to London tomorrow to the Hospital and that's going to be an even bigger effort.

When we got home, I was, of course, completely out of it for the rest of the day. But I remember some years ago, getting back to Tesco's after I first broke vertebrae in my back and thinking how later I would be looking back to then with some nostalgia.

I was right, I do.

I remember every time I went there and rushed round on my own. I don't do that any more but I'm still there even if I'm like a groaning tortoise.

Neil Harris
(a don't stop till you drop production)
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Tuesday, 26 September 2017

This is just to say.

I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
for breakfast

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold
William Carlos Williams

Neil Harris
(a don't stop till you drop production)
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