This blog is called misliterature – the original idea being that it was misery literature – a genre that seemed to be in vogue when I started bashing away. It’s the Fault in our Stars genre of tragic stories told in a stoic way – teeth gritted against adversity. I hope I haven’t wallowed in self-pity too much over the years but I might tonight.
Post-Xmas has been quite tough as my mother hasn’t been very well. She lives next to us, so we are close geographically but also emotionally – she is my mum – obvs! But she has also been a massive support for us over the years, when Fo was ill after Otto was born, when Otto had eczema, through all of AJ’s various predicaments and just supplying us with quantities of wine and horses at crucial moments. She has been quite bed-bound and not eating very much at all, so we (well mainly Fo) have spent a lot of time checking up on her and trying to make sure she gets enough to eat. Mary and Fo have also been working hard to sort out the right caring arrangements for mum to make sure she is in the best hands possible. We have got to make sure that mum is well looked after. She reads this blog and I am sure that she wouldn’t mind me saying that people should give her a quick call or pop in for a visit if local.
But then obviously we also have a bit of AJ worries – well of course we have. I noticed that she was getting a funny yellow bruise building up on her chest. We had it checked out and it turns out that the metal stitching she had from one of her heart operations is rubbing. Most people don’t either have chest strapping when they are in their chair or spend their time rolling and spinning round on their chests when they are not. AJ does – she’s either in her chair or on the floor. So normally if you have had to have your sternum cut open, it is a good idea to have the stitching on the outside – turns out that this was not the best idea for AJ’s specific set of circumstances. So she had an appointment with a plastic surgeon. She just needs “a little operation” to sort it all out. “Little” it might be, but it means another round of general anaesthetics, being chopped open again and generally being messed about. Oh well, you can hardly say we are not used to it!
But all of the above is just the build up, sketching some background to the “you couldn’t make it up” headline.
I was on my way to work on the bus yesterday and got a text from Fo saying, “Call me now” with a clear sub-text that “and this is important”, so I had all sorts of worst case scenarios running through my head, mainly Mum being rushed to hospital. But no, all of sudden Fo was telling me that AJ’s taxi had been in a crash – so for all of you. as Fo quickly told me: she’s fine, she’s fine, she’s fine – everyone’s fine. Or not as it turned out.
Although we had been told that everyone was fine, Fo decided to take AJ to Accidents and Emergencies to get her checked out and who should be sitting next to them in the Waiting Room? The carer who was with her in the taxi and with a broken leg. Fo also noticed that the strapping in AJ’s wheelchair was all but torn through, which must have meant that it was quite an impact.
Otto and I were wondering quite how you would check AJ for concussion. If you ask how old she is, she will invariably tell you “five”, we think because she can the neatly hold up the fingers of one hand. If they had asked her where she lives, she’d have probably said “doll’s house”. If you ask her to tell you the number of something, she will tell you a number, but just not the number of things you are asking about. So what she would have said if the doctor had asked, “How many fingers am I holding up?”, is anybody’s guess? So the chances are that she would have been taken away for serious tests even though she was just bantering.
Apart from having been told that everyone was alright and it turning out that 25% of the people in the taxi had broken a leg, the more we heard about the whole, the more it sounded a bit fishy and that all due care and attention had not been applied. For e.g. another taxi just happened to rock up so they bundled AJ and her travelling companion in without knowing their names or medical conditions.
This morning we were umming and aahing about putting AJ back into the taxi that might turn up. Then they turned up in this jalopy! Neither the driver nor the carer could open the back door to get AJ in so who knows how they would have got her out again in the event of an emergency. Then the driver asked me to fill a 1-litre bottle of water to pour into the engine, then a 2-litre bottle, then the 2-litre bottle again, then both of them,
“It’s a big engine,” he explained. “With a fucking big hole in it,” I thought…
We decided against putting AJ into this particular wagon. The plot has thickened today – Fo has had meetings with the police and the county council and there seems to have been quite a bit of dodginess on the part of the taxi company but I probably shouldn’t go too far into that here. Just in case I don’t say it often enough and loud enough – my wife is fab. She looks after us all.
Here are some pictures of AJ pulling a sad face – I have even given one a noir filter (as per Ran Joe) for full mis effect.
I couldn’t really have a “you couldn’t make it up” headline and not say something about Brexit, could I? But you couldn’t really make up the fact that a government report says that all Brexit scenarios are bad and then have a government minister say we should ignore that report.
So just to recap for those of you who are still reading and vaguely engaged by this point:
David Davis – Brexit Secretary, Brexit Bulldog, assured us that they were carrying out all sorts of impact assessments into what might happen to the country once we had Brexited. This would have been the sensible thing to do IMHO.
A few months later he admits that no such assessments have been made. So we are going into this blind.
Then it turns out that some sort of assessment has been made. It’s all bad. A hard Brexit would be very, very, bad and soft Brexit would be pretty bad. But it’s all bad. And then a Brexit minister tells us to ignore the report because “forecasts by officials were always wrong” – these would be forecasts commissioned by his own government about the one job his department has been created to deal with. Ian Duncan-Smith came out with the same sort of guff – don’t believe what the people who know what they are talking about – listen to us because we believe (I paraphrase).
Having been a bit of sad leftie for all my adult life, I have often been accused of utopian, pie-in-the-sky thinking “yeah man, if we just paid all our taxes and got rid of the nukes, we would be able to pay for a fully functioning health service and maybe even not have to force the disabled into having to take inappropriate, demeaning jobs, I dunno, I am just putting it out there.” But if there was one thing you could rely on in a Tory, it was they were cold-blooded realists. They’d not pander to some airy-fairy theories, they’d get things done in the most efficient way possible. The economy was everything and everything had to be set up to ensure the economy was smoothly oiled. So if this meant exporting food from Ireland in the 1840s during the famine or importing coal from Poland during the Miner’s Strike or imposing austerity in the face of a massive global economic slowdown post 2008 – well this was just the common sense. The Tories have never been ideologues – they are arch pragmatists, which is why they are one of the most long-lasting political organisations in the world.
Not this lot – they have inhaled some pretty potent and noxious gasses. They’ll take us off a precipice before they’ll admit they are wrong.