August 27, 2011 GMT
While I Was Away

While I was enjoying the Lake District, riots were going on in London. And elsewhere.

But riots have been occurring in London, and in Engand, for centuries. It's not really a new thing.
But that's no excuse, and it's very sad.
Equally sad is all the rubbish that is said and printed in the media, most of it to serve one of three objectives:
To increase newspaper sales,
To increase viewing figures,
To make political capital.

I was pointed to the following video a few weeks ago, when hoards of people were out on the streets on the Isle of Man and its capital, Douglas, occupying the roads and pavements and completely curtailing normal everyday activities.
It's a video made by an onlooker showing the police brutality they employ, mainly on holiday visitors, to try to make things safe enough for residents to continue their day-to-day lives unhindered.

If you're concerned that similar techiques should be used where you live, then maybe you should write to your MP and local council straightaway.
In the meantime, I was just thinking it's about twenty-two years since I've been to the IOM. This video brings back memories (not much has changed at all in the Island's culture), so it's definitely time to take an adventure up there again. Next year.......

News From Addis Ababa

Firstly, the truck that Caroline and Beau had arranged to take them to Addis from Awasa didn't turn up. So Beau lined up a few clean spark plugs and a plug spanner in a roll of rag, and they set off on their own. A number of 'stopped to make adjustments' sessions later they reached Addis.
Beau dismantled the top-end of his engine and found evidence of serious oil-burning.


Although the cylinder head didn't look too bad for an engine of unknown history.

But a lot of carbon in those inlet ports.

A local mechanic found new valve oil-seals, but drew a blank on piston rings.

So they reassembled everything, tried it out, and found no difference. Still a huge amount of smoke from the exhaust and the spark plug being oiled up in very short order.
The top end was removed again, and new piston rings obtained from Fowlers of Bristol and couriered out.
On re-assembly a bolt broke (don't know which one yet) delaying things a bit more. Which was tricky because Caroline has a deadline to be back at work in Khartoum which required moving on from Addis by Friday at the latest.
As it was, Beau had his bike back on the road by Friday afternoon, running OK, so they both departed for Khartoum very early Saturday.

We wish them well. And hope to hear of their arrival in Khartoum early in the coming week.

Moving on, I've at last acquired the most traditional of biker's accessory. All on the NHS, free of charge.
Tattoos. Three of them. How about that?
I had them done last week, as various technicians and medics took careful aim with lasers, CT scanners and felt-tip pens.
My three tiny dots will show the supercharged beams of particles the correct route to the tumour during daily radiotherapy, just like a GPS I suppose.
I'll assume the accuracy is a shade better than with my fourteen-year old GPS that steered me well enough around Africa.

I get asked now and again about progress.

Firstly I get confused, is it about medicine or astrology? I was born under the sign of cancer - so is the treatment for 'constellations'?
You see how easy it is to get confused.

So I read the leaflet again that comes with the hormone treatment drug. No, this is definitely for the medical complaint.
There's a long list of side effects.
There are so many, they are organised into groups according to the basic nature of the unwanted effect. It gives you a sense of confidence in the navigation skills of the pharmacologists - maybe.
In the top group it says 'weight gain'. Oh dear, always difficult, that.
Further down the long leaflet, in another group we see, 'weight loss'.
"Errrr! Didn't you just miss a turning there? That's the direction we want isn't it?"

No matter, we can always turn round.
It's the side effects that aren't listed that I'll need to mention at the next consultation.
I'm having to fight a serious one already, and I have many months of this stuff ahead.

I feel a worrying, almost irresistible urge, that's becoming impossible to combat.
....... to - errrr - go shopping!
J&S would be bad enough - but M&S!!!!

People who know about the hormone treatment ask, "Hey, how's it going? Can you do two things at once yet?"
"Not a hope. I can't even walk to the exit and chew gum when I suddenly find myself inside Marks & Spencers!"

I'm hoping, as I haven't yet asked, that when the radiotherapy gets under way next week they won't put the same restrictions on me that I had after spending a while in the Department of Nuclear Medicine having my skeleton probed by glowing isotopes. They said I had to keep away from pregnant women and babies for the rest of the day. Well, I suppose that was OK as the 'rest of my day' comprised going to Waitrose (side effect of the hormone stuff) where you rarely bump into another customer who doesn't have the full house of a bus pass and a senior railcard. Isn't senior citizenship wonderful?
Nuclear Medicine, "What's that?" I thought when the appointment arrived. I had visions of a week or so of covert security checks being done on me, like when I used to visit Aldermaston and Dungeness for work. Although no restrictions then on picking up babies.
But no, when I arrived for the appointment I was whisked straight in for the process, no photographing or airport security or anything.
But thinking about it again, when the 'nuclear nurse' was administering the isotopes, she did suddenly exclaim, "Ah, you're wearing the same MBT trainers as me!"
That must have been it..... security clearance by secretly checking my trainers!

Posted by Ken Thomas at August 27, 2011 06:13 PM GMT

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