27 August 2023

So where was I?  My exciting life and so on.

My fancy bluetooth keyboard is probably shot or nearly and most of my week was spent re-reading and re-writing I had labourosly written for hours earlier. Shoddy workmanship, as my daughter would say. Another family phrase which has its origin here:

Now there is a lot to be said about the wisdom of an episode of Father Ted, any episode. And in case you haven't ever watched one, this one is as good as any to start. I do realise we all have to be aware of any triggering, un-woke remarks we may come across in old tv series, but I assume we are all adults, no?

Too much of my time this week was spent resting a hot water bottle on my bloated abdomen, cursing and trying to be stoic. To be honest, this has been going on and off for quite some time in one way or another, which is why I had been to the gastrologist about a hunderd times in recent months. Alas, all his tests have come back with nothing to date. I could have told him that I am neither lactose, nor fructose intolerant, nor celiac and if I remember correctly, I actually did tell him that but now he has it all tested and could tell me back in person that I am neither of these. My friendly GP got it even in writing but faced with my symptoms of which the ongoing weight loss is slowly reaching a somewhat alarming level, muttered something else as the cause but to be certain she wants me to, you guessed it, go back to the gastrologist for more tests. The funny thing is that this is what R was told when he asked dr. google about my symptoms weeks back but, oh boy, will I ever keep schtumm about that because experience has taught me that some experts like nothing less than a patient who has researched health stuff online. Even if it wasn't me.

Summer has reached that point in time when I actually look with a certain longing at my warm sweaters, imagining sitting on the sofa with a hot cup of tea looking out into the cold rainy night. Not there yet. 

Also, I have been gifted a fitbit and am now working up my steps at a fierce rate. Last night, we both reached 13,000 each meandering through the back lanes of the suburbs before we called it a day. By the time I retire, if I ever will, I may be ready to walk across the Alps or maybe to the northern end of Norway. When I not walking, I spent an inordinate amount of time checking and refining my settings on this device which also told me today that I slept 7 hr and 11 min last night, a reading I am willing to discuss as my memory tells me something quite different but hey, maybe fitbit knows something I don't.

Workwise, I spent a considerable amount of time transcribing and translating various talks and conferences. Often, this is all way over my head even if some of it is quite interesting, occasionally with little gems such as this one

Proof implies there is no room for error. Quite simply, that doesn’t exist in the real world. In science you don’t have proof. You just accumulate evidence towards something until new evidence comes along to make it implausible.

I also got into an argument with a local journalist at a small public meeting about climate change mitigation - the things one attends nowadays instead of poetry readings - when he complained about local activist causing traffic to come to a standstill and I loudly replied, no, not traffic, just car traffic. And he then retorted, streets are made for cars and I shouted back, and for cyclists and pedestrians and buses, and some people clapped and cheered and he turned to face me and when he saw that I was merely an old woman, winked at me, shrugged and sat down.






15 August 2023

Briefly, this happened in the last two weeks.

I got up very early every morning, starting with 4:30 am on day one and slowly moving to 7:30 as of yesterday due to a curious but seriously jet lagged grandchild - my welcome gift to the grandchild's parents. We discovered early morning bird call, picked berries or tomatoes, read books on the sofa until someone produced jam on toast (not toast with jam) for us.

An exhausting day was spent in a "theme" park with life size toys, hundreds, no thousands, of overstimulated children, lousy food options but extremely well organised merchandise sections. A masterclass in consumerism. Not sure who prospered most. The grandchild when asked insisted on the fact that R got his feet wet at the pirate pond as the most memorable event.

Hotel breakfast buffets were lovingly rearranged and as usual, the strict German staff mentality gave way to lots of ooh and aah once a four year old guest explained in English that they were searching for  blueberry pancake. 

We met all the relatives and some more.

It rained a lot, mostly at night. 

The ability to score high at memory games decreases with age. 

I got a throat infection with a funny voice. 

There is a mountain of sheets and towels in the laundry looking at me.

Also, about 50 library books are waiting to be returned.

Not a day went by without a moment of terror.

Now I am on a short hiatus before they all come back for more in a few weeks.


13 August 2023

You are not crazy, it’s the patriarchy You’re not a loser, it’s the capitalism You are not old, time’s not really a thing You’re not alone, I’m here You’re made of stars, that’s fucking cool
Ana Božičević 


10 August 2023

So now they buried Sinead O'Connor back in Ireland and the Irish media is slowing down the coverage and memories and special broadcasts. A colleague here in Germany asked, what's all that fuss, wasn't it just that one song she was fanous for anyway? And I am at a loss for words because Sinead was so much more, loved and hated, ridiculed by few, respected and accepted for all of her open admissions of mental health struggles and her complete lack of stardom attitudes. 

I am sharing this letter that was received and published by the UK Telegraph shortly after her death. It came to my attention through the fabulous blog/substack Letters of Note by Shaun Usher.


I was greatly saddened by the death of Sinéad O’Connor. She was a very different person behind her fame.

In 1991, my 20-year-old daughter, Louise, was suffering from terminal cancer, when she received a phone call from Sinéad out of the blue.

Sinéad had heard of Louise’s illness from some source, probably the press, as we were raising funds for our local hospice. My daughter was a great admirer of her and loved her music.

During this long call, Sinéad invited my daughter to travel to London to spend some time with her. Needless to say, Louise was thrilled.

A few days later, she met Louise at Euston station and, to cut a long story short, Louise had the best week of her short life. They dined, they drank, they danced – but most of all they laughed irreverently. Sinéad was at the height of her fame at this time and found it highly amusing that, when they were out, people were asking for Louise’s autograph. Louise returned home exhausted and happier than I had seen her since her devastating cancer diagnosis.

It didn’t stop there: this lovely, compassionate woman always stayed in touch. She sent Louise wine and flowers and letters right up until her death in 1992.

On Louise’s last visit to London, Sinéad gave my daughter her platinum disc for her song Nothing Compares 2 U and dedicated her Christmas record Silent Night to her.

During all this time, Sinéad never sought any publicity for these acts of love and compassion. Today my thoughts are with two remarkable women who, I have no doubt, will be somewhere still laughing, dancing and singing.

Philip Woolcock
Preston, Lancashire


Another story that was shared on Irish radio was from a group of drag artists who regularly received boxes of stage make-up supplies from a woman who gave her name as Magda. Only when one day one of the artists offered to pick up a box to save Martha the postage and arrived at her cottage in Wicklow, did they realise that Magda was a name Sinead had adopted as her own later in life.