I've had another break from posting recently, mainly due to ill-health and attendant lethargy. This post is a kind of 'state of the union' address on how things are in Bear Land for the benefit of myself and any other interested parties.
Spring is well on its way but weirdly late in coming to the environs of Bear Valley. It's odd because, apart from one major cold-snap, we've hardly had a winter. So what we have here is plenty of greeness but late-budding trees and slow-to-come bluebells. Not being a true son-of -the-soil I can't account for it. Still, the apple tree in the garden is now in bud and I look forward to some blossom soon enough.
I haven't been in work now for a couple of months due to stomach pain and sickness and tomorrow I go for yet another test. This time it's a barium meal. The doc thinks I may have further problems inside that need a proper diagnosis. Needless to say, this is getting me down. I could go on about the terrible state of the NHS that has allowed me to continue without any real treatment since the middle of last year but what's the use? The Health Service is just another mess that our all too disappointing Government has failed to put right inspite of all the promises that Bliar (sic) made us all those years ago. On top of this we have the continuing evil of war in Iraq, rising violent crime and Lord knows what else to deal with. Roll on Brown... but you'll make no difference either. You've let the Tories back in. Thanks.
Where was I? Yes, I've been stuck at home for weeks, twiddling my thumbs and thinking too much. I have been trying to spend some of the time doing some reading and am currently in the middle of a biography of Robert Lowell. Why do I read such heavy stuff when I am in need of pleasant distraction? I don't know but I've always done it. I'm sure John Bunyan is just around the corner. I did read an excellent novel recently called The Testament of Gideon Mack by James Robertson. It's the story of a vicar who doesn't really believe in God but who has an encounter with someone who seems to be The Devil. It's very poignant but rather uplifting as well. I recommend it. What else have I been up to? Naturally, I've been listening to loads of music. Here's a list of the most popular hits on the old hi-fi of late:
Fairport Convention (their 1968 debut with Judy Dyble on vocals)
(For God's Sake) Give More Power To The People :The Chi-Lites (brilliant psych-soul)
Marcus Garvey/Garvey's Ghost : Burning Spear (classic roots reggae with dub sides)
Open Road : Donovan (possibly my favourite Don album, with the lost classic 'Roots of Oak' on there)
Y : The Pop Group (awesome punk-funk from the original Bristol Beatniks)
The Projected Passion Revue : Dexys Midnight Runners (if only the best incarnation of this band had made a proper album)
The Doors, Morrison Hotel, LA Woman : All by The Doors (recent reissues and very nice too...first time I've listened to them for years and I now remember why I liked them!)
These are some of the goodies I've got stuck into of late. I've also had a big blues and soul kick as well, rediscovering the delights of Muddy Waters, Freddie King, Al Green, Candi Staton and loads more. This is very good for music for the heart. There's never enough time for great music.
I had the annual MOT disaster with the car, which ended up costing me £350. I could have been a lot worse but this bloody car has cost be thousands in the last couple of years and I'd not get £500 for it if I tried to sell it. If I could live without a car I really would. but how can you these days.?My job is nearly 20 miles away and the buses don't run back up the valley after 9pm. Not much use on a late shift! On top of this, you have to drive to the supermarket to do the weekly shopping now all our community shops have been destroyed by the likes of Tesco and Asda.
We're not sure if we will be able to go on holiday yet. We booked one of those cheapo holidays in The Sun : five days in Paignton (same as last year) but it's doubtful if I will be able to go. This means Mrs. Bear and the cubs may have to miss out because of me. I feel very, very bad about this but I might be able to get enough energy for the drive. The other problem is, I have an appointment with the consultant right in the middle of the week away. This means I'll have to drive back to Wales on the Wednesday and back down again on the Thursday to bring us all home again on the Friday! I just don't know.
Bob Dylan is back in town! I had a front-row, centre ticket for the Birmingham gig (last night). I couldn't go because I'm unwell so I gave my ticket to my eldest cub. She tells me it was FANTASTIC and all the reports I'm reading suggest he was on fire. Some are saying it was the BEST GIG IN YEARS. I missed it but at least my dear eldest had an incredibly Dylan-live induction. Count your blessings!
That's all for now. I'll be back when there's more to report.