Saturday 17 November 2012

In sickness and in health

Well I've been having a fun time of late. It started (in July) because I felt like  I needed to pee all the time. So I went to the doctor. After many questions, blood tests and the like I have a raised PSA. That, apparently, means that there's something wrong with my prostate. So I get sent off to see a urologist. She does various things to me included urine tests and a digital rectal examination. Yep, that's how much fun I been having. I saw her again and she said I still have a raised PSA so it's biopsy time. That was Tuesday. Definitely not the most fun I ever had with two women and no trousers, but that's the way it goes. I'm now awaiting results.
Among all this activity it turns out that I have glucose in my urine. So more tests for diabetes this time. The HbA1C (or some other random collection of letters and numbers) says I'm not diabetic but the glucose tolerance test says I have impaired glucose tolerance - that means I'm nearly diabetic. I also have all the risk factors - immediate family member with diabetes, sedentary lifestyle, obesity, and high blood pressure. So I have to lose 4 stones in weight. That's 56 pounds. Since early October I have managed to shed about twelve and a half pounds, so I'm getting there. Hopefully the weight loss will help my hypertension.
So I have been quite down at times, and gotten around to considering my own mortality. I've hand picked all the players for the band at my funeral. How dark can life be? Well I guess that from such a perspective any news has got to be good news. If not the rep. player is going to be pretty damned fantastic in church - shame i won;t be able to hear him.
"...for now we see in a glass, darkly..."

Tuesday 3 July 2012

A weekend away.

I went to see James Morrison  (the Australian jazz musician, not the singer) at Birmingham's Symphony Hall with the Black Dyke Band on Sunday. It was a really good gig. So good, in fact, that my brother actually played his post horn. That doesn't happen often outside his own back kitchen. Now this particular James Morrison announced to the audience that he was going to play a duet. When pressed by Nick Childs for more information he declared that he was going to play a diet on his own. He'd already done his party piece and played the trumpet in one hand and the trombone in the other so what manner of duet was he proposing. Well his rendition of Basin Street Blues. Quite fitting given the proximity of Symphony Hall to Gas Street Basin, I thought, but I didn't say anything because I'm quite shy and I don't like to draw attention to myself. Anyway back to the duet. Morrison played the trumpet with his right hand and the piano with his left. Not alternating between them like he does with the trumpet and trombone but he actually played them both at the same time. Pretty impressive stuff eh?Impressive yeah, but he didn't play the post horn.

Whilst I was in Birmingham I took the opportunity to obtain some of Mont Blanc's latest special edition ink. Its the Meisterstuck Diamond blue ink. I quite like it. I guess some of you are going to be inundated with it for the short term until I find something else to excite me. Que sera, sera.

Yesterday we went to Coventry. Before you ask I wasn't sent there I went of my own accord. We have wanted to see the cathedral there for some time and so we finally made it. It's impressive stuff. That tapestry is just immense. Giles Brandreth was there too doing some filming for, we think, the One Show. He didn't ask for my autograph though. So I didn't ask for his. But if you're interested he said his three grand-children are fine. Sorry I don;t have any pictures. I'll go back another time and get some for you.

Tuesday 12 June 2012

Blog neglect continues unabashed

Well I haven't been a very good blogger again recently. In my defence I was busy over te jubilee weekend with Silk Brass taking part in the annual Whit Friday contests in the Saddleworth and Oldham areas. We only managed to get six done this year due to someone turning up late for the coach and all the associated congestion that all the band busses cause. Big brother's band managed eight and the also took the area title with six firsts, a third and a fifth place. I guess that was always going to happen. At least we got best band on the march at Diggle and so we beat them even though it was only in a very small way.

Today postman pat brought more blue boxes from Smythson. Nile blue writing paper this time. I think the jury is still out on that one. See what other people think in due course I guess. It's all about the paper / ink combo. Maybe it will look good with Noodler's Black Swans in Australian Roses. Time, as they say, will tell. I might post some pics later.

Tuesday 22 May 2012

I guested on someone elses blog. Wooohoo!!

Last week I was featured as pen pal of the week on the blog of that name. Thanks Julie for including me. So far I have had three people contacting me wanting to exchange letters by snail-mail, so that's great.

Also last weekend I had a wonderful time in Whitby (of Dracula fame) meeting a pen pal of mine who came over to Britain from the States. Actually it was two pen pals as they are a husband and wife and I write to both of them. It was great to meet them both. I hope that they enjoyed themselves as much as Deb and I did. Obviously I won't embarrass them by posting their names, but I believe that they have been known to stop by this blog every once in a while.

Whit Friday is fast looming so I'm going to be out with Silk Brass doing however many contests we can fit in. I missed out last year because I was down in the south of France. Which would you prefer, Tameside ? Saddleworth or the Languedoc Rousillon?

Friday 4 May 2012

Not doing too well with this blogging.

It seems that I have, again, been neglecting my blog. In truth nothing of any great interest has occurred recently. Work has been steady, Silk Brass have been rehearsing steadily for Whit Friday and the forthcoming concert season. It's all been very quiet. C'est la vie. I just thought I'd better post something so that you know I am still here :)

Saturday 17 March 2012

Been neglecting my blog of late.

Well I'm afraid that I have been neglecting my blog of late. When I started out I wondered how long i would take before I fell off. Now we know, not very long at all.
I have had a few day's out of the country. Can you guess from the picture where I've been? If you're thinking New York City then you are wrong, I'm afraid. I was ready for a break as I had been working pretty solidly since New Year. Now it's work again until Easter. C'est la vie. (is that a clue about where I've been?)
I managed to meet up with a fairly recent pen-pal while I was away. It was good to meet up with him. I guess any such meeting can be quite awkward, but we helped each other through it. It was great to meet him.
Not much else has happened while I've been absent from my blog. The band had the area contest last month where we were placed tenth. Not the greatest of results, but that's contesting. The only opinion that counts is that of the guy who didn't have to pay to get in. C'est la vie.
Postman Pat dumped a load of mail on my doorstep while I was away, so it's going to take me a little while to get through the backlog. If you;re waiting for a letter from me I'll get there asap.
So have you guessed where I went yet? Of cours eit was Paris. The statue of liberty is on the Isle of Swans just west of the Eiffel Tower.

Sunday 19 February 2012

Contest Day - Take 1

Today is contest day. The band, Silk Brass, has been rehearsing one piece of music, "mountain Views" by Bertrand Moren, since the beginning of the year. The music lasts about 10 minutes or so. We're at the Derby contest today as next weekend sees us in Blackpool for the North West Regional competition - basically the qualifying round for the National Championships. So today is about giving the band a run out on the area test piece to make sure we're match fit. The judge will sit in a box so that he doesn't know which band is playing and he will critique each performance. The band which, in the judges opinion, gives the best performance of the test piece is the winner. Naturally there will only be one band who agree with the judge, with the other bands all being robbed. What is important about the contest is that it is the first contest with musical director, Jim Cant, back at the helm after a period of illness. Wish us luck!