Thoughts

The President Has An Awkward Afternoon

The Donald would have been the first one to say

That he hadn’t had his very best start to the day.

His struggles with the sheets had left him gasping for air,

And it was only after Ivana adjusted his hair

That the mysterious curtain was lifted

(There really had been a curtain, The Donald insisted).

But now he really need to think

About the alleged Chinese link

To the Russian whack back attack

Which was somehow related to a hack.

A what? It sounded sports related,

Something that The Donald really hated.

It was so confusing this League of Nations

Monitored by CIA listening stations.

And from their embassy came the Chinese

Greeted by The President, apparently pleased.

“Hurrah” he exclaimed “let’s see what we’ve got

Something sweet, something sour, something spicy and hot.”

“No Mr President, I think you’re confused.”

The delegation were impassive despite being abused.

“Mr President, these allegations we fiercely reject.

They’re entirely unfounded, you’ve lost our respect.

And as for the suggestion we’ve brought you a treat,

We’d ask you kindly not to repeat

The expletive filled rant that went on for so long

When you phoned the wrong number, and who’s Mr Wong?

And why were you screeching things not very nice?

And ranting about spare ribs and special fried rice?

You were talking to our Premier, Mr Zedong.

Not some takeaway shopkeeper, you’ve got it all wrong.

So you owe an apology, nothing less will do.”

Th Donald was struggling, trying to think it through.

A Premier? A what? A Mr Ze-who?

Was this fictitious or factitious? Who knew?

The Donald smiled his smile and sank to the ground.

As he slowly turned his wig back around.

Until it covered his face as before,

And he swiftly fell asleep curled up on the floor.

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The President’s Difficult Morning

The President had got out of the wrong side of bed.

He should have tried the top end instead.

He actually headed south to the depths of his covers

And was only rescued by the kindness of others.

The maid found him trapped, tangled up in a sheet.

She knew he was there because of his feet,

Which stuck out the top, one adorned with his wig,

While the rest of him thrashed about like a pig

Stuck in a barrel and making a sound

Like a cross between a seagull and an overexcited bloodhound.

When released from his bed he turned on his saviour

And said “don’t for a minute think this has earned you a favour.

For I am The Donald and the best I can do,

Is to send my thoughts and prayers to you”.

With that he dismissed her in a manner most rude

Not helped by the fact he was entirely nude

Except for the wig which now sat on his head.

He had found it as he escaped from his bed

And plonked it on with a curse and a grunt

But hadn’t yet noticed it was on back to front.

At breakfast this mattered not a jot.

He only had coffee with cream, just a spot.

But at his first meeting he became increasingly certain

That someone had erected a blond, horsehair curtain

Somewhere between his desk and his eyes

Which resulted in him having a terrible surprise.

He was scratching his nuts, alone in his chair,

When he heard a small cough, there was somebody there!

He peered through the thick strands blocking his vision.

He could see a blurred figure so he made a decision.

“Who is that?” he shouted feeling all harassed.

“It’s me” came the reply, clearly embarrassed.

While not the quickest, he wasn’t so dense

As to not recognise the Secretary for Defence.

“What do you want Stan, I’m having a bad day.

Can’t you see someone’s hung a curtain in my way?”

Stan was perplexed by the sight of The President

Looking like an enraged Monkey House resident.

“I’m sorry Sir but there’s been a cyber attack.

We think it’s the Russians behind the hack.”

The Donald turned away revealing the back of his head

Which sported a fringe, “errr Mr President” Stan said.

“What’s this cyber nonsense you’re rabbiting about?”

The President spun round, he’d started to shout.

“Those Russians will regret this hack, whack attack.

The only thing for it is to hack, whack them back.”

“So your orders, Mr President” Stan said to the wig

“Will have repercussions, which could be quite big”.

“Get on with it man” came the response.

“I shouldn’t have to say things any more than once.”

Stan looked at the man with his wig over his face,

And thought to himself is this the finest member of the human race

We could have elected to be Commander in Chief?

Who looks like he’d be more comfortable eating a leaf

Or a banana, a plum or peach

We would have been better with something washed up on a beach.

Like a crab or a turd or an old palm tree frond,

Or whatever crawled out of the bottom of a pond.

He sighed to himself and walked out of the room

With his orders provided by a wig wearing buffoon.

And The President sat back down and continued to stare Intently into his back to front hair.

He was sure the liberal elite were behind this diversion. Then he closed his eyes and slept behind his hair curtain.

The Cat, the Teeth and the Eyeball

Mrs Maloney from just down the street

Let out some expletives I don’t care to repeat

“If that cat comes in my garden again” she said

“I’ll kick it right over the garden shed”.

I looked at Mr Heath to see what he’d say

About someone kicking his cat such a long way.

It seemed quite unlikely she could kick it that far,

It seemed over ambitious, a needlessly high bar.

“Mrs Maloney” I helpfully said

“I think its unrealistic to get it over the shed.

If you were younger and stronger and tall

I’d call it evens but you’ve no chance at all.

Why don’t you be realistic in light of your age

I appreciate cat kicking is difficult to gauge

But clearing the flower bed would be a good start for you

And work your way up to something harder to do.”

Mrs Maloney’s response wasn’t very nice

And she didn’t seem likely to take my advice.

Instead she surprisingly ran towards Mr Heath

Kicked his shin so hard he spat out his teeth

Which hit the cat which shot up in the air.

And came down as a replacement for Mr Heath’s hair.

I clapped at this point, it seemed to be right

That I acknowledged that the cat had definitely taken flight.

But now it was perched on Mr Heath’s head

Where it had landed, “Unlucky” I said.

“It’s clearly not actually gone all that high

But its still a good effort, an excellent try.”

Mr Heath didn’t appear to share my view.

He had a cat on his head and had lost his teeth too.

“Don’t worry Mr Heath, I’ll lend you a hand.

We’ll find them in no time, did you see them land?”

Mr Heath seemed to be chewing, his face getting red.

The cat with its claws out still clung to his head.

I spotted the teeth “Hurrah you’re in luck.”

I said as he brushed off some suspicious brown muck.

How on earth the other omission had passed me by.

As that’s when I noticed he was missing his glass eye.

“Mr Heath, you appear to be one eye short”.

He didn’t seem to welcome this newsflash report.

His face got redder, not a good sign

Then I let out a cheer “Everything’s fine.

I can see your eye, its there by your shoe”.

Mr Heath picked it up, uncertain what to do.

He decided to pop the eye straight back in

But it wobbled around as he broke into a grin.

It eventually settled with the eye looking behind.

It was back to front although he didn’t seem to mind.

What bothered me most and it seemed a bit crass,

That sticking out from the eye was a long piece of grass,

Which wiggled and shook and flicked all about,

As he blinked his eye and it refused to drop out.

Eventually I had to point the grass out

At which point Mr Heath started to shout.

Until that moment he had seemed quite relaxed

But the cumulation of events had got him quite taxed.

So he shouted and shouted of this and of that

Of eyeballs and teeth, of shins and his cat

And how the current occupant of his head

would not be flying any where near to his shed.

So at this point I decided to leave if I could.

I’d tried to behave as a good neighbour should.

But both my neighbours seemed somewhat prone

To outbreaks of violence so I left them alone.

And as far as I know although I cannot be sure

Mrs Maloney is still forced to endure

The unwelcome deposits from Mr Heath’s cat

And as they say my dear reader: that is that.

The Intruder

The little old lady who lived next door

Was laid down on my kitchen floor.

She looked ok from what I could see

And she asked me to make her a cup of tea.

I hesitated not wanting to be rude.

Should I ask why she was completely nude?

She smiled as if reading my mind.

So I made the tea and wondered why I would find

Mrs Mulligan from number 23

Letting everything loose and swing free

In my kitchen, on the floor;

And come to think of it what is more

She hadn’t knocked or rung the bell.

So I asked her to explain and tell

How this had happened, so undeterred

She told me the strangest story I’d ever heard.

So cross my heart and wish me dead

This is exactly what she said:

“I was in the bath splashing about

When the battery in my hearing aid ran out.

So I hopped out of the bath and to the kitchen drawer

Where I knew I had several more.

But when I checked there was only one there.

So I had one when I needed a pair.

Well I hunted high and I hunted low

Until I came across a second solo.

But I dropped it and away it went

Across the tiles and into a vent.

Well when I crouched on the floor

I could see the vent opened up next door.

The battery was now in your place

And I was determined to continue the chase.

The kitchen seemed to be the correct location

Assuming the battery had ceased it’s rotation.

So here’s something you didn’t know:

Our lofts are joined, sort of free flow.

So I didn’t think you’d really mind

If I nipped across just to find

My hearing aid missing bit

Which seems to be under a kitchen unit.

Well I was lying here trying to see

If the battery which is evading me

Is anywhere here about

When I heard you come in and shout.

Well it was more of a girlish squeal.”

“Whoa. Hang on. I really feel

That it was a natural response to let out a yell

Which was definitely manly, anyone could tell.”

I felt flustered and in retreat.

This ancient adventurer laid at my feet.

“Well anyway Mrs Mulligan, here’s your tea

And next time you need a small battery,

Please get dressed and come and knock

And then I won’t have quite the shock

That you gave me when I came in here.”

“Don’t you worry, young man, never fear,

there will be no repeat that’s for sure.

Anyway, I also have a key to your front door.”

This time last year we visited New York – this was written intermittently which is why it’s a bit of a mess

New York

Richard and John and Karen and Char

Went by train, taxi and car

Either to York or to dirty Leeds

From where the Virgin Trains proceed

With plenty of banter along the way

(John obviously had nothing to say)

And tonight when the fab four meet

The excitement nearly knocking us off our feet

We’ll chat and laugh and scheme

As soon we’ll be living the American dream

Rich with his leather jacket in tow

Like an ageing 50-year-old Marlon Brando

Karen who under the weight of her bag

Found her body beginning to sag

Pulled extra items from various places

Then stowed them away in other people’s cases

Well Charlotte has been having a good old bitch

As their seats have been moved but she’s still next to Rich

And will John eventually crack a smile?

Rather in contrast to his pallbearer’s style

But things started to swing the Woodworth’s way

When the hotel checkin declared them ‘guests of the day’

But Char found matters a little less funny

Lying awake with a churning tummy

The flight combined loads of TV and some snoring

By the end of the second film it was getting quite boring

Well I hope the pair in front of us had a comfortable flight

As they lay in our laps, the rude sacks of shite

Next we would take the immigration test

Would Richard be stripped to his pants and his vest?

While we three lined up with quite a few

Rich went to the front and wandered straight on through

Without waiting for the 10 minutes or so

Which basically shows what the rest of us know

I would argue the transfer wasn’t so bad

Although the others worried that we had been had

Concerned that the taxi was taking us the long way round

And we all hope the driver doesn’t leave his mobile lying around

The hotel is good and the Mexican was nice

Until Rich tried the guac and then found out the price

Friday was cold like you’ve never known

So Richard made an addition to headwear he owns

Then Richard and Karen went skating in Central Park

Charlotte and John went to the Frick via a very long walk

After sushi, the nightclub doorman showed some real front

John went to bed rather than deal with the gentleman

Richard also decided to retire to his bed

The girls went drinking and dancing and woke with sore heads

The following day three of us breakfasted on eggs

Then wandered in the sunshine, stretching our legs

Sometime later Charlotte joined in the fun

Altogether we went strolling in the bright Autumn sun

But not a morsel passed through her lips

Until she acquired some questionable chips

For tea we swapped Gotham for very loud pasta

But were rescued by burgers, averting dinner disaster

This morning, to Balthazar, for a breakfast treat

Have we actually done anything other than eat?

And as we prepare to return to the UK

Reflecting on the weekend I’d have to say

That I’ve really had the best time in a long while

With Karen and Rich and Char even I occasionally smile

Center Parcs

 

Richard and Char took only one car
Whereas Karen and John took two
We departed together in reasonable weather
After John stopped hiding in the loo

It wasn’t a surprise for the two speedy guys
That John was left eating dust
But there was some consternation on reaching their destination
That he had actually got there first

After a rapid fire munch of a pannini style lunch
We headed on towards CP
on arrival we found the accommodation was sound
And we went out to Huck’s for our tea

At Huck’s we dined twice and the food was quite nice
Although like James it took ages to appear
The poor little lad could neither ride or be dragged
And always brought up the rear

The football game turned out the same
As every other match we play
With simulation and weeping and some suicidal goalkeeping
It was just like watching Wednesday

The Woodworths rule at scrabble and pool
The latter suggests misspent youth
The girls drank white well into the night
The pool room was occupied by the uncouth

The kids hurtled round often hitting the ground
On bikes and scooters without fear
And down shone the sun and we all had good fun
All inclusive in Turkey next year?

Parkinson’s disease v JP Sewell

In the summer I had signed up for the Parkinson’s UK cycling sportive which sets off in Ripley and loops 43 miles through picturesque countryside and some big hills. On my recommendation a number of people including Mike and Greg also signed up to do the ride with me. In addition, several people very generously sponsored me to complete the challenge.

When it became apparent during the build up that my somewhat brittle and injury prone body was going to let me down I was embarrassed and somewhat ashamed to give back word to those who had shown me such support and encouragement. As always, my support network did not see things that way and collectively gave a metaphorical shrug and effectively said “don’t worry about it”. The reason they did this was because every single one of them is a great person. Not in a grandiose, historical figure kind of a way. But in the really matters sort of a way. While I loved them for their generosity of spirit my failure to fulfil my side of the bargain really bothered me and has niggled away ever since.

At around 11 am today I decided that I was going to scratch the itch and ride the route. I made brief and tentative enquiries as to whether a few fellow cyclists were about and wanted to accompany me but it was done at the last minute with no expectation that anyone would be able to join the ride. Unsurprisingly no one could or did. So I set off alone.

It felt very cold and it rained a bit about halfway round.

I was going pretty well and felt strong on the way out of Harrogate, up the always surprisingly tough climb to Burnt Yates from Ripley and up to Brimham Rocks. However, there was a significant headwind all the way and the pull alongside the reservoirs from Pateley Bridge to Lofthouse village was hard going even with the sight of a heron taking off from the side of the road as I cycled passed to distract me.

I got to Lofthouse and realised I was pretty much out of gas with the massive climb up Trapping Hill still to come and then the small matter of getting home to contend with.

My stubbornness is a character trait which is a weakness and it gives Karen all sorts of frustrations. I know this and I try hard to curb it. However, when you have to climb up Trapping Hill on a bike in the cold and wind and you are too tired to do it stubbornness becomes your friend.

I rode up SLOWLY. But I rode up. It took me about 25 minutes give or take which is about 6 minutes slower than my best time. But that isn’t important. What was important was that I got to the top.

The other thing about being stubborn is that you tend to only focus on the immediate issue and don’t properly consider the consequences which follow. So I was on top of the world and it was freezing and I still needed to ride home. And now I was genuinely knackered.

So I descended off the top only now appreciating that the descent has lots of ups as well as downs. I got to Swinton Park and thought “I wonder if I go in and say I got married here” they would give me something to eat. I decided this was extremely unlikely so pressed (in the loosest possible sense) on. After some doglegs I realised I was coming out above Masham which felt a long way from home. I was seriously in the red at this point so made an unscheduled stop to take on board cherryade, a Boost and some Jaffa Cakes purchased at apocalyptic prices from a village shop. They were a bargain as I immediately started to feel better.

From then on I tried to keep a steady cadence but went in spurts and at times crawled along. I didn’t take the correct route back as my intention was to go home via Fountains Abbey which I believe was on the PUK ride. However, I popped out with the long straight pull to the top of Scarah Bank ahead of me. I wasn’t going to retrace my steps at this stage and in any event my total trip exceeded the PUK route by 10 miles.

By now I knew I was going to make it. I made my way along the Greenway and up to and across the Stray. I even managed a few bunny hops over the speed bumps. I got home at around 4 o’clock.

For anyone interested I rode just under 53 miles at an average speed of 13.6 miles per hour. I climbed 4,032 feet and was riding for about 3 hours 54 minutes. My weighted average power was 191 watts and I burned approximately 2,401 kj.

I’m tempted to make a few macho statements about never giving up and winning the fight but I accept that the future is uncertain and predictions often make fools of us. However, I can say without fear of contradiction that today I scratched the itch, I refused to give up and I won this particular skirmish. Tomorrow may be different but I try to live in the here and now.

To anyone who reads this you may think this is just a bike ride and you’re probably right. To those who supported me I suspect you know better. I owed you the effort and I gave it everything today. The one thing I can say about my experiences with Parkinson’s is the people around me are the finest of the finest and the best of the best and I love you all.