Sunday, 21 December 2014

Transformation - from Gay Pop Group to God

Do you remember Bronkski Beat, The Communards, Jimmy Somerville and Richard Coles? The Eighties,  the sounds, the attitudes and so on? 

I certainly do.  Remember "Smalltown Boy" being belted out in a 'gay club' in Swansea in the mid-eighties.  The place was packed with writhing bodies moving to the music of Bronski Beat.

No, I wasn't part of the joyful crowd.  I was a VAT officer making an out of hours visit as part of my inspection of this business.

I certainly liked the music.  Jimmy Somerville's falsetto voice and the bouncy disco backing made me a fan of this genre of such music.  Bronski became The Communards and the backbone of this band was Jimmy Somerville and Richard Coles, a classically trained pianist of real talent on the keyboards.

The 80s was the time of HIV Aids for which the Gay fraternity were largely blamed.  It was a sad time for many when some notable 'stars' disappeared from the music scene because of Aids, Freddie Mercury of  'Queen' being one of the most notable.

The Communards split up.  Jimmy Somerville continues as a solo artist but although he has a devoted fan base still he is not the force he once was.  He has recently reprised "Smalltown Boy" which can be seen here:

But what about 'the other half' of The Communards - Richard Coles, the gay pianist?

Well, he's still 'gay' but his role is now as a Church of England priest!  Quite a transformation, from pop to priesthood.  He lives with his gay civil partner, the Rev David Coles and their four dachshunds.

He seems to be a very likeable and HONEST person.  He not only moved from the pop world to priesthood but on his journey he was a Roman Catholic for some 10 years but reverted to Anglicanism about a dozen years ago.  He is certainly 'one of a kind'. He held an atheist funeral for Marjorie 'Mo' Mowlam, an outspoken MP of the late 1980s and also a Cabinet Minister in the Labour government.

I write all this because I've just seen an excellent programme on BBC1 tv about Richard Coles and found it extremely interesting and entertaining.  My one regret was that Jimmy Somerville declined an invitation to take part if this.  Still, you can't have everything I guess.

Friday, 19 December 2014

Baby Bob - 1-year old lapdog??

Well, here's Bob - now just over a year old.

He's not really allowed on the settee but it's OK if Andy, or me, is there first.

Bob is finding his voice now. He is not so timid as when he first came to Andy and Clare's house.

He has a deep, bass, and LOUD woof!  Very refined, in my opinion.

He's going to be MUCH bigger than dear departed MARLEY MOO, but not so much drool ... and so affectionate.

Happy birthday Bob, and many more of 'em!

Friday, 7 November 2014


Bob, just 10 months old.  Getting used to his new and loving home.

Just a tad nervous when a sudden sound occurs, like a loud click or some other noise.  The stupid fireworks that idiots have been wasting money o
n for the Guy Fawkes 'celebrations' just seem to start around the stupid Halloween crap and is still going on today.  Really upsets a lot of animals, including ME.

Sad-faced but HAPPY inside his noble head.

I shall keep you posted as to his progress.

Sunday, 2 November 2014

New Adoption - 10 months old, Dogue de Bordeaux

Daughter Clare had to say 'Goodbye' to her lovely Dogue de Bordeaux 'Marley Moo' a couple of weeks ago.  A hard step, but also the kindest, to take him to his final sleep.

Yesterday, Clare drove two-and-a-half hours to Manchester to collect a 10-months old 'rescued' puppy and is over-joyed with this 'ginger bundle of joy'.

So pleased that her sadness at the loss of Marley Moo has melted into gladness with re-homing her new charge.

Wonder what his name will be? Hmm... I'll find out today.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Marley Moo - The Big Sleep

My daughter Clare had to take the terrible step of having her wonderful Dogue de Bordeaux put to sleep.  He had a bad growth on his back leg and his hips were troubling him too.  He was seven and a half years old.  This is a good old age for this breed but he still acted like a puppy at times. 
He had a wonderful loving nature.  He looked fierce but he was as gentle as a lamb. He just loved to play tug-of-war with a toy; to charge after a ball thrown in the yard. 
Clare is heartbroken yet knows there was no option.  It's all very well to say "You have to be cruel to be kind" but it's so difficult to follow that adage when it comes to the crunch.
Xmas 2013
These are Clare's words:
​Kenmileven Red Dragon (aka Marley Moo:    06/04/07-14/10/14)

Sixteen long hours we have now been apart
Nothing in the world will heal my heart
I know there was no choice, I had to let you go
But I'd give anything to have you back here you know

My sweet gentle giant always wanting to please
You took your last walk with us amongst the trees
No matter how poorly you would wag your tail
But on the last day, you tried but it failed

With one hour left, the clock ticking down
Your last act of bravery had my heart on the ground
You tried to play ball one more time with a fight
But two seconds later you were out like a light

Did you know Marley Moo when you got in the car
That it'd be your last journey too short, yet too far?
The wind in your face breathing in every scent
With that wise old look we both knew what it meant

The time has arrived, I don't want you to leave!
Such pain in my heart, I'm struggling to breathe!
You took your last breath still so dignified
I buried my face in your neck as I cried

I love you so much Moo, can't believe that you're gone
This house is so lifeless, it's empty, it's wrong
I don't want to cry as I know that you'd hate it
But I'm dying inside at the moment, I can't take it

You were the best ever Dogue, such a precious boy
You filled out our lives full of laughter and joy
I hope you're OK now, having fun and pain free
Deep in our hearts, forever you'll be

Miss you so much Gummy Bear
Love Mummy, Daddy, Jake and Ellie

Monday, 14 July 2014


On Saturday we drove to Wickenby Airfield, near Lincoln, as we have done before a few times.

This was once the home of two RAF bomber command squadrons: 12 and 626.  Lancaster bombers were housed and flown from RAF Wickenby during WW2 and from other airfields nearby.  Lincolnshire was known as Bomber County in those 1940s wartime days. 

RAF Hemswell was another bomber station not far away. It was here that a unique film was made, in colour, of the preparation for a night-time raid on Berlin by 40 Lancaster bombers and their crew of seven courageous men.

We all know much about the Spitfire and Hurricane fighters and rightly so.  These pilots undoubtedly deserve all the praise heaped upon them by Winston Churchill and others and I used to watch their vapour-trailing 'dog-fights' when I was a kid, but when one sees what these bomber crews went through I am overcome by emotion and pride. 

This 60 minute film is quite outstanding. Even if you have no connection with the war or the RAF it's so informative as to be un-missable in my opinion.  The average lifetime of a Lancaster bomber and crew was about 40 flying hours. Thousands were built and thousands were destroyed.  Only two survive in the UK, only one of those is still flying.

Here's the link:

Sunday, 29 June 2014


Music is so subjective of course.  What is a masterpiece for one is just a noisy sound to others.

However,  this piece is to me so relaxing and beautiful I'm just hoping that somebody who stumbles upon this blog will find it worth a listen.

It is by Secret Garden and entitled Adagio. Best in FULL SCREEN - just click in the square bottom right-hand corner of the video screen.

Saturday, 21 June 2014

My Brother David Has Died

After months of defying lung cancer David faded quietly and peacefully from this life at 17.40 today, 21st June 2014. The longest day. 

He showed amazing strength and resilience since he left hospital because there was no more that could be done to fight this cruel lung cancer.

His partner Margaret looked after him at home for months. He did not want to go into a hospice.  Living with pain-killing drugs, oxygen and help from the St. Christopher Nurses his life was a life that most of us wouldn't wish upon our worst enemy.

Now free of all worldly pain and indignity his passing is not only a relief for him but, I'm sure, his family and friends.

Well fought David.  The odds were totally against you and it took many hard rounds in the biggest fight of your life before the final bell called time.  Brave battle Dave. Goodbye.

Friday, 23 May 2014

Will You Donate Your Body to Medical Science?

My brother David is dying.  Cancer is the killer. He will not have a funeral when his life ends, which will be sooner rather than later.  He is in torment and death will be better for him than life.

He and his partner have already made arrangements for David's body to be donated to a London teaching hospital so that medical students can learn by using David in whatever way is required. 

They can delve into his illness, his lungs, his brain (he also has dementia now) or anything that will enhance their knowledge of the human body.

I think this is a wonderful way of leaving this wicked world. It obviates the need for lining the pockets of funeral companies, and of meaningless church services and all the paraphernalia that dying involves. 

It provides something USEFUL in life. It may provide valuable information about these diseases.  It is a way of giving something back as one pegs out, so to speak. I am all for it.

Well done David, and Margaret.  You are both suffering greatly at the moment but when it's all over you will know that out of the evil of cancer and dementia something GOOD will emerge because of this donation of David's body to science.

Amen to that, if you get my drift.

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

My Brilliant Daughter Clare

Clare is back on the road, actually and figuratively speaking.

She has kept clear of seizures for well over a year, thanks to the good epilepsy specialists in Hull hospital so she is now able to drive again.

Not only that, she has been sculpting her wonderful fairies again, as beautifully as ever.  She has gone a step further of late by sculpting a model of her Doge de Bordeaux, Marley, and is now in the process of making copies for other owners of this large breed.

Do have a look at her website, to view some of her amazing creations.

Another Brother About to Die

My younger brother David is seriously ill with lung cancer. He is at home waiting for the end.

The hospital was unable to help him any more. They did cut out the cancer in his throat but it had spread to both lungs. He was sent home, along with a hospital bed and other equipment, to be tended by his partner Margaret and the palliative care team.

My hope is that his pain and suffering will be mercifully short-lived. 

David is 72, about eight years younger than I.

My dear brother Geoff died five years ago, again of cancer.

My youngest brother Michael died aged 45, of a severe brain haemorrhage, thankfully swiftly with no lingering pain.

We humans generally take pity on our animal friends and pets and don't allow them to linger on in hopelessness and pain. Why do we not afford human animals the same privilege?

I do not know.  Do you?