Friday, 30 June 2017

Not dead yet!

I've had another couple of gruelling days; on Thursday we went shopping to Tesco's and I had to drag myself there only to find that all the disabled scooters had disappeared. I did the shopping walking round the store and it was OK until I got home when I collapsed for the rest of the day.

Friday morning I was up early to get off to the doctors for an injection - the kind you give to a horse and I'm not talking Ketamine either!

By the time I got home I was out of it until the evening when I went out with Robyn so that she could practise driving the car.

It's been a really tough week, doing things every week and only just recovering.

But I did recover and as I told the Nurse when I saw her; "Not dead yet!".

Neil Harris
(a don't stop till you drop production)
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Thursday, 29 June 2017

Lucky me.

We had a nice first wedding anniversary although I peaked a bit too soon.

In the morning we went to 'The shop that never opens'. I'm being unfair although we did go there yesterday when it was supposed to be open and (of course) it was shut.

I wanted to get Robyn a piece of jewellery but the problem is that most of what we can afford looks like rubbish and the good stuff is just too expensive for us.

We went to my favourite jewellers; Moonstone in Teddington. It's about the size of a cupboard and you need to phone to make sure it's open before you go.

I used to go there when I was working and my job took me across the road. I bought a silver ring - she mainly sells ethnic jewellery from Mexico, India and Afghanistan. It's not too expensive, idiosyncratic and charming.

This time we were lucky and I got Robyn a pendant necklace made of Laboradite which is a kind of iridescent moonstone. When you hold it up to the light it's kind of pink and you can see through it. When the light is straight on it, it looks like a blue opal. We also got a little heart that Robyn liked.

Then we took a walk along the high street and, to my horror, Robyn bought a thing that cuts vegetables into spirals. Just what I didn't want and where are we going to put it?

We came home and Robyn had made up a box full of memories for me, when we were first together and I was well enough to do things, which made me rather sad.

She also gave me another present which cheered me up again but I'll do a Blog piece about that on its own.

In the evening we had a meal where we had our wedding reception last year and we took a photo in the same place where we had our picture taken last year.

By this time I was fading fast - the chair hurt my back and I started suffering. So it was very nice to have a little nose around the place but I needed to get back home.

We had lots of memories - of an amazing day last year as well as all the struggles in the year since.

I'm fighting hard right now. The pain I have is a real struggle but I am doing things I wasn't attempting a month ago, let alone six months ago.

I certainly know that I wouldn't have bothered with this fight at all if I didn't have Robyn's support. I'm like an old boxer, I can handle the pain if it's worth it. It's much harder for Robyn to watch what's happening to me.

So, as I've always said, I am the luckiest man alive.

Neil Harris
(a don't stop till you drop production)
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Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Our first Wedding Anniversary.

It's been an amazing year - the hardest of years imaginable but an amazing one. Not least because I never imagined I would be around to celebrate our first anniversary.

Thanks to Theresa May and her racist immigration policy, we wasted a whole year fighting the Home Office to stop them deporting her. A year when we couldn't travel or get married because they seized Robyn's passport.

When we won our appeal they put all kinds of obstacles in our way; when we managed to set the date we then had to postpone it for a month for The Home Office to make 'further enquiries'.

All of which meant that we had just five weeks to arrange everything - to book the registry office, the venue, sort out the cake and everything else.

So if you made it there thank you for coming. If you are one of the many people who couldn't make it because of the short notice, you know who to blame - Thesesa May.

And we did everything ourselves; from setting the tables at the venue and clearing up at the end of the night to buying the flowers early in the morning at New Covent Garden Market.

And the night before Robyn made up the bouquets and the button holes in the kitchen;

Here's a rather nervous looking groom waiting at The George  for the bus to come and pick everybody up;

I polished up reasonably well, if I say so myself.

And here's our Routemaster bus and the tickets we made ourselves;

On the steps of Windsor Guildhall;

A dreamy picture of Robyn at the reception;

It was an exhausting day - I couldn't do it now. My only regret is that there was no chance for us to get a holiday afterwards because very soon I got too ill to go away ever again.

But I could have no regrets. I am the luckiest man in the world that Robyn was prepared to marry me. Marrying someone with cancer is no fun.

We have a few plans for today but whether anything works out for us - who knows.

Neil Harris
(a don't stop till you drop production)
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Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Sydney the Cat's little job on the side.

The weirdness continues....

Last night after Robyn went to bed, I fell asleep in the armchair. Something (almost like a breeze on my face) made me wake up with a start. I opened my eyes to find myself staring straight into Sydney the Cats face - she was on the settee next to my chair, standing on the armrest with her face about three inches away from mine, staring intensely into my eyes.

I'm convinced she was checking whether I was still alive, something which seemed confirmed to me when I went to the bathroom and then came back to find her sat on my chair.

"Darn it, he's still alive.....Grrrrrrh!"

In my mind's eye I saw an irritated Sydney using her mobile phone to cancel the undertakers (run by another six black cats), that was already on its way to pick me up.

In fact I can see Sydney wearing a jet black Top Hat, walking in front of the hearse.

She was very irritated with me.

At least she's back to her normal self.

Neil Harris
(a don't stop till you drop production)
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Monday, 26 June 2017

Two fingers to Cancer.

It is unbelievably frustrating; last night I woke up at 4-30 am, probably when the painkillers ran out. I was hurting a lot and it was very tempting to get up at spend the rest of the night in my armchair.

But my legs and feet are very swollen and it's taking a long time for them to go back down. So I gritted my teeth and stuck it out in bed.

Then it all went wrong - I fell asleep at about 5-30 am and woke up at 7-00am. I felt like an insect pinned to a board by a collector; it really hurt and it was hard to move.

I got myself up and collapsed into my chair; I lost a lot of the day before the pain went down.

So then I had a wash and, because I had letters to post, I took a chance and walked to the post box and a bit further.

I basked in the summer sun.

When I got home I was hurting again but not as bad as before.

It beats me what's going on but I still feel that today ended up a bit of a victory - two fingers up at cancer!

Neil Harris
(a don't stop till you drop production)
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Sunday, 25 June 2017

The view from the Sydney nest.

Sydney the cat is back to normal - she hates me again.

Sydney has been ill for the last three or four days, being sick all over the place and not eating.

Robyn made her a new 'Sydney Nest', a pile of Christmas decoration boxes by the window with a blanket on top. That way she was high up and felt secure while she could also look out of the window whenever she wanted to.

She spread herself out and slept with one paw placed over her eyes, like a dissolute party goer in the Jazz Age, after one party too many.

She was so ill she allowed me to come up to her and tickle her neck and her diet was limited to a few treats every day.

Then this morning when the pain got too much for me I came into the front room to sit in my chair........who was on my chair?

A very grumpy Sydney ,who was not at all happy when I took it back from her.

She's eating again and she's really grumpy with me, as usual.

Neil Harris
(a don't stop till you drop production)
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Saturday, 24 June 2017

One year on.

Just when things were going so well.....they fell apart on me.

I had a bad night and spent most of the morning sleeping, trying to get over it.

Then we went out and I had a lot of pain driving, both ways.

We went to a little summer fair I've been going to for some years. It's always been charming; music in the summer sunshine, just a really nice afternoon.

When we got there all the charm was gone. As they say; "Nothing lasts forever".

But it was a disappointment - and it rained. And it really hurt on the way home too.

What a contrast to this day a year ago when we got up at 3-00am and drove to the flower market at New Covent Garden to get the flowers for our wedding.

While we were there we had no intention of getting ripped off by the man at the stall selling the bits and pieces to put the bouquets and button holes together. So, we drove home and had breakfast and then drove into town to buy them at proper prices.

Then we went home and then went out with Cathy (Robyn's Mum) to spend the afternoon listening to music, dancing and eating cake.

I certainly couldn't do much of that now!

Neil Harris
(a don't stop till you drop production)
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Friday, 23 June 2017

Doing things again?

Laughing used to make me scream, but not any more. My back is beginning to heal up.

Unfortunately, my hips and legs still hurt like hell and wake me up in the middle of the night, when the painkillers run out.
I have to lift my legs up with my hands when I get in and out of the car or on and off bed.

It's no fun.

But my back is a big, big improvement. Even if it still hurts when I cough.

As a result I'm trying to get active again - going somewhere or walking every day. Sometimes, like today it doesn't work out. That's because I overdid it on Midsummer's night and then went shopping the next morning and never recovered.

But it doesn't take four to six days to get over doing anything.

So, it's time to start doing things again.

Neil Harris
(a don't stop till you drop production)
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Thursday, 22 June 2017

Midsummer's Night 2017.

I know a bank where the wild thyme blows,
Where oxlips and the nodding violet grows,
Quite over-canopied with luscious woodbine,
With sweet musk-roses and with eglantine:
There sleeps Titania sometime of the night,
Lulled in these flowers with dances and delight.
(Oberon, Act 2 Scene 1)

A Midsummer's Night's Dream.

Midsummer's has always had a dreamlike quality for me and I've always celebrated it.

In 2014, Robyn and me were up on Box hill, drinking Asti and watching the night fall. Then in the far distance, over 50 miles away, we watched in miniature, Glyndourne Opera celebrating its anniversary with fireworks. A magical night indeed.

In 2015 we spent the night before Midsummer's Day at Stonehenge, waiting for dawn. What words can describe the sight of the sun rising through the stones?

2016 wasn't so great - we had a wedding to sort out in far too little time and the Solstice had to take second place.

This year we didn't have any great plans - and in the end we walked to Ankerwycke to spend a little time at the Ancient Yew Tree - where King Henry the 8th wooed Anne Boleyn and near where The Magna Carta was signed.

It's a magical and mystical place - where the local Witches Coven carry out their ceremonies (this is an area where 'The Old Religions' have survived) around a Yew tree which may well be 2000 years old.

I foolishly walked all the way (well why not?) and as we got to the fields we marvelled in the oranges and yellows of the last flare of the suns setting.

All around us rabbits were rustling and cows were wandering about to find somewhere comfortable for the night.

It was still stinging hot.

We passed the pond and in the distance, the Thames glinted. We walked through the wood to the ruins of the old abbey.

And when we got to the little glade where the Yew is, Robyn tied one of our ribbons to the tree, something which has happened for millennia - for luck.

Then we walked back - by now I was in a lot of pain and struggling, but I made it.

Quite an achievement and part of the magic of the night.

Neil Harris
(a don't stop till you drop production)
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Wednesday, 21 June 2017

She wants me gone.

I've finally come to the conclusion that Sydney the Cat hates me.

We've been living together since last September and when she arrived she was quite friendly - happy to be stroked when it suited her. Sometimes she would even condescend to be given a treat.

Now, she sometimes comes into the room when Robyn comes in but when Robyn leaves she follows soon after. When I'm alone in the house she never comes in with me. She doesn't want any contact at all.

The only explanation I can come up with is that she knows exactly how ill I am - animals can tell. Strangely, dogs (which are pack animals) are drawn to sick people when you would expect them to be quite ruthless. Instead of wanting to get rid of the slowest member of the pack they are sympathetic.

That's not the case with Sydney - as I got more ill she got more unfriendly.

I've even spent some time learning 'Cat Behaviour', what cats like and what frightens them. I've become an expert in not intimidating a cat with eye contact or misreading the signs the cat is giving out.

The house is full of 'Sydney Nests' - places where she can feel safe. Some of them are high up to give her a sense of security. Some of them are places where she can cower safely under cover.

None of it makes any difference - she just wants me gone.

Neil Harris
(a don't stop till you drop production)
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Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Lost day.

I'm afraid I just lost a day today - too ill to do much in the heat, spending most of the day asleep. I don't think anything is any worse, just a few days of doing too much and not coping with a heat wave.

So I lost a whole day.

It didn't help that tomorrow is the summer solstice, always a big day for me - the longest day.

In 2015 Robyn and me spent the night at Stonehenge to see in the solstice. We'd love to do it again but it's beyond me.

It's also sad that I always tried to get a holiday in June, before the school holidays started and this week is about the last chance to do that.

And, after tomorrow, the nights start drawing in and we haven't really had anything of the spring or summer this year.

So I wasn't just ill, I was a bit miserable too.

Never mind, I'll get over it.

Neil Harris
(a don't stop till you drop production)
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Monday, 19 June 2017

Not falling out.

I had a gruesome Sunday - I spent about an hour and three quarters in a boiling hot car, then it got so painful I eventually had to get out and stagger around to try to bring the pain down.

I was out of it for the rest of the day but, in the end, I recovered. Before it would take from four to six days to get over a weekend like that. Now I'm back to 'normal' the next morning.

And I'm still sleeping in my bed!

I'm not chalking this up as a result yet (too many failures before) but I'm not grumbling.

Then this lunchtime Robyn and I went out for a drive - with Robyn doing the driving. We went, very slowly, round some residential streets.

She does not like a manual gearbox one little bit, but we'll get there.

And we didn't fall out, which is impressive because learning to drive is a test of any relationship!

Neil Harris
(a don't stop till you drop production)
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Sunday, 18 June 2017

Wraysbury fair 2017.

It was a real treat to make it to Wraysbury fair once again. As a child it was the only exciting thing that happened where I grew up.

And the weather was fantastic;

There were lots of floats in the procession that wound its way through the village to The Green.

Including a mini steam engine!

Lots of excited kids and not a few pom-poms;

The theme was 'The Mad Hatter's Tea Party'

This was 'Pumkins Pre School Group'

Lots of costumes and big hats;

And a big procession following the band;

We joined in at the tail end - there's nothing like stopping the traffic and walking along the middle of the road!

I made it to The Village Green and had a look at the stalls but I was rapidly running out of steam - I had to leave Robyn to walk round while I sat on one of the benches.

I had a quick look at the vintage car show, which is always a treat - especially this pink Caddie;

It was extremely hot and I was feeling quite sick - mainly from pain. Robyn was definitely losing it too, she asked me "Do you think it's the heat that's making you so hot?".

I was struggling and beginning to find it too uncomfortable to be sitting down.

I did check out my entries at The Craft Show - not my best results for my last year.

I got four 'thirds' and a 'Highly commended' but if I'm honest I think the judges were a bit harsh on me. Then again, I've never held back from being controversial and included two pictures from The Orgreave Picket of The Home Office in March. They were guaranteed to wind people up, which is why I entered them. I like being provocative.

I do think my water picture deserved better;

You have no idea how hard it is to 'freeze' water like that.

Any way I've enjoyed entering the competitions over the years, they were fun and a chance to open peoples eyes to the different worlds that were all around them, if only they opened their eyes.

We had to stay till late because I needed to collect the pictures at the end of the day and I couldn't have walked home and then come back.

By the end it was fairly agonising - but a good day all the same - even if there was a very long walk home at the end of the day.

Neil Harris
(a don't stop till you drop production)
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Saturday, 17 June 2017

Not hopeful.

I got up early today - after my second night in bed. It was obviously going to be a boiling hot day when I went out - I was taking my photos to the Craft Show tent at Wraysbury Fair. I always enter photos in the art competition, although this is likely to be my last year.

In fact, it was very hard to get some pictures together - I don't get out so much and when I do I can't stand for long, taking photos. So it's my swansong.

When I got to the village green I took the steps down rather than going the long way round, as I'd promised Robyn. It hurt, which serves me right. I didn't come back that way.

I dropped my pictures off and walked around the green as the stallholders were setting up. I've done plenty of stalls myself, raising money for left wing causes, so it brought back many memories. The sound of boxes being opened and stalls set up. Everyone hopeful about how well they are going to do.

Even though it was only eleven o'clock, the tarmac was melting where cars were turning their wheels.

I was tired when I got back, with time for an hour or so having a rest before we went back out.

I'm not optimistic about my chances.


Neil Harris
(a don't stop till you drop production)
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Friday, 16 June 2017

Long hot summer coming.

Another odd day - last night I slept in a bed for the first time in six or eight weeks. It was quite painful and I only managed three hours asleep but it was still a good move. I've got swollen feet and legs from sleeping in a chair for so long and it may help with that.

Then, I managed to sort out the toilet.

Our dysfunctional toilet gave up on us about three weeks ago. It was a really simple repair - I've changed a flap valve before but this time I couldn't risk breaking another vertebrae doing it. So, I needed a plumber.

It's very frustrating. Not least because for three weeks I haven't been able to find a plumber who would come and do it for us - for them it's a small job. So we've been flushing it with a bucket and that's not so easy with a broken back.

In a way that was a good thing because for a long while I didn't have the cash to pay for it and my back was too bad to get some more.

Today I found someone and had to pay over the odds to get the job done.

Very frustrating.

Anyway it still doesn't work properly but it doesn't work properly in the way it did before it completely broke down.

But then everything pales into insignificance when you look at Grenfell Tower.

It turns out that the company that installed the cladding that burnt so quickly chose to use a plastic based variety that cost £24 a square metre. The fireproof variety cost only £2 a square metre more. The total cost of covering the tower with flame proof cladding would have been just an extra £5000.

Meanwhile the company invested £2.5 Million of its profits in offshore tax avoidance schemes and then went bankrupt.

Tonight at about 5pm, some five hundred frustrated residents of the tower, near neighbours and friends and family of the missing attended a demonstration at the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Town hall.

I've been there many times. When I was working I had to do so many hours of education every year to keep up to date. Many commercial course providers hired the public hall and rooms at the building.

They were sumptuous.......immaculate.

The council has unspent reserves of £300 million pounds, while their contractor saved £5000 cladding Grenfell Tower with flammable materials that turned the block into a death trap.

Anyway, frustration boiled over at the demo and the people (who weren't violent) forced their way in to try and confront the council.

At the same time the councillors and employees were being ushered out by the police - for their weekend off.

For the last two days no one from this wealthy council has been seen at the tower. Not sorting out accommodation for homeless people, accommodating the donations of food, drink and clothing from private individuals or trying to inform relatives of who was alive and who was dead.

And now they have gone home for the weekend!?

Meanwhile Lily Allen, who I have always had a lot of time for, had a very confrontational interview with Channel 4 News where she questioned why it was that the authorities have been down playing the number of casualties. She said that the unofficial word from the Police and Fire Brigade locally is that some 150 are dead.

Lets hope it's less than that but it is perhaps typical that the most accurate estimate so far has come from Lily Allen.

Heads will have to roll for this.

There is a seething anger on the streets.

There is a long, hot summer coming.

Neil Harris
(a don't stop till you drop production)
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Thursday, 15 June 2017

No scooter for me.

Shopping day - and although we were late (thanks to me) we got there fine.

The only problem was that when we got to Tesco's, all the disabled scooters had gone. Robyn wanted me to sit it out at the pharmacy but I walked round the shop, without the help of a safety net or painkillers.

Robyn spent the whole time trying to stop me but I made it most of the way round although she did all the work.

I drove home and it's fair to say that it was pretty painful. It's also right to say that I did collapse for the afternoon but I was by no means wrecked like I often have been.

It's puzzling because there's no logic to the pain which comes and goes as it wishes, although I am on my chemotherapy course at the moment and that may have made a difference.

Neil Harris
(a don't stop till you drop production)
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Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Grenfell Tower.

Here's a picture of Grenfell Tower, North Kensington last night;

The picture was taken about an hour into the fire which completely destroyed a 24 storey block of council flats in Ladbroke Grove.

The Grenfell Tower Action Group blog has been warning of the acute fire risk at these flats for the last four years - last November they blogged that it would take a catastrophe for
any action to be taken.

It wasn't.

The problem here is that this is a very poor area which is administered by a Tory council representing some of the wealthiest people in the country. Naturally, administration of the block has been farmed out to a privatised management group.

The recent refurbishment of the block cost £8 million pounds  of public money but did not involve any improvements to fire safety. Instead, cladding was put around the block; a purely cosmetic measure.

Worse, the fire appears to have spread through the cladding, which is why it took hold so quickly. It looks as though the cladding included flammable materials.

It's not unusual in cases like this that, after several years of enquiry, some public body (the taxpayers) gets fined.

In this case, at least 12 people and probably many, many more, have died.

At the very least people need to go to prison for this.

Neil Harris
(a don't stop till you drop production)
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Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Summiting again.

I had another tough day; lots of pain but I managed to drive and walk for a second day running although it was a bit gruelling.

For no obvious reason I remembered a holiday I had in North Wales when I was in my twenties. It rained on me a lot - I got wet through most days which is not unusual in Wales.

I decided to climb 'The Glyders', a couple of mountains that makes up part of a group that also includes mighty Tryfan.

I was staying in a Youth Hostel and I decided to park in a layby near the hostel I'd checked out of. After I'd climbed the mountains I was then going to come back down, pick up my car and drive around until I got to the next Youth Hostel where I'd booked a bed for that night.

I set off early in the morning, planning to conquer both the 'Glyders' and possibly Tryfan as well, if I had time.

As I was setting off I bumped into a squad of young soldiers there for a vigorous days training and I was given a lecture by their arrogant and very posh commanding officer who told me I was inadequately dressed for the mountain and should go back down.

I was not impressed and carried on.

It got misty and every so often it rained.

At the best of the times, the 'glyders' are a bit of a moonscape - there isn't such a clear summit as you get with lots of mountains, more like a plateau. As it was, I couldn't see a thing. Not the summit, not the drops down to the valleys....which was probably just as well as I'm quite scared of heights.

I remember getting to what was obviously the top of one of the 'glyders', spotted some spikey rocks which I recognised, then foolishly got out my map.

I was hit by a torrent of rain, got soaked and frozen through and then my map disintegrated into a ball of unreadable pulp.

I actually remember squeezing it into a ball, in an act of insanity.

So I made it up and 'imagined' the way back down. I couldn't see more than a few feet in front of me as I descended.

I ended up at 'the bottom' but, unfortunately it wasn't the right one. I'd come down completely the wrong side of the mountain and found myself looking at the Hostel I was booked into for that night. Unfortunately my car (with all my belongings in it) was on the other side of the mountain.

And while it was only a few miles walking in a straight line, the road back to my car was a journey of about twenty miles.

While I was thinking this one over I saw the troupe of soldiers coming down the path. I didn't feel like sharing with them the mess I'd got into but in any event they probably weren't in any mood to talk things over.

One of their number had fallen down and cut his head open and was being carried on a stretcher by four of his comrades. There was a lot of blood and everyone, including the officer in charge, was looking rather crestfallen.

None of them was looking very happy, all of them were as wet and miserable as I was.

I said nothing, I did nothing but it's fair to say I may have had a bit of a superior 'look' about me.

As it was I was very lucky - I hitchhiked back to my car, given a lift by a lovely couple who took sympathy on me and went out of their way to help out. So I was able to pick up my car and drive all the way back to my hostel.

The sense of triumph was quite considerable. Almost as good as today when after a couple of hours resting I was able to go out again and do some very light pruning.

Neil Harris
(a don't stop till you drop production)
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Monday, 12 June 2017

My last photo's

I had a really crushing day and I haven't done a lot for about three days either.

I had to give Robyn a lift to meet a friend of hers for the afternoon; it doesn't happen very often; she's like a prisoner here.

Anyway before that , we had to go and get cat food for Sydney the incredibly fussy cat. Which we can only do at one shop.

After I dropped Robyn off I drove home and then walked into the village to pick up the forms for the photography competition at the Wraysbury Fair on Saturday.

By the time I got home I was completely wrecked - everything hurt. The usual pains and a few more besides.

It's quite sad. Clearly it's the last show I'll compete in and anyway, I'm running out of decent photos to use. I don't get out much any more and when I do I don't have the ability to take enough time to set things up properly. I have to rush everything because of the pain and it shows.

Ah well, I had a lot of fun doing it.

Neil Harris
(a don't stop till you drop production)
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Sunday, 11 June 2017

There are holes in the sky,

There are holes in the sky
Where the rain gets in
But they're ever so small
That's why the rain is thin.

Spike Milligan

Neil Harris
(a don't stop till you drop production)
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Saturday, 10 June 2017

Lord Buckethead.

I've had a quiet day, punctuated only by people sending me things about Theresa May on social media.

I liked this one, 'inspired' by Al Pacino in 'Scarface'. It's the morning after indulging in that hubris feeling;

One of the more obscure aspects of an election are the publicity seekers who stand in the constituencies of famous politicians, hoping to get on the television. Some wear silly 'Lord Buckethead' who stood against Thatcher, Major and now Theresa May.

One of his more sensible policies dealt with nuclear weapons;

"A firm public commitment to build the 100-billion-pound renewal of Britain's Trident weapons system, followed by an equally firm commitment, privately, not to build it. They're secret submarines, so no one will ever know. It's a win-win."

It produced this exchange on The Guardian;

Well, it cheered me up.

Neil Harris
(a don't stop till you drop production)
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Friday, 9 June 2017

Election night 2017.

Well, I settled down to watch the election results; I warned Robyn that I wasn't going to be worth talking to the next day and that if things went particularly badly I might well attack the TV.

As it was, I was almost as surprised by the exit poll which came out at 1000pm as the BBC pundits were.

I spent the rest of the night marvelling as the results came in; Theresa May had lost, although Labour hadn't done well enough to win. The tories could only hold onto power by doing a deal with the 'Democratic' Unionist party - the political wing of the Ulster Defence Association.

In other words we now have a bunch of religious and political fascists determining what happens to us.

Jeremy Corbyn played a blinder. All the right Labour M.P's who had been planning another assault on his leadership following the election campaign were talking through gritted teeth.

Apart from the politics, Theresa May is the person who tried to deport my Robyn under threat of arrest and imprisonment. She fought our appeal all the way and seizing her passport for a year which prevented us from having a holiday during the last period when I was well enough to have travelled abroad.

It also prevented us from marrying for a year and then when we had a date and had made our preparations, her Home Office forced us to cancel everything, postpone it and rearrange the date - for no purpose whatsoever.

However badly she feels now, having messed up everything, is just a fraction of what she deserves.

Worst of all she is back in power and as a result of that old age pensioners will lose their winter heating allowance, primary school children will lose their meals and we will all be worse off as the services we all rely on will be cut back.

Now we need to get her out before I kick the bucket.

Neil Harris
(a don't stop till you drop production)
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Thursday, 8 June 2017

Drug addict.

I've just had the weirdest of weird days.

I was due to see Dr Feelgood up at the hospital today and was expecting some quite bad news. I ended up unable to sleep all night, which is not like me.

I'm really used to bad news - I even have a special shirt which I only wear to get bad news in, so I don't have to wear it on other, happier times.

I'm a toughie - I know how to take bad news on the chin.

About 5-00 am I worked out why I couldn't sleep - it happens every so often.

I take co-codymol at night, which is a mixture of paracetamol and codeine. Recently I've been using up some old codeine tablets with a separate paracetamol tablet on top.

Each night I've been unable to sleep was a night I didn't bother to take the paracetamol.

Now I've been taking paracetamol every night for the last four years to help deal with minor pains. It means that I've acquired an addiction to this stupid, ineffective drug and I've got to decide whether to live with it or go cold turkey.

It's not as though it was any fun!

So I got up and got washed and it was really, really painful - as was the drive up to London.

I spent the morning embarrassing myself by going up to patients, doctors, pharmacists and nurses and asking them to make sure that they were going to vote and to vote Labour.

I have to be weighed and I need to take off my big bad boots to do it. It hurt so much I walked to the doctors office in my socks.

I got a good result - my bloods have improved.

Better still, this opened up the possibility of an infusion to repair my bones, which I couldn't have before when it was all going wrong.

My scan wasn't so good - the cancer is on a little rampage, but I'm OK for a month and possibly two before big decisions have to be made.

So we went upstairs and I had my infusion - annoying the nurses by telling them how to vote and getting very emotional about it all.

So much at stake.

I got my hospital prescriptions and then drove off to my doctors to pick up another prescription.

At that point my poor old body just gave up on me and I was in agony all the way home - I couldn't cope with doing the shopping as well.

So a bad day turned out to be a good day, even if it hurt.

Robyn has already told me off because I am by nature a pessimist and I refuse to get carried away.

But a good day all the same.

Neil Harris
(a don't stop till you drop production)
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Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Something to fight for.

It good waking up this morning; Teresa May paid an early morning visit to Smithfield Market expecting to be greeted by lots of friendly supporters.

I spent three hard years as a meat trader, working off market and I was very pleased to hear her being heckled and booed by some meat porters and traders calling out 'Vote Labour'.

Obviously, I hope anyone reading this who has a vote will vote for change and vote Labour.

No party leader has ever faced such sabotage and opposition from his own M.P's and then stood a second time as leader and won with a higher vote.

Over the last five weeks nearly all the press and T.V. has been attacking him.

And yet consistently, the opinion polls have moved his way.

Great crowds have turned out to hear him speak.

He always had a mountain to climb but there is still time to reach the summit.

Finish May in June.

Vote Labour.

"I kept the faith and I kept voting
Not for the iron fist but for the helping hand
For theirs is a land with a wall around it
And mine is a faith in my fellow man
Theirs is a land of hope and glory
Mine is the green field and the factory floor
Theirs are the skies all dark with bombers
And mine is the peace we knew
Between the wars"

Billy Bragg.

Neil Harris
(a don't stop till you drop production)
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Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Something to fight against.

This is so tedious - stuck in an armchair and trying not to move for fear of screaming in pain.

I need to get my back together again because on Thursday I have to get up to hospital to finally get the result of my scan and find out whether there's anything they can do about it.

That's going to be fun - not least because I also get the result of my blood test and find out how the cancer treatment is going.

I'm under pressure from every side to take more and stronger drugs.....I'm not planning to change that drastically yet. I need to keep a fresh mind for as long as I can there are things I want to do and I need to know what's going on with my back. I don't need to make it any worse than it already is.

Besides, it gives me something to fight against.

Neil Harris
(a don't stop till you drop production)
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Monday, 5 June 2017

Borough Market.

It's exactly four months since we went up The Shard and had a wander around Borough Market, an area of London I once knew well.

At the top left of my picture of a fruit stall, you can just make out some of the bars and restaurants that were open on Saturday night when the attack took place.

I wouldn't normally post about something like this, but at this time there needs to be some comment about the repeated attack tweets coming from Donald Trump and his allies, and directed at Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London.

For the benefit of Donald Trump we aren't going to be panicking or changing our way of life.

Neither are we going to allow our Moslem neighbours to be blamed for these monstrous acts and nor will we allow divisions and hatred to be created - that's what these terrorists want us to do.

We're just going to keep on; being Christians or Moslems or Atheists.

We will go on having a drink or not as we see fit.

Some of us will smoke dope while others would be horrified at the very thought of it.

Some of us will go on being Gay, others will be straight.   

Above all, we are not going to be alarmed.

Neil Harris
(a don't stop till you drop production)
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