Archive for the 'Words' Category

August and everything after

The past 6 weeks in summary:

Yellow eyes. Blood tests. Hospitals. Waiting rooms. Magazines. Day time TV. Scans. Results. Waiting. Blood tests. Cotton wool. Tea. Car parks. Rain. Cigarette butts. Cardboard cups. Newspapers. Driving. Vinyl floors. Biopsies. Results. Tumours. Cancer. Doctors. Cleaners. Nurses. Tablets. Injections. Blood. Pain. Waiting. Drips. Infusions. Scars. Wounds. Staples. Pain. Nausea. Ventilators. Tubes. Morphine. Sleep. Waiting. Anxiety. Insomnia. Fear of the phone ringing. Fear. LCD screens. Temperatures. Blood pressure. Urine. fluid. Numbers. White cells. Red cells. Platelets. Kidneys. Antibiotics. Oxygen. Tubes. CS lewis. Paul Simon. Van Morrisson. Prayer. Tears. Waiting. Phone calls. Doorbell. Repeat. Surgery. Transfusion. Drugs. Pain. Ice. Lollies. Confusion. Washing hands. Lifts. Stairs. Beeping. Machines. Car parks. Tea. Coffee. Books. Waiting. Chinese Take aways. Emails. Little routines. Joy. Sadness. Pain. Sorrow. Relief. Hope. Faith. Coming home.


Kiwis are generally a nice bunch. Pretty gregarious, up for a laugh, generally pretty decent. Maybe it’s the small country attitude, maybe it’s the fact they’ve all learnt to live with each other pretty quick – everyone being a pretty recent immigrant  – by the worlds standards.

The Maoris arrived in the 14the century, and soon started beating the lining out of each other. The Europeans first arrived with Tasman in the 18th century, though the Maoris tried to beat the lining out of him so he didn’t land. The Europeans finally made it ashore with Cook – who in the grand scheme of things was really a pretty decent chap and didn’t really deserve to be eaten by those Hawaiian folk a while later. And shortly after we started beating the lining out of the Maoris cause there were no Irish to take it out on initially. And everyone got it all out of their system and we’re all as bad as each other, and no one really has the right to say it’s their country, cause it’s so recent that it’s all written down. Brief and largely occasionally inaccurate history of NZ over.

As for Ireland, people have been here for so long, we can’t remember who got here first but they’re probably dead or they’ve moved to a villa in Spain. It’s simply a system of the newcomers beating the lining out of those who were there before them, and it’s been going on for ages and that was just the way things were. But now we’ve got books and and someone started writing it down and it all seems desperately wrong to our wonderfully enlightened PC eyes so we’ll have a jolly good fight about it. And now no one can quite remember what all this fighting was over but we’re pretty sure the English are to blame somewhere and everyone’s happy with that at least. And as long as we have McDonalds and Coronation St then we’ll not cause too much of a fuss if you’ll pass the dole cheque please…

A while ago I was going somewhere with this…

Yes Kiwis. They’re startlingly nice really. Disturbingly so. Like Paediatricians. They always smile and don’t have that world-weary cynicism that the rest of the medical professional survive on. They frighten bears I hear. It’s just unnerving.

As an example I went to buy a pair of shin pads on Saturday for the footy match. I get to the check out and the teenager behind the till is instantly smiling and friendly. This is instantly disarming. He should be slacking off and picking his nose and getting complaints for being surly. He asks how my day was and I grunt an acknowledgement – feeling the need to play the grumpy teenager if he’s not willing to hold up his end of the bargain. He asks if I want a bag, which I decline, to which he replies ‘awesome’. Now, not taking a plastic bag for my one item may be a miniscule nod to environmentalism and a million more like me may just save the planet from it’s rapid and slippery descent into the dark ages but it certainly doesn’t warrant the use of the word ‘awesome’.

He wishes that I have a great day and smiles as I walk off in a huff – what does he expect, why would I want to have a great day – I’m flippin Irish! Next thing we’ll be making eye contact and having meaningful communication with our fellow human beings in the shopping mall cathedrals of the twenty-first century. This is why I do all my shopping on the net.

Now (hopefully) this is seen more of an indictment of myself than of poor kiwis. Their gentle enthusiasm in the market place is perhaps disturbing at worst, but more worrying is what superlative that kid is gonna be left to use when he scores a date with that hot chick form school. Though looking at him I’m really not that concerned…

Be nice to me will you… bah humbug

The Big Trip – Day 13

Mostly listening to: van morrison (live in san francisco), spin doctors (pocket full of kryptonite)
Sleeping on/in: cabin in a holiday park
KMs: 2680
Coffees: 1, plus a cup of tea i’m currently enjoying
Weather: windy, very windy. sunny
Beard up date: made a lunge for my throat this morning, so it had to go. Was definitely going ginger.

The place we stayed in last night was decent enough. A tad cold. plus the fact it only had one shower for about 25 people. We decided we’d try somewhere else. So we’re back in a cabin in a holiday park. Lovely stuff. Has a tiny fridge in it that goes ‘doyng’ every time the compressor comes on. Makes us giggle every time. Reminds me of cartoon knicker elastic snapping. Not sure what that says about me though.


Took a trip round the otago peninsula, which juts out from the south of dunedin. Beautiful place. Managed to visit an albatross colony (which was very windy) and 2 sea lions. The sea lions we just came across while walking across a deserted beach. Kind of a pleasant surprise. Got to within 5m or so of them and then felt bad about scaring them. Simon, i’m sure, isn’t a pretty sight to a sea lion trying to have a kip.

Went looking for penguins but with no joy. Apparently wrong time of year.


In the end we rolled up to one of the main surf beaches and took the kayak out on the waves. Surfers hate kayakers so we tried to stay as far as we could away from them. Plus me and si were in charming matching wetsuits and looked completely amateurish, so the further away from anyone the better.

Surf-kayaking is a recognised international sport. Si and ruth are actually friends with the world champion of surf-kayaking. He’s a biolgy teacher from norn iron. Gets to go and compete all round the world. I think it’s the way forward, become really good at a sport no one else knows about.

When I decided to (or rather ended up in by chance and default) medicine, my GP said to become a specialist. To specialise in a small area and to continue to know more and more about a certain small field. And as you specialised and you knew more and more about less and less, then eventually you’d reach the point where you knew everything about nothing.


The kayaking was fun. We got trashed by every wave in sight. Si kept getting whacked on the head by the kayak when he came out. Not the safest of sports. But we were kids again playing in the sea. It was cool.

Back at the cabin, we got a chinese (weird, no prawn crackers, no fried rice and lots of cabbage in the satay. What is the world coming to?), and played scrabble.

Morsies pulled out ‘stormed’ as the first play of the game, using all her letters and getting a 50 point bonus. Game over, move one.

So me and si just grumbled and moaned and tried to make out that she cheated. She ran home with a 245 point victory. Makes you sick… Made si even sicker, he’d just been beaten in table tennis by her.

Doyng… (tee hee hee…)

I used to huff something shocking when it came to scrabble as a kid. I was the youngest in the family and therefore the thickest. And I always struggled in the earlier bits of the game. And then the huffing would start. I’d sulk, cause I wasn’t getting my way, i’d play crap on purpose, and put down nothing but three letter words in a show of contempt. I remember once quitting in a huff and going and sitting in the loo and crying after one. This was not nearly as long ago as you might think.

Pride. Always pride. My ego, and my need to be right, to be better, to have attention and approval. I don’t get so upset about scrabble as I used to. I’ve moved on to bigger and better things to be a complete self-centred prick about.

If it was only scrabble then I could probably laugh at myself (the one thing the devil cannot take is to be mocked…). But now my head (and heart) sees myself as much too important to laugh at. That my petty little wants and desires are far too important to stand back and laugh at.

When I make it to where i’m going – and i’m sure I will, cause someone else is driving… Then i’m gonna spend an awful lot of the time laighing at myself. Laughing at the things I took so seriously.  At all the petty grievances that I let weigh me down. If you could only see yourself…


“Jute” on a triple letter

The first blog I ever wrote was after a weekend spent in Donegal, drugged up on scrabble and DVDs. And so in some ways it’s come full circle and now there’s gonna be another blog about scrabble. Of course in many more ways this is not in any way a full circle and I’m in fact nowhere near where I started. And anyway, someone told me once that people who can draw perfect circles are insane. And clearly that’s not me. Tiddly pop who’s stole my conkers mrs figgins… Glad that’s all as clear as mud

Jack and Jill (false names obviously…) are probably two of my best mates out here. They arrived the same time and Jack’s from the UK and the same age and doing a similar job and Jill is American and Jack’s girlfriend. Well I’m sure she does more than just be American and be Jack’s girlfriend but that’s how I know her.

Anyhow, we end up doing lots of stuff together, like travelling about and stuff and so we’ve spent a fair bit of time together. And it’s come to the point where we’ve kind of reached a conversational impasse. When we’ve all told our previous travel stories and inquired about each others backgrounds and culture and stuff. And it was beginning to annoy me, just that we had nothing interesting to say. We did spend one long afternoon talking about Christianity and Jill got up and walked off half way through so I’ve been treading relatively carefully recently. I have no issues with offending people for the sake of the gospel, (though that needs a lot of padding out), but I knew I had to draw a line for a bit. Goodness I could do a long extendied session on offending people and being popular over being authentic but I’ll stay away form that for now. It’s well past Kiwi bedtime.

So tonight I was round at their house for a bit if banter, and they even got me a hannukah present (Jill’s jewish – though I suspect it’s just a ploy for more presents). Quite touched by that really. And so again, I felt the conversational impasse approaching. But then came the scrabble.

All things change with scrabble. So we ended up playing scrabble for 3 hours and listening to divine comedy and duke special on a CD I’d made for them. As usual arguing about how long Jack was taking and whether vox/ pi or id should be allowed. I resisted using aa (a form of lava) as I’m saving it for the moment at the end of the movie when I have to save the world from evil hordes by playing scrabble against their evil leader and throw it on a triple word score to save the day, roll music and scene of me staring serenely into distance…

If nothing else the atmosphere changed between us. Well Jack may never speak to Jill again after she nicked his ‘Jute’ on a triple letter but hey… I was reminded that this is what friends do. Well it’s what my friends do. We don’t have to do something wild or exciting or appropriately youth like. We can sit in each others company and not feel the need to say a great deal. To not feel the need to be someone perhaps we’re not and show off all the time – which is unfortunately something I do all the time to my poor friends and I know I shouldn’t and our relationship is better than that.

Obviously I don’t want to over play the scrabble bit. It’s not that ‘scrabble will save your marriage’ or ‘scrabble cured my cats fleas’. But I am saying it may be the bridge to world peace.

I lost. Despite the use of axle, diodes, vanity and a wonderful 3 in 1 with dip, pi and id all in one play. Life is unfair.


July 2022