Monday, June 01, 2020

"No One Is So Brave That He Is Not Disturbed By Something Unexpected"

The people that live next door to the Stately Telly Topping Manor Plague House (the ones who were having a big barbecue a few weeks back which so caught the attention of this blogger) also have a swimming pool in their back garden. It's an inflatable one, admittedly, but it's still pretty damned big - you can get a couple of supersized adults and several small children in there with some ease. And, on a day like today when it's too damned hot and steamy to think, it looks really enticing.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch ...
Welcome, therefore, to the latest From The North bloggerisationisms, dear blog reader. And what a - frankly Goddamn queer - time it has been since last we spoke upon matters of concern to yer actual Keith Telly Topping.
But first, before we get onto issues of a more personal and discombobulated nature there is, of course, this to take care of :-
The return of Qi.
The return of Springwatch.
Match Of The Day Podcasts.
Kermode & Mayo's Home Entertainment Service.
Killing Eve.
BBC4's repeats of The Joy Of Painting.
The First Team.
Normal People.
Sky Documentaries' Busby.
The Cricket Show.
Yesterday's War Factories.
Dunkirk: The Forgotten Heroes (yes, it's a repeat, but it's a good one).
Dam Busters: The Race To Smash The German Dams (another repeat and, again, a cracker).
Sky Arts' The Directors.
Anyway, dear blog reader, shortly after the last From The North bloggerisationisms update went live - on 17 May - this blogger received, somewhat out of the blue, a telephone call from his doctor. Asking yer actual Keith Telly Topping to come into the surgery on the following Thursday for a blood test - and, 'some other tests' - related to possible prostate cancer. Not really the kind of thing which one wishes for when one is trying to concentrate on working at home, frankly. Chances were, of course, even at this stage that it was all going to be fine and this was merely a precaution as this blogger has reached an age where it's better safe than sorry. This blogger is in a couple of 'at risk' groups, of course, hence the caution. Nevertheless, this blogger spent the next couple of days in a state of some understandable anxiety.
So, three days later, this blogger turned up at the surgery - having first organised a couple of hours off work to go and get anal-probed. It was, needless to say, a case of 'bring out yer dead.'
And then, stab them with needles till their arm resembles a sodding dart board. Twelve days later, this blogger still has a massive bruise caused by the right of these two puncture wounds.
Getting back to the Stately Telly Topping Manor Plague House after the examination had concluded, this blogger sent a quick message to his line manager, Danny. Just to let him know that this blogger was now available for work again after his medical shenanigans. 'How'd it go?' Dan asked, not unreasonably. 'About as well as can be expected given than I had a finger up my sphincter for most of the time,' this blogger replied. That got a laugh. Though not from this blogger, obviously.
It was, this blogger should note, lovely to see his late mum's (and, indeed, his own) family medic, Doctor Chris again for the first time in at least a couple of years (actually, probably closer to three). And, even though we were both masked(!) we did have a pleasant - albeit, briefish - chat about this blogger's (physical and mental) health in general. And, the state of his ringpiece in particular. Following the exam, Doctor Chris didn't seem to think there was too much for Keith Telly Topping to be worrying about but, nevertheless, he confirmed that they would have the results of the blood test through by the next day and that he would call this blogger and give him the lowdown.
What can this blogger say, dear blog reader? Having spent part of the day with someone's fingers rammed up his Gary Glitter, this blogger really deserved this KFC takeaway once work had finished. It seemed rather appropriate.
The following day, thankfully, this blogger received two bits of good news. Firstly, Doctor Chris confirmed that - through a combination of significant rectal probature and vampire-like blood letting - this blogger appears not have a cancer-ridden bumhole. Which both he and Doctor Chris were jolly pleased about (Keith Telly Topping's blood PSA level was under two; it has to be above four before any alarm bells start ringing, apparently).
The good news, part two, was that this blogger's blood sugar level is currently still well within acceptable type-two diabetes levels (it was forty eight last time he was checked in December 2019. It was forty nine this time) and this blogger's weight is almost exactly the same as the last check (a raise of but one kilogram).
Thus this blogger appears, once again, to be a veritable walking advert for 'living dreadfully and still, somehow, surviving.' Which, dear blog reader, as you can probably appreciate, is very nice.
This blogger's mate, Christopher, did offer the observation that it was good it had been someone this blogger knew who had to job of doing the prostate examination. 'Well, it had to be,' this blogger replied. 'I don't let just anyone ram their digit up my back passage, I'm not that sort of boy.'
'I remember the last time I had a prostate exam,' a Facebook fiend of this blogger added. 'The doctor said, "Okay, I'm now going to insert my finger into your rectum." I replied, "Normally I'd expect flowers and dinner first."' 'When I went for my prostate exam, the doctor said "You're going to have to stop masturbating,"' claimed another Facebook fiend of Keith Telly Topping. '"Does it affect the result?" I asked him. "Well, it’s distracting while I'm trying to examine you," he said.' This blogger could merely reply that his attempt at a pithy witticism during the exam by Doctor Chris amounted to: 'Normally, you have to pay good money for this sort of thing down in Soho. Or, so they reckon ...'
(It occurs to this blogger that he has spent far more time than either he intended or that he's entirely comfortable with discussing his sphincter with you all, dear blog reader. Indeed, at least one - now former - acquaintance of this blogger has let it be know that he believes yer actual Keith Telly Topping has 'an obsession' which discussing that particular part of his anatomy. What can this blogger say, dear blog reader? He's very attached to his sphincter.)
Anyway, dear blog reader, there followed a couple of very satisfying days in general at the Stately Telly Topping Manor Plague House. Particularly that following weekend. Curry, fried rice and chips, a nice glass of blackcurrant pop and Diamonds Are Forever on ITV4. Ah, Sundays. This blogger loves you the mostest of all the days.
Admittedly, the borderline hate mail postcards (yes, postcards) which are currently being sent to the Stately Telly Topping Manor Plague House during lockdown have been something of an amusing distraction from other aspects of yer actual Keith Telly Topping's terrifying life.
This blogger, let it be noted, has his own suspicions as to whomsoever is sending them. But, he thought he would give the well-naughty recidivist responsible the chance to confess, in public, before this blogger - potentially - names and/or shames the culprit. The fact that the person in question, seemingly, can't spell 'recidivist' does, rather, narrow down the field of potential suspects.
Even that, though, was not going to spoil or put any sort of dampener on this blogger's first full weekend off work in a month.
Having a brief - government-allowed - exercise walk on Sunday morning this blogger spotted, in the middle of Sandy Crescent, a discarded bra just laying there, all unwanted and abandoned in its loneliness. Sadly, this blogger didn't have his camera-phone on him at the time otherwise he would have taken a photo of it for posterity. However, subsequently, he could only Conceive of two potential reasons for it being there. Firstly, it being an unsuccessful attempt by someone at fashioning a homemade anti-Coronavirus mask. Or, secondly, someone was spending their Saturday night on The Estate getting their tits fondled right there in the road. If it was the latter, though - and, hey, this is Walker we're talking about, this blogger certainly wouldn't be surprised - then it brings up all sorts of questions about a potential lack of social distancing ...
The things that some people get up to during a global pandemic, dear blog reader. It shouldn't be either encouraged or, indeed, allowed. Unless it's between consenting adults, or course. In which case, hey, go for it.
This blogger also spent some time playing on the Interweb with various 'change a photo of yourself into a portrait' type websites. Like this one, for instance. Though, let it be observed, if this blogger had paid someone to paint this, he would have sued over the results ... And, that's just the one on the right. Post-impressionism my arse.
Keith Telly Topping knocked off Tuesday's shift at 4.30 and then went straight out down to ALDI to buy something for us tea at the Stately Telly Topping Manor Plague House. This blogger doesn't know why, dear blog reader, but he really fancied a beer that particular evening.
So, therefore, he had one. And, why ever not? This blogger is, after all - and despite occasional appearances to the contrary - a grown adult and legally entitled to drink alcohol. Though he chooses not to most of the time.
But, there were more than a few times during the following few days where this blogger thought 'Jeez, is this week never going to end?' This blogger is normally all right with the 8am to 4.30pm shift but the last couple of days Keith Telly Topping was completely running on empty and, on Friday, a stotting headache wasn't helping in the slightest. Especially when some disgraceful hipster driving a BMW coupe decided it would be fun to drive up and down outside the opened windows of the Stately Telly Topping Manor Plague House playing his housy-housy, trippy-hoppy baseball-cap-on-backwards music. Really loudly.
This blogger really hates hipsters, dear blog reader. He may have mentioned this on one or two previous occasions.
A couple of hours after that however, at last, this blogger finished work for the week with the rewards of three days off in a row for the first time in God knows how long (nine weeks, at least). The thought of which was, frankly, just about the only thing that got this blogger through the majority of Friday afternoon.
Never, dear blog reader, not never in the field of his own human existence, has this blogger really deserved King Prawn and Mushrooms in Oyster Sauce from the - recently re-opened - Royal Sky quite as much as he did that particular evening. Gosh, it was well-nice.
So, we reached Saturday and, early that morning, this blogger informed his dear Facebook fiends: 'I'm going out, now (yes, in my "three-quid-bought-from- Poundland-vest"). I may be some time.'
They say (whoever 'they' are), that every picture tells a story. The following sixteen pictures tell the story of yer actual Keith Telly Topping's - government-encouraged - pure-dead-hot last Saturday morning in May 'gannin' t'Toon' adventure, his continuing to be 'a lert' and getting both his weekly exercise quota and the Stately Telly Topping Manor Plague House shopping out of the way at the same time. All of which was, once again, done to a soundtrack on his MP3 player of The Be-Atles (a popular beat combo of the 1960s, you might've heard of them). And frankly, dear blog reader, if you've never bought some Canestan cream in Boots to soothe a minor fungal infection to a soundtrack of 'Here Comes The Sun', you have simply never lived.
Smothered - smothered, so he was - in Ambre Solaire Factor Fifty, yer actual Keith Telly Topping sallied forth from the comforting safety of the Stately Telly Topping Manor Plague House and had a pleasant stroll through Monkchester Park, along to Welbeck Road to grab a couple of bottles of cheap pop from Herons.
Thence, it was up the road to the Post Office to pay the Stately Telly Topping Manor Plague House rent - this blogger actually dropped two weeks rent since he is not sure how much time he'll have next Saturday. Plus, it always pays to be a bit in advance so that you don't get threatened with being turfed out the gaff into the street by your landlord if you happen to miss a week.
This blogger then got the Forty bus up to Byker and popped into Home Bargains to buy a replacement USB-powered desk mini-fan to replace the one which he left at the office when he went into self-isolation and which, he presumes will have, during the last nine weeks, been half-inched by some thieving toerag. Sadly, whist in Home Bargains, he got stuck in the queue with the new lass on the tills who needed to ask her superiors about everything. And, he also found himself in the queue behind a couple of abject planks who, seemingly, didn't know their collective arse from their collective elbow when it came to simple questions like 'how are you paying for these?' Otherwise, this blogger would've been in-and-out of the gaff in seconds. Instead, that's ten minutes of this blogger's life which he'll never get back.
This blogger then walked across to the Byker Business Park and Poundland (Argos, sadly, remains thoroughly shut). For coffee, Fry's Raspberry Cremes (yes, Keith Telly Topping is still completely addicted to the latter) and another 'three-quid-from-Poundland' XXXL vest. Except this one was actually 'five-quid-from-Poundland.' The effect on the economy of the government's handling of the Coronavirus crisis in a nutshell, dare one suggest. Hyperinflation, dear blog reader. It can only be a few weeks away.
Keith Telly Topping then got a bus that he hadn't come across before - the A1 which isn't a Stagecoach routemaster but, nevertheless, had a very nice driver. One who, when this blogger showed him Keith Telly Topping's Day Rider Stagecoach ticket said: 'Yeah, no problem. Hop on brother, I'll take you to th'Toon!' Thus, this blogger arrived at a virtually deserted Northumberland Street in an unreasonably good mood. On what was, just to repeat, the hottest Saturday morning in the entire history of hot Saturday mornings. It was ten-past-ten by this stage (you can tell that, dear blog reader, because of the clock on Northern Goldsmiths, obviously).
This blogger's next stop was Marks & Spencers. To buy a box of those thoroughly addictive cocktail sausages, plus some marinated chilli, garlic and paprika prawns and smoked spiced Proscuitto ham and cheese 'rollettess.' In a 'three-for-seven-quid' deal which took Keith Telly Topping's fancy greatly for us Saturday brunch at the Stately Telly Topping Manor Plague House.
To Lloyd's, next, up at the Haymarket Metro. To get a mini-statement.
Round the corner to the Halifax after that. To get some money out of the cash-point. And, for another mini-statement. Percy Street, incidentally, was looking just as deserted as everywhere else in the centre of Newcastle.
... as, indeed, was Monument. Even poor old Earl Grey, up atop of his vast column, was looking mighty lonely in the spring sunshine.
Despite being eyed-up rather suspiciously by a door-watcher type individual in a mask, Keith Telly Topping (also masked) was allowed into yer actual Boots so that he could purchase the a'fore-mentioned cooling, itch-relieving Canestan cream. And various other ephemera of the pharmaceutical variety.
Eldon Square, meanwhile, was also looking very pretty but also very deserted. And still, the sun beat down. Whilst taking this photo, incidentally, the Twelve extremely arrived and Keith Telly Topping was able to hot-foot (and, indeed, hot everything else) it back to Byker.
... where, he stood in a short-but-necessary queue to get into Morrisons and buy some Nice biscuits (that's Nice the biscuit company, not 'nice' what they taste like - although, hopefully ...) Plus, bread, Young's Breaded Prawns (for the next day's lunch at the Stately Telly Topping Manor Plague House), a fresh cream waffle (as a treat for surviving the preceding awful week just about in tact) and a new pasta bowl to replace one which has seen somewhat better days.
Sadly, most of Newcastle's Greggs stores remain extremely closed and thus, Keith Telly Topping still cannot sate his overwhelming craving for a stottie cake. Which, sad to report, is now assuming outrageous, dangerous, crime-inducing proportions.
... and causing yer actual Keith Telly Topping (wearing his new 'five-quid-from-Poundland' vest) to scowl all over his mush like he'd just sucked on a lemon.
What can this blogger say in justification, dear blog reader? He just wants a bloody stottie, is that too much to wish for? It's been so long, this blogger has almost forgotten what they look like. But not what they taste like.
Anyway here, dear blog reader, is but a small sampling of some of the morning's purchases. Is Keith Telly Topping the only person currently keeping the British economy afloat? (The answer is 'probably not' but it sometimes feels like that.)
And, still there was time to do a quick bit of strimmage on the (not particularly manicured) lawns of the Stately Telly Topping Manor Plague House during the afternoon.
Then, on Sunday, a darza new pair of FILA trainers were delivered by DPD to the Stately Telly Topping Manor Plague House.
Followed, just a few hours later, by the day's second delivery to the Stately Telly Topping Manor Plague House. A long-overdue update of the Stately Telly Topping Manor shaver.
So, the garden strimming was done. The vacuuming was done. The washing was done. The Stately Telly Topping Manor Plague House lunch was sorted. The two expected deliveries to the Stately Telly Topping Manor Plague House were delivered. And, yer actual Keith Telly Topping sitting around the house with the front room fan on full blast wearing just this blogger's 'three-quid-from-Poundland' vest, a pair of shorts and his new trainers? That was very much a work-in-progress type affair. And a pleasurable one at that.
And now, dear blog reader, it's time for ...
Isn't it nice to see that, despite all the hot weather, the social distancing message is still getting through? Mostly.
And, speaking of messages finally getting through ...
Of course, we must never forget that there are some freedoms which are worth fighting for, dear blog reader.
Tributes have been paid after the death of Michael Angelis, one of this blogger's favourite actorsd who will be remembered as the morose rabbit-obsessed Lucien from The Liver Birds, the desperate Chrissie in Boys From The Blackstuff and as the narrator of Thomas The Tank Engine. Angelis died suddenly while at home with his wife on Saturday, his agent said. He was sixty eight. One of Angelis's most memorable performances was as Chrissie Todd in Alan Bleasdale's Boys From The Blackstuff, the Liverpool-set drama which attempted to show the devastating blight of 1980s unemployment. In a row with his wife Angie, played by Julie Walters, Angelis's character says with mounting fury: 'What do you think it's like for me? A second class citizen. A second rate man. With no money and no job and no place!' The episode ends with him shooting his geese and pigeons to provide dinner. Angelis once described the drama as 'possibly the finest thing I've ever done' and it changed his career. Before it he had experienced signing on.
In the 1970s Angelis first became a familiar face on British TV as the gloomy, philosophising Lucien in the Carla Lane sitcom The Liver Birds, a character who always wished he had stayed home with his beloved rabbits. He had a melodic voice which made him the perfect replacement for Ringo Starr as narrator of the Thomas The Tank Engine TV shows, a role he had for thirteen series from 1991. Other notable roles included the gangster Mickey Startup in Auf Wiedersehen, Pet, Martin Niarchos in Bleasdale's Channel Four drama GBH and Robert Rocksavage in the BBC drama Good Cop. Angelis also had roles in Minder, Z Cars, Giving Tongue, Thirty-Minute Theatre, Rock Follies, Hazell, The Professionals, Reilly, Ace of Spies, Bergerac, Playing The Field, The Marksman, Wail Of The Banshee, Between The Lines, Casualty, September Song and Harry Enfield & Chums. Michael also appeared in films such as A Nightingale Sang In Berkeley Square (1979) and Bleasdale's No Surrender (1985). In 1983, he appeared at the Royal Exchange, Manchester in Harold Pinter's The Caretaker. He narrated John Peel's autobiography, Margrave Of The Marshes, which was broadcast on Radio 4 in 2005. In 2007 he appeared in episodes of Midsomer Murders and The Bill. Born in Dingle, Angelis was married to the Coronation Street actress Helen Worth between 1991 and 2001 and, later, married Jennifer Khalastchi. He was the younger brother of fellow actor Paul Angelis.