I ‘exposed’ myself in the interview below for the Sunday Times in order to raise awareness of course, but yes, there was a part of me that rebelled and thought why should they get away with it? ‘They’ being the Executors of my deceased partner’s Estate, who are all in denial, happy to see me living in poverty unable to carry on painting and sculpting (my partner’s dying wish) because I can’t bloody well afford it. Never mind tubes of paint I can hardly afford to eat let alone paint. Which leads me neatly on to the subject of this Easter blog - food.
Because I was featured in it, I splashed out and bought a few copies of The Sunday Times. To get my money’s worth (the Times don’t come cheap!) I actually read it – although you need very long arms or a big dining table to spread it on and preferably a butler called James to turn the pages for you. My arms these days are nowhere near long enough (where’s James when you need him). Because of my age, or possibly the meds, I am shrinking like a tabloid.
I came upon an article entitled, “Obey the hourglass, keep ageing at bay.”
The doctor behind a new diet coming to Britain claims it slows the process of growing old. Kris Verburgh, a Belgian doctor (as opposed to an Irish country and western singer!) has written a book called The Food Hourglass. Verburgh is a researcher in biogerontology - the science of getting old to you and me. According to Verburgh, if we want to live a long and healthy life our diet should consist of mainly fruit and vegetables.
"Fruit and vegetables contain toxic compounds that act as a wake- up call to our cell defence mechanisms and turn off our ageing switches."
Shame he just didn’t tell us where our switches were then we could have turned them off ourselves.
Verburgh says, "essentially vegetables don’t like to be eaten so they protect themselves with toxins."
Well why did he have to go and say a thing like that? Anyway how does he know – do his carrots say put me down you dirty rat – James Cagney impression. Does his lettuce shy away from him? I’ve just bought a living lettuce from Aldi and now I can’t eat it, every time I go near it with the scissors it looks at me reproachfully.
Before reading that article I’d already blown the entire weekly budget on a pile of fruit and veg in an attempt to comply with the governments new regulations/orders to eat seven not five portions of fruit and veg a day. Who’s got the bloomin’ time I want to know, not to mention the cash. That means actually eating seven things a day which is beyond any pensioner’s budget. Lady Doodles eats better than I do and my son eats everything else. I have started to stash things away like a hamster, not in my cheeks I hasten to add, although come to think of it it’s not a bad idea and cheaper than Botox.
I must admit I felt like going into hibernation after exposing myself again to the media, although at least it wasn’t for page two of the Sun, although at my age and in my condition chance would be a fine thing! HIV can to that to you anyway of course, make you feel like hiding yourself away - it’s called hivernation.
Well, I’d better go and scavenge for a bit of sustenance, ageing or otherwise. Eat to live another day. No chance I suppose that the Easter Bunny will leave me a chocolate egg, or even a boiled one, preferably with soldiers.
Verburgh says by following his hourglass diet he’s aiming for the ripe old age of ninety. Actually to me that that doesn’t seem so far off!
Adrienne Seed believes she was infected by the late Brian Mercer (Adrienne Seed)
THE former lover of a multimillionaire inventor has backed a new government campaign warning women that they may unknowingly be carrying the Aids virus.
Adrienne Seed, 64, was in a relationship with Brian Mercer — the creator of Netlon plastic mesh, for more than 30 years. She believes he unwittingly infected her.
“My reason for speaking out is not for sensationalism or to cast blame but to raise awareness and hopefully save lives,” said Seed, who found she was HIV positive in 2001.
Figures from Public Health England show the number of heterosexual women over 50 diagnosed with HIV has doubled to more than 200 a year in the past decade.
Experts believe there may be many more undiagnosed infections and the government has reversed a ban on the sale of instant result home test kits.
Seed, an artist who trained at St Martin's School of Art in London, was diagnosed by a homeopathic doctor when she went to Spain to recover from what she thought was pneumonia.
"I was distraught, furiously angry, hurt and bitter," she said, "I didn't know what to do or who to tell."
Seed nursed Mercer in the final months before his death in 1998. Mercer's invention of Netlon helped him build an £80m fortune. A portrait of Mercer by Salvador Dali hangs at the Royal Society.
Calling on women to be vigilant, Seed said, "It can affect the most unlikely people - women in golf clubs or living quietly in suburbia."
At least 100,000 people are infected with HIV in Britain with an estimated 25% of those unaware they have it.
Heather Leake Date, a specialist HIV pharmacist from Brighton said, "We need HIV testing to become routine because it's a big risk for people in middle and old age in long-term relationships who are not worrying about contraception."
Public health England said the first home test kits were going through the regulatory approval process and would be available within months.
painting HMV-His Masters Voice©adrienneseed
Did an interview for the Sunday Times and it brought it all back - memories and regrets on both counts!
HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY
Wish I still had my mum - see if you can find her in this painting I did in Ibiza at Daffers Restaurant, one of our favourite haunts and see if you can spot any other famous faces!
Here we go; she’s got it – ‘THE AIDS’. Well, she was pronounced HIV positive much to my surprise. I thought the producers were just trying to use a few shock tactics to keep the viewers on their toes. I’m talking about Val the middle aged Geordie woman in the rural soap Emmerdale set in the Yorkshire Dales.
The newspapers and TV critics of course are having a field day.
The Mirror - “Emmerdale's Charlie Hardwick: HIV can happen to anyone, even funny people like Val Pollard.”
"I hope they will see it could happen to anybody,” says Charlie, “Val is quite funny and we don’t want her to stop being funny. But funny people get HIV as well.”
Do they really? What does H.I.Val (as she’s now calling herself) mean - funny ha ha or funny peculiar! True to say living with HIV can be hivarious - hivsterical even!
“One of the biggest at-risk groups,” states Charlie, “are women in their 50s going into new relationships after divorce. They are no longer worried about pregnancy and think, ‘Get in - we are free to enjoy our sexuality unhindered’. But you can’t have your cake and eat it.”
Cake and eat it? Get in? Is this football talk? Talking of which, according to another interview –
“Going for a half-time cuppa at her beloved Newcastle Utd, Emmerdale star Charlie Hardwick stopped in her tracks as a fellow fan shied away and told her not to touch him. Shocked and angry, she quickly gave him a piece of her mind. Just playing a character at risk of the virus, Charlie has been horrified by the ugly prejudice that still surrounds HIV. She has also been targeted for abuse by online trolls and the whole experience has given her a small taste of what real sufferers must face. She recalls: “I had a conversation with one of the fellas I see at football. I said, ‘How are you doing?’ and he went, ‘Woah, woah... don’t touch us. I might catch it!’ I gave him a proper talking to. "I said, ‘You don’t get HIV from touching somebody – you get it from having unprotected sex and that’s not going to happen is it kiddo?’ and he meekly said no.”
Way aye Cushy Butterfield! The critics discuss Val’s ensuing mental journey with interest.
How does Val deal with the HIV positive diagnosis?
"Rather badly, because she thinks, 'What have I got left? My love life has gone up the spout, so I might as well smoke myself to death, drink myself to death'. That is rather strange really, because that's normally the scenario for a fella. Val is also lashing out at anything and everything."
Then we get smart arse TV critic Kevin O'Sullivan writing for the Sunday Mirror.
Emmerdale's laughably implausible OAP HIV storyline shows Soapland has no connection to the real world.
"Putting it about: Val and Eric in Emmerdale. More turmoil in the village of the dammed as Emmerdale’s comedy character H.I.Val finally behaved like a sentient adult and took the test. Which confirmed all the mad old bat’s worst fears. “HIV positive at my age,” she sobbed. “How is that even possible?” Gosh, Val, I dunno. But I think it might have something to do with sleeping around and unprotected sex.”
Why do people insist on prolonging the myth that in order to contract HIV you have to sleep around?
He carries forth, “In real life, of course, no couple would ever recover from this two-pronged catastrophe. If you’ve been affected by Val and Eric’s laughably implausible story... you need to get out a bit more.”
I’d like to have words with that bloody kevino (that’s what his title looks like if you knock the Sullivan off). In fact I’d like to knock him off, although not in the H.I.Val sense of “GET IN have your cake and eat it! Rather I’d like to knock him off his highfaluting, misinformed perch. He’s the one who needs to get out more and talk to a people who are actually living with HIV. Then he’d find out that their story is not implausible at all but quite a common one.
In fact all those bloody reporters and TV critics should do the same, along with the producers of Emmerdale. Take the episode featuring the support group which was a total fiasco. Val walks into the supposedly confidential support group meeting to be greeted by the group facilitator who is wearing a bright red tee shirt declaring, ‘I am HIV positive.’ Of course we have an eclectic mix of pozzers; the obligatory gay man, the annoyingly optimistic cheerful woman, the up the spout teenager lovingly stroking her bump, the bitter and twisted life’s got it in for me I’ll never get over it type, all sitting in a circle like an A.A. meeting.
“Way aye man, I can’t be doing with this,” declares Cushy Butterfield. I’m going to get on with my life,” and rushes home to shag her long suffering husband Eric who happy to have his H.I.Val back tries to come up with the goods - but can’t. Then there is the awful spine chilling moment when he turns his head away when she tries to kiss him. The first moment of true hiv reality. He can’t deal with it.
Well at least I suppose we have to commend ITV for featuring and highlighting issues related to HIV. I really didn’t think they would. I thought they would stop with the test. Anyway, I was wrong. I am forced to eat my words. Might as well, there’s bugger all else to eat in the cupboard. That’s one thing they probably won’t highlight, poverty and the way HIV can wreck other areas of your life such as your career. “I’ve been rich and I’ve been poor,” as the saying goes, “and rich is better.” Before my partner died we were what you could call living the high life, but to be honest it got quite boring at times. When you think about it, what could be more exciting than scanning the aisles of Aldi or Lidle hoping to find a bargain? And your bottom doesn’t really need quilted toilet tissue when Asda smart price does the job just as well. You can live without all the makeup and body lotions or to go shopping for new clothes – Oh! the long forgotten joy. I am joking of course – being cynical. HIV can do that to you.
Speaking of lotions and potions I’ve just put a face pack on. It says on the label – warning; looks and smells delicious, but don’t eat – mmmm, feeling a bit peckish – I might have to. I’ve got to leave it on for twenty minutes whilst relaxing (i.e. writing this!) Tick tock tick tock – only ten more minutes to go before I can peel it off. I can’t wait. How exciting. See how thrilling my life has become? Who needs money? Have to say can’t help wishing I could win the lottery though. Tick bloody tock - wish I could turn back the clock and I’ll bet a lot of other ‘funny’ ha ha or funny peculiar people living with HIV wish they could too.