Ibiza - Las Dalias, home of the famous hippy Mercado which was also home to all us hippies in those happy hippy days gone by, is celebrating its sixtieth anniversary. So many memories - I wish I was there right now but unfortunately I’m not, I’m stuck here in Blackburn, home of the ‘boozer’ i.e. pub and the Indian takeaway.
In order to cheer myself up I photo shopped myself in the famous garden of Las Dalias; you can travel anywhere in your mind with the power of visualisation. It works for many things including the HIV virus. Try it and see if you can shrink it (the virus!) in your mind/body to something tiny like a beautiful flower instead of the monster that it is. Flower Power! We shall overcome! etc.
For now, Namaste - "I bow to the divine in you."
This video made me laugh so I thought I would share it in case you also need cheering up.
Woofologies – Lady Doodles here. Pack Mistress send hers apologies but says she is too busy to write blogs because she’s far too busy writing woofin speeches. First there was the eulogy (can’t woof that) for her dear friend Erik. Even though she practised for days beforehand she still choked up apparently when addressing the assembled throngs in the crematorium and sounded like a croaking goat.
“Unaccustomed as I am to public peaking,” she began, tongue in cheek, “I’ve spoken at Blackburn Cathedral, on the sofa on ITV’s This Morning and even on News at Ten, but this is worse.”
Too right it was, everyone just thought she was blowing her own trumpet – she can’t play one of those either, hasn’t got enough breath from smoking too many rollies.
Now she’s working on her presentation for the Annual Conference of the National HIV Nurses Association in Cardiff City Hall, entitled ‘Late Diagnosis.’ She’s going to be late for that too if she doesn’t get a move on. She’s going tomorrow, I know because I heard her arranging for the dog sitter to pick me up.
She’s getting nervous now because there will be hundreds of people there and a great big screen like in the cinema. She keeps reading her dialogue out to practice her timings, so I know it woof by woof; she’s even added a picture of me and that stupid collie with a melon on its head with the caption, “Feeling melancholy - get a dog.”
Get a dog! She means get a dog like me, not any old dog - one who is a multi-tasker, who can chew sticks, toss shoes and write blogs at the same time. She should take me with her; say I’m her therapy dog. I may not be everyone’s idea of a therapy dog, because although I am half Labrador I’m less willing to please than that soppy lot. I’ve got a mind of my own and I like to do things in my own time. Pack mistress excuses me by saying, “Oh, it’s the poodle in her.”
She can talk, she does exactly what she pleases when she pleases since we’ve been living on our own and acting even more eccentric/mad than usual. Not only does she walk around spouting speeches, she’s started talking to the crockery. “When did you plates start getting so heavy?”she asks them - and worse still, singing to them, “You’re the one that I want.... oh oh oh.... the one I need, oh yes indeeeeeeed.”
She’s packing now and faffing over what to wear – I did offer her the shocking pink cowgirl hat I wore to Ebony’s birthday party, but she turned her nose up. Hope she doesn’t end up looking like a dog’s dinner, talking of which, it’s about woofin time she fed me. But she’s wandered off doing something else - must be the poodle in her!
My wish has come true. The executors of my late partner’s estate have finally been caught out.
Lancashire Telegraph 7th June 2014
"A CHARITY treasurer has been fined £3,000 for charging the organization for trustee duties. Alan Rowntree, who is a partner at Beever and Struthers accountancy firm, in Blackburn, charged the Brian Mercer Charitable Trust £35,342 between 2002 and 2009 for the work, which is against Charity Commission guidance.”
I will always remember Alan Rowntree’s words to me when I asked about the Arts Trust for which I was the main beneficiary and I know this because I saw the official draft two days before my partner died. “There is no Arts Trust,” were his very words to me. “That’s not true and you know it,” I challenged him, “I saw it with my own eyes.” He denied all knowledge and showed me to the door. I fought with the trustees for many years – how I fought. Finally, something relating to sculpture was put in place, but when I applied I was refused even though it was my partner’s dying wish that I carried on painting and sculpting after he died. The way I see it, they cheated him, they cheated me and they cheated art. Sculpture is an expensive business. Who knows what amazing works I might have come up with had I had the financial backing.
Cue for a song!
“You’re cheating art.... will make you weep.... you’ll cry and cry... and try to sleep... but sleep won’t come the whole night through you’ve been cheating art and they’ve caught up with you."
Unfortunately, they only got a slap on their cheating wrists i.e. a very small fine in relation to the huge amount of money they are in control of but it gives me a small sense of satisfaction after the way they have treated me.
A spokesman for the Charity’s Commission said: “We received complaints about trustee payments and conflicts of interest within the Brian Mercer Charitable Trust. We decided not to take any further action than this because there was insufficient evidence to conclude that the trustees had acted outside of their discretionary powers. We will only intervene in cases where there is clear evidence of serious misconduct or mismanagement.”
Maybe I should inform them about the Rolex watch listed in their ‘expenses’ when my lawyers asked for their draft expense account?
I am in deep mourning. My dear friend Erik Gould, astrologer and famous tarot reader otherwise known as The Great Oracle or Prince Tcherbanoski (or some Russian sounding name which I could never spell) has passed away or left this mortal coil as he would put it. He wanted to go, he had been in a nursing home for the last few years, a dire place full of old fogies as he called them – no place for the exuberant character he’d been in the days of yore with his diamond necklaces, fedora and long black cape of a hundred camels.
To my shame I hadn’t been to visit him for quite some time, I couldn’t stand to see him in that awful place. But something made me go and I’m so glad I did because he died the next morning.
We’d reminisced about the good old days and the many mad escapades we’d shared together and we’d laughed of course, and sang like we always did. My idea was to rally him round like I’d done the last time he’d been knocking at death’s door, some years ago after a stroke. I hadn’t told Erik I was HIV positive because knowing him as I did I knew that he would have found it hard if not impossible to keep such shocking news to himself and for that reason I’d been deliberately keeping my distance. But when I got the phone call that day informing me that he was intensive care and might not survive the night, I wouldn’t have been able to live with the thought that he might go to his maker without knowing the reason I’d been avoiding him. So I rushed up to the hospital forthwith to find him wired up to tubes and drips with a mask tightly strapped to his face and two bloodshot eyes bulging over the top.
“Get me out of here darling,” he’d raged, “Tell nurse Ratchet over there,” he poked his finger wildly in the air nearly dislodging his drip, “That I’d rather die than remain in her sadistic hands. She won’t even let me have a pee. Why won’t they just let me die - or at least let me pee?
I could see his point; it was horrendous in there; people isolated in plastic bubbles hooked up to breathing apparatus, no television, no radio, only the sound of wheezing and the huge clock ticking the last hours or even seconds away.
“Erik, I’ve got something to tell you,” I’d taken his familiar hand, covetously looking at my moonstone ring on his little finger that we’d allegedly swapped many years ago (although I couldn’t actually remember taking part in the deal) and trying not to think that I might soon get it back, “The reason I have been withholding my distance from you,” I stared into his bulging eyes, “Is because I am HIV positive.”
Well, his eyes had nearly popped out of their sockets and he frantically tried without success to relieve himself of the claustrophobic mask so he could speak to me. Nurse Ratchet immediately stormed over and yanked the strap even tighter.
This shocking disclosure of mine was enough to bring Erik round and give him the will to live, if only so he could tell everyone else. That’s not strictly true, but I like to think that I was part of the process in his sudden and miraculous recovery.
This time when I saw him though, which turned out would be for the very last time, I said as I was leaving in an attempt to rally him round again, “Now no more of this popping off stuff, promise?” Then looking around the dismal room, the sum total of his existence, I added, “Oh Erik, pop off if you want to.” And it seems he took me literally.
It’s the special people you are fortunate to know and love in this life that help make you who you are. Erik was the most intelligent and intuitive man I have ever met. In the days before Google and Wikipedia if I needed to know something I would ask Erik and he always knew the answer. He said that when he died it would be like a library burning. I think that’s a famous quote - but I don’t know who wrote it. Erik would know of course, but sadly he is no longer here to ask. RIP my dearest friend you certainly enriched my life and the lives of many others.