Sixty six today, sixty six today – all the sixes clickety click. Who would have thought it!
When I was first diagnosed 13 years ago I was given six to eight years. That seemed a huge bonus at the time. I thought I could do an awful lot in six years and I think I have - at least in relation to raising awareness and attempting to reduce HIV related stigma.
Now every year is a bonus. I’m getting older every day it’s true, not to mention poorer, but feeling younger at heart albeit lighter of wallet!!
And I’m still writing this blog and harping on, although maybe not so much harping of late. I’ve been far too busy doing a poster project of eight wonderful and inspiring positive women who have actively been creating 'waves' in the HIV world, which will be displayed at the 15th International AIDS conference in Barcelona in October. Maybe I should add one for dear Freddie, although strictly speaking he wasn’t a woman!
I do hope HIV plus advancing years permitting that I will be able to carry on being involved with such wonderful projects and harpin’ on for a good few more years to come writing my sometimes (even to me) crazy rambling blogs. But thankfully I am still here to write them and as Paul Simon sang - 'Still crazy after all these years' - and singing Happy Birthday to myself!!
Before and After!!
I love Greece. I love Greek People. I hope their problems will be satisfactorily resolved without selling themselves short - if that is at all possible.
The only times I have ever known the true meaning of happiness has been in Greece. Many years ago when I was living on the island of Paros and more recently swimming in the crystal clear waters of Anti Paxos.
I also experienced true happiness sailing on the yacht with my partner who when he died I thought had taken any chance I may have had of happiness ever again by leaving me with a legacy I would never forget.
Looking back over my life then it is true to say I have only been truly happy three times – but I suppose that is more than some people can say.
It also rained thundered and did some greece lightning on holiday.
But after the rain always comes the sun.
But then there is always.........smoke on the water!!!
Hello? Hello? Is it me you’re looking for?
Yes it is actually. This is your apple i phone calling and guess what you are HIV positive.
Hard to believe but apparently it’s true.
Now your i Phone can test for HIV — in 15 Minutes.
"Ten years in the making, the device produces results 10 times faster than traditional testing methods. It works this way. Start by attaching the dongle, a piece of hardware that conducts the test. Then take a small blood sample, a simple prick will do.”
Hang on! Wasn’t it a simple prick that got us in this predicament in the first place?
"Insert it into a disposable plastic collector. Connect the plastic collector to a microfluidic chip used to analyze the sample and insert the chip with the blood sample into the dongle. Open the app, wait about 15 minutes, and voila: results."
“Will people require potential sex partners to undergo a "quick prick" test prior to intercourse?” The article goes on to question.
I’m saying nothing!!
Aside from your phone (and the GUM obviously!) there are other ways to find out if you are HIV positive. Some venues now have vending machines that offer free HIV Tests. The test uses an oral swab and can detect HIV-1 and HIV-2 antibodies within 20 minutes.
“With the ease of buying a pack of gum, high-risk populations can now access free, in-home HIV testing kits from a vending machine and learn their status within minutes,” said Lori Mizuno, director of public health for AHF.
All well and good I suppose but we are all aware of the tragic consequences that can arise from people receiving the shattering news of an HIV diagnosis alone with no support.
On a lighter note, if the test does turn out to be positive you can always suck on a coconut. Studies have shown that coconut oil can successfully overpower certain viruses such as influenza, herpes, measles and hepatitis C. Maybe it will work for HIV?
Mind you that’s all very well if you live on a pacific island where coconuts are plentiful, if not ‘bounty-full’ - but Coconuts are not easily come by in Blackburn, apart from on the fair and they don’t really have coconut shys anymore – roll up roll up, I’ve got a luverly bunch of coconuts - big ones small ones some as big as yer ‘ead.
Maybe someone could come up with coconut vending machine?
All this new technology. I remember when vending machines sold fags and the odd tampax. I also remember when phones had lines and operators.
“Hello is that the operator? You’d better get off the line, there’s a train coming.”
Talking of lines after being without a clothesline for the entire duration of the winter I bought myself a new rotary dryer. It’s bright orange with matching pegs. I was so excited I couldn’t wait to hang out my washing.
“Honestly mum how can you be excited about a washing line?” my son asked me in complete bafflement. “It’s just washing at the end of the day.”
I remember a similar look on his father’s face when I was slaving away in the kitchen and singing along to a sad song from Phantom of the Opera crying.
“What on earth goes on in your head?” he’d asked me in disgust, but then he never really understood me, that’s why we got divorced. Sometimes I wonder if it’s a case of like father like son. But no time to worry about that - off to hang another load of whites with my soft grip colour coordinated pegs. Clean living - what could be better!
A whiter shade of pale!!
What wonderful weather we are having – I’ve been like a single solitary daisy turning my winter wizened face towards the welcoming rays of the sun. And yes, before you beg to differ in order to make me feel better, my face is definitely looking wizened.
I fear, and not before time it has to be said, I will finally have to update my facebook picture, otherwise I might be accused of trying to claim false identity. The sad truth is I have never updated it in all this time. But, before I do I fully intend to cheat by trying the sample of the new wonder anti ageing serum I bought online that is being hailed as a miracle cream. I called my sis on her tab to tell her the exciting news.
“Suckers cream you mean,” she dismissed scathingly. I saw her mouth curl in derisive distain. Oh her of little faith!
“Wait till you see what it does,” I enthused, “I’ve been watching all the videos on you tube.
Her look implied if only she had the time to sit round watching you tube all day but she’s far too busy earning a crust.
“It’s absolutely amazing,” I carry on regardless, “It even worked on a ninety two year old woman. Tell you what, I’ll take a before and after photo, in fact, better still you can watch me do it live on camera.”
She yawned and turned her tab to face the ceiling. She hates photos and video chatting so I am used to talking to my sister’s ceiling, although it’s not the most interesting ceiling in the world to stare at – hardly the Sistine chapel innit although her walls aren’t arf bad because they have quite a few of my paintings adorning them. Not quite sure why I’ve gone all cockney.
“Well once you see for yourself (presumably with her pork pies - cockney ryhyming slang for eyes) you will believe,” I told the ceiling, although to be honest I have yet to try it. It came in the tiniest of phials – and I mean tiny. I could only afford one, so I won’t be able to fill in many cracks and crevices, but even a few less will do. Anything that offers a glimmer of hope (albeit false - the cream only works from eight to ten hours) and makes you feel momentarily happy in this often bleak and dismal world has got to be a good thing.
Take the aforementioned daisy for example. Daisies are known to convey cheer and exuberance. They got their name according to Wikipedia because, unlike a public house, they open at dawn as the day just starts to begin and are visited by many small insects - rather than beer swilling punters.
A Daisy symbolizes innocence and purity. It can also symbolize new beginnings.
Here we have a joyous rendition of two daisies dancing - followed by a quote by William Shakespeare.
A alegria evita mil males e prolonga a vida.
I didn’t know old Bill was multilingual did you? I wasn’t sure which language it was so I looked it up on my Babylon translator.
Spanish - to joy avoids thousand ills and prolongs life.
Italian - At alegria avoids mil males and prolonga to vida.
Or as old Bill would say - avoideth one thousand of men and thou wilst prolongeth thy life.
I’m with Bill on this one - avoiding all males, especially the one who saddled me with HIV, would have certainly prolonged mine.
The flower meaning of daisy is “I will never tell”. No good keep asking that Daisy for an answer then, true or otherwise. Better we follow the saying - “I will go pick daisies and have a happy heart.”
Just as long as we’re not pushing them up!
Forgive me dear hiviners for recycling!
If you’ve been good the Easter bunny will presumably leave you some eggs, according to age old custom, in your bonnet – or if you are an old man from up north, in your flat cap. If you happen to be a youth of today without any asbos, you might well find some lurking in the bottom of your hoody.
The Easter bunny is a mythological rabbit (sorry to shatter your illusions but it’s always better to know the truth!)) based on pre-Christian customs honouring the fertility goddess Eostre. According to the 8th century historian the Venerable Bede (better known as Rowan Atkinson!!) the word Easter is derived from the Germanic goddess Eostre pronounced yo’ ster (one for the hoodies) a fertility goddess from whom we derived the word oestrogen. Not much is written about her lesser known sister progesterone, which is a pity and probably why women are having so many problems with PMT and the menopause these days.
I often wondered why rabbits are associated with Easter and now I know. It’s because the hare and rabbit (sounds like a pub) were the most fertile animals around and so became symbols of new life during the spring season. The Female can apparently conceive a second litter of offspring whilst still pregnant with the first, in which case, I’m glad I wasn’t born with floppy ears and a fluffy tail - well, at least the fluffy tail!
The expression ‘Mad as a March hare’ derives from the wild caperings of hares as the rampant males fight over the females in the early spring and then attempt to mate with them. Males of any species are often prone to fighting and ritual (not to mention mating!). Take the ritual of bunny dipping for example where the gentleman half stands and half sits when a lady leaves the table. The phrase allegedly originates from the Playboy club where the bunny girls developed the ‘bunny dip’ so that their bosoms didn’t fall out of their bustles when they were bending over the tables. Rabbits are also often present at the table, but usually in a casserole dish, and there are many different ways of cooking them. The Welsh have always been renowned for their rare bits, as well as their cheese on toast and there is nothing tastier, it has to be said, especially with a sprinkle of Worcestershire sauce.
There is also the ‘bunny boiler’ of course, which originated from the film ‘Fatal Attraction’ when Glen Close performed her very own version of bunny dipping - as in boiling the pet rabbit. There is even a website BunnyBoilers.net where if you click on ‘she boilers’ they will give you a unique bunny boiler rating. I wonder if they would be interested in my mine? It’s been acting up a bit in these high winds and I am absolutely dreading the pilot light going out.
The Goddess Eostre has also got her own website and her message today is that if you have been going through a period of stagnation and lethargy, where nothing seems to be happening, (tell me about it) well let it go. Now is the time for growth. The Goddess says that wholeness is matured when you stretch and that stretching promotes growth. Well, I’ve been stretching all day but I don’t feel any taller. Perhaps I should make her an offering – but not a rabbit casserole of course.
The following poem ‘The White Rabbit’ is a poem which has been passed down through the generations of my family and which I can somehow relate to HIV especially in regard to prejudice and stigma. Maybe that bigot Nigel Farage should read it and take heed especially after his comments in the Leaders election debate last night.
The White Rabbit
There was once a rabbit with silver fur
And her little grey neighbours looked up to her
Till she thought with pride in the moonlit wood,
“The reason I’m white is because I am good”.
“Oh dear, oh dear” said the tiny mole,
“A fairy has stumbled into a hole.
It’s full of water and creepy things
And she can’t get out as she’s hurt her wings”.
“Don’t tell me about it,” the white rabbit said
And she shut up her eyes and her ears grew red.
“There’s lots of mud and it’s sure to stick
And my lovely fur is so long and thick”.
A little grey rabbit popped up from the gorse
“I’m not very strong but I’ll try, of course”.
And his little tail wagged as he waded in
And the muddy water came up to his chin.
But he caught the fairy tight by the hand
And sent her off safely to fairyland.
But first she kissed his little pink nose
She kissed his cheeks and his little mud toes.
And when the day dawned in the early light,
That little grey rabbit was……