Anus Horribilis – my Winterval message

Well, it’s been basically a rubbish year.

We’ve said goodbye to too many people: David Bowie, Alan Rickman, Prince, Muhammad Ali, Anton Yeltsin, Elie Wiesel, Gene Wilder, Leonard Cohen, Robert Vaughn, Fidel Castro, Eric (my cousin’s partner) and John Glenn spring to mind. But the death that has affected me the most is the loss of my father in October. Here’s how it went, according to Facebook:

2nd: rush to Worcester
(Elly’s post, Bruce’s post)
3rd: arranging NHS care at home
(Bruce’s post)
5th: constipation blues
(Bruce’s post)
7th: the shit appears to hit the fan
(Bruce’s post)
9th: dad’s in hospital
(Bruce’s post)
10th: culinary break
Bruce’s post
10th: trying to arrange post-hospital care
(Bruce’s post)
11th: lots to do
(Bruce’s post)
12th: preparing to move dad
(Bruce’s post)
13th: moving dad to nursing home
(Bruce’s post)
13th: dad’s installed
(Bruce’s post)
14th: domestic duties and administrivia
(Bruce’s post)
14th: GP shenanigans
(Bruce’s post)
16th: what dad wants
(Bruce’s post)
17th: Cousin Sue visits, cyclopathy
(Bruce’s post)
19th: the special children
(Bruce’s post)
22nd: rush to Worcester again
(Elly’s post)
22nd: The last post

And the year had started fairly well. I pulled off my final digiCC workshop in Glasgow, despite being in hospital for tests until late the previous evening. Huge thanks to Iris, Lyndsey, Peter, Ali, Kristoffer and Lynn for their contributions and being prepared to run it without me.

And there were the political bits!



One of my home countries elects a green who’s name is almost ‘bellend’

Then came the kicker – Elly and I had planned to cycle the Iron Curtain Trail but my guts said no! In fact, they kept me unconscious most of the time. When I was conscious, I’d have gut-pain and constipation which normal laxatives couldn’t shift. I would be ‘active’ for up 90 minutes, although walking to the café 50 meters from home could be too much, then fatigue would cause my back to scream. The only relief was to crash out on a mattress in the spare room and fall asleep to an audio-book. As the months passed, and my savings were eroded by private medicine costs, I slowly recovered. (The NHS – my GP excepted – had not covered itself in glory.) It turns out my innards had slowed right down, but a modern laxative and an antidepressant made a huge difference. Gory details of the illness and my beginning to recover are here.

By late September I was well enough to take a holiday abroad, and even do some cycling. Elly and I had two wonderful weeks in the Netherlands. But the day after we got home, we got the call that my dad was very ill.

Once dad was gone, it was time to return to Bruce-world and the joys of working with Peter and Hazel at the Centre for Social Informatics. I’m rather enjoying getting into a new field, information literacy, via our Information literacy for democratic engagement project. Still, trying to deliver that not too late (my father’s illness and death delayed the start by a month) means I’m working more than I’d planned. The project will finish in mid January.

Then Elly and I are going to have some time away before she returns to work, and make sure 2017 is a much better year: more time to see friends, more spinning, much more cycling and generally being human instead of stressed and miserable. Yeehah!

By the way, the music of the year has been Jethro Tull’s Aqualung (full album on Youtube), Roger Waters’ The pros and cons of hitchhiking (full album on Youtube), and the Cosmos Ensemble‘s Pomegranate and Mazi Mazi (snippet on Youtube)


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