steelcityman

I'm just a WYSIWYG kind of guy … who wears his heart on his sleeve.


A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A STEEL CITY MAN…

DAY .. WHATEVER … # 4

Still in the Barnstable Krankenhaus (North Devon District Hospital), incarcerated far, far from the Steel City where my home is. Feeling a lot better but still waiting for an Angiogram in Exeter, where there is a long waiting list for the procedure. Even when my name gets to the top of the list I may not be going as I’ve got a touch of the Barnstable Trots and I can’t see the Docs’ sending me out anywhere until it’s quietened down. Some of my meds are causing concern because the hospital doesn’t stock them and they have to be ordered. Anyway, enough about my ills, I just hope you who read my blog are feeling well and living life to the full… (just a quick note; I’ve been moved into a private room with an en suite, because of the Barnstable Trots !! The lengths people go to to get preferential treatment !!!

I’m still just reading and blogging, but the activity I’ve spent more time on these last few days, is trying to find a free blogging program, similar to WordPress but a little more refined.

I want to be a little more able to move graphics around rather than just left, right, and center them. I need more versatility with text, style, colour, and orientation. Maybe I want too much for free, but it seems that nowadays, everybody wants to put their hands in your pocket or purse. The providers give you a very basic package and if you want extras you pay through the nose for them. Perhaps that’s why I like companies such as SERIF as a software designer and seller, but most of their stuff is for Windows which I used for years until I changed to Mackintosh. Developers are beginning to cater to the Mac world but only slowly OR…you pay through the nose. Being a poverty-stricken pensioner, I don’t like paying through the nose !!

I also like SHAREWARE, stuff from the public domain, where you can contribute what you can afford to the developer’s work, There are some very good developers out there whose software is great value for money at a fraction of the cost of buying from, say Microsoft or Apple. Call me a tight Yorkshireman, if you want, I don’t care, it’s just that I believe in value for the product, not the brand. At home, on my iMac desktop computer, I have the full suite of publishing software from SERIF, so I do splash out now and again. It’s just that I don’t have it on my Macbook Air which I have with me, hence the search for a free interim platform. I guess I’ll have to stick with WordPress and learn how to use it properly until I get home.

I‘m into my eighth day in this Krankenhaus, the only saving grace being that I’m not at home spending money !! and it’s getting a little boring. I’ve told all the patients and nurses all my best jokes and they are wary of me now !! However, now I’m in a sideward on my own, I can crank up the volume on my playlists and let Pink Floyd belt it out. Now there is/was a band !! Broke my heart when they broke up with such acrimony. The band members have all gone their own way, some to the great gig in the sky, Nick Mason, the king of petrol heads, has his own thing going on, David Gillmore has his own band and so does Roger Waters. Out of the two main characters, Gillmore and Waters, I much prefer the work of Roger Waters even though Gillmore’s guitar work is second to none. Roger Waters, during the long Covid 19 lockdowns we’ve had, has produced some amazing reworking of older Floyd songs. In particular, I love his rendition of TWO SUNS IN THE SUNSET and MOTHER … Stiring stuff, I like his politics too as well as his amazing musical ability.

DAVID GILLMORE AND ROGER WATERS

IGHT FOLKS, a bit of a ramble through my mind, I know,,So I’ll leave it there and have forty winks, then a shower and it will be time for tea, So, Cheerio see you again, hopefully in a couple of day. Stay safe and Take care……

A quick shout out to my friend across the Pond, Shardvixen … I hope everything turns out well for you and your family.


Here we are again…still in the North Devon District hospital, frittering away my ‘holiday’, wired up to state of the art technology, which is eating my telemetry like a Hungry Hippo. I can amuse myself by messing with the readings, holding my breath for a while, causing the wavy lines to change, or doing exercises with my legs. The nurses know what I’m doing and now just shout, “Patrick! … STOP IT !! One must have amusement in this hectic life of lying down all the time or just sitting watching other patients. It can be a fun activity, ‘people watching.’ As RILA FUKUSHIMA says, ” I like people watching and getting inspiration from the unique who don’t follow any fashion tides. From 12-year-olds who have full freedom to 86-year-old ladies with a ton of class.” Or, if the watcher is a bit on the paranoid side, “They don’t like you but they still find time to watch everything you do.'(anonymous, world wide web) The skill in people watching of course is NOT getting caught staring at people. However, there is plenty of time to develop that skill whilst incarcerated in this KrankenHaus. Several other ways for me to pass the time are, sleeping, taking a nap, as well as having forty winks. After reading, writing the steelcityman bog and reading other blogs….Oh! and watching Youtube, there is not a lot of time in the day to do much else really. Getting to grips with the accent down here consumes what time is left. Then it’s bed time … Oh! I’m already in bed !!

I really don’t know why I have neglected the steelcityman blog for so long…well, I do actualy, I was lured away by the more ‘modern fad of Vlogging on Youtube…I went for the fame and fortune of being a Video Influencer … Sorry, I had to pause then for a ten minute hearty laugh. I’m afraid that’s gone by the wayside lately as well. I suppose really, that the main reason is motivation…gone out the window, fallen into a black hole, or otherwise buggered off. Unlike my morning cup of char which has just arrived courtesy of the very hard-working auxiliary nurses. “I’ll be back…”

Nice cuppa Char… Whilst having my cup of tea I had a funny turn .. chest pains and a pain in the left arm .. only minor but enough to make me press the buzzer and get some help, which arrived promptly, and the angels in question worked their magic. I’m now back on an even keel and it’s just past lunchtime (how time flies when you’re having fun !!). The little hiccup didn’t suppress my appetite as I polished off a nice portion of Chicken casserole followed by some coconut jam sponge and custard. The nurses and ancillary staff here are simply wonderful, and that is my experience of the National Health Service over the years and at every establishment I have been treated. I can’t praise them enough and don’t forget, unlike most other countries, the treatment is free. I reckon, if I lived somewhere like America, with all the procedures and medication I’ve had over the years, I would have died a pauper years ago !! No insurance company would touch me. So, yes, we Brits have much to be thankful for in the NHS. I can’t imagine life without it.

Right folks, I’m going to sign off now as I’m getting the old ‘Numb Bum’ syndrome. I’ll do some reading up on how I can insert pictures, Giff’s, etc, and get the text to wrap around them ….. If that’s possible even, then I’ll be able to spruce up the blog and make it more interesting. If it won’t let me do that, then I may consider using another platform.

CATCH YOU LATER PEEPS….


The holiday got off to a good start, a good start indeed! in fact, the only good thing so far (as far as holidays go) Was the great hotel, The Park hotel, the food is/was excellent and the staff went the extra mile at all times. The single most enjoyable thing of my stay so far was, after the grueling journey down, the sight of the barman pulling a pint of Perrone lager as I entered the hotel lobby … I had one as soon as I was booked in !!! MEMORABLE !! The first evening meal I had was a grilled fillet of Salmon with veg and the most wonderful dressing ever. Then it was retired to my room for a shower and rest. I fell asleep and didn’t wake up until midnight, at which point I got into bed and woke up to a drizzly overcast morning at 5 am. I declined to go on the pre-booked excursion and spend the day in the Park hotel, in the bar of course, writing the steelcityman blog. Not a drop passed my lips that weren’t Tea or Latte!!

The Whatever bit in the title began as I was eating dinner that evening, ruining what was supposed to be a nice holiday. Started with a big sweat, then a heavy feeling in the chest with a pain radiating down the left arm. Of course, I recognised the symptoms straight away having had 2 MI’sbefore, I thought, “Oh, No here comes another Heart attack.” …. Back to my room I went, had a squirt or two of my GTN spray, and laid on the bed to rest. Well, the pain didn’t abate so I rang reception and they got an emergency ambulance on the way, Lickety Split and I finished up at the North Devon District A&E department.. I was seen quite quickly and then spent the rest of the night in the Emergency room waiting for a bed. I can’t praise the Paramedics enough, they were a real credit to the National Health Service and were very skilled and professional. I was feeling pretty ropey at this time and much of the comings and goings went by unnoticed by me. I know that when a bed became available to me I was taken to the medical Assessment ward where I am at present. (Hospital Wi-Fi is brilliant).

After causing several waves of panic… mainly with me! Due to crazy heart rhythms and more chest pain, The Cardiologist came to seem and said due to my past medical history he was sending me to Exeter for an Angiogram. NOW COMES THE CRUNCH !!! If he does that he will keep me in for a few extra days to monitor my recovery … which means … I will miss my return coach to Sheffield Tomorrow!!! I am frantically trying to arrange transport to get me home otherwise it will be a 24 hr job traveling by train with numerous changes.

The saving graces of being in this hospital are, because I’m ill and in need of medical care, I’m in the right place to be whilst ill …. The other saving grace of being in the Pilton Hilton, as the nurses call it, is the staff and nurses (and the doctors) who work here. They are without exception a very professional and caring lot as well as very friendly and knowledgable. One young woman ‘LYNDSE” is a student nurse gaining her qualifications. Her dedication shines like a beacon, a great sense of humour, and possesses the ability to ‘get on’ with patients and put them at ease. Essential in any caring profession. She will go far in her chosen profession. I think I’m a bit in love with her !!! Another nurse who deserves a mention is ‘DIYA’ who has taken the student nurse under her wing…such a professional, as is the Healthcare assistant who works alongside them, ‘LOIS’ All wonderful people and a credit to the NHS…..So I say Thank you for looking after me.

We have several other patients in the small ward, 1 lady and three other males, one of whom keeps trying to escape from his bed but bless him, he can hardly get out of bed !! He keeps the night shift on their toes I can tell you. One other saving grace is that I have my lapto in hospital with me so the blog can continue, even though it’s not the blog I envisaged doing…… Enjoy peeps, it’s now nearly tea time….Just enough time for forty or fifty winks before they tickle my palette with the delights of hospital food (not !!)


Lovely day to start the road trip down to DEVON for cream teas and a posh hotel. Being as my home county is YORKSHIRE, I can’t see there is much to shout about down there, I mean what can possibly be better than God’s own County, Yorkshire? It’s been a funny start to the trip. We’ve gone North to BARNSLEY, Changed coaches, and motored NORTH to Leeds where we changed coaches again and finally set off South towards Devon. It’s supposed to be a “LUXURY” coach but in all honesty, my bum was numb after about 30 minutes and I’m getting sore knees and a bruised chin due to a distinct lack of legroom. ( Although a Russian tank crew would find it very comfy ( mainly ‘cos it wouldn’t blow it’s top off !!) The coach is not to my taste at all, in fact on the comfort scale out of 10 I’d give it a hollow 4.

For a coaching holiday, it’s eerily quiet. I know we’ve only been traveling for about 30 mins (Southbound), but none of the oldies have started singing, “Stop the bus we want a wee-wee or even the old chestnut,”Robin Hood, Robin Hood, Riding through the glen”….I don’t know where the word Glen came from, as that is a purely Scottish term and Yorkshire (never mind what Nottingham folk say!!) is the true home of Robin Hood and we have dales, not Glens…..Mind you, there are only 20 passengers on this coach, and around 60% are proper “Oldies”. Sadly I now fit into the 60% nowadays. We’ll be stopping for a comfort break in about an hour, you know the drill, bags to empty, seaweed to squeeze and I most definitely need to see a man about a dog so I’ll give my arthritic fingers a rest as I’m writing this out longhand with quill and paper. (No room to get my laptop out) and transposing to the laptop when I get into the hotel. Like Arnie says, ” I’ll be back.”

35 mins latera BLT (Marks and Spencer’s no less) and a medium Latte to improve my well being. Although the middle-aged Harriden in the well-known coffee shop (who looked as though she would peck me to death if I dared say anything !! She wasn’t too pleased when I asked for a latte and to go easy on the milk….(Think about it) She didn’t go easy on the milk but the look could have curdled it !! Anyway, I enjoyed it.

It certainly feels very strange being without my dear departed wife, Christine. As I said in the previous post, it’s the first time I’ve gone away on my lonesome. I’m feeling quite lost really.

We should be arriving at the hotel in about four hours. It looks quite posh in the brochure … but then a MacDonalds’ burger looks very appetizing in their adverts until you open the package and see a small, limp thing. (Now now!! stop it with those kinds of thoughts!!). It may well be that the hotel is full of oldies and we’ll have a sing-song in the bar tonight. I can’t wait to say hello and cheers to Mr. Jameson. I think I’ll start with a large one with two cubes of ice ( I know it’s sacrilege, but I do like it chilled. Just turned onto the M42 (South) ..of course, it’s South, it’s below Yorkshire !! What’s this I see? two old dears are chatting away knitting baby clothes down near the front. I wondered what the clicking noise was. I thought I’d got Tinnitus !! I suppose it takes their minds off the erratic driving of the captain of this modern-day Charabanc

a charabanc of 1950’s vintage

Knit one pearl one..have we crashed yet Dorris? …. no less than seven have nodded off now with one lady gently snoring. Either that or they are just keeping their eyes shut. (Bloomin’ ‘eck !! that was close, nearly had a motorcyclist then !!) Being as I’m firmly in the ‘Oldies’ category now, I feel like either a pint of cold beer or a nap. Both would be good but I’ll have to settle for a cat nap. I’ll be back ……

Now on the last leg to the delights of Devonian culture after stopping for a comfort break, set off again and it sounds like I have a Buddhist monk sitting behind me… “Omm Nonn Ding Dong..Omm Nom Ding Dong” etc… Maybe the captain’s driving has prompted a bout of “Religion”… or maybe a fear of being a passenger. Anyway, it sounds like an angry hornet in my ear … Each to their own.

About two hours to go. Only been on this leg for about 5 miles and already I have terminal numb bum syndrome!! Just turned around for a crafty peek at the Chanter…. Oh dear, it’s not him, it’s the sound of the coach tyres on the Motorway … The wheels on the bus go round and round, round and round… no it’s not me making a synonym, 4 ladies of a certain age have started singing at last. It took them some time to warm up. I reckon they had a few Pink Gins at the last pit stop! Speaking of Pink Gins, I could murder a pint, or 1/2 a litre for the converted. I’m flagging a bit now and the ladies have stopped singing, probably ‘cos no one is joining in, so… I’ll put my quill and paper away until I get to that Posh hotel….

Well, here we are, at the PARK HOTEL in Barnstable and from the outside, it meets all my expectations….Thinking of the MacDonalds analogy, I’ll reserve judgment till I get inside …... WoW!! It’s VERY posh indeed … and the BAR!!! That COLD pint of beer is calling me, can you hear it? Oh, I can it’s positively shouting, “Over her Pat, I’ve been waiting 7 hours for you.”…………. I’ll be back, tomorrow folks…..


As the old saying goes, “A lot of water has gone under the bridge” since I last posted a ‘steelcityman’ blog, and  just like water, life rushes by, faster as you get older, or it seems that way to me. I’m 73 years old now, and feeling every year of it. It’s a time of reckoning for all the abuse I put my body (and mind) through when I was a younger soul, invincible and ready to grab life by the throat and shake it … just to see what fell off. Well, most of the bits did fall off, including my hair, libido, some teeth and a whole bunch of opportunities. Of course Covid 19 reared its ugly head and  for the best part of the last three years we have all had our lives changed in one way or another. Feeling the suffocating effects of the numerous lockdowns, as well as job losses and the often scary experience of re-tooling oneself for a complete change of career or direction. But my biggest loss has been the death of my wife of 50 years, Christine. It wasn’t Covid related, but due to her heart failure which she had fought for many years .      To call her death a loss is a great understatement, in fact for several months after her passing, I was quite non functional … totally lost without her presence. People say that it gets easier as time passes but I’m certainly not at that point yet and really I can’t imagine, at the present time, how that can possibly come about.  I’ve had much support from my family, for which I’ll be eternally grateful. They really have been there for me.

      Well, I’m sure anyone who reads this will have suffered loss in someway or another, either through the Covid pandemic or another of life’s feckless doings.  So, on to my stretch of the water that never stops flowing under the bridge…….

      I’m about to do something I’ve never done before in my life !!!   That sounds so dramatic doesn’t it ?  Well for me it is. On Monday (9th May … I hope  the 4th was with you all !!) I’m about to depart on the very first holiday I’ve ever had ON MY OWN.  I decided that I’ve had enough of staring at the same old four walls in my flat…I was beginning to feel as if I was suffocating. So I’m off for a break to North Devon.  It’s  only a 5 day coach touring holiday but it will get me out and about, give me an excuse to write a DAILY blog whilst I’m down there, maybe even a vlog or two for my equally neglected Youtube channel  ‘steelcityman’. 

      It will be something for you to look forward to, says he hopefully… For those that remember my last daily blog when I was on an ‘oldies’ coach holiday, it will be in the same irreverent, satyrical style which will at least give you giggle or two without overly offending anyone.

      I’ll be in touch after I’ve boarded the Oldies excursion coach on Monday morning !!  


This is a re blog of a post I wrote some years ago whilst ‘people watching’ in the Emergency Dept., at my local Hospital. My wife and I had taken Mum and Dad (now sadly deceased) down to the Emergency room as Dad was in excruciating pain and could barely move, let alone walk. The people I observed, whilst trying to be non-judgemental, were an interesting mix of society

Saturday 24 th March 2012
Sat in A&E with mum, dad, wifey and me…been here for about two and a half hours…very little sign of movement since Dad went into The black hole that is Triage. He is having a great deal of pain in the hip he had replaced about 7 years ago when weight is put on it or he has to twist. Got the call about 0930 hrs this morning so it was a rushed breakfast and away to mum and dad’s…rang NHS Direct and the doctor didn’t diagnose anything, he just said if the pain is bad get yourself to hospital and wait in the A&E for a diagnosis…not really very helpful but then again, it maybe just another sign of the times and the NHS not being bothered at the point of use, passing the buck even, for a quiet life.         Anyway here we are waiting waiting waiting…at least there are no druggies, alcoholics or violent noisy drunks (We could come back later tonight to get involved with those !!!!!)Lots of people using mobile phones…it really annoys me that they totally ignore all the rather large signs that say, “PLEASE TURN OFF ALL MOBILE PHONES”…….. If you tell them, they will only look vacantly at you and spit abuse…FFS !!!!”……… (SSLLAAPP!!!)        AAHHH !!!! The first swearing loudmouth has just come in…..got to be two sandwiches short of a picnic or have a great psychological need to noticed by everyone. No sporting injuries, which is unusual for a Saturday afternoon…I can well remember when I was a young lad being brought to A&E with various sporting injuries..( I was a goalkeeper, and goalkeepers, being more insane than outfield plays, have a tendency to suffer more at the murderous feet of big burley center forwards) … and you could guarantee being laid on a bed along with rugby players with hands or fingers turned at impossible angles, or squished noses and football players with ankles facing the wrong way….but non of that stuff today…it’s a Saturday, a day of sport so where are they???Is it a sign that today’s youth don’t play contact sports any more ? Or do they play more carefully ??…can’t see that happening. Maybe it’s a sign that the youth of today are frantically buying cans of white lightening in order to beat the 40p per unit price hike, or maybe they are all on Xbox/Playstation or computer getting their adrenalin rush. Maybe it’s just me being a Victor Meldrew and not giving them enough credit. Maybe they are all participating in Sport relief and raising money for the underprivileged youth of the third world..??  Did I see a pig on the wing then ??? ……. OH!! Look another swearing loudmouth has just entered the waiting area of A&E..shit, he has sat next to me !! Best stop writing before he looks and sees me writing about him. Be back in a while folks ………..He’s gone now….. Mum has just come out of the assessment room and the doctor has said it may be a trapped Sciatic nerve, but they need to X-ray it to be sure there is no damage to the hip joint…… More waiting and more of an opportunity to observe the sick lame and lazy ( as they used to say about the military sick parade)….two just come in who look like junkies that have had a mishap with their dosage, and an elderly guy that looks as though he has taken half his top lip off with a cut throat razor !!! Various trades men beginning to show up with cuts gashes and other types of open wounds….. Been here now three and a half hours and getting a numb bum on these hard hospital seats….so, time to sign off and go and get a cuppa java. I may add a little more before I get into wi- fi range of home…if not, well…TTFN. 
    Aaarrrggghhh!!!….. Been here over five hours now and one of the “Street Dwellers” came over and sat by my side to have a chat and tell me …here she comes again..switch off.
I must be a sh1t magnet…I attract desperate people like jam attracts flies !!!! The ‘lady’ in question told me all about the reason for her visit to A&E, turns out her Bessie mate repeatedly punched her in the head whilst walking in town yesterday and she had a bit of an headache afterwards….and…. She has since been seeing spots before her eyes. I said that she might have a mild concussion , at which point she held her head and started moaning, throwing the six year old daughter she had with her into a panic( as well as me !!!) “I can see the spots and the stringy bits floating across my eyes”, she moaned…..so to quieten her down I told her they would probably only be ‘floaters’ she was seeing, at which point she grabbed my arm and asked, very seriously, “Will they hurt me?”….so I reassured her that most people get them and they wouldn’t hurt her…..then she left again, ….thank heavens. I can now continue the waiting waiting waiting……… In the hopes of being left alone to nurse my VERY numb bum….bye folks.

Well, I recovered from my ‘numb bum’ and Dad was pronounced well at the end of it.


As some of you may know, I publish a Vlog on Youtube (steelcityman) and during the covid 19 Pandemic and the consequent lockdown and restrictions on traveling, I’ve been doing poetry readings each day rather than a generic Vlog. The latest reading I did was an excellent poem by the very influential American poet, WALT WHITMAN. Its entitled, ‘O Captain My Captain. It’s been immortalised in modern times by the late ROBIN WILLIAMS in the film ‘The Dead Poet’s Society’. In the Vlog, I read the poem and did a brief analysis of the metaphors involved……Trying to upload it to my Youtube channel however, was a very different kettle of fish !! After 30 hrs of uploading it was still only 52% done !! ….. That’s where the INTERNET MADNESS comes in ! The Upload speed is driving me crazy ! At this rate it will take in excess of 60 hrs to complete the upload of a 2G/byte file to Youtube !! I know Ive mentioned it before, but I am living in an ‘Internet Black Hole’ that even the late Stephen Hawkin wouldn’t be able to escape from !! Anyway I’ll keep trying and wait until something better than a length of copper wire is used to connect me to the outside world. In the words immortalised by CAPTAIN OATES, I may be some time” …………. ( before Fibre optic is discovered in the postal district of S35 !! ) It’s rather ironic that I have just paid over £50 to WordPress for a domain name and the ability to include my vlogs into my Blog !!! Ha! That’s a bit rich isn’t it ?

Captain Lawrence Oates

Because the vlog has not been uploaded ( I’ve since scrapped the process until I’ve scratched my head enough to come up with another solution ) I’ve decided to write the poem in this blog for the delectation of anyone who is not familiar with WALT WHITMAN and ‘O Captain my Captain’, I must admit, Until I’d seen the Dead Poet’s Society, I’d never heard this poem myself. One last word before I launch into it….. I am NOT going to write the verses in the shape of a ship !!! If you want to see that, please refer to the Wiki link above and you can see Walt’s original manuscript……..

OH, CAPTAIN, MY CAPTAIN

Oh, Captain, my Captain our fearful trip is done, The Ship has weather’d every rack, The prize we sought is won, The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting, While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring, But O heart! heart! heart! O the bleeding drops of red, Where on the deck my Captain lies Fallen cold and dead.

O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells. Rise up – for you the flag is flung – for you the bugle trills, For you bouquets and ribbon’d wreaths, for you the shores a-crowding For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning, Here Captain, dear father, this arm beneath your head, It is some dream that on the deck You’ve fallen cold and dead.

My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still, My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will, The ship is anchored safe and sound, it’s voyage closed and done, From fearful trip, the victor ship, comes in with object won, Exult O shores, and ring O bells But I with mournful tread Walk the deck my Captain lies Fallen cold and dead.

WoW !! That is a a powerful poem and one I return to every now and then for the pleasure of reading WALT WHITMAN, poet extraordinaire. O Captain! my Captain! was written after the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and is known as an extended Metaphor type of poem. Also classed as a mourning poem, or an elegy. During the Civil war, Whitman moved up to Washington D.C. where he cared for the wounded, and many of his poems have the war as a theme. In O Captain! My Captain!, the ‘Fearful Trip’ that the ship and crew undertook is a metaphor for Civil War and the Prize they sought and won was the victory over the Confederate cause. The ship itself was the NATION which the Captain (President Lincoln) steered to victory. As the war was won, Lincoln was assassinated, hence he was ,’Fallen cold and dead on the deck’ of the victorious ship.

Like I said Earlier, “It’s a powerful poem and one I revisit from time to time.” …… Anyway, I’ve waffled on far too long now, I’m just thankful it’s been a very warm and sunny end to the month of May and I’ve been able to compose this blog outside, amidst the birdsong and buzz of Bumble Bees.

I follow many bloggers, too many to name them all, but of all those I follow, and remember, although I don’y comment too as much as I should, I do read your work, there are two bloggers in particular I will mention who have inspired me tremendously, both in my writing and my outlook on life, they are ;

CAROL. A. HAND with her blog, VOICES FROM THE MARGINS which she describes as , “A welcoming place for resistance to the forces of oppression and hegemony.” Carol is a truly inspirational human being and a writer of the highest order.

ELLEN HAWLEY — with her blog, NOTES FROM THE UK An American in Cornwall, Ellen gives her perspective on the quirky side of life here in the UK …Of course Ellen is much more than a blogger, she is a published author as well. Her sense of humour is second to none and she weaves it skilfully through her work. I would describe her work as “a riveting read ” One read and you’re hooked !!

THANK YOU LADIES


A few months ago I enrolled on a short Creative Writing course (inspired by no less a personage that ELLEN HAWLEY, Author and Blogger extraordinaire). I thoroughly enjoy reading Ellen’s blogs and I have often wished I could write with the same flair and professionalism that she does. I want to be able to write interesting ‘stuff’ like her, ‘stuff’ which makes you want to read on to the very end and which elicits a sigh of satisfaction as you reflect on the content read. Follow the link above and sample Ellen’s work, I guarantee you’ll go back for more ……

On the course, there were only seven people, so it was intimate, almost one to one tuition and Rachel, the tutor, certainly knew her ‘stuff’. We had only finished the second session when Covid 19 reared it’s extremely ugly head … Just as the creative juices began to flow !! It was with a heavy heart that I read the ‘e’mail telling us the course had been cancelled due to Covid 19 and the country, nay! the world, had gone into lockdown. A few weeks later I received another ‘e’ mail from the community education charity, which organised the course, inviting the course participants for an online version of ‘Creative Writing’. It was to be via ‘e’ mail, so in line with the government’s social distancing rules. I’ve just handed in my third session for evaluation and critique. It’s been really enjoyable, I’m learning stuff and as a bonus, it’s put me back in touch with my steelcityman blog, can’t be bad ! I’d like to share a small piece of work which I did after talking about emotions and feelings and incorporating them into the diary of a fictitious character ;

DIARY OF A DESPERATE MAN

SUNDAY 5th FEB…… It’s cold and very frosty this morning. When I looked out of the window, or tried to, the glass panes were etched with Jack Frost’s tell tale patterns, so I decided to stay in bed longer and save money on the heating. Last week I reported to the landlord, that the electric fire had lost another bar. However, he hasn’t even been round to look at it, the bastard ! He makes me so angry ! I get frustrated, and even depressed since I lost my job at the factory. Yes, I stay in bed a lot … but then I get bored and have to get up and face this life. I always hated Sundays, but now I’m not working, (who wants to hire a 59 year old ?) every day is a Sunday. It’ll be tea time soon and having missed lunch, I’m ready for my tea. I think I’ll then take a book to bed while there’s still some light to read by. I’m reading Dickens again, Great Expectations …. Ha! that’s rich. MONDAY 6th FEB….. I didn’t sleep a wink last night; bloody neighbours partying ’till 0300hrs ! I so wanted to go round and give them a piece of my mind, but they are the kind of people you don’t mess with. They’re scary… well, they scare me and I’m not as young as I used to be. I stumbled out of bed at 0600 hrs, and as it was a bright Winter’s morning, I got dressed and walked down to the cafe for a rare treat of tea and toast made by someone else. As I walked home and turned the corner at the bottom of my street, I noticed my noisy neighbours flash car parked away from his house. I walked past with a smile, and looked back with satisfaction at the deep scratch in the metallic paint across all the nearside panels. I think I’ll sleep better tonight. No lunch, Spam fritters for tea and bed with Dickens again. At least it’s warmer in bed. TUESDAY 7th FEB …… Up at 0900 hrs , called the landlord about the electric fire. No answer. Left a message. Called again at 1000 hrs. Answer machine, so I left a message. I took a walk in the park but it was so cold, the wind blew straight through my jacket and I had to come home, via the cafe. Just had a cuppa, money’s getting short. Don’t think it will last until my Job Seekers goes in on Friday. At home I called the landlord again .. no answer. I’m going to get on to the Council Housing Dept., see what they can do to help me. Something need to be done to leeches like my landlord, quick to take his rent but won’t get anything fixed !! baked potato for tea…a treat, then bed with Dickens again (the neighbours will be talking !) Lately I find I’m jealous of Pip, having a benefactor. How stupid is that ? WEDNESDAY 8th FEB….. Stayed in bed ’till 1100 hrs for warmth. Outside temperature was -2C. The one bar electric fire wouldn’t help, so I didn’t switch it on. I had £2.80 left of my allowance and £14.35 in my bill tin. I threw caution to the wind, walked down to the cafe and ordered a full English for £2.60. I’ve been thinking of selling my General Service Medal for some time and although it wouldn’t raise much money, it would keep me going for a few weeks. It’s only a medal, a few ounces of memories. I enjoyed a leisurely breakfast in warm surroundings. All I missed, really, was some company. I’m getting bored talking to myself. Some say it’s the first sign !! I smiled to myself on the way home as I saw the neighbours flash, scratched, car being taken away on a tow truck. It’s amazing how little can drive a man to vandalism. No book tonight, Pip had got his just desserts and lived happily ever after. THURSDAY 9th FEB…… A little warmer this morning, which was good for my visit to the Job Centre. Got the same spotty faced, arrogant, woman/girl I usually get. When she sees me coming into her booth, I always get a knowing look and a smirk. It irks me. I got threatened with benefit sanctions if I didn’t put more effort into finding a job. What a bloody system ! Feeling angry, defeated, depressed and desperate, I dragged myself homewards. I’d walked about two miles when I saw a wallet in the weeds at the bottom of a wall. I pocketed the wallet and hurried on my way. I can’t remember arriving home until I stumbled through the front door, and then I realised someone had been in my flat. The mat in front of the fire had been disturbed and there was a note on the fire surround. The bloody landlord had let himself in to look at the fire ! The note said he would try to arrange an electrician for next week. Next week !! I nearly cried !! Then I felt the wallet in my pocket. I opened it and saw the wad ! I counted £1860 in £20 notes. “Call me Pip” I exclaimed. I was on a see-saw… keep it…hand it in…keep it…hand it in. I decided to sleep on the dilemma and decide what to do in the morning. Went to bed late. Didn’t even have tea. FRIDAY 10th FEB….. Didn’t sleep a wink, again. However I decided to hand the wallet in at the police station in town, much as I needed the money. All night I thought about how I could spend it. I quite enjoyed spending the money in my thoughts … but … I was brought up with a moral compass and it pointed in the direction of right. Toast and tea and off I went to the police station. The Desk Sergeant looked at me with surprise in his eyes, counted the money and told me it had been reported lost this very morning. Lots of questions, who I was, where did I live? etc, then he thanked me for my honesty and put the wallet in his desk drawer. I spent the rest of the day kicking myself for being so honest, yet knowing I did the right thing. Didn’t feel like having tea, so I went to bed with Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr. (From Here To Eternity) SATURDAY 11th FEB….. What a day !! I’m laid in bed thinking of Phillip Pirrip again. It’s nearly midnight and I’ve just fallen into bed. It started at 0800 hrs when I was woken up by an authoritarian knocking at my door. I opened the door thinking the neighbours had found out it was me who scratched their flashy car. Instead there was a gent in a dark blue, pin striped, three piece suit, white shirt with a yellow tie which was tied in an immaculate Windsor knot, He introduced himself as the owner of the wallet I had handed in, and the police had told him I was responsible for finding it. Reluctantly, I invited him in to my sparsely furnished, run down flat and offered him the only serviceable straight backed chair. He’d come to thank me, which he did, and to find out what kind of person would give back that amount of money. His name was Sir Denzil Forthright and he was the Tory MP for the posh end of town. He summed up my situation without me giving much away, then took out the wallet I had found and pushed £100 into my hand ! “Don’t tell the Social” he said with a grin. Then added, “If you want a job, report to Bright’s Engineering, personnel Dept., on Carry St, next Monday, 9am prompt. It’s only a labouring position to start, but there’s scope to do better if you’re up for it. That is the best I can do for you. You see, it’s not just for the money you returned, the wallet contains a lock of my late wife’s hair, which I treasure greatly.” He opened an almost invisible zip inside the wallet and showed me the lock of red hair. I’m sure there was a tear in his eye when he stoop and said, “Be there my good man, cheerio and thank you for your honesty.” Seems that not all Tories are black hearted so and so’s after all. After he had gone, I made some tea and let it sink in what he had done for me, £100 !! and better than that, I had a job !! I could tell that spotty faced girl/woman with the smirk, at the Job Centre, where to go !! I had been tempted, but resisted and got MY just desserts. I really did feel like Phillip Pirrip, young Pip. Monday would be a day of GREAT EXPECTATIONS indeed for me and my new beginning.

Well…. That’s about it for today….Any critique you leave will be most welcome. I was going to do a piece about a Walt Whitman poem, but it’s such a nice day I’ll leave that little gem until tomorrow. STAY SAFE PEOPLE AND LOOK AFTER EACH OTHER.


Well … Blogging and Vlogging curtailed yet again !! The reason being, I’ve been admitted to hospital … I’ve been attending a creative writing course for the last few week, only a couple of hours per week, and when I got home at lunchtime this last Thursday, my dear wife informed me that my cardio consultant (a professor no less !) Had rung and said after reviewing my blood test from last Thursday, I was to get myself down to the hospital asap, where a bed was made up and ready for me !

Well, no time to take off my coat and hat or even have a cup of tea !! The Nursing Sister was waiting and ushered me into a bed, 15 mins later the ‘Prof’ arrived, quizzed me and said that I would be in for at least 10 days because I had SEPSIS !!!!. … So … intravenous antibiotics, scans and rest for the next 10 days.

Talk about queue jumping !! … I wrote a little poem which reflects on how I see these magnificent nurses in the NHS.

A CLICHE OF ANGELS

They’re run off their feet from the start to the finish of their shifts. Day after Day Night after night Angels without wings.

They do a thousand things for those in their care                               From bedpans to comfort Day after day night after night Angels without wings

Underpaid and overworked Still they carry a smile Day after day night after night As they traverse the shiny blue mile (or whatever the colour of the ward floor is !!) Angels without wings

When I wake from my pain and see in their eyes The look that eases my ills, I see their wings, Silver and Proud, And thank God ! FOR THE ANGELS WITH WINGS.

Like I’ve said before, I’m not an expert in writing poetry, I just write from my heart about whatever stirs my soul … and the nurses and doctors of the Northern General Hospital stir my soul with the spoon of gratitude…. THANK YOU N.H.S.


Just a short one today, fellow bloggers. As the title suggests, I’m going to try and embed my latest Vlog into this Blog whilst using the new all singing, all dancing block system … I tried using the block system several days ago but to be as honest as only a first grade technophobe can be… I gave up! Well … I’m not the brightest button in the tin when it comes to technology ! Anyway, I’ve taken the bull by the horns and this is my attempt to get to grips with the block system and embedding a video. (Before my lengthy layoff to dally in the world of vlogging, one couldn’t put a video into a vlog without forking out for an upgrade !!) But, it appears you can now. So here it is, for your delight and delectation, my 45th steelcityman video …..

There you have it… hope it didn’t put you off looking at more of what I’ve done on You tube.

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