NOW HERE'S A BLAST FROM THE PAST... or ought that to be a splish-splosh-SPLASSHHH!! PERRIER WATER! Today has been roasting hot.
When it's hot in Britain everybody roasts because nothing in this country is designed for anything other than a mediocre range of temperature from about 3 degrees C to about 20. Any day outside that range feels unbearable. Unbearably hot or wutheringly cold ~ because there is no insulation against cold and worst of all no ventilation to dissipate heat.
Buses are sweat-boxes with barely-opening windows.
The Underground is unbearable. It feels well over 100 degrees F down there.
The chemists shop was boiling. I have the slightest mildest hint of a cold and like just about any sickness (apart from drug withdrawal) it is making me sleep. And sleep. And sleep and sleep and sleep all day. So I wake up cold, put my coat on.
First thing I notice on the high street is how everybody else is wearing school PE kit. (That was The Face magazine's estimation of 1980s British summer fashion ~ lurve it!) And I'm in my junkie's long coat with lots of pockets.
I get to the chemist without sweating. Bring the methadone home. In my old area, which was far more junkie-ridden I would never walk down the street with methadone bottle in hand, even shrouded in pharmacy bag, because everyone who would know knew what was in that bag and I was once violently accosted by a crazed woman (who I knew) DEMANDING that I GIVE.
Thing was, (I wasn't just saying telling her this; it was true) it was not my chemist, not my dose.
I had just undergone the third degree to prove yes I WAS supposed to be collecting this prescription, gone through all this stress just to help out a sick friend. (Heroin addicts very rarely get ill, but when they do it lingers on and on...)
And methadone clinics don't really seem to be oriented around the fact that their "clients" might not be in optimum health, which can make organizing methadone collection when you're too sick to go in an absolute nightmare. Anyway this silly hag harangues me and in the end I just walked off.
She threatened all sorts of stuff and I told her to do her worst.
This particular crazywitch is an Irish traveller and she's always threatening her brothers on people. What she does not realize is, I know her mother from times of old. Her Mum used to give me 50p every time she saw me in my begging years. I was told she liked me because I was so unlike her scummy daughter...
All day I have been craving... Water! Fizzy water!! I could have bought fizzed up tap water at 10p for 2 litres from Morrisons (packaging says something like "value sparkling water": no mention of minerals or springs which means it's just tap water, filtered and CO2'd! Consumer tellyprogs like to make out this would be a "con". To me it's a lesson not to make assumptions!
Anyhow, in the end I purchased 75 "centilitres" as they like to call them ~ a centilitre being 10mls of Perrier. Good old yummy perrier volcanic water that if it weren't treated would taste of rotten eggs ~ so we all heard in the benzene PR disaster of yesteryear... "fortified with gas from the spring"... there's something yummy in that gas, for Perrier tastes nothing like any other water I know... Plus it's a real blast back to the 1970s and 80s, when, in Britain at least, Perrier was the only mineral water widely available and the idea of actually paying for bottled water, when our own taps ran freely with eaux potables was sheer anathema to the frugal Brits... Anyway. Further to yesterday's FUTILITY, here is Wilfred Owen's most famous work. The title Dulce et Decorum est refers to a Latin phrase of the time: "it is a sweet and noble thing to die for one's country"...
Dulce et Decorum est
Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs,
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots,
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame, all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of gas-shells dropping softly behind.
Gas! GAS! Quick, boys! -- An ecstasy of fumbling
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time,
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling
And flound'ring like a man in fire or lime. --
Dim through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.
In all my dreams before my helpless sight
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.
If in some smothering dreams, you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin,
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs
Bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues, --
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori.
Wilfred Owen 1893-1918
Greatest war poet of his generation. Died aged 25... what a loss...
Reminds me of the old song: Pack up your troubles in your old kit bag and smile, smile, smile...
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