Fandango’s Provocative Question (19 January 2022)

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Fandango Provocatively asks:

What has been the most difficult, hardest, or most painful decision you’ve ever had to make in your life?

I thought this question was interesting, just because so many of my decisions have been easy.

Life-altering decisions such as:

  • whether to move to the USA or to stay put;
  • to get married. In fact, I knew it was right because it was so easy;
  • to have children

were all no-brainers.

I suppose in terms of difficult decisions, I think probably the most difficult is still ongoing.

Do I want my daughter to be a part of my life, going forward?

For those of you who don’t know my history, my daughter accused me of child abuse. 2015, when she would have been fifteen.

I resent that, mostly because I didn’t abuse her. In fact, Mrs Bump and I, like most parents, went out of our way to ensure that she had a better start in life than we had.

So not only did we endure my daughter’s behaviour for several years before, we endured police, social services, solicitors… for probably six months after. The only thing we were spared from was court, because there simply wasn’t any evidence. In fact, the case against us was dropped when my daughter shot herself in the foot, also accusing known, trusted foster carers of child abuse.

The other reason I resent her behaviour is that, six months after all this stress, I suffered a stroke. I blame her, at least partially. She gets to act like nothing ever happened, and I get to live the rest of my life disabled.

There were various special circumstances with my daughter, mental health diagnoses, which always meant that bringing her up would be a challenge, but ultimately she harmed me, caused permanent damage, and I’m veering toward thinking that what she did was unforgiveable.

Veering. We’re mostly not in contact, but there is a tiny thread there. Whether/when I sever that completely will be the toughest decision.

Fandango’s Provocative Question (29 December 2021)

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Fandango Provocatively asks:

Do you plan on making any New Year’s resolutions this year. If so, can you share a few of them with us? If not, why not?

I will be making just one resolution this year: to write with less ambiguity.

In fact, I want to get a head start, so here we go on 29th December. You heard it here first.

Resolutions are dumb.

If you want to improve some aspect of yourself, change it. Change it now. Change it yesterday. Change it a month ago. Don’t wait for some arbitrary rotation of the planet, marked on some arbitrary calendar.

And, hopefully, make it to change the world for the better.

Fandango’s Provocative Question (15 December 2021)

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Fandango Provocatively asks:

What movie, if any, can you practically quote from start to finish?

I had some unexpected time today so thought I’d write this.

I’m not big on movies. In general, I think there are lots of problems to solve out in the real world, and that movies are just a distraction.

That said, I do have a favourite movie. It’s a French one. I won’t go into how the quality of French movies is, in general, so much higher than anything from Hollywood, but…

Continue reading “Fandango’s Provocative Question (15 December 2021)”

Fandango’s Provocative Question (17 November 2021)

Prompt image for the Fandango's Provocative Question prompt

Fandango Provocatively asks:

Do you have any tattoos? What is the meaning or significance of them? If you do have tattoos, do you have any regrets about any of them?

I’m wary of doing anything that can’t be undone, and that includes getting a tattoo. It always felt like something I could very likely regret, so why do it in the first place? So no, no tatts.

One likely regret is that it might have looked attractive when my skin was young and firm, but maybe butt ugly when my skin is old and flabby.

Really, for me, any bodily displays, any form of nudity, tatts, etc. are for the young. Us flabby old farts should keep ourselves covered. I suspect that’s why the fashion industry uses twenty-year-olds rather than seventy-year-olds.

There will doubtless be people who’ll tell me that tattoos can be removed, but no, they can’t. Not removed, restoring the skin to its original condition.

Don’t get me wrong – tatts can be attractive. But it ain’t necessarily so.

This was the symbol for the German CND, back in the day

Thoughtful

My friend Michele wrote a post this morning, which she rounded off with a question:

What does imagination mean to you?

It made me think, plus it is a long time since I posted about my stroke.


When I first came out of hospital, I was in a chair. That’s no small thing, returning to the house you lived in for many years, only to find that you can’t even get up the step to get into it!

I could take a few steps, but because my balance was screwed, I needed something to hold on to all the time. That’s why, if you visit a hospital, you’ll often see handrails on the walls.

My first task, after I got home, was to put my clothes in the washing machine. Because after a stay in hospital, you have dirty clothes, right? I lost my balance while bending down, fell flat on my face, and had to be helped up by somebody who arrived a while later, ironically a health worker who had been sent to assess the house to see what mods I needed. It waas just as well I’d left the front door open!

Fortunately I’ve fallen less with time, but it can still happen now. I think August was the last occasion. Uneven ground will get me.

In those first months at home, we even piled the cushions onto the sofa, just to raise me. Because my legs did not have the strength to lift me up. I sit normally now because I learned to use my arm to lever myself up, but it’s still the case that I’m not strong enough to get up just using my legs. In the same vein, I don’t sit on the ground, because if I did, I’d never get up.

When I went to the toilet, I even needed a handrail installed there because, once I was sitting on the toilet, same thing. My legs did not have the strength to get me up. That one is still touch and go.

Same with the bath. I need a handrail over the bath, so I can haul myself upright, even now. It’s quite funny looking back, but… The one thing you want to do when you get out of hospital is take a bath! That, and get a proper night’s sleep. So a day after I get home, I’m lounging in the bath, the water’s going cold, and… how the fuck do I get out of here???

That’s when I knew I needed a hand-grip installed, and fortunately it was so close to discharge that the health service agreed to fund it.

My point here is basically that when I first got out of hospital, even moving about was a hazard, and I tended to sit in the same seat all day. Even today, I’m still very sedentary. If I get to 5,000 steps in a day, I’ve exerted myself. But back then, forget it.

Before the stroke, I was a computer whizz, but afterwards I had lost interest. Took probably six months before I was using it regularly, and about a year before I thought I might share my experiences in a blog.

And bearing in mind how sedentary I am, the blog became the main outlet.

And you should see some of the things I wrote about. Sure, in the very early days it waas dominated by my health, but for example, I was always interested in current affairs, and I think the UK has its fair share of problems. You know, big problems. Constitutional problems.

Just from the point of view that a head of state should be selected on the grounds of being the best person for the job, rather than being somebody’s offspring, that got me writing about our monarchy.

Or the UK’s electoral system, which tends to take what are usually quite small differences in the overall number of votes cast, and magnify them into large differences in the way our parliament is composed. That seems wrong to me.

Those posts are still available. You might read them and think my approach is rubbish. Fair enough. Heck, I might read them, all this time later, and think it is rubbish! But the thing is, I’ve thought about them. I’m not only in a position to say such-and-such is wrong, but I’m adding and here’s how we improve it.

Incidentally, gun control was another one I thought about, by the way. My sad conclusion is that America is fucked. It’s really one of those issues where you just end up thinking thank god I don’t live there, because there is no realistic alternative to what they have now. Which in turn means that you have to accept that some guy erases twenty, thirty, forty lives, because they’re having a bad day, and just shrug your shoulders. It’s truly heartbreaking. It’s Neanderthal. In this day and age, we should be better than that. It’s desperately sad that people choose to behave as Neanderthals.


Okay, enough anecdotes. My point is, I did all of this thinking while seated in my chair. All in my head. To come back to Michele’s post, there are times when all we have is our imagination.

Fandango’s Provocative Question (16 June 2021)

Today’s Provocative Question, Fandango asks:

What is your biggest regret in life?

There are one or two stand-out candidates, head and shoulders above everything else.

  • Fatherhood. My daughter accused me of abusing her when she was fifteen
  • my stroke, six months later.

Let’s look at these. My daughter has had mental health diagnoses, I still see (from a distance) how she struggles through life. Sure, she hurt me badly, but I have seen with my own eyes, the additional effort she must expend, just to appear “normal”. I have a big, ongoing struggle with this, because she did hurt me so badly, and my natural reaction is to disengage. But, how can I regret her?

The stroke has left me disabled. I wish, of course, that things had been different. Only an idiot would volunteer to be disabled.

But because of the stroke, I got to see how our health service works. It leaves so much to be desired, it routinely fails the people to whom it bears an absolute responsibility. I will continue to preach about what is wrong, and how it can be improved, to anybody who will listen.

Same thing goes for the Benefits system. I’d never have seen that, if it weren’t for the stroke. How it traps people into undignified poverty, through no fault of their own. Something else I am happy to campaign on.

Okay, the stroke was shitty, but I am only 53. I have sufficient life in me to at least talk about these injustices. I’d have been ignorant of all of that, were it not for the stroke. Most of the time, people only find out how bad things are when it is too late to do anything about them, so with my relative youthfulness, I’m privileged.

I’m less able, but it feels like there is more to do than ever.

Again through the stroke, I got myself into voluntary work. The many stroke survivors I visited at the hospital, say. Most of the time I am sure it meant nothing, but once or twice, maybe I helped? Not to mention the dozen people who have a marginally better time each week because I have befriended them. That’s what they say, anyhow.

And I appreciate the value of that friendship. I posted the other day about the people I’ve loved. Man, I am so lucky to have known them – and, in most cases, to still know them, present tense. Those people, and the few whose identity I protected.

So, my answer is easy.

No regrets.

FPQ (5 May 2021) – the Serious Side

Fandango’s Provocative Question this week was a bunch of questions, and I already responded with a spoofy response here. But there was one question in the pack which, I think, deserved a serious answer, and having read several answers over the last few days, nobody gave it.

4. Apples or oranges?

The serious answer to this is, I’m afraid, nothing to do with personal taste. If people answer according to personal taste, that just highlights why the world is in the state it is in.

The real answer to this question surrounds water consumption. And in most of our climates, an orange consumes much more water, as it grows, than an apple. Apples grow in climates where there is generally water around anyway, they make use of natural irrigation. Oranges, generally, require artificial irrigation. And therefore all the infrastructure required to make irrigation possible. Not to mention all that fresh water that must be pumped in from someplace else.

Take these things into account and the answer is a no-brainer. In the UK and Ireland anyhow.

I’m sure there are exceptions. I’m sure, if someone gets their apples flown in from another continent, that makes a difference to their footprint.

M&S, here, used to get their Red Delicious apples flown from the USA to the UK. They might still do this, for all I know – check the origin when you are next in. In my book, anybody who flies a basic, domestic foodstuff so far, does not give a stuff about the environment, just about getting their hands on your cash. *Not* to buy something is the easiest decision we can make.

This is the general case.

So please, if you have never considered water when you have made your choice, you should be. It is a choice you are already making, whether you are aware of it or not.

Fandango’s Provocative Question (5 May 2021)

Today’s Provocative Question, Fandango asks a plethore. But it looks fun so let’s try to whizz through these.:

1. Best sandwich?

The BT.

2. What’s one thing you own that you really should throw out?

The rotten L, lettuce, from my refrigerator

3. What is the scariest animal?

Wait, I jnow this one. An elephant, up a tree. waiting for autumn?

4. Apples or oranges?

No.

5. Have you ever asked someone for their autograph?

My wife, when the bar bill arrives.

6. What do you think happens when we die?

A funeral, duh.

7. Favorite action movie?

Seven Brides for Seven Brothers? Plenty of action in that!

8. Favorite smell?

Success

9. Least favorite smell?

Rotten salad.

10. Exercise: worth it?

A good row is always worth it.

11. Flat or sparkling?

Yes.

12. Most used app on your phone?

The Phone app.

13. You get one song to listen to for the rest of your life: what is it?

Goldfish Bowl, by Stereophonics

14. What number am I thinking of?

69, dude!

15. Describe the rest of your life in 5 words?

That’s just not long enough.

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