Thursday, 11 December 2008

Knees, part ohnonotthatagain.

I just posted that last one, hippily titled In A Danish Room (you're lucky - I was almost going to title it Thoughts From A Room Far Away), and I remembered something not particularly apropos the tone of it.

I went to the physiotherapist last week about my knees. It's not the first time I've stood in front of a lady wearing nothing but my pants (and hopefully not the last, ho ho), but it's still a slightly surreal experience, especially when you suddenly remember that the last time you took a stone to that bit of dry skin on your toe was, well, too long ago. But I'm very glad I went.

Evidently my knees themselves are fine. She didn't find any problems with the bones etc, and reckoned all the niggles and stuff will pretty much disappear with some focussed excercise and manipulation of the muscles around them and up to the lumbar area of my back. One leg, she deduced, is quite a bit stronger that the other - quite a popular condition resulting mainly from a slightly lop-sided gait - and I should concentrate on that while I'm excercising. Up to now I've been concentrating on not falling over or otherwise making a fool out of myself, but I'll give it a try.

So that's good, though it does make it harder to appeal for sympathy now. I've gone from "Considering how knackered my knees are from an old horrific accident while I was only a kid, it's really a very brave thing I'm doing, honest", to "Well yeah, my legs are mostly weak from inaction and wine-fuelled atrophy, but it still hurts...". Soon it'll be "Yes, my knees are fine, I have no reason to complain... alright I've stopped complaining... no, I know it's not really that big a deal... ok, I'll just shut up and get on with it, then."

Every cloud, eh? 

In a Danish room.

I'm in Aarhus. It's freezing outside and all is grey, which is what you'd expect in the North during December. 

Right this minute I'm in a bed normally reserved for the 7 year old son of an englishman who's found himself here indefinitely. His son stays on weekends so I've got the room till tomorrow afternoon. The fellow's name is Marcus and I'm very grateful to him. The alternatives are pretty awful.

I'm feeling a little down. This Tuesday gone Ollie's family and closest others organised a do at the Salomon's hall in TW to launch his last album, and I couldn't go 'cos I'm here. If I'd thought sensibly about it, though, I could have had words with the pub and got someone else to cover Tuesday night. I should have been there, if only for my own benefit. Mark and Martin did a couple of songs with Miranda, Ollie's sister, (possibly with Paul also - no-one's told me anything about it so I'm not sure), and I'd have liked to have been part of that, too. I think they were Ollie's songs.

I'm wondering how it went. Louise described some of it, said it was nice and a bit emotional. It all seems a long way away from here, though it's not as far as you might think.

(That just reminded me of something that's been puzzling me for years. Many people, over the time that I've been coming out to Aarhus, seem to be under the impression that this town, even the whole country, is in Holland. I've lost count of the times, not that I ever actually started to count them, that a perfectly familiar person has inquired 'how it went in Holland' when I return 
from Denmark. I often reply that we had this conversation last time and I haven't been to Holland in 15 years, but they'll still ask me again the next time. I guess the word 'Aarhus' sounds a bit Dutch, if you squint at it, but still..)

I haven't known a lot of dead people, I think. It's all relative, of course, and I suppose, when I think about it properly, there have been quite a few people that I've known have passed away. Neil Fuller, the Moonshots' old benefactor, was killed while out on his motorbike, back in another life, as was Ed from Newbury not much later - both lights blown for no tangible reason. Pattie from Newbury, too, though she saw it coming and fought it for years. More come to mind.

Yes, it takes little time to realise that the list of the missing is longer than at first glance, and a bit startling in a way. Maybe it's a character quirk, or maybe it's normal, but I feel a bit weird when I remember some of these people, almost guilty that I haven't said this or that name in who knows how long, or pictured a face or recounted a feat or a shared situation. Almost as if I've forgotten them.

Then again, you can't go round with all these people on the mind constantly, of course. You have to keep on and none of this will brush your teeth or buy your wine. But sometimes it persists. Sometimes it's so unnatural to think that someone's gone that you just kind of ignore the fact and look forward to the next time you're going to see them, though you have to forever put off actually pencilling it into your diary.

So, I find it easier to think of Ollie as simply not being around at the moment. I don't really think that, of course, this isn't a delusion. If you smack your head on a door frame or whatever, you may violently focus your attention on something else to try and ease the pain - to ignore it or hide it, obscure it behind something regular and less painful - it's a bit like that. Because if you keep stopping to think about it you'll do nothing but cry all day and then the memory becomes poisonous and the opposite of good for you. This works for a bit. When it starts to fail and the anger and grief start to swell again I find that banging my head hard against a couple of bottles of wine helps - though perhaps 'helps' isn't really the right word.

Anyway, I mustn't keep going on about this. It's still not really all that I feel on the subject, not even close, but I'm aware I could start boring you, if I haven't already.

So, running.

Not a lot going on there, I'm afraid. I mean - I'm training, doing my excercises, apparently getting my cardio-vascular up to snuff and all that. There's just nothing of any real interest to say about it.


I think if any time is the right time for a shower, it's now.