Thursday, 8 June 2017

Turbulence, indeed!

Well, I felt like doing some writing for only the second time in ages but wasn't up to tackling anything important, so I thought I'd have a go at reviving this blog. Which, of necessity, involves saying a little bit about why it's been so long.

Almost two years, in fact - and a pretty grim two years, both personally and politically, despite a few bright spots here and there. We all know about the politics, so I'll concentrate on the personal (which - according to a theory I have a lot of time for - is political, but hey).

Health has been a major issue, both mine and my daughter's (as has the underfunding of the NHS which has put a great deal of pressure on my midwife wife Alison). Following a long decline we decided at the beginning of 2017 to make dealing with health issues our absolute top priority, to the extent of raiding savings earmarked for the kids' university education. This has actually marked a turnaround, and we feel there is now a distinct upward trend. We've been on a strict elimination diet to try and identify foods that provoke an autoimmune response, with some success - we would never have realised how badly May reacts to potatoes without it, and we both have some trouble with the entire nightshade family. It's far from a miracle cure, but cutting out stuff has meant we both have somewhat better endurance, and I have managed to reduce my typical daily pain medication by 25%. As a happy side effect, we've both lost quite a bit of weight. May's BMI has just got back into the normal range after years of being overweight or obese, and I've lost over 10kg in four months (though I'm still towards the top end of overweight). This has helped my mood and concentration too, though my memory is still pretty appalling (I used to do most of the cooking, but after a number of accidents with pans boiling dry I am reduced to a primarily supervisory capacity).

Anyway, thanks to all this, we were able to go to the Eboracum Roman Festival as a family last weekend (I simply wasn't well enough to get there last year). Living History is a bit of a thing for us, and it was great - even if I did end up spending Sunday morning at the hospital. May managed to make us all tunics, and she and Isaac put together authentic shoes for the two of them (though mine and Alison's are still anachronistic).

One thing that hasn't improved my mood is the state of my family tree. My last two aunts died in 2016, so there are now no family members of any higher generation. A few weeks ago one of my cousins died of cancer; her sister has dementia and is now blind. I haven't been able to visit either of them because I can't manage the travel.

But enough of that - this is supposed to be a Doctor Who blog, right? So since I last spoke, my son Isaac and I went to meet Matthew Waterhouse when he was visiting Galaxy Four here in Sheffield. That means I've now met every surviving male companion actor from the classic series except for Mark Strickson though none of the female ones (just coincidence, I assure you)! Matthew was very friendly; he was touched that Adric is Isaac's favourite companion and seemed very happy to be working with Big Finish (he responded enthusiastically when I raised the subject of his work on Dark Shadows). The only other bit of writing I've done is a first Doctor original team story submitted to The Doctor Who Project - it was massively over word count, so I may need to do some rewrites. We'll see.

So is this post just a one-off? To be honest I don't know. In case it isn't I've come up with a two-pronged plan. The first thing is that I'm not going to post any more until I have a batch ready. One review (The Amaryll Challenge) is in the bag, and has been sitting there almost complete since just after I last stopped posting, but I won't put that up until I have maybe four more in hand. That way I'll hopefully avoid "false dawn syndrome", which can be extremely offputting to me as a writer. The second is that - since Big Finish haven't taken a two-year hiatus, and I've still been buying some - I'll incorporate timeslipped reviews of audios that should have occurred earlier in my marathon too, to break up the run of comics.

Right, I'm off to vote. Fingers crossed it won't be another two years before you hear from me again...

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