Sunray at 70

At long last after an excessive period of silence, I come back to blog.  Two months ago Sunray turned 70, somewhat to some people’s surprise and chargrin.  I have to confess, I waited till a week before his birthday before buying him a birthday card and sticking a tenner in it.

At the end of May I came up to see Sunray and also pick up several items I’d left in storage und her stairs when I did one of my several nomadic moves.

I’d been briefed Sunray had gone downhill.  Nonetheless, quite a shock to see how a “bullsh1t” soldier, who used to be into boots looking like black glass, razor-sharp creases in trousers and shirt sleeves, had “let his personal administration go downhill.”

  • His living room stank of a mix of stale body odour and old tobacco.
  • There was a thick layer of dust everywhere throughout the house.
  • I struggled to find a clean work surface in the kitchen, eventually taking a glass chopping board and scrubbing it under piping hot water.

A whole weekend spent with Sunray.  It was more a chore than a pleasure.  A definite lack of social skills on display.  Imagine a mix of:

  • Petulant teenager
  • Hormonal woman suffering from PMS
  • Two-year-old having a temper tantrum

All that for several hours in Whitby, while Sunray held court on a bench in Whitby town centre on a glorious sunny.

Look at that (expletive deleted) walking around, hands in his pockets.

Look at the state of her, with her hair dyed.

Why are so many (expletives deleted) bringing their dogs down to Whitby?  Why can’t the (expletive deleted) walk their dogs elsewhere.

Etc etc ad nauseum.

No wonder Sunray has so few friends.  Galatians 6:7-9 is spot-on.

Sad to say, a very sad, lonely, almost pitiable man.

Will I be seeing him again?

No.

Looking on the bright side, I did manage to get some delicious, crunchy sticks of Whitby rock for my Schatz back home in Germany.  My trip was therefore not entirely in vain.

Have a crunchy day, won’t you!

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Sunray at Seventy

Sunray’s birthday was earlier this week.  Slightly to my surprise, he has reached seventy.  His diabetologist is also probably slightly surprised, given that he had warned Sunray in June:

If you want to see Christmas this year, stop drinking now.

However, Sunray, because of his psychological/chemical dependency on alcohol, kept on drinking and drinking, often being heavily intoxicated at 2pm or 3pm most days, a textbook example of a man with late-stage alcoholism.  After receiving in early January what the police call “appropriate words of advice,” from his younger son, Sunray has cut back on his drinking (but not stopped), and reflected on his actions.

I rang Sunray on the morning of his birthday, and he was subdued.  Five cards.  None from his daughter, none from his younger son.  A card from his elder brother, with whom he is estranged, wanting to “kiss and make up.”  Sunray didn’t.  I agree.  High hedges make good neighbours.

Quite a pitiable situation.  But what you give out, gets repaid – with interest.

Have a celebratory day, won’t you!

Open mouths let in flies

Open mouths let in flies.

I’m told that this is a Spanish expression.  That’s what it literally means.  What would it mean in good, idiomatic English?  A good question.  Let me take you through a case study by way of illustration before I come to the answer.

The year 1980.  One late afternoon in an Army married quarter in the grounds of the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.  Sunray walks into his living room “after a hard day at work.”  (No, please don’t laugh!)  He’s obviously in a mood about something.  Anger management was never his forte.  Surveying his wife and three children, he tells his wife, oh so lovingly and tenderly:

There’s you with you f…ing bad eyesight and buck teeth, Ginge in Germany also needing glasses, Bruv and his f…ing asthma and hay fever, Sis with her epilepsy.  I’m the only healthy one here.

Ah, shucks, Sunray, you say the sweetest things.  BTW, Sunray, you commented on physical health, but omitted to comment on mental health.  What about that time you spent in the psychiatric ward in the military hospital in 1974 because you got so boozed up in Cyprus, that you ended punching someone so hard, you nearly killed them.  Oh… that incident, you mean.

Fast forward to the year 2014.  Sunray is now in his living room.

  • No wife
  • No regular contact from his offspring
    • No 1 son lives abroad and sends Sunray a postcard once a fortnight, more out of pity than anything else
    • No 2 son lives 5 minutes up the road and is sick and tired of Sunray bombarding him with 10-20 SMS’s per day, pleading for a visit: “I’m lonely”
    • Only daughter has been estranged from Sunray for 10 years
  • No self-respect
  • No friends
  • Plenty of regimental photos on the walls
  • Plenty of empty whisky bottles on the floor
  • Plenty of empty fag packets to accompany the whisky bottles on the floor
  • The stench of stale urine
  • A dirty, unwashed and unkempt ex-squaddie

Sunray, do you regret proclaiming:

I’m the only healthy one here.

To quote the song by The Stylistics, I betcha by golly, wow.

So, how best to translate the expression into decent English?

Engage brain before mouth.

Have a healthy day, won’t you!