Can’t take me anywhere…

Well, it just seems that I’m seeing the inside of hospitals more frequently than I am my own house at the moment. Sit down, dear friends, and I shall tell a story. For those of you who were looking forward to part three of the foot saga, that’s coming soon enough. Imagine this as a little side-episode into my unfortunate life, where I once again, end up in a hospital.

Today was a Saturday. (It’ll probably be Sunday by the time you read this, but never mind). Jamie S fancied a day trip to Newcastle via the train. It’s been a while since we’d done anything on the rattler, so it made a bit of a change. We got there at just before 2PM. The first stop (after a brief stop at a couple of charity shops) was to get some grub. Now, the worst thing about being ina big city at that time is trying to find somewhere to eat. Wagamama’s is my new favourite spot. I have a thing for their Firecracker chicken, it’s amazing. Unfortunately, by the time we got there, the queue was pretty much out of the door. Bad news. Same for Nandos, so this meant we had to find somewhere else. A few months ago I’d had a lovely steak at Red’s BBQ place, so although it’s a bit more expensive, we agreed to go there. Perfect.

Meals were ordered, and I looked forward to my steak. I got it medium. Just fancied a change from medium rare. The food came, and I started. After one single solitary mouthful, the worst thing happened. I’d clearly not chewed my bit of steak correctly, because as I swallowed, I knew that it was not going down. Now, this sometimes happens if I have a large piece of bread, and normally a bit of a drink pushes it down and we’re good to go again. Nope, not this time.

I took a drink, and I couldn’t swallow it. It was going nowhere. The only thing that was shifting was the drink of coke I had, and that was coming upwards. Panic started to set in, some people thought I was choking. Some people slapped me on the back, but this didn’t shift it. The staff were concerned at this point. I went to the toilet to try and bring it up, but nope. Nothing happened. This steak was well and truly lodged.

The shopping centre staff came involved, and called 999. This was the first time I’d ever had anything like that called for me. There’s been a lot of firsts when it comes to hospitals over the last couple of months. Anyway, the 999 service recommended I go to the RVI. They weren’t sending an ambulance because I was obviously in no immediate danger. I could breathe. There was no blood. It was just a bit of stuck meat. An incredibly uncomfortable bit of stuck meat, and I didn’t realise until then, that the RVI was only 10 minutes walk away. I was told not to try and bring it up myself.

I could feel my body trying to shift this foreign object, like a sharp pain just below my throat., and the motion of walking really didn’t help.

It’s not until you’re unable to swallow properly that you realise just how much saliva you actually produce, and it had to go somewhere. Out of my mouth, and into pretty much every place I could find. Hedges, drains, anywhere. It was not pleasant, and I’m sure anyone else watching would have found me disgusting, without actually knowing what was going on..

We got to the A+E, Jamie S helped me check in because I was unable to speak without running to the door and expelling a load of saliva. Usual triage procedure took place. Blood pressure, heart rate, etc, and I was told to go back to the waiting area. This was awful. The action of sitting just made me feel worse, so I had to stand for the entire time. I’d often clear my head by going outside and resting on the barriers. Again, I was running to the toilet every few minutes to empty my mouth, and sometimes, this did trigger a vomit. A rather loud, painful vomit.. Naturally, there was very little coming up. Certainly no steak.

Time passed. Jamie S amused himself by extracting the urine, and keeping me updated on the football scores. After about an hour of waiting around, the third vomit session took place. Again, nothing of any significance happened A bit of liquid, but nothing resembling steak.

I went back outside to cool off, and then I noticed… I could swallow. I didn’t want to bring up anything. Had that last one fixed the problem? I came back inside, and Jamie S said he’d noticed I’d looked better. Immediately after this, my name was called, by the doctor. I went in.

“Doc, this might literally be your easiest issue of the day”.

Indeed it was, he gave me a glass of water, and thankfully it stayed down. Panic, and this little traumatic episode, well and truly over. There was still time, so we headed back to Eldon Square. As luck would have it, we managed to bump into the staff who helped me out, so said a massive thanks to them.

I feel I have a few thanks to say, and apologies. None of these will ever read this (Jamie S might just read it to correct my spelling), but thanks all the same…

Thanks and apologies to Jamie S. I ruined your Saturday, and you’ve had to put up with me spewing up. Again.
Apologies to the staff at Red’s. You did a wonderful steak, and I took one bit out of it. I am genuinely heartbroken at the waste of such a good meal. It wasn’t your fault. It was mine. I’m such a prick. Sorry. Apologies also to the other patrons that were there, and many, many thanks to the people who helped. I hope I didn’t spoil your day.
Many thanks to the Eldon Square staff for their help. You were all greatly supportive, especially to the guy who walked us to where we needed to be.
Apologies to the people walking down The Great North Road and St. Thomas’ Street who would have saw me spitting. It’s an awful habit. I had good reason, which I hope you’ll now understand.
Apologies to the people in the waiting room with me, especially those within earshot of the toilet, who would have heard me retching my ring up.

I’m genuinely just wracked with guilt and embarrassment about the whole day. This has been a public service announcement. I’ve been Mark Lamarr, and this has been Never Mind the Buzzcocks. *theme music plays*

I feel the earth move, under my feet…

Apparently, there’s been an earthquake between Newcastle and York. I didn’t feel a thing, and Ilive pretty much between the two…

Sky News have reported it now, claiming it was inNorth Yorkshire. I am happy to report, however, that it didn’t disturb my dart watching / beer drinking. I’ll keep updating, but it apparently is all over.

Now the BBC are all over Twitter, asking if anyone wants to talk to the radio in the morning. No.

Although I could say that it knocked the froth off my beer, and Gary Anderson missed a double because of it.

Welcome to the readers of CycleChat also!

Her’e a link to Sky News with the story… (Uh, would have helped if I’d actually made it a link)

UPDATE: It is now RAINING in Hartlepool, and my feet are cold. Everything’s back to normal, then. I’ll let this post rot.

UPDATE 2: Would have helped if I’d closed my tags properly too. What an arsehole I am.

Internet is up…

Like a phoenix rising from the flames of abject failure, I’m happy to report that my internet connection came up shortly after I’d posted the previous posting. Something that happened BEFORE the internet failure was a trip to Newcastle. I totally forgot it happened before the internet failure, meaning that all of the witty introductions for this post I’d thought of, are completely ruined. Fucksticks.

Last Monday, I’d offered to ‘rip’ some records Andy the Iridium fan, (who, I’ll refer to as ATIF, as usual… it’s easier to type), so on Monday evening, he came, clutching a bag of vinyl, all comprising of LP’s from Knotty Ash’s favourite funnyman, a certain Dr. Kenneth Arthur Dodd.

I was totally unaware that the comedian had released so many LPs, and only being familiar with his track “Happiness”, I was even more surprised to find that most of his tracks appeared to be depressing ballads that would make Roadiohead sound like a Black Lace record played at twice the speed. ATIF even went through the records, and also couldn’t come up with a happy track! It really did surprise me.

I was off work for the Tuesday, so plans were made to do something with the next day. Newcastle seemed like the perfect place. I’ve been to Newcastle quite a few times, but have never taken my Canon. I’ve also never been over the lower deck of the high Level Bridge, and I’ve never walked over the Tyne Bridge. 3 things had to be accomplished.

After converting some of the LPs to a digital format, ATIF left, and we planned to meet up at 9:30 at the station. Hartlepool’s station has sort-of went through a bit of a rebirth over the last few years, mainly thanks to the tall ships, however, it’s still a place I don’t like spending too much time on my own in. I arrived a little early, at 9:22. At least half an hour later, I was still wating outside. Thankfully, he arrived in time for the 10:02 train!

On the way into Newcastle, I started ‘Endomondo’ – an app/website that records your GPS location, then publishes it to their website. Here’s a view of what it recorded…


The starting point is in the very bottom left (I was in the train at this point, probably should have waited until I got off), and the ending point is “outside the law courts” in the middle-right of the photo. I had to stop it then, because it didn’t occur to me just how much the afore-mentioned GPS app drained the battery.

However, it gave me enough information to track the journey. Unfortunately, the old record shop I’d visited a couple of years ago was no more. this was probably the most devastating part of the trip. Admittedly, I didn’t expect it to be there, but I’d have loved to have spent an hour flicking through its stock. A sign of the times, I suppose. There is a large square at the “2” marker on the above map. This was when we began to look for the entrace to Eldon Square, as ATIF needed to drain the main vein. We didn’t find one, as can be seen in the screenshot, we just sort of walked around it. Eventually, we gave up, and ended up in a branch of McDonalds pretty much where we started.

The next stop, and the first time for me to break out the camera happened by chance. I realised we were on the same road as the “High Level” Bridge. It’s two bridges on top of one another, for those who don’t know. Train tracks on top, road underneath. Also featured in “Get Carter”. I always wondered how you got onto the lower road deck. Was there a tunnel taking you to it? Seriously, not even Google Streetview could answer this question. Thankfully, my own photography can, and even though I took this on my mobile, it answers the question comprehensively…


At the end of the bridge were three things. Someone had apparently finished off a bottle of cheap vodka and tabs. Could this be someone’s last goodbye? Wait, it’s Tesco vodka. Probably not.


The second was the sad sight of an abandoned “Golden Tee 2005” arcade machine, in an old taxi office…


Admittedly, I’ve not actually played that particular game, but I’ve heard that the Golden Tee series is really popular.

Next stop was Tyne Bridge. Although I’ve been over it many times in a car, I’d never actually walked across it, something that only occured to me whilst actually walking over the structure itself. For those unlucky enough to check the flickr profile, you’ll note I took loads of photos up here, but only a handful turned out to be any good. I showed Chris this one the other night, he ended up with vertigo from it.
Apparently, that must be one of the things I’m immune to!


We walked around for a bit – stopping off at a shop for some refreshments. I was delighted to find a paper shop within shadow of the Tyne Bridge that sold refreshments at a reasonable price. Bottles of cherry tango for a cut-down price, and Walkers “Max” for a reasonable price. YES.

Off to dinner we went, sat on a stone bench outside the law courts. ATIF single-handedly rose the share price of Greggs by 1.7%, and came out with a bag of food that would put me on a good day to shame (Admittedly, I stopped going to Greggs when their prices rose every time I went in there). while I munched my crisps, and Mr. Iridium Fan devoured half the stock of the afore-mentioned bakery. We were joined by a “special” guest… Limpy the Pigeon.


This was, as you guessed, a pigeon, whose left leg had became totally mangled in “something”. It apparently had no movement in the limb, and would attempt to walk on it, with very little success. It’s one of those “HAHAHAaaaaaawwwwww” moments. It’s probably dead now.