2018 England – how I saw it


2018 World Cup

I know it’s not absolutely over yet but well, you know.

Allow me to add my hearty congratulations to the England team who have kept us fully entertained for the last few weeks. Let’s not get carried way and call them heroes but they played better than anyone expected and if it is a young team that will get better and better, then that’s exciting news. To actually be involved in 7 games is remarkable.

The semi final against Croatia was incredibly finely balanced. If only Harry Kane had remembered he was a top scoring centre forward. If only the ref had had the balls to send off Lovren for being a twat. If only Gareth Bale was born a few miles further East.

I’ve no complaints. I’m very chuffed with the whole affair and pleased that I decided to stay out of the crowds for the match. I made the mistake of watching the round of 16 match against Colombia at the club. The crowd negativity was overpowering and I didn’t enjoy it one little bit.

The hatred aimed at Raheem Sterling was bordering on the illegal. Listen to the football savvy journalists and pundits and they will point out that he causes chaos in opposition defences. His international scoring record is x-rated but people like Harry Kane have greatly benefited from the nuisance he causes. Cheer him on, don’t jeer every time the ball goes near him. He’s on our side FFS.

Just a few more points before I go.

In my opinion, VAR was a success. Not sure how they missed some of the wrestling moves in the penalty area but on the whole, some injustices were avoided. Promising start.

Is it wise to have 32 teams in the finals? I could mention a dozen teams that clearly knew they could not progress without cheating. It’s a football tournament, not a faffing about tournament. Can’t remember who but one player ‘once had a trial for Brentford’. I mean, no offence Brentford but FFS.

Did you notice how rarely VAR was used as the competition progressed? Because the ‘faffing about’ teams had gone.

Of course, you can be brilliant and still Faff about. Neymar for example. I’d love to see a psychologist get into him to find out what the hell he is thinking. And no, it’s not the South American psyche. Look at Lionel Messi. Can’t think of other sports where the stars make themselves look so ridiculous. I mean, it’s the equivalent of Phil Taylor dropping his trousers on stage. Wouldn’t happen.

‘But there’s so many penalties’. So?

‘Most of England’s goals come from set pieces’. So?

‘England had a lucky draw’. Sorry about that. Would you like us to change it?

I haven’t heard it mentioned anywhere but I see a time where Extra Time is dropped. No winner after 90 mins? Get on the pens. You mark my words.

It’s about time we had a proper name for the ’round of 16′. Let’s call them the Octofinals.

We’ve heard nothing but brilliant reports about various Russian cities and the warmth of welcome from the Russian people. What no racism? No homophobia? Someone’s been feeding us horseshit. I certainly get the impression that Russia is a beautiful country with beautiful people. Such a shame it’s run by lunatics.

Umtiti? Sounds like a character played by Bernard Bresslaw in Carry On Up The Jungle.

Has Ian Wright got a permanent cough? Oh, just me noticed that then.

Ground atmosphere. We certainly made a lot of noise. Grated after a while though. Do they know they owe royalties to Earth, Wind and Fire? And they only came up with 2 songs. Hardly Rodgers and Hammerstein is it?

How to deal with a player ‘pulling a Neymar’? Say that you believe he is in immense pain and get an ambulance to get him rushed to hospital for an immediate check up. Let his manager have a free substitution so the game isn’t ruined and Bob’s yer uncle.

My favourite moment? When Ignashevich ignored the ball on an incoming corner as he was fully committed to having sex with Sergio Ramos. The ball hit him on the back of the leg and bounced into his own goal. Massive karma baby.

And that’s all I have to say about it. Apart from an extra mention to Gareth Southgate. Looks right. Sounds right. Does right. I can’t predict us to win something big in the future but we’re doing it right, he gives the country GENUINE hope for the first time in ages and we know he will get the best out of the players we have available. And that pleases me. Immensely.

Right let’s see how Andy Murray is getting on. No wait. Dammit.


Heart Attack Wednesday


2018-04-20 06.09.15

I awoke feeling good. Firstly I awoke – which meant I had been asleep. Secondly I was still alive – bonus. Thirdly I stretched as if I had had a good night and was looking forward to my morning tea, Fourthly I felt loved and appreciated. Hang on a minute – there was a reason for that – I was being spooned. A nurse was grunting and mauling. Surely this can’t be legal I thought but I was certainly not going to complain.

‘Oh Hi’ was all I could muster. She then informed me that she was detaching me from <insert machine name here> and I would now be mobile – sort of. When she was done, I checked my own vital signs – bladder, bowels and time. Bladder was ready to go, Bowels were simply confused. The time was the stunner. I was expecting the cheerful noises of my morning cuppa to come along any minute but it turned out to be 11:30pm. It was still Tuesday – dammit.

I was left attached to a machine in a hammock that hung from my neck and a drip on a mobile tripod. As soon as the cuddly nurse left, I set off for the lav to see what I could do. Now, bear in mind I had been horizontal for 60 hours, I planted my feet on the floor for the first time. It felt good and weird at the same time. I eventually manoeuvred the tripod into the toilet and leaned back to lock the door.

This sent my stomach muscles into a tight cramp, a dagger pain in my lower back and my knees decided to imitate a young Shakin’ Stevens. I stood still for a few minutes so everything could sort itself out then plonked myself on the bog. Nice wee but nothing else happening. The ten yards back to my bed took about 15 minutes and I slumped back to a sleepless bed to effectively wait 7 hours for what I hoped would be my last morning cuppa – in the hospital I mean.

I lost an ear plug during the night and when the cleaner came round, I showed her the other one and asked if she had seen the lost one. She said that she had found one on the floor and had thrown it away. I thanked her – at least I didn’t have to look for it any more. She returned later, rubbing something in a cloth. She had retrieved the discarded ear plug and washed it. I thanked her but shoved the pair in my bag for later surreptitious disposal. It had been on a hospital floor and in the bin FFS. It sure as hell wasn’t going back in my ear.

I nervously awaited the ’rounds’ where a senior doctor decides what happens next. He arrived shortly after 9am surrounded by the usual flock of fawning students just like James Robertson Justice in Doctor at Large

JRJ – Do you have any pain?

Me – No. None whatsoever.

JRJ – Good. Are you happy about the possibility of going home?

Me – Yes. Very happy.

JRJ – Good. As you know, it is our policy to keep patients in for 48 hours after the severity of the angioplasty combined with the fact that you had a heart attack?

Me – Yes. I understand.

JRJ – No doubt you are aware that the 48 hours will be up later this morning and I have no reason to keep you in any longer. Your heart and circulation have been intensely monitored for 48 hours. Your heart is strong and is showing no ill effects from the incident. Your circulation is giving us no concern whatsoever so I ask you to listen carefully to the instructions given to you by the nurses before you leave. Any questions?

Me – No. No questions. Thank you very much.

WUHOOOOO. I’m out of here.

2018-04-18 09.09.22

Picture taken of the entourage as they moved on to oxygen tank man who was annoyed as his pulse had risen to 150. Oh crap.

As I lay there feeling rather elated, a nurse rumbled up and proceeded to release me from my remaining encumberments – no, I don’t think that’s a word either. What an incredible feeling. I sat on the edge of my bed and realised that the world was indeed my oyster and I got up and wandered around. I wore what amounted to pants and a dress but I didn’t care. I was on a mission for soap and shampoo. My hair by this stage was resembling a rotting cheese flan so I was off to the wet room. I cannot describe the immense satisfaction of that shower – so I wont.

Thankfully one of my sons had offered to come and pick me up so I told him to make his way in and when he arrived we made our way to the nurses station to check out.

This was an annoyingly (but I accept it was essential) long procedure as I just wanted to go home.

Nurse – this is disposable aspirin.

Me – really, do I just throw it away?

Nurse – no you dissolve it in water.

Me – ah so it’s soluble?

Nurse – yes it’s dispersible aspirin.

Me – moving on.

The rest of the mountain of drugs were explained to me and then we moved on to what I should be doing for the next 7 days. Which was basically nothing. No heavy weights, limit stair climbing to a minimum etc etc etc. He even specifically said ‘No washing up’!! How’s that going to work? No grandchildren visits! What!! I can understand such caution with heart attack survivors whose hearts had virtually exploded but mine was fine. Anyway I nodded in the right places and we moved on to the multitude of forms that I had to sign. The only one I remember was the one that said I was not to drive for that 7 day period. It was actually linked to DVLC so it would be an offence for me to drive over that period. Seemed a bit harsh.

So that was that. We exited the enormous complex that is the Royal Bournemouth Hospital as I considered whether I should risk being dropped off at Dorchester A&E in order to retrieve my abandoned car (naughty). We hit the fresh air with the sun beating down. My legs did their second Shakin’ Stevens impression of the day, my eyesight went extremely hazy, my peripheral vision had turned into some sort of 60s psychedelia video and I swear I could hear Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds. The driving ban began to make sense.

I was safely delivered to my house and my son retrieved my car. And that was that. Now for 7 days of lounging about followed by a long and slow return to bike and gym fitness. Should be easier now my heart can receive and deliver blood with ease shouldn’t it? We’ll see.

Thanks to my wonderful neighbours for your invaluable help. Thanks to my family for seeking me out, bringing essentials, bringing me home and all that shopping. Thanks to the Dorchester staff for quickly identifying the problem. Thanks to the CCU staff who were absolutely magnificent and thanks to the angioplasty men who saved my life.

And thanks to you for reading x

Heart Attack Tuesday


2018-04-17 09.58.35

I forgot something about yesterday. Sometime in the afternoon, a man brought a phone over and said it was my son. Turns out that nobody had been officially informed of my predicament. I had assumed that the combined talents of DCH and the Police would’ve managed to contact somebody but no. They couldn’t get through to my ex-wife’s phone and left it at that. A bit disappointing really considering the severity of the situation.

Anyway, this is what happened from the point of view of my abandoned family. I didn’t arrive to pick up my grandson Max as usual at 10:30am on Monday morning. Now, I am unerringly reliable so something was clearly wrong. Obviously nobody could get me on my mobile as it was still in my front room so my eldest son’s lass took it upon herself to come to my house.

When she got here, my car wasn’t there (it was at Dorchester A&E) so they could probably rule out an accidental shower curtain hanging. My neighbours saw her milling about outside and went out to talk to her and were able to tell her the news that I had had a heart attack and had been taken to Bournemouth CCU – which is what the Police told them when they dropped off my keys the previous day.

So my eldest lad took it upon himself to fill a bag of stuff from my house and drop it off at Bournemouth. A very sensible plan. Only when he got to my house at 3pm, my neighbours were out and didn’t return till 6pm. So bless him, he waited on my drive for 3 hours, gathered phone, charger, toothbrush, pants, books etc and drove them to Bournemouth. It was a great relief to know that at least my folks now knew where I was.

Anyway, the main thing that happened on Tuesday was that I was moved. Never found out why. My original ‘home’ looked straight out onto the nurses station so at least it was a distraction. I guess I was downgraded from DEFCON 1 which must’ve been a good thing. Or maybe they looked at my day’s schedule and thought – he’s going to be bored today, let’s move him round the corner to give him something to think about. If so, good plan.

I was still attached to so much equipment that I could do nothing to help facilitate the move so I just lay there looking like I had crashed into a pile of fruit machines. I managed to isolate a male nurse and whispered ‘How do I do a number 2?’. He said that he would have to get a bedpan. Oh Jebus. Oh brother of dog. That was the only dignity I had left. Now, I was not desperate but figured it couldn’t be far away as I hadn’t been for 48 hours.

I showed him my face of fear and said that hopefully I would be going home tomorrow and maybe I could hold on. I was hoping for some words of advice but all he said was – ‘I would’. Sigh.

In my new abode, I faced 3 old codgers in all sorts of trouble. I had a toilet/shower room immediately to my left (which I couldn’t access as I was wired up to the mainframe) and a chav to my right almost constantly visited by his chav family. I never actually saw him as we were divided by a curtain. His father was one of those guys who tried to be funny with every single sentence – but he never succeeded and it was excruciating.

My bed creaked when I raised or lowered it for cups of tea. It sounded like a fart – IF YOU WERE 6!!!!!! and prompted whispers of ‘Ooh someone’s troubled’ Hilarious. Twat. At one stage I said ‘I’ve had a heart attack!!’. That at least bought 2 minutes of embarrassed silence.

He was obsessed with asking the nurses for fish and chips. Continually. At one point when 3-8 visiting hours were ending he said ‘Right we had better go – dunno where though ha ha ha’. I couldn’t resist suggesting that he went for some fish and chips. He didn’t seem to like that.

Once they had gone, one of the old boys opposite creaked out of bed and slowly manoeuvred himself to the end of the bed, I assume on his way to the toilet. He paused and unleashed an unearthly noise at least 11 on the Bumfort Scale. With a disappointed face, he performed a seven point turn and made his way back to bed. A nurse appeared, then disappeared, then reappeared with the trolley of shame – soap, water and sponge. Dunno what happened for sure but I’ve a pretty good idea.

Photo – ‘Docking Successful’ – sorry.

Buoyed by the possibility of release the following day, I shut my eyes and waited for Wednesday……..

Heart Attack Monday



To recap – after no more than 3 minutes kip, Monday arrived.

At 6am, the overnight overture of coughing, farting, moaning and retching was cheered up by the sound of chinking mugs and boiling water. Tea came with a bowl of unidentifiable cereal and I was told that I was to be Nil by Mouth from 6.30 as I was 3rd on the list to appear in the angioplasty theatre.

By 7am, I was informed that I had been promoted to 1st. That was a bit worrying though I was sort of pleased that we could get on with it. I could’ve done with a pre-op wee but people kept coming and going and I never got around to it.

I was told that all 3 of my major coronary arteries were badly blocked. Can’t remember what they were called but one artery was 82% blocked. Now that really surprised me but wait. Another artery was 98% blocked and the third didn’t register as there was virtually no way through!!

Which raised a question. How did I score a reasonable 4 on my cholesterol check just a couple of months ago? No answer.

Anyway, AJ (from Sri Lanka) turned up with a razor and proceded to shave an area on my wrist (didn’t know my wrist had hairs).

AJ – they go in through a vein in either your wrist or your groin. Today they will be going through your wrist.

Me – thank goodness for that.

AJ – but we’ll shave your groin as well.

Me – Why?

AJ – in case they decide to go in through a vein in your groin.

Me – but you said they were going through my wrist.

AJ – they are.

Me – Oh whatever. Fill yer boots.

I was pushed up to the angioplasty theatre where a team of at least 8 people introduced themselves to me. Wrist numbed (savaged groin ignored) and up he went to remove the fag butts, bird’s nests and pork fat that had been accumulating in my tubes for the last 61 years

With gert slabs of machinery flying all around me, it was very bizarre and after about 30 minutes my heart fluttered so I thought I should mention it.

‘Yes we know David. We’re actually inside your heart at the moment so it is to be expected.’

Well Mr Lah-di-dah vein surgeon from a country few have heard of, maybe it would’ve been a nice idea to have warned me about the possibility.

After an hour of being mauled about, I remembered that I didn’t have my morning wee and it was getting a bit urgent. I was tempted to ask how much longer he would be but that seemed a bit rude and ungrateful so I mentioned it to Rachel who was stationed near my head to physically respond to any reactions I may have to the butchery.

Off she trotted an produced the dreaded cardboard urine receptor. She shoved it down toward my – uh – area and I wriggled about to achieve ‘docking’. It wasn’t happening so I moved my redundant left arm. 8 voices cried out ‘Don’t move your arm David’. Dunno why. So I gave Rachel my helpless look and when she moved, I assumed she was going to manoeuvre the bottle into a better position but she went straight for the ginger ninja, picked it up between thumb and fore finger and slotted it into the bottle with the finesse of a mother moving a hot sausage from the casserole dish onto her child’s plate.

Far more comfortable now I made a mental note to try to get in another wee before the end of the procedure. Well, you can’t look a gifthorse in the mouth can you? Anyway, after nearly 3 hours, I figured that I should get in my request but the main man said he was just finishing up. Dammit.

Can’t really say it was painful. Just pretty uncomfortable. And when you consider that this is probably saving your life, you tend to get more strength to put up with it I guess.

As far as I could tell, the rest of the day was spent with people coming and going trying to find a spare patch of skin to apply another tube or wire to. I was starting to feel bionic.

Evening came and I prepared for another sleepless night. And then it was Tuesday……

Heart Attack Sunday


HA Sunday

No, I’m not dead!! OK here it is…

Saturday, I had what felt like severe indigestion and/or heartburn. I thought a brisk walk may clear it so I tottered up to Boots and bought Gaviscon and Rennie. On the way home, I had to stop and sit down in Brewery Square thinking ‘really? Indigestion saps all energy?’.

I know, break out the cider. That’ll get it. And it did.

Until the morning, when it happened again. Hit the Gaviscon – that stuff really is awful – and the Rennies. After 2 minutes, it lifted and I gathered father’s casseroles ready for the weekly delivery. But before I got in the car, it happened again. After 15 minutes of not being able to shift it, I returned the casseroles to the freezer and drove myself to A&E.

Felt a bit of a ninny announcing to reception that I had chest pains but that’s what I did. I was ushered to the waiting room which was jam packed but after less than a minute, a head appeared around the corner ‘David Russell?’. There was a rising disgruntled murmur from the assembled throng but I resisted the strong urge to flip them the bird.

Within minutes I was laid out on a hospital bed with a buzz of professionals around me. Equipment was attached. Whispering was the order of the day until one man stood forward and rather apologetically said ‘We think you’ve had a heart attack’. Despite protests to the contrary, they would not change their minds.

Then one of my life’s mantras hit me – ‘Don’t worry about stuff over which you have no control’ – a mantra, I learned today that I shared with Keith Fooks. So I laid back and relaxed. Whatever was going to happen was going to happen.

They said I was going to be admitted to the Coronary Care Unit. Unfortunately, the unit at Dorchester is not open at weekends. Yeah really. How does that work? Well clearly – poorly. Anyway, I learned I was to be transferred to thee Royal Bournemouth Hospital so all that needs to be done is to contact your next of kin so they know where you are.

My next of kin was listed as my ex-wife and her phone was set up to reject unrecognised callers so that didn’t work.

Lady – Who else can we ring?

Me – Any of my boys.

Lady – Right can you give me some numbers?

Me – No. I don’t know any numbers. Who knows other peoples phone numbers? They’re 11 digits long these days. It was OK in the 60’s when all numbers….

Lady – Can you check your phone?

Me – No. I left it at home.

Lady – [a silent stare over her glasses]


So they continued trying call my ex-wife for some reason and called the police who took my keys to deliver to my neighbours who kindly let themselves in to turn off my domestic appliances especially the impending doom of my sausage filled slow cooker. They also had access to the cat so that problem went away.

So I was plonked in an ambulance and on went the nee-nahs – how exciting. I was frowned at for waving out of the window as we whizzed down High West Street. I couldn’t see out the window and no pedestrians could see me but I felt obliged.

Arrived in a flurry at the Royal Bournemouth Hospital and was whizzed into the CCU. A similar scene occurred as had occurred at Dorchester and my heart was subjected to an ultrasound and declared very fit – especially for its age. Weird.

Anyway, wires were attached to my nipples, back, front, groin and various other grooves and gullies and I was expected to sleep with the prospect of angioplasty in the morning. Every time I had the nerve to move slightly, a wire would ping off my nipple, an alarm would go off and people would come running.

So I laid as still as possible when I realised my bladder was full so I reached for the button but before I got there, a wire pinged off and there they were.

‘Sorry, but I need a wee’.

Without a word of advice, I was left to my own devices. Managed to shovel my genitals into the cardboard contraption and after 20 minutes began to produce a stream. My sigh of relief pinged off another wire and my dignity was destroyed.

After no more than 3 minutes kip, Monday arrived……….

Muckspreaders 110418


cock up.jpg

#Muckspreaders. Oh dear. What a palaver. Drew and I arrived early as usual for a few cheeky pre match beers and were greeted by Kip – part time ‘Spreader and apprentice barmaid. We were soon to learn that Andy, Colliton Club manager, got a bit pissed a couple of nights ago, rang up the Club Chairman and told him he could stick the job up his bum.

So the Club’s in turmoil again. Beer was running out and nobody knew how to change the barrels. Get this – Neil turned up to play skittles and when he eventually managed to stop laughing at the situation, Ange fluttered her eyelashes at him and he went down to change the barrels!!! Can’t blame him in the slightest. I mean, who could ignore an Ange eyelash flutter?

Bit ironic though. Neil saving the evening for the Club that so brutally changed his life. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – I know the Committee had to save money but at the same time it had a duty to maintain the integrity of the Club. It’s like a fat man losing weight by chopping his legs off. OK he’s lost a couple of stone but he’s pretty much buggered up everything else.

So less than a year since Neil’s departure, the Club has lost both it’s assistant manager – who gave up months ago – and it’s manager. Way to wreck the joint.

And the Muckspreaders are barely in any better shape. We could only field 7 players so had intended to employ the efforts of Archie the sticker up. Except he didn’t turn up. Last seen in Nandos intent on the cinema after. Kip kindly stepped in but by his own admission, he’s no skittler.

So not only were we understrength in a rudderless Club, but we had to stick up ourselves. The only upside to all this mallarkey was that we got to meet Dev, the opposition sticker up. What a fine upstanding young man he is turning out to be. Not really surprising knowing his parents – Chloe and Deadly. Good work guys.

We play the Tramps next week which, if they win their game this week, will be a play off to see who avoids relegation. They will need to beat us by many pins but the way we’re going – etc. Let’s hope we can at least field a full team to give ourselves a fighting chance.

We lost. Not sure whether I needed to mention that.


Muckspreaders 280318


2018-03-28 10.45.49

During my many journeys to Weymouth, I generally go through Winterborne Herringstone (or possibly Winterborne Monkton) and pass a house that often has eggs for sale. I have always thought how nice it would be to purchase eggs from a local, independent, probably organic egg producer.

So yesterday, I pulled into the drive, filled a pocket with pound coins and silver and approached the eggs. I was expecting them to be a bit pricey but convinced myself that you get what you pay for. The coolbox had a handle that you could pull out and over to the other side. But nothing else happened. With the handle in varying positions, I pushed, twisted and pulled it. Nothing. As far as I could see, there was no other mechanism.

So rather sheepishly, I returned to my car. Eggless. Beaten by a plastic coolbox that my gran could’ve probably opened. And she’s been dead for 40 years.


I was going to wonder if they declared their egg income to Inland Revenue, but as nobody can access the eggs, I guess the whole issue becomes moot.

Anyway, skittles. We travelled to Wool British Legion to play the match we missed because of the snow. Nige and James drove so very much thanks to them. Both drivers stopped at the library first but we found it in the end. Thank goodness they had Doom Bar as we plundered into the fray.

We took an early lead and then faltered as usual, mainly due to myself as I really couldn’t get to grips with the antique pins. My very painful 43 was supported by the rest of the team as we soared to a 26 pin win. Thanks to the Wool RBL for our cheese, onion, french bread, pickle and pate supper. Sorry about my enormous fart that actually preceded the supper but was of such magnitude that it caused much tittlement from the amassed throng.

Pretty much safe from relegation now and chasing them Hartstoppers.

As we alighted for the journey home, James had trouble with his back door (as I had earlier) so Drew had to physically hold it shut all the way home. Now I really should go to bed. Breakfast booked at YC’s tomorrow wherever that is.

Keep going ‘Spreaders. Thanks for another awesome evening.