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Tuesday December 2nd

As I sit in this office this morning, I am counting my blessings. This time last year I had not started the blog. I knew I was very ill and that my situation was worse than the doctors were indicating. Things just went from bad to worse from then on. By January I had the scans and the proof that cancer was now infesting my lungs. I didn’t really need my doctor to tell me that there was probably not a lot that could be done for me. I began my ordeal by sitting around feeling sorry for myself with lots of tears and a feeling of absolute hopelessness. Later in January, Dr Jones stepped in to my life and shone his light deep into my dark tunnel. He convinced me that there was a real chance of me making a recovery, and I left his surgery in Nobles, and headed home with some real if not slender hope. At last I had something to cling to, just a grain of hope but none-the-less I had my finger tips on the safety rail. Life is very much like a pack of cards. You can only play your hand. Knowing when to stick and when to twist can and often does seal your fate. When you are not sure when to hold, and when to twist, that is when your friends can prove their worth. But life is not about just one single game of cards. It’s about lots of games. Just because you didn’t fair to well with your deal, doesn’t mean you won’t get a better deal next time round. When I first began blogging last March my fate was still very uncertain. I think it was my wife Barbara who talked me into writing a blog. The thought at that time of sharing my depressing life with the rest of the World, did not appeal to me at all. I recall sitting up here in this office in those early days of blogging bashing away at the keyboard often with tears in my eyes. Skipper, my one year old pain in the bum Collie as far as everyone else is concerned, became an integral part of my recovery. So many times he would pad his way in to my office and sit by my side with his head in my lap. It was almost as if he was saying, “I will never give up on you Dad.” The idea that Skipper was going to outlive me by many years played on my mind heavily. He started to follow me everywhere around the house. In fact if I wanted to locate Skipper at any time, all I had to do was stretch out my hand, and he would be within a couple of feet of me. Today, well Skipper has just left my office this minute. He potters in and out these days to say hello but no longer feels the need to shadow my every movement. As the days rolled by and my chemotherapy started, I became much more positive. Writing the blog renewed many of my old friends from the past, and introduced me to a whole pile of new friends from every corner of the globe. Some of them were in a worse situation than me, yet they remained full of hope and became an inspiration to me. The blog still very much reflects my state of mind on the day. If I am down, then it shows through in my writing. If I am happy, then like wise. Since I began blogging, there have been around 20,000 hits on the blog. I am not sure in the greater scheme of things if that good or not. I guess we have built up around 100 regular readers. Of course if we include Manx Tails, then that number swells too many thousands. Blogging has played a huge part in my recovery. Simply getting things off my chest or taking other people with me on my journey to God knows where, has made my journey much more interesting, and not so lonesome. I am extremely grateful to you all for that. Today although I am certainly not yet back to full fitness, I am a million miles from where I was this time last year. I don’t know what the future holds. I know that I was clear of cancer the last time I saw the specialist and I return again in January. I know that the cancer could strike again at anytime. The doctors have done a fantastic job. However, cancer if it chooses can overwhelm us all. Should it return, I will be much better equipped to deal with it than last time around. At present I am grateful to breathe our sweet mountain air, to be able to walk the banks of the Silverburn River, to listen to the sound of the waves from Castletown Bay washing over the stones and to be able to listen to the birds each morning that begin every day with a song. I know that I have much to thank my wife Barbara for, and of course my family and friends. And last but definitely not least, Skipper. Down through the years I have had four very expensive guide dogs. I never imagined that a bit of a rag bag of a collie that cost not a penny from a farm in Kirk Michael, would play such an important role in dragging me out of those dark, dark days.   Tom Glassey on the banks of the Silverburn River.

TomGlassey

TomGlassey

 

Monday December 1st

There is a deep frost this morning. So, who is kidding who with this global warming lark? Our summer was no big deal, and it’s not normally this cold in November. Of course the scientists and politicians all believe that global warming is taking place. But that is because they keep holding all seminars on the subject in places such as the Caribbean and such places. They don’t need to go gallivanting around the World in order to spout their rubbish. I shall send them my oil bills, but somehow I doubt that they will read them. When I was a kid, Sundays were pretty boring affairs. At school we had to don our best clothes, attend mass sit around the play rooms and do lots of praying. At home it was a different matter. In the summer we would walk up to Silverdale along the Silverburn River. Once there we spent our time riding the water powered horses and mucking about on the boating lake. In those days the guy who looked after the boating lake didn’t have to have been a life guard with more than 10 years experience, have served on the lifeboat for a minimum of 5 years or don an Arctic survival suit whilst on duty. During the winter the pubs would close on Sundays, so everyone sat around being thoroughly miserable. In winter time the Isle of Man was not a fun place to be. There were no pubs open, no shops open and even the boat didn’t sail.   Now for an update on the rose bush! You will be pleased to know that we did go and rescue the rose from the garden of Dad’s old house. It has now been replanted in the garden of the bungalow where he ended his days. Last year I did not have a fun Christmas. On checking Barbara’s diary, at this time I was pretty much confined to bed. Christmas was looming but I can’t say I was very excited about it. Mother and Father both came for Christmas lunch. I couldn’t help wondering during the meal though, was this going to be my last Christmas. Dad seemed to be in good spirits. There was no sign then that in fact this was to be Dad’s last Christmas, and I would go on to make something of a recovery. It has been a long and difficult year. I am grateful to be approaching Christmas in reasonable health. I would be lying if I said I was really excited about it. None-the-less my spirits are high, as just like the rose, I have been given a second chance.   Tom Glassey on the banks of the Silverburn River.

TomGlassey

TomGlassey

 

Friday November 28th

Well yesterday's poem brought the biggest reaction from you since I began the blog last February. Today is going to be an exciting day. No idea why, I just know that it is. I shall be off to walk Skipper in the next half hour or so. Then we are off on a tour of a few shops that hopefully will take Barbara's latest prints. Its time we discovered for ourselves whether the credit crunch has hit the Isle of Man yet. No sign of it having any effect in Castletown so far. Christmas card writing has got to be one of the biggest chores of the year. I think its time we put a stop to it. So, here is my parting shot!   This Christmas card writing's the pits. I have totally knackered my wrist. So no bloody fear, instead of writing next year, I'll go down to the pub and get pissed   Well I said earlier that I didn't think the credit crunch had hit Castletown yet. None-the.less, it has hit yours truly, so here is my Christmas card to all for this year.   Things are tight, and times are hard, so, here's your bloody Christmas card.   Tom Glassey. On the banks of the Silverburn river.

TomGlassey

TomGlassey

 

Will We Get Home Sick In Heaven?

Will we get home sick in Heaven; will we miss our family and friends? Can you get Sky on the telly and never need money to spend? Are the houses all built by Dandara, or does everyone live in a tent? If you can't pay a Heavenly mortgage, does God call around for his rent?   Can you live on a beautiful Island and be as free as the sweet mountain air? Is the Government caring and sharing, or is the system just as unfair? Is the Government made up of angels, all hanging their heads in despair? As old bygone members of Tynwald, are now raking havoc up there.   Are there busses from Heaven to Hell? Can you get there by boat or by plane? Or is the Steam Packet running the seacat and cancelling sailings again? Is it hard to keep warm in the winter, whilst the fires in Hell are ablaze? Have the seats all gone round the fire, to the deemsters and bent MHK'S?   Is food expensive in Heaven? It will all seem so bloody unfair, If Shoprite have cornered the market, and opened their branches up there! Our shares are not worth a carrot and our bank accounts empty and bare, Because Woolies and Singer and Friedlander, have moved all their assets up there.   So will I be home sick in Heaven; when I reach my pad in the sky? Will all my troubles be history, or am I in for a shock when I die? Just what can you do up in Heaven, when you're all screwed up in your head, And suicide isn't an option, well not when you're already dead.   So will I be home sick in Heaven, is the landscape as Manx as the hills. Will the salt air blow in from the ocean and my lungs with its perfume it fills? Or will fences block off my pathway, with notices making it clear. Reserved for Jeremy Clarkson, no further access from here!   So I'll do a deal with the devil, and continue with my sinful ways. But I know I am bound for Heaven, to spend the rest of my days. As there's a sign on the gateway to hell, and in big block letters it says, Sorry we are full up to bursting, with bishops and bent MHK'S.   Tom Glassey. On the banks of the Silverburn River.

TomGlassey

TomGlassey

 

Monday November 24th

Last Thursday I heard that they were going to knock down mother and fathers old house situated on Janet’s Corner the following day. Yesterday I called round there to check it out. Sure enough, the old house on James Road had been reduced to a pile of rubble. The 4 bed room house and the one next door have been flattened to make way for an old folk’s complex. I don’t have a problem in making way for the future. Isn’t that what we all do at the end of the day? We are simply here to mind space. It doesn’t prevent me from becoming nostalgic though. As I sat in the car outside our old house I couldn’t help thinking of my old Dad. The endless hours and hours of work he had put in to the garden. He won the Castletown garden of the year award no fewer than 6 times. Dad died last April and now it seemed that all reminders of him were slowly being destroyed as well. Strangely enough, amongst the entire rubble one rose tree stood alone. It was almost as if it was making a last stand against progress. It seems as if someone has been following Dad through life, making sure that as soon as he moves on, all reminders of his presence have to be removed. He spent 15 years stoking in Castletown gasworks. The gasworks was later flattened and is now the Commissioner’s yard. The coal boats he discharged in Castletown harbour are all gone. Now the old house has gone as well. I wonder how long the rose tree will stand defiant! All that is left now are memories. However, they will last forever. No one can, or will even try to flatten my memories. Life goes on, but sometimes pauses just long enough for us to shed a tear for yesterday, and then gather our hopes for tomorrow.

TomGlassey

TomGlassey

 

Friday November 21st

I see there is a vote running on the forum at present. You can vote for the best blog, best joke, best thread, best insult etc. Just about anything. I’m sure our good friend Keyboarder will be right up there for best troll. Because of the internet, we can now insult people from just about any corner of the world. Our insults can travel thousands of miles, and of course we can insult a lot more people at the stroke of a few keys. Winston Churchill and George Bernard Shaw did not have the benefit of the internet to insult each other, or for that matter to insult the masses. However, the quality of their insults was such that they have stood the test of time, and I am sure they are posted on many websites around the world. My favourite insults from these two gentlemen came in the form of two letters that were exchanged between the two of them. Shaw wrote to Churchill inviting Churchill to the opening night of his latest play. Shaw closed his letter with the words. “Please bring a friend, if you have one!” to which Churchill replied. “Sorry old bean I can’t come to your opening night. However, I will come to the second night if there is one!”   Not many people manage to insult an entire nation. However, Bernard Shaw managed to insult the entire British nation with this insult. “God will never allow the sun to set on the British Empire, because no one could ever trust them in the dark!” When Margaret Thatcher was asked for her opinion of Ted Heath, she replied. “I refuse to speak ill of the undead!” I am not really sure if that is an insult or not.   My Dad once whilst discharging a coal boat with a colleague who was not pulling his weight told him. “If you were cold, you would be too bloody lazy to shiver!”   An old Manx farmer, who had never married, was asked as to why he had not married. He replied. “I would rather go through life, wanting something I didn’t have, than having something I didn’t want!”   I’m not sure if this is an insult to women in general, or a compliment. An American film star once said, “There is no doubt in my mind that women are the best housekeepers. So far, I have been divorced 6 times, and every time she kept the house!”   Well, I guess Christmas is not the time of year to be trading insults. So, I shall retreat now to the banks of the Silverburn, and dream up something more appropriate for tomorrow’s blog.   Tom Glassey, on the banks of the Silverburn, deep in thought!  

TomGlassey

TomGlassey

 

Thursday November 20th

The Blackpool comedian Eddie Gray was a great practical joker. He once began talking into a letter box in the street. When a crowd had gathered, he called into the letterbox in a loud voice. “Well how the hell did you get in there in the first place?” When the police turned up, he just sidled off leaving the police and the crowd shouting in to an empty letter box. On another occasion he found himself in London and at a loose end. Clutching a length of rope, he walked up to a suited gentleman and explained that he was an architect and would the gentleman please help him by holding the end of this rope. He explained that he was going to nip around the corner of the building and when he pulled on the rope, it would be most helpful if the gentleman could pull on his end as hard as possible. Eddie disappeared around the corner and spun the exact same story to another similarly clad gentleman. He then crossed the road and watched the two strangers straining and pulling their guts out on each end of his rope.   Many years ago Alan Jackson now with radio Merseyside used to host the Mannin Line on Manx radio. I have never believed in the flying saucer theories, and one day decided to prove it. I called the Mannin Line and explained that I had seen a flying saucer the previous night out at Derbyhaven. I kept to the standard descriptions, cigar shaped, and with flashing orange lights. Alan of course showed great interest, and before long quite a number of callers were calling in to say they had seen it as well. Right near the end of the programme some sod from Ballasalla called in and said, “Now just howld a minute yessir. That guy who first phoned in about this flying saucer lark, sounded very much like Tom Glassey from Castletown to me, and he is as blind as a bat!”   Sometimes I think life itself is one big practical joke. I am not sure who is laughing loudest or indeed who has the last laugh. However, there is usually a funny side to everything. Sometimes it can take a long time to find it and sometimes we might not find it at all. I have spent most of my life laughing. Yes for sure, the laughter stopped for a while last January when I was told I had terminal cancer, but now some 8 or 9 months on, the tears have turned back to laughter once again. I thought my laughing days were over, but I was wrong again. It’s difficult to laugh at cancer. However, every time you manage a smile or a laugh, you do serious damage to its armour. No, you can’t simply laugh your way out of cancer. However, laughter is the best medicine and cancer doesn’t like it. With love and laughter we can conquer all evil, if we only had enough of it!   This is Tom Glassey, still laughing on the banks of the Silverburn River.

TomGlassey

TomGlassey

 

Wednesday November 19th

I am told that today is world toilet day, and appropriately I will be relaying a story regarding a toilet matter later in this blog.   I have always been fond of the odd practical joke. Down through the years I have been the perpetrator, and on the receiving end of many. Providing no one gets hurt, or humiliated, a good gut wrenching laugh is what most of us need to deal with the more serious aspects of life. Of course some people simply don’t have a sense of humour. It’s no different to being blind or deaf, it’s simply a disability. I’m not sure if it should qualify you for a disabled car sticker, or indeed incapacity benefit, but I’m sure it must be a struggle trying to get through life without it. Nuns don’t appear to have much of a sense of humour as I found to my cost during my 11 years spent at the convent in Liverpool. They certainly did not appreciate the time I dressed up a life size statue of St. Dominic in his Sunday best and stood him next to the snooker table with a cue in his hand and a fag sticking out of his mouth. Mind you, thinking back I guess the nuns must have some kind of humour, otherwise what the hell was a snooker table doing in the play room of a blind school. They also were not amused the time I filled the back of the piano with snow in the assembly hall.   My friends and family have always known that I am something of a radio buff. They would often drop by so that they could listen to ships, aircraft or whatever else I could find for them. One day the milkman called. I had just turned on the radio and was listening to a play on radio four. The play was about an aircraft where the pilot had taken a heart attack and one of the passengers had taken over the controls and was being talked down by the control tower. The milkman knowing I tuned into ships and aircraft on my VHF radio, sat down and was going nowhere until the drama ended. He sat on our sofa hardly able to believe what he was hearing. Unfortunately some 45 minutes later I did not get my hand to the off switch quickly enough, and a BBC announcer blabbed out my secret. The milkman slammed out of the front door almost smashing the window in the door, cursing and swearing and late with his deliveries. On another occasion I was listening to a comic play on the same radio station. The play was about horse racing. As I listened my Auntie Marie turned up and plonked herself down. “So, listening to the horse racing are we,” she said. At the end of the play the commentator describing the end of the race announced that, Black Magic won the 3.30 at Chester, but then carried on galloping, and went on to win the 5.30 at Haydock. I can still hear my Auntie Marie’s gasps of disbelief. “Some flaming horse that one” she yelled as she made her way to the kettle. As far as I know she still believes that Black Magic is the only horse ever to win two races on two different race courses in the same day.   Now at the beginning I told you that today is national world toilet day. Well according to 5 live at any rate. So, I close today with a toilet story.   My dear friend and neighbour George was a simple man. He emptied coal boats with my father and worked on building sites in between times. He gave most of his wages away. He was kindness itself. One day on the building site George fell in need of a poo. So, he took himself off behind a hedge and pulled his trousers down. One of his workmates observing George from a distance decided to have a bit of fun, and so as George took the strain his workmate held a shovel under George’s backside and removed the poo. When George had finished, he pulled up his trousers and could not believe his eyes, he knew he’d done one, yet there was no sign of it what so-ever. George slinked his way back to work and completed the rest of his day a worried man. As soon as 5o’clock came round George took himself off to the doctors. He explained to the doctor that he could feel his poo coming, and he was certain to all extent and purposes he had done it yet there was absolutely nothing to show for it. I won’t go into the treatment dished out by the doctor for George. Let’s just say that George spent a considerable part of the following day on the toilet.   Well tomorrow I will have more practical joke stories for you. In the meantime if you have any practical joke stories for me, email them to tomglassey@manx.net   This is Tom Glassey on the banks of the Silverburn River.

TomGlassey

TomGlassey

 

Tuesday November 18th

I heard on the radio yesterday, that a group of youngsters in the Midlands have been prevented by the local council, from singing carols and taking mince pies to an old folk’s home, on health and safety grounds. I also heard about a special training centre for Father Christmases. Yes, it appears that the large department stores are sending their Father Christmases on courses. I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s not possible to gain a university degree in Christmas. In fact in a couple of years it will probably be compulsory to be fully qualified and with a Santa clause degree in order to hand out bags of sweets and balloons in Woollies. Of course we all know that there is only one Father Christmas who lives in Iceland. Let us hope that he did not have his bank account with Singer and Friedlander.   I have been following the case of little Anna Jones who at the age of 13, having been treated for cancer with chemotherapy and radiotherapy, decided that enough was enough when her only option left was to have a heart transplant. Anna simply decided for herself that she had had enough and now just wanted to remain at home and see out whatever time she has left with her family. The authorities intervened and tried to force young Anna to have the operation against her will and were going to take her away from her parents who were supporting Anna’s wishes. Thankfully these morons did not get their way and Anna is now back at home with her parents, having spent large chunks of her 13 years in Hospital. Anna unfortunately won’t be getting what she wants for Christmas unless God himself intervenes. None-the-less she has given all of us a very special Christmas present. She has melted away all of our problems in as much as compared to Anna’s situation, our problems are minor. What a very special little girl.   Tom Glassey on the banks of the Silverburn river.

TomGlassey

TomGlassey

 

Monday November 17th

Good morning people, well Christmas is now only 5 weeks away. For those of you who hate Christmas, there is always Boxing Day. You will love Boxing Day because it is the longest time until the next Christmas.   I am glad to report that we got through the weekend without having to drag anyone out of the river. Our rescued friend paid us a couple of visits on Friday. She explained that she had been to see her MHK to ask for a fence to be erected along the river bank and lights to be installed. I hope he told her that it would be a lot simpler and cheaper if she didn’t go wandering around down on the river bank in the dead of night.   Don’t they get worked up across the water regarding their nancy footballers in the premiership. Apparently someone in the crowd chucked a coin at one of the Chelsea players. The player picked it up and promptly chucked it back. He might receive 40 lashes and go to prison for 10 years. Blimey I remember a match between Peel and Ramsey, where the players joined forces with the crowd and threw the referee into the river. As far as I know, nothing happened to anyone. On another occasion, once again in a match between Peel and Ramsey, the ref’s changing hut was set on fire, no one even bothered to call the fire brigade. In one of Malew’s matches their goalkeeper, Herbie Nelson was once sent off for foul play. The trouble was that Herbie actually owned the field the match was being played on, and informed the referee, that if he couldn’t play, then no one else was going to either, including the referee. They do seem to make mountains from mole hills across the water. I am surprised that any of the crowd has any coins to chuck once they have made the extortionate admission fees.   Well folks that completes my rant for today. I am of course on the banks of the Silverburn, and coping very well without fences and lights.

TomGlassey

TomGlassey

 

Friday November 14th

Hi Folks! Well this is my first blog this week. I’m sorry about that. For one reason or another I just didn’t get around to blogging.   Well we had an eventful period last night as we hit the sack. Our bedroom looks out over the Silverburn River. The Silverburn is hardly a hive of activity during the daytime let alone in the pitch black night. It’s normal for us to hear kids larking about, but mostly during the summer months. Last night loud screams for help came up from the river and so Barbara quickly dressed and went down to the river to see what she could do. I called the police and before long it emerged that a young woman had fallen into the river. By the time Barbara arrived on the scene two lads had come to the young lady’s aid and helped her out of the water. She was obviously wet through and extremely cold. She had chosen the deepest part of the river to fall into and highest drop from the bank. Anyway Barbara got her into our car to take her home and by the time Babs returned to the car after fetching the keys from the house, the young lady had absconded. We never saw her again, and the police called this morning to tell us, the lady concerned is OK and back home again. Well another amazing thing about this young lady was that at the time she fell in to the river, she was clutching a carrier bag containing four tins of lager. She still had hold of the bag when she was fished out of the river. She had inhaled a fair bit of river as well which is why the police spent a fair bit of the night trying to trace her to make sure she was ok. Barbara has just fished the girl’s mobile phone out of the river and the Lord only knows what other personal belongings are still in the water. Anyway its heartening to know that some folks never loose their priorities. Even though she must have been absolutely freezing cold, and probably in the water for 5 or 10 minutes, she still hung on to her four cans of lager.   Last week I told you the story of George Freestone. One of the kindest men I have ever met. Well someone contacted me to tell me of an incident concerning George. It seems that around one Christmas time, George and his mates were at work on a building site. When the men received their pay, George approached a work mate that George knew had a large family. and gave the man half of his wages. “Take this money,” said George, “for you have many kids and I have only two.”   What a truly wonderful man!   Well that is it then people until Monday.   This is Tom Glassey on, and not in the Silverburn River.

TomGlassey

TomGlassey

 

Pharmacies Can Improve Mens Health

MEN’S MACHO ATTITUDE COULD COST 40,000 LIVES PER YEAR Community pharmacy could hold the key to saving the lives of 40,000 men every year*. New research from the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain (RPSGB) could shed light on the reasons behind the poor state of men’s health in Britain. The RPSGB commissioned study, designed to discover how men’s attitudes might affect their healthcare, revealed that 59% of men are reluctant to ask for help and only seek medical advice if they are ‘very ill or in great pain’. This factor is compounded by their commitment to looking macho and could contribute towards reducing their life expectancy by up to five years*. The research showed that almost two in five men (39%) believe that crying during films is not a manly trait, and one in six claimed that revealing a vulnerable side to their partner was a not anoption for them. Under general circumstances, asking for help is considered not to be a macho characteristic, particularly when changing a tyre (33%), requiring directions (13%) or needing medical advice (7%). One in seventeen men (6%) revealed that they believe they will beconsidered ‘soft’ if seeking medical help and one in seven (14%) were afraid of what they might be told. Despite men’s life expectancy in comparison to women’s improving over the last 20 years, the gap decreasing from 5.8 years to 4.3 years**, there is still a significant difference between the sexes. If men looked after themselves better and their life expectancy was as high aswomen’s, it is estimated that 40,000 less men would die each year. David Pruce, the RPSGB’s Director of Policy, said:   “Men’s health has been improving over the last 20 years and this is very much down to a change in habits – men are smoking less and paying much better attention to their diets. What we need now is a change in attitude. Men need to snap out of the ‘big boys don’t cry’ mind-set and start taking health problems seriously. “The statistics show that the greatest threat to a man’s health is still himself! We really need to get men into the habit of getting themselves checked out by a health professional moreregularly. Men are at much greater risk than women of developing chronic illnesses like heart and respiratory disease – partly due to not being diagnosed early enough. “Men are often reluctant to visit their GP but visit a pharmacy quite regularly to pick up everyday essentials like aftershave, condoms and vitamins. While they are there, guys should speak to their pharmacist and ask them for advice or a health check – it’s so easy. There is no need for an appointment and most have private consultation rooms for discreet assessments. “The pharmacy is a great place to start. It’s free and they will always refer people to a GP if necessary.   Charles Flynn, Secretary of the IOM Branch of The Royal Pharmaceuticl Society says:"It is a very important message affecting men and their families. The pharmacy is easy and convenient to go to and the pharmacist and his/her staff are keen to help and improve the health and the life expectancy of men. All advice is professional and freely available. It is confidential. Please men, take advantage of your local pharmacy. I promise it will be time well spent on the most important person in your life -YOU".   Men’s health – the facts**: • Five thousand people are severely injured in accidents every year in the UK, 75% of them men. Males also score heavily in other indicators of aggression and rebellion - four times as many take their own lives compared to women and men make up 88% ofall drug offenders • Men are more likely than women to be overweight and the majority of men are tooheavy: 45% are medically defined as overweight and an additional 17% as obese • 28% of men still smoke • 27% of men drink alcohol at a level that could be harmful to their health • The suicide rate among men is increasing. The rate has doubled among 15–24 year olds in the past 25 years• Men are more likely than women to be mentally ill • Compared to the wider population, Indian, Bangladeshi, Black, Caribbean and Irishmen are at greater risk of heart disease and stroke Men’s health case studyA case study, Pharmacists convince men to take health seriously, is available via http://www.rpsgb.org/pdfs/pharmcasestudymenshealth.pdf, outlining the work of pharmacy in men’s health at Knowlsey Primary Care Trust, Merseyside.   About the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain (RPSGB) The RPSGB is the professional and regulatory body for pharmacists in England, Scotland and Wales. It also regulates pharmacy technicians on a voluntary basis, which is expected to become statutory under anticipated legislation. The primary objectives of the RPSGB are to lead, regulate, develop and represent the profession of pharmacy.The RPSGB leads and supports the development of the profession within the context of the public benefit. This includes the advancement of science, practice, education and knowledge in pharmacy. In addition, it promotes the profession’s policies and views to a range of external stakeholders in a number of different forums. Following the publication in 2007 of the Government White Paper Trust, Assurance and Safety - The Regulation of Health Professionals in the 21st Century, the RPSGB is working towards the demerger of its regulatory and professional roles. This will see the establishment of a new General Pharmaceutical Council and a new professional body for pharmacy in 2010. Website: www.rpsgb.orgRPSGB research Original RPSGB research carried out by YouGov between 10 – 13 October, interviewing 1981 UK adults (951 men and 1030 women). Raw data available on request. References*Office for National Statistics. 2005 figures show by age 80 there are 143,238 male deaths and 104,539 female deaths (male excess 38699) **Sources: NHS Direct, www.nhsdirect.nhs.uk; Men’s Health Forum, www.menshealthforum.org.uk

Charles Flynn

Charles Flynn

 

Thursday November 7th

The name George Freestone will not be familiar to most of you. He neither sought nor did he gain fame. George is one of the kindest men I ever met. When I was a kid, whenever he saw me in the street he would thrust his hand in to his pocket and hand me a two shilling piece or if he had had a good week, half a crown. George was a brick layer by trade. Anyone meeting George for the first time would probably not be over whelmed by his personality. However, they would be struck by the fact that they had just met an extremely nice gentleman. Not long after I had published my book, George stopped me in the street one day. He told me he had written a small book about his neighbours and wanted me to read it and give him my opinion. The book turned out to be several sheets of paper on which George had written the names of everyone that lived in his street and the surrounding area. It really amounted to a list of names and occupations. None-the-less, all these people had made such an impact on George that he had remembered them and had taken the trouble to write their names down and a few lines about them. Since then, Castletown Heritage have used George’s recollections and have ensured that they are kept for posterity. Just a couple of years ago, I was sitting in the hair dresses having my hair cut, when George arrived assisting an old lady in to the shop, and calling back to collect her later. He was getting old himself then but was still helping other folk out whenever he could. George typifies that old saying. “It’s nice to be important but it’s much more important to be nice!” When I stop and think about all the famous people I have admired, footballers, singers and so on, of course I only remember them with regards to their profession. I.e. goals scored, records made, speeches by politicians. I think George is much more worthy. I remember him simply for being kind and nice. Yes, if I had a hall of fame, pride of place amongst the footballers, pop stars and writers, would be that wonderful gentle and kind hearted builder, George Freestone.   Tom Glassey on the banks of the Silverburn River.

TomGlassey

TomGlassey

 

Thursday November 6th

Well bonfire night is out of the way for another year, although the fireworks seem to get louder and louder each year. For a while I thought Saddam Hussein was in my front garden. However, we move on to the next date that is marked down in the calendar. This of course is November 11th, Remembrance day where we remember all those who gave their lives so that we can be free. Many of us wear the poppy. In my school days spent in a catholic convent in Liverpool, we were all given crucifixes on a chain to wear round our necks. This was to remind us that Jesus Christ died for us on a cross. The Christian church decided that because it could not accurately date the crucifixion, it would steal the pagan feast of Easter. This is why we have Good Friday falling on a different date each year. Originally Good Friday was the day on which the moon was worshiped. It was always the nearest Friday to the full moon.   Anyway that is a very long time ago, back to the nuns at St. Vincent’s. Just before Easter a very large crucifix was erected just outside the school chapel in the porch way. In letters large enough for blind kids to feel and read, an inscription above the cross read, “Remember, Jesus Christ died for you!” Looking back now I believe there should also have been an image of a dying soldier along side that cross, with an inscription that might have read. “So did I!”   We were never given poppies at school that I remember. The nuns were quite right to mark and remember the fact that Jesus Christ died for them. However, he was not the only one to make the ultimate sacrifice. Thousands and thousands of soldiers, sailors, and airman gave their lives so that the nuns could be free to follow their religion, and so that all of us can be free from tyranny.     Tom Glassey, on the banks of the Silverburn River, breathing the air of freedom sacrificed by the last breath of all those brave men and women that fell.

TomGlassey

TomGlassey

 

Wednesday November 5th

Well what a momentous day. I do believe that as a result of the election in America yesterday, the World today is a safer place. In my opinion for what it is worth, America has given the world a friend, someone that will at least talk openly and honestly, as opposed to someone who talks from behind a cruise missile. I was very impressed with John McCain though. He behaved like a gentleman all the way through. Maybe he was a tad too much of a gentleman at times. However, at 72 his time had probably passed him by.   Well here we go again people, its fireworks time once again. When I was a kid I was always back at the convent in Liverpool for bonfire night after spending the weekend at home for half term. In those days we had sparklers, bangers, ripraps, Catherine wheels and rockets. I hate to think what they have today, probably nuclear missiles and cluster bombs. Well it certainly sounds like that listening to the racket that goes on just outside my house. Once today is out of the way, its full steam ahead for Christmas.   We always had a Christmas party at the convent. However, for economic reasons we joined with the local comprehensive school down the road. The nuns always drummed into us to be grateful for whatever we received. Yes I even had to pretend to be grateful for my torch given to me by Father Christmas at the party. I think the organizers forgot that half the kids were blind and didn’t make any allowances when buying the toys. The trouble is, in a blind school, who the hell are you going to swap a flippin’ torch with! It wasn’t just torches for Christmas either that gave me a problem. The nuns had a weird sense of humour or sense of prospective. I didn’t find having to sit for 2 bloody hours through a silent movie much fun. That was the nun’s idea of a treat for the kids on a Saturday afternoon. Afternoons spent in an art gallery did not go down a wow either.   Okay folks it is now time for me to slink off down stairs again. I have not included my Manx tails article this month, as I attached it by mistake a couple of months ago.   Until tomorrow then people, enjoy the fireworks tonight and we shall meet again same place, same time tomorrow.   Tom Glassey, on the banks of the Silverburn River.

TomGlassey

TomGlassey

 

Tuesday November 4th

Well today is a very big day 3,000 miles away across the pond. I must say though, an American election seems to last for as long as the term of office. In two years time they will begin this entire lark all over again. Well this election has probably been more exciting than recent ones. However, I wonder if in four years time there will be any Americans saying “Thank goodness for Obama,” or “thank God for Mccain, my life has really improved since his election.” I very much doubt it.   Tomorrow is bomb fire night, and after that of course its full steam ahead to Christmas. I bet the Christmas music is already being pumped through the streets of Douglas. I heard on the wireless this morning that a council in South Wales has been found in breech of new health and safety regulations and have been told they cannot put up their own Christmas trees and decorations, at least not by using a ladder. They now have to bring in contractors who will have to use cherry pickers. I suppose its only a question of time before Father Christmas, has to be a half cast, bisexual, and referred to as a Christmas parent! Well before we reach that stage, enjoy your fireworks tomorrow. It is only a question of time before health and safety catch up with you.   Tom Glassey, on the banks of the Silverburn river.

TomGlassey

TomGlassey

 

Monday November 3rd

Good morning people. Well it’s sure a wonderful feeling to feel good on a Monday morning. When you have retired or had to give up work for whatever reason, Monday mornings are much more welcome that they use to be.   Now then, imagine you are standing in your kitchen, looking out of the window, when you spot a motor car crashing through your fence before finally coming to a stand still on your lawn. Then as if that is not enough, you discover that the driver is a 6 year old child. Well that is what happened to my brother yesterday afternoon. The incident was followed by my brother and the child’s parents have a very interesting discussion.   I heard a something on the radio on Saturday morning about life’s anomalies so I thought, yes! I bet there are loads of them out there. After writing this blog for nearly a year, you sort of get to know who to approach for information when you need it. So, I am not that surprised to receive over 300 anomalies from around the world.   I include a small sample of them. If you would like my full list, then email tomglassey@manx.net     Why is it called the rush hour when no one is going anywhere?   Telephones, why are wrong numbers never engaged?   Why do we say things such as, I’m sure I put my specs in my pocket, when we obviously didn’t?   What is good about Good Friday?   How can we be overwhelmed, underwhelmed, but never just whelmed?   Why are dogs that rely on having really good eyesight in order to guide people about referred to as blind dogs?   How can anything be dead good?   Why does my nose run, and my feet smell?   If fairy liquid cleans dishes, why do my T-towels get dirty?   I have yet to come across a house that got on well with a fire?   In hospital terms, why does he or she is comfortable, usually mean they could snuff it at any time!   Why are boxing rings square?   Why do you fill out a form by filling it in?   Why are they called apartments when they are all stuck together?   Why are there Braille signs on drive up cash machines?   What is a free gift, aren’t all gifts free?   If olive oil comes from olives, where does baby oil come from?   How can you have a defining silence?     Tom Glassey on the banks of the Silverburn River.

TomGlassey

TomGlassey

 

Friday October 31st

Hop Tu naa has come round again. Well I hope the kids turn up tonight with a turnip and witches outfit. They will get no money from me if they don’t. I hope this stupid trick or treat lark has now gone back to America and never given a passport to roam again. I note that over in the UK, they are now calling tonight mischief night. Extra police are on duty and what have you. I don’t know where mischief night originates from but, it sounds even worse than trick or treat. Let’s hope that our good old Manx tradition of Hop Tu Naa is the only song that is sung tonight. I have my bag of money ready in the window by the front door, and I shall only be dipping into it for Hop Tu Naaers.   On Wednesday it is bonfire night of course. I have never really been able to work out if the Brits celebrate the fact that Guy Forks failed to blow up Parliament, or the fact that he tried to.   I am having a problem trying to get my head around this money problem at present. The banks are going to the wall. People are losing their jobs, and mortgages are up the creek. Yet, tomorrow night a bunch of English cricketers will take on the West Indies in a winners take all match for half a million quid. As if that isn’t enough, the BBC pay a guy who leaves insulting messages on an old man’s answering machine, and then broadcasts the insulting message to the entire nation, 6 million quid a year. The BBC says this Jonathan Ross guy has a huge audience. I wouldn’t call 2 million out of 60 million that damn huge. Anyway it seems to me, that if this guy is on 6 million a year and a bunch of cricketers are going to earn half a million quid for playing a game of cricket, there is plenty of money sloshing around in the world. It’s just that the majority of it seems to be in the hands of fruitcakes.   OK then folks, that enough from me for now. I shall be back on Monday God willing, and even if he isn’t all that willing hopefully I’ll still be back on Monday.   This is Tom Glassey on the banks of the Silverburn River.  

TomGlassey

TomGlassey

 

Thursday October 30th

I have just completed one lap of Poulson Park. This is the first time I have walked Skipper for two or 3 weeks. I know I have suggested in other blogs that I was about to take Skipper out, but I didn’t actually manage it. I have been lumbered with pleurisy which has very much restricted what I have been able to do. Well, at least I seem to be over the worst of it now. This time last year, I had just packed in smoking. My cough was getting worse and I was becoming breathless even when out on short walks. I was starting to fear the worst. However, I had always told myself that I would pack in smoking as soon as the first signs of cancer came along. Great idea being as I didn’t even know what the signs of cancer was. I visited my doctor, who told me I had something called COPD, and with a bit of medication and exercise I would be fine. COPD it seems as a condition a lot of smokers end up with. Apart from other things, it narrows the airways and makes it difficult to breathe. Anyway my condition worsened and within 3 months I was right in the proverbial with lung cancer. I had a rotten Christmas although I didn’t know at that time I had lung cancer. I could hardly get up and down the stairs and life in general was a struggle. February and March proved to be the darkest days of my life. I had very little hope, and I was sailing fast towards death and Easter not knowing which would come first. More consultants, chemotherapy, radiation treatment and family and friends pulling together encouraging me to fight on, eventually plucked me from those dark days. Today, the sun shines, I am filled with hope, and I look forward to the future. It does not have to be a bright future, I am simply grateful to have a future to look forward to. I am not living on borrowed time as no one said I have to give it back. Life means so much more to me these days, having almost lost it. I live in a beautiful world, but what a shame it took lung cancer to make me fully appreciate it. I have been very fortunate in that I have a wonderful wife to stand beside me and fight the battle against cancer with me. I can’t imagine how difficult this battle must be for those of you who have to face this terrible ordeal alone.   All over the world people are facing up to terrible ordeals, war, poverty, and dreadful diseases. Many of them will not even have basic medical support. At present we are concerned because our banks are in chaos and we are facing what we call or believe to be difficult times. A banking crisis is nothing compared to the suffering many people around the world are enduring. I have been extremely lucky; I was simply born in the right place. My ordeal has made me so much more grateful for everything I have. But more importantly I feel so much now for the poor sods in other parts of the world which are not so lucky. I guess they probably don’t believe that it is a beautiful world. But then what do we mean by a beautiful world, probably as far as the eye can see.   This is Tom Glassey, on the banks of the Silverburn River.  

TomGlassey

TomGlassey

 

Wednesday October 29th

I was thinking last night about some of the folks I have met down through the years, and whether I had an inspirational effect or a negative effect on them the first time I met them.   Well, there is one guy who comes to mind that I definitely had a disastrous effect on the first time we met. I know this because I heard him say as much. In the mid 80’s I worked on a log splitter with my Dad. I would go out to Derbyhaven to the log splitting shed and split logs using a log splitting machine during the mornings. In the afternoons I would often take a gander down to the George hotel and have a few pints. One day I finished splitting logs and took myself off to the George. I got talking to a Dutchman who had just arrived on the island. He told me he was booked in at the Golf links hotel. Anyway one thing led to another and me and my new Dutch friend downed several pints. I guess we got a little carried away and I stayed longer than I would have normally done. By teatime my Dutch friend was rather the worse for wear. So, I ordered him a taxi and sent him on his way to the golf links hotel. The following day, after I had finished log splitting, I made my way down to the George as usual. I sat myself down on a stool at the bar, and with hardly anyone in the bar it was easy for me to hear the voice coming from the other side of the wall where the public telephone was. The Dutchman was obviously telling someone somewhere that he had arrived on the Isle of Man and how he was getting on. At one point in his conversation he paused for breath before belting out. “Yes, but you don’t understand, I went in to pub and met blind man, and then disaster happened!” When the door finally opened and the Dutchman returned to the bar from his telephone chat, he gasped and let burst with, “Oh no, not again, not the blind man!” Well I guess we all need our excuses in life. On this occasion I only had a couple and left the Dutchman chatting up the bar maid. I guess he was still there several hours later, and I would not mind a small bet on the side, that a similar telephone conversation may well have taken place the following day which blamed the blind man. In fact I wonder just how many binges I was responsible for during our Dutch friends stay.   Well people, until tomorrow then, this Tom Glassey on the banks of the Silverburn River.

TomGlassey

TomGlassey

 

Tuesday October 28th

It’s quite common today to come across deal from retailers offering money back within 30 days if you are not happy with the product. The shrewd old Manxies would never pay for anything unless they had tried it out and were 100% certain it did the job. George Rudd was one such shrewd Manx farmer. I am told that George was so strong he could pick up a pony under each arm. Anyway one day George was due to go and collect his new set of false teeth from the dentist. The dentist got a little more than he bargained for though. After fitting George’s nashers, George remained in the chair. George had brought with him a packet of digestive biscuits, and munched through at least four of them before proclaiming the teeth to be satisfactory. I suppose that is a bit like going in to a sweet shop and buying a box of chocolates, but insisting on eating half the top layer before you decide whether to buy them or not.   I remember George sitting in our front room in our house on Janet’s Corner. He was rather concerned about the youth of the day. “Tom,” said George “One of these days I will be sitting here looking out of your front window, and the bloody telephone box will go down the road in a wheel barrow yesser!” I almost felt like getting the lads together to make sure it happened. As far as I know, the phone box at Janet’s Corner is still there, but sadly George is no longer with us. What a shame they don’t have phone boxes where George is now. One day your prediction will come true George, however, it won’t be a bunch of youngsters that cart the telephone box off in a wheel barrow. It will be Manx telecom.   Well, I am now about to walk Skipper in the rain and cold. Hopefully I will be back tomorrow.   This is Tom Glassey, on the banks of the Silverburn River.  

TomGlassey

TomGlassey

 

Monday October 27

Hello folks, it’s bitterly cold today, and the wind has swung round to the Northwest. They say it will be even colder tomorrow and for the rest of the week. We have to go to Douglas later; gosh it seems like a bit of an ordeal now to go to Douglas. It has to be something really important to make me go to Douglas.   When I was a youngster, going to Douglas was really exciting, even though it was a lot more hassle in those days. For one thing you had to catch the bus. Today you just jump in the car and you are there in 15 minutes. None-the-less heading off to Douglas on the bus as a kid with Mother and my brothers was a really exciting adventure. The bus itself was an exciting mode of transport. There was a unique smell about those route master busses. Maybe it was the paper in the conductor’s ticket machine, and the carpeted seats. Once in Douglas, Woolworths was an absolute heaven, the greatest toy shop in the world. It was even more special if you had an Aunt Trudy working on the sweet counter. I wonder can you be still prosecuted 45 years on. Well she didn’t really nick the sweets; it was just that the scales didn’t always work properly and gave half a pound instead of a quarter. Still I guess that when the accountants got round to doing the annual accounts for Woolies, they didn’t notice the few pounds of sweets my Aunty Trudy had mislaid throughout the year. To a kid that grew up in Castletown, Douglas was exciting, busy and vibrant. If you were there at 8.55 or 2.55, you would hear the Isle of Man Steam Packet vessel blowing her whistle to either announce her departure or arrival from Liverpool. You seldom hear the Ben My Chree blow her whistle these days. If going to Douglas once a month was a treat for me, then for some folks on this Island, it was a once in a lifetime experience. When we lived in St.Johns in the late 80’s, I once met a chap who was standing outside the village shop, and he told me he had not been to Douglas since 1938. I even met a chap in Bride who told me he had not been in to Ramsey for 5 years. I myself have never been abroad, apart from a day trip to Norway. I know of one certain gentleman who lives in Port Grenaugh who has never left the Island, and it’s not Donald Gelling. A neighbour of mine back in the 60’s had supported Everton all his life, so one day he decided he would sail across to Liverpool on a day trip and watch them play at Goodison Park. When poor old Ned arrived there, he decided he didn’t like it very much and tried to leave the ground. The only trouble was that 45,000 people were travelling in the opposite direction. Ned returned home to Castletown safely on the boat and for the rest of his life he confined his sporting aspirations to turning out for the Duck’s Nest dart team on Tuesday nights.   I spent 11 years of my young life in Liverpool, and much of that time was spent watching the ships on the banks of the Mersey. Now, just like my neighbour Ned, I am happy to confine myself to walking the banks of the Silverburn.   This is Tom Glassey, reminiscing on a bitterly cold October day, on the banks of the Silverburn River.

TomGlassey

TomGlassey

 

Friday October 24th

Well the super seacat is still sleeping in Douglas harbour, and the Ben has sailed but very late for Heysham. I very much doubt that super seacat will have discovered any of her super powers by tomorrow as the weather is going to be worse by then. If you are planning to cross the water tomorrow, I would book your flight now if I were you. The south-westerly gale reached a maximum speed of 58 knots at Castletown Breakwater, that’s about 65 mph. Still we did not get the very heavy rain they predicted.   Doesn’t the over the top security drive you round the twist these days. There once was a time not that long ago, when you could turn up to catch the 9 a.m sailing to Liverpool at one minute to 9 with no ticket. You could buy your ticket at the foot of the gangway and simply walk onboard. I remember as a kid one day at the airport, wandering out onto the tarmac and feeling my way all around a Dakota aeroplane. John Cooil who was part of the airport fixtures and fittings at that time, even came out and took me onboard the plane. They tell me the security is very strict at Tynwald with metal detectors and cameras. These days our MHK’S are forever telling us they are on a world stage. Well I am willing to bet that al Qaeda have never heard of Tynwald. Anyway the security they employ there would not stop the real fruitcakes from getting in. They just stand for election. Well my wonderful friend and nurse has now arrived and Barbara has just put the kettle on, so I will bid you all good-bye until Monday.   Tom Glassey, on the banks of the Silverburn River.

TomGlassey

TomGlassey

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