The Guardian’s pick of the week’s films on TV was ‘A Late Quartet’, made by American documentary film maker Yaron Zilberman based around a famed classical music quartet and led by a recently widowed cellist Peter (Christopher Walken) with the late Philip Seymour Hoffman, Mark Avenir and Catherine Keener. Peter is diagnosed with Parkinson’s and the film follows the turmoil that ensues. Can he keep on playing? Can the group stay together?

It is a remarkable film on two levels: first for the chemistry from four such great performances and second for the portrayal of a Parkinson’s diagnosis. Christopher Walken shows how hands and fingers stop doing what you want them to do, how suddenly you can’t get up from a chair, how you stoop involuntarily, how your stride shortens, how everything gets smaller, especially hand writing, how your stony facial expression makes it look as though every day is a bad day.

If you have an interest in PD then watch this film. It made me feel that there are others out there facing the same horrible demons as myself, but at the same time fighting and adapting with all they have got. Nuff said.

And PS – the musical score is marvellous.

On a more personal note, just lately I’ve been having nightmares which may be caused by my various medicines. But last night I compounded the situation by howling aloud, followed by throwing myself out of bed, knocking down a concrete sculpture, which landed on my left ear cutting the lobe, which in turn tipped a Kilner jar of Euros on my head….which woke me up.

We have of course cleared the booby trap and some of the debris, but at least I’ve not howled much of late.


A full house of members of the pub grumblers society meant we had a lot to debate though nothing useful emerged, not that it ever does. We live in hope!


Just read the warnings on my latest medicine pack. Two possible side effects at more than 1 in 10 persons; swollen ankles and red blotchy spots. Twenty plus side effects at less than 1 in 10 persons (includes hallucinations!). Rare side effects affecting less than 1 in 1,000 persons, nine of them. Very rare side effects 1 in 10,000 of which there are four.

The lists provide several examples of possible contradiction eg diarrhoea and constipation, loss of bladder control, ie difficulty in peeing or a sudden urge to pee. Hey ho and ‘festina lente’ as the Romans said.

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