Blue Morning Sky

I still don’t really know what I came down with back in January. And I’m not sure that the doctors know either. “Heart failure,” they suggested. If so, I never noticed it. And don’t really believe it.

All I know is that, over the past few months, I’ve become skin and bone. I’ve always been thin, but now I’m even thinner. My ribs are individually visible. The skin on my arms hangs loose. I need a walking frame to get around my flat.

But I actually feel perfectly well. I don’t feel ill. And since getting home a couple of weeks ago, I have a strong appetite, and I’m eating twice as much as before.

My initial symptoms, 4 months ago, included shortness of breath, which was one of the symptoms of the new coronavirus. So I tend to think that’s probably what I got. And the symptoms of it come in many variations, it seems.

Anyway, if the episode has resulted in a considerable weight loss, it’s also left my mind rather blank. I’m not much interested in politics and Trump and all the rest of it. It all seems like a big fuss over nothing. So there’s been little that I’ve wanted to write about. I’m just enjoying the warm green delicious English summer we’re currently experiencing. And I can’t think of anything to write about.

That might change. I’ve just spent the longest time I’ve ever been in hospital, and that’s a transformative experience. It probably is for anyone who goes through it.

Do doctors know much about medicine? Probably not. Or not that much. It was what I thought before I went into hospital, and it’s what I still think now that I’ve come out. What do we really know about anything?

And now I’ll go back to listening to the birds in the garden, and watching them flit between the roofs in the sunlight beneath the spreading blue morning sky.


About Frank Davis

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39 Responses to Blue Morning Sky

  1. p soakel says:


  2. smokingscot says:

    A Zimmer frame is not good Frank and is regression from the walking stick. What comes next is a wheelchair – sadly.

    If you need to get all the right nutrients and calories really fast, then this is what I did when recovering from bowel cancer and undergoing chemotherapy. A time when I was extremely lethargic and so thin I had bedsores down my spine and needed a cushion to sit as all that touched was my hip bones and a thin layer of skin.

    Complan is still my favourite, tastes ace and cones in lots of flavours. I like the Vanilla one.

    To that, add several desert spoonfuls of Condensed milk.

    And you use Tesco, so next order you make, please include them. Sweetened condensed milk is brilliant on its own, so maybe order 3 or more tins.

    • Vlad says:

      Ingredients of Complan:
      Skimmed Cow’s Milk, Maltodextrin, Glucose Syrup, Vegetable Oils (Palmolein, Sunflower Oil),
      Why would a recovering person need artificial sugars and oil? What’s wrong with whole milk, eggs, cream, meat…particularly as Frank mentioned he has a strong appetite.

    • Frank Davis says:

      I spent most of my time in hospital in bed, and that left my legs pretty weak. But now that I’m back home and pottering around my flat, I’m much more active, and I’m hoping that my legs improve, and I can go back to the walking stick (which I used outside rather than indoors).

      • smokingscot says:

        I can understand that, however you don’t need to hope you’ll improve. Get yourself booked into a gym in your area (stacks – I’ve googled it), tell them what your problems are and they’ll devise a routine for you. In this respect you’re not unique and most gyms have a sessions only for Seniors.

  3. Mark Jarratt says:

    Yes enjoy the fine weather after your “transformative experience” Frank. It’s encouraging you have a sound appetite. Keep well and eat on! Your inspiration will surely return, just having a little kip…after years of daily erudite blogging. 😴

  4. Rose says:

    I love condensed milk and haven’t had it for ages, I wonder if they still do the squeezy tube.

  5. RdM says:

    I only buy cream, for coffee and maybe deserts, also to whisk a bit into an omelette or for scrambled egg, or added to smashed or mashed potatoes, already after a bit of butter.

    Maybe a couple of times a year I’ve bought full fat milk, can’t remember what I did with it.
    Years ago briefly I had some organic raw milk from a friend, wow, that was rich in fat! ;=})

    and so on …

    Coconut oil … another good thing

  6. RdM says:

    Check out the newsletter:

    I get the impression that the vegetable oils promulgated for decades, are not so good for us.
    I have back copy links to previous newsletters (just web pages) that I could email or post.
    I’d have to dig them out … but they’re there.

  7. RdM says:

    But I was just talking fats there…
    Obviously you need proteins too, and there will be some in milk.
    But you know, elsewhere as well. As for dairy, I do love cheese too.

    Read widely on the oils & fats thing though.
    No need to undermine health with bad intake.
    If you can determine or find good intake.

  8. Roobeedoo2 says:

    I heard today that because of the social distancing measures that have to be put into place at Council Offices where I work, I will be working from home until at least the start 2021 but probably for longer…

    *Yeah, like that but in less formal attire, Clicky…*

    *Yes I did just minute a meeting in pyjamas… /lights up… The camera was off… /smokes…*

  9. slugbop007 says:

    I have been listening to The Gramophone podcasts for the past hour or so:


    • RdM says:

      Wow, thanks for the link.
      Good to go back up a level to just podcasts.

      I also see, wow, wonder if I can remember to tune in and have it as background music all day, this:

      Igor Levit to live-stream Erik Satie’s Vexations

      Thursday, May 28, 2020

      The 20-hour piano piece will be performed live this Saturday (and Sunday!)

      No stranger to performing some of the towering epics of the piano repertoire, Igor Levit will live-stream Erik Satie’s monumental Vexations on Saturday, May 30 at 2pm (CET), a performance that will be broadcast by The New Yorker and Der Spiegel, as well as on Levit’s own Twitter and Instagram accounts, @igorpianist. The concert is being given to raise awareness for the plight of artists worldwide.

      ‘It has always been a strong wish of mine to be able to perform Erik Satie’s Vexations,’ Levit said. ‘While written in the 19th century, this piece was revolutionary thanks to its atonal harmony. The few notes – a theme and two variations – fit on just one sheet. The 840 repetitions herald early on a future of aesthetic repetitiveness. The sheer duration of over 20 hours of Vexations doesn’t feel like a “nuisance” to me, as the title would suggest, but rather a retreat into silence and humility. It reflects a feeling of resistance. That’s why it feels right to play the Vexations right now. My world and that of my colleagues has been a different one for many weeks now and will probably remain so for a long time. Vexations represents for me a silent scream.’

      Igor Levit is financing the project via the funds from the Gilmore Award granted to him in January 2018.

      I’ve enjoyed various performances of Satie’s music, including this weird slowed one…
      Extremely slowed, but you’d need to know the originals to know that . . .
      Or even appreciate it. It’s perhaps uncomfortably slow. Some comments agree.

      Something for the background?
      Perhaps original performances are preferable. ;=}))
      It’s like listening to a 45 at 33 rpm except that the pitch is correct . . .

      I think I do prefer the original tempo performances.

      I’d never heard of “Vexations” before though, so maybe I’ll try to catch that.

      • RdM says:

        Now this is more like it:

        I think I do prefer the original tempo performances.

      • RdM says:

        I’ve realised that I have this whole album, Michael Gees, ImprovSatie, CD quality.
        For which this is a trailer…

        “Tampering with Masterworks”!

        Unshaven long haired artist dares to improvise?

        Apologies for the digression…

        3 days ago here the “Smoke-free Environments (Prohibiting Smoking in Motor Vehicles Carrying Children) Amendment Bill” just passed its 3rd reading in Parliament.
        Now just awaiting Royal Assent.

        The trivialities and junk science quoted in the Hansard are disgusting…
        But I missed making a submission.

        Again, apologies for OT ramblings …

  10. Emily says:

    Glad to hear you are doing ok! Nothing wrong with a little quiet and rest.

  11. Dmitry says:

    Emily is absolutely right, nothing wrong with a little quiet and rest, but, but… We all want you to get back to the fight (no hurry). We really need you, Frank. I’ve been waiting for almost a week for you to post anything, even about asteroids (I don’t give a fart’s hog about these things – is that good English, ya?).
    Speaking about all kinds of self-indulgements, our brothers from the South (Armenians, Georgians, etc.) have a special treat for such cases – jam made with very young and soft walnuts. It’s like caviar and vodka, but withous that much of social signalling. In fact, in cases when I feel washed out (like right now) I eat grown-up walnuts, 5-6 a day. Any other nuts do the trick, too. The world is so crazy about getting thin that it has forgotten that in previous times you exercised to be thinner (like chopping up people with a broadsword), and there were plenty of cases when you had to get fatter and stronger, so the people knew very well what to do about it.
    In the meantime, I’ve a recording session tomorrow, it’s about the Giveitup Day on May31, or is it June 1. People need me to tell them that story you or somebody here were the first to notice, about the protective effect of smoking…

    • Joe L. says:

      Emily is absolutely right, nothing wrong with a little quiet and rest, but, but… We all want you to get back to the fight (no hurry). We really need you, Frank.

      I second this. Frank, I’m happy to hear you’re feeling better and eating twice as much–that’s great to hear. Keep it up, and you’ll gain weight in no time which, in turn, should increase your strength and allow you to ditch the walking frame (and possibly even the walking stick). I’m perfectly fine with you temporarily setting the global political shit-show aside (although I miss reading your opinions on it). However, you can’t as easily ignore the continued persecution of smokers. In my humble opinion, your voice on the matter has become indispensable. You are a gentle giant; a meek and reserved man with a internal fire that has been raging for thirteen years who has a unique talent for expressing universal truths eloquently and cleverly.

      Dmitry is right: we really need you, Frank–now more than ever, as the Antismokers are riding the coattails of COVID-19 fearmongering, while simultaneously we have seen at least eight reports from multiple countries indicate that smoking tobacco actually provides protection against SARS-CoV-2 which have gotten very little media attention. Watching birds in the garden is a good respite for a day or two at a time until you return to full health, as that is clearly your number one objective at the moment. But please don’t let that fire die out, Frank–Tobacco Control must be destroyed!

  12. Александра Собина says:

    No worries, my legs was weak after two weeks in bed too, but got back in couple of month.
    Food wise I would recommend rainbow trout, just put on pan without any seasoning and it will be very eatable in 20 min. Can of Guinness is good too to gain some fat on bones. :)

  13. Александра Собина says:

    Sorry, forgot to tell, I meant oven pan. There will be no need to clean up then :)
    “Do doctors know much about medicine? Probably not. Or not that much. It was what I thought before I went into hospital, and it’s what I still think now that I’ve come out. What do we really know about anything?”
    This question I’m asking myself each time after seeing doctor. Sad thing for those who believe in doctors.

    • Rose says:

      You might find this interesting.

      “In the 30’s, Morris A. Bealle, a former city editor of the old Washington Times and Herald, was running a county seat newspaper, in which the local power company bought a large advertisement every week. This account took quite a lot of worry off Bealle’ s shoulders when the bills came due. But according to Bealle’ s own story, one day the paper took up the cudgels for some of its readers that were being given poor service from the power company, and Morris Bealle received the dressing down of his life from the advertising agency which handled the power company’ s account. They told him that any more such ‘stepping out of line’ would result in the immediate cancellation not only of the advertising contract, but also of the gas company and the telephone company.

      That’ s when Bealle’ s eyes were opened to the meaning of a ‘free press’, and he decided to get out of the newspaper business. He could afford to do that because he belonged to the landed gentry of Maryland, but not all newspaper editors are that lucky.
      Bealle used his professional experience to do some deep digging into the freedom-of-the-press situation and came up with two shattering exposes – The Drug Story, and The House of Rockefeller.”

      T h e D R U G S T O R Y


      Thirty years ago the Standard Oil Company became impressed with the methods of the big packing houses which used, processed and sold every part of the hog but the squeal.

      Their sales research department went ‘way back to the 1860’s when “Old Bill” Rockefeller, the itinerant pappy of John D. (the first) and a patent medicine showman, used to palm off bottled raw petroleum on the yokels as a cure for cancer.

      “Old Bill” was an upstate New York farmer until 1850. He moved to Cleveland then, entered the patent medicine racket and had himself listed as a “physician” in the city directory. In selling raw petroleum in a pretty bottle “Old Bill” did nothing new.

      He merely took a page out of the book of other patent medicine fakirs who were then hawking their wares from the backs of wagons — covered and uncovered. When oil was discovered in northwest Pennsylvania (1850) the jackals of the oil trade found there was more gold in the jeans of the gullible yokels than there was in working for it in the oil fields.

      They began to bottle the raw petroleum and palm it off under various names as a cure for everything under the sun. The popular maladies of the day were liver complaint, cholera morbus, consumption and bronchitis. Among the names given this raw petroleum were “Seneca Oil,” “Rock Oil” and “American Medicinal Oil.”

      “Old Bill” opened up a new field for himself. He called his bottled petroleum “Nujol” (meaning new oil) and sold it to those who had cancer and those whom he could make fear they would have it.

      This sounded good to Standard’s researchists. It sounded even better when they found it cost but $2.00 a barrel to concoct Nujol from crude petroleum. And that from one barrel of the raw stuff they could make 1,000 six-ounce bottles of finished Nujol. Instead of calling it a cure for cancer they called it a cure for constipation.

      The latest trade catalog lists Nujol as going to the druggist at 28-2/3 cents a half pint (8 fluid ounces). The druggist thus pays about 21 cents for a 6-ounce bottle of Nujol which costs Standard Oil 1/5 of a cent.

      These breath-taking profits from Nujol make it inevitable that America’s largest and most ruthless industrial combine (the Rockefeller Empire) should soon add the drug traffic to its already vast production and sales domain. It wasn’t until 1939, however, that the Drug Trust was formed and the upward curve in their drug profits began to assume the present gigantic proportions which today make it a macabre $10,000,000,000 a year business.”

      When I first read it, newspapers didn’t ask for subscriptions to use their archives, so I was able to check all the stories in it with the newspapers of the time.

  14. Smoking Lamp says:

    Frank, Hang in there. I am counting on you getting well soon. My Irish grandmother (old school, having past away 40 years ago) would strongly recommend a pint of Guinness to gain strength.

    And on do doctors know. perhaps, some better than others. I do know, that the prohibitionists know less than they assert. Consider the recent moves toward prohibition in South Africa: “How South Africa’s Coronavirus Tobacco Prohibition Backfired.”

  15. Walt Cody says:

    Peanut butter and mayonnaise sandwich. A million calories. Easy. And yes, by all means, indulge yourself. Rest. Get sun. We miss you, but no pressure. After a while, find an app or a site that’s got a tolerable exercise regimen for convalescents and then make yourself do it.

    • Rose says:

      My local garden centre has trays of vegetable seedlings in at the moment and your flat has a garden? You could join the echoes of the Dig For Victory that seems to have manifested itself across the country. Exercise is something that just happens to you when you are growing something delicious and most things are happy to grow in pots.

  16. RdM says:

    Although giving health advice might seem a bit naff, allow me anecdotes…

    After reading this, as so often, it took me 2-3 weeks to actually be getting some…

    I bought this, here in NZ. Long time (every so often) user of multivitamin tabs, and “Executive Stress” B complex tabs as well, finally I bought some Vit D supplement tabs.

    So, a desire for milk, condensed milk even, might reflect a body need for calcium.
    But maybe Vit D should go with that.
    And exercise makes for stronger bones…

    Although we’re just passing autumn now, still some fine days, I only sometimes remember to get out on the west (for setting sun) facing balcony, take a shirt off, get some sun on my white skin ;=})

    I should also get some extra Vit C. At least all the cream I intake will have some A & D.

    And then there’s E, supposedly good for the heart, I remember, even since the ’70s …

    Later on that, maybe…

  17. Sackerson says:

    Best wishes for a good recovery. Your work on idle theory and climate is veri interesting.

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