Monday, 5 February 2018


The other day my wife sent me to buy a pot of paint from a little local DIY shop for a flat she is refurbishing. The two assistants are leaders in customer service, particularly in the area of unfriendly service. There’s no segment of the population they can’t be rude to. So I was surprised to be addressed by the smaller of the two.

“Is it Parkinson’s?” he asked me, presumably after seeing my shake.

“Yes”, I answered.

“My dad died of it a few years ago” he said helpfully. Following with the equally useful statement: “he was the youngest person in Britain to catch it”.

“How old was he when he was diagnosed?” I asked.

“Seventeen and three-quarters” was his answer.

The other man serving had now captured a 1 litre tin of the required shade of paint and was clearly anxious to join the conversation and asked me to “show us your shake then”. I explained that “you can’t turn it on and off. It comes and goes of its own accord”. This seemed to satisfy the taller man.

“Must be hard work painting the fancy bits, corners and lights, what with the screaming abdabs and all that” remarked the other man.

“Come back and let us know how you get on with the corners” said the smaller of the two. “We’ve got disabled parking”.

Two weeks or so later I took the unused tin back because my wife hadn’t needed it. Neither of my new friends was working that day, but I’ll keep an eye open for them.

Thursday, 2 February 2017


The first thing the specialist says when we see him for the 6 months catch up tends to be along the lines of ‘how are you?’. Which requires the answer ‘rubbish’. But for some reason I reply that ‘things are fine'.  In some ways they are.

Because 3 years since diagnosis I’m the same man, only in a worse place. I’m suffering from arm aching, illegible scripting, eyes dimming, muscles shrinking, smile vanishing, balance failing, shakers shaking, pills swallowing, fingers stiffening, self belief drooping, gait robotic, voice dulling, tiredness debilitating, pints spilling, bladder all over the place, no control of cuff links. Apparently you don’t die from PD, you die with PD. I guess it means that PD works best at wearing you down till there are no defences left.

I notice that I’m shaking on the right side in the cinema, pretty much throughout the films, even through La La Land (as good as advertised) and Manchester by the Sea (also great). My wife sits on my right side and tries to calm my right hand, but often to little avail

Meanwhile back with the professor, after we have discussed the state of play and I’ve had a thorough moan my wife asks about miracle cures – ie ‘any miracle cures, doc?’.... ‘nope, afraid not this week’. I paraphrase!

So we look for miracle cures closer to home and including the tabloid papers: ‘could blasting brain with soundwaves help control Parkinson’s?’. A recent article said the method could also help multiple schlerosis sufferers. The treatment has been concentrated on a small number of patients suffering essential tremor: a brain disorder that causes uncontrollable shaking, and affects 1 million people in the UK.

The Evening Standard headed a recent article on a cure for PD ‘doctors inject stem cells into man’s brain in hope of Parkinson’s breakthrough’. This has apparently happened in Australia where doctors have injected neural stem cells into a patient. The operation aims to replace lost dopamine which is a transmitter in the brain which is lost with the onset of PD. As usual, we can only wait and see.

While I wait for a miracle cure I am also in search of the perfect pint – a search that never ends and which is not, it seems, restricted by good old PD. And meanwhile, pub discussion ranges from Trump to Farage to May to Gove to Fox to Davis to Bojo. For we remainers it’s still amazing that 6 months from the referendum we finally put the lunatics in charge of the asylum!

Tuesday, 31 January 2017


Alejandro Finisterre
Publisher and inventor of table football, he was exiled by Franco

Michael Eaude
Saturday 24 February 2007 

Exile from Franco's Spain made the life of Alejandro Finisterre, who has died at the age of 87 (died in 2007), one of constant movement and creativity. Though Alejandro most valued his fight to conserve the legacy of the poet León Felipe (1884-1968), whose literary executor he was, he was famous for inventing table football.

Which also means I’ve finally found a sport that is ideally suited to Parkinson’s disease sufferers: table football or foosboll. The table game allows the shakiest of PD people to play at a high level. I know this because I just defeated my wife’s sister in law (with no spinning). She was in fact useless.

Perhaps there is something in clenching fists round wooden handles soaked in sweat that suits PD?

By the way, a whole host of people claim to have invented TF, though I quite like the claims for Alejandro Finisterre, not least because he changed his name to that of the local lighthouse. He seems to have been more interested in poetry than football too.

Meanwhile I have been searching for other exercises for us PD patients and seem to have found the magic key in the form of a new electric bike (cycling having got too difficult for me). My wife bought it as a surprise on my 70th birthday. The bike assists you when you want it to, responds to the rider pedalling it and has a real swooping feel when you ask for help from the battery system. The bike is an Impulse 2.0 pedelec/ BeatBike. And it is my new best friend.

It is also the dog’s new best friend as she now gets a 5 k run on a regular basis.


At the pub we spoke of Brexit, Trump, Mrs May’s trouser suit (just wrong!), Lincoln City, and other issues of importance.