ADRIENNE'S HIV BLOG – Hivine's Weblog

HIVINE is written by HIV positive women but still with a sense of humour

Archive for December, 2009




Christmas stocking

What IS she doing now? I think all that activist stuff she did before Christmas for World AIDS Day, giving speeches, pontificating in cathedrals, cohorting with Canons, rubbing shoulders with celebrities in the Green room on ‘This Morning’ and rabbitting away on the airwaves has totally gone to her head, because she’s still talking away to herself. Doesn’t she realise she no longer has an audience? There’s only number one son who’s been working nights in the run up to Christmas in a noisy plastic factory so is now partially deaf and who never listens to her anyway. Neither does that grumpy old Luis who is over for the festive season and still refusing to speak English, insisting on calling it Navidad and telling her she can’t have her present until after the Kings.

“Bugger the Kings,” she swears at him, “Here in England there are no Kings only Queens and plenty of them and it’s called Christmas not friggin navidad.”

Now now, there’s no need to resort to bad language is there? I think she’s suffering from DCSS delayed celebrity stress syndrome, because she’s acting most peculiar, routing around in the dustbins in the frosty air with her rubber gloves on. I know she’s a pensioner now and times are hard and Christmas can be a costly business, but surely things aren’t that bad are they? Actually, I’ve heard about people like her, they did a television documentary about them on channel 4 hanging around supermarket bins in the dead of night extracting all the past their sell by stuff and claiming they can live for nothing in these financially challenged times. 

But it’s broad daylight and she’s rummaging around in her own rubbish bins, so what’s that all about and more to the point, whatever will the neighbours think if they catch sight of her. OMG she’s started on the recycling bin now, elbow deep in Christmas wrapping paper, tossing number one son’s hundreds of scrunched up coke cans over her shoulder. It’s a wonder he’s got any teeth left, but it’s her own fault he’s hooked on the filthy stuff, rumour has it that she used to let him drink it out of his bottle when he was a baby. But he’s a grown man now who can make his own tooth rotting decisions and who is working and contributing to the housekeeping and weekly shopping bills, so she shouldn’t have to be resorting to scavenging around in her own bins, should she? Nevertheless, I think I’ll have to report her to the bin police, not to mention the DSS as there is clear evidence of luxury items such as M&S ready meal wrappers in there. She should be shopping at Lidl and Aldi like the rest of the impoverished ageing population.

You can tell a lot about a person by the content of their bins. For example, in this household, aside from the embarrassing collection of empty wine bottles, there is a veritable mountain of potato peelings, which shows how many chips they eat. No wonder she’s got high cholesterol, she can’t keep blaming it on the Meds and no amount of statins can cope with the amount of saturated and unsaturated fats she ingests, even with the benefit of her tefyl actifry, with which I have to tell you she often cheats by adding more than the recommended one teaspoon of oil. There are also hundreds of mouldy old tea bags. Why isn’t she composting? And talking of compost there are dozens of empty camel packets in there, but she keeps saying she’ll give the stinky habit up for New Year, although she says that every year. There are empty Kivexa packets and pill boxes by the score, as well as damming evidence in the form of discarded carrier bags from Top Shop – isn’t she bit old to be going round impersonating Kate Moss? She should be ordering dressing gowns and thermal underwear from the Daxon catalogue.

I think she’s totally lost the plot this time because as she’s foraging she keeps muttering to herself and swearing out loud, “Where are you bloody Tom Tom?”

Whoever Tom is, surely he’s not hiding in the bin? Although one could hardly blame him. Thankfully, she’s gone back inside and is now prowling round the house muttering under her breath, trying to be quiet to avoid waking up number one son, opening drawers, looking in the wardrobe, banging cupboard doors. Apparently she took this Tom Tom character to Manchester with her the other day to help her find the way and according to her, he definitely came back with her in the car because he was sitting right next to her on the front seat. But seems he’s nowhere to be found. Done a runner by the looks of it.

She’s lit up a filthy camel, even though smoking is strictly forbidden upstairs and is still muttering away to herself, fag in corner of mouth charlady style and is bent over like Mrs Overall peering under the bed. “Come out come out wherever you are you.”

There’s no one there, obviously, so she picks up the phone and calls Willo her neighbour and partner in arms, who’s nearly as daft as her – these arty types, mad as hatters if you ask me. She’s asking Willo if she knows where Tom Tom is and if she gave him back. Apparently he belongs to Willo. What’s going on? Are they sharing him?

 “I know you’re in this house somewhere,” she continues her fruitless searching; “I will find you wherever you are hiding, even if it takes all day.”  

It does.

Surely she’s got more important things to do, like peeling the sprouts or conjuring up a nourishing stew out of the old turkey bones. But no, she’s started communing with the spirits (as well as drinking them) talking to her father’s portrait and asking him to help.

On computer next chatting to sister – “Can’t find bloody Tom Tom- has disappeared off face of the earth.” Sister not interested, too busy messing around with lulu. “Which button you like best?” asks sis.

“What button you mean, belly button?”

“Don’t be seely beely, Lulu button for blog so can sell many more books.” 

“Can’t concentrate on belly buttons or Lulu till have found Tom.”

They often chat in this daft form on computer so am not really surprised. Sister has no excuse as is much younger and not yet senile pensioner, but both supposed to be intelligent, although never think it to hear them chat.

“Got severe shoulder shake” types sis, “you stop make silly idiot jokes or fall off chair”

She shouldn’t make sis fall off chair, that very cruel, but obviously has cruel streak, that’s why Tom Tom buggered off probably.

Back on phone now to ‘their’ Janet making feeble excuses about not turning up for Jim because she is too busy looking for Tom. Jim will have to wait till after Christmas she tells her, or better still after New Year. If Jim’s got any sense he won’t hang around till then, he’ll take a leaf out of Tom’s book and run a mile.

In the end she found Tom Tom hiding behind the desk in the mess that is their excuse for a sitting room and handed him straight back to Willo. Maybe now she’ll get her priorities right and start cleaning up after Navidad and getting down to the sales where she can rummage around, albeit on the rails as opposed to the bins, to her hearts content. But she’s an extremely disappointed and bitter woman, as people, especially children, often tend to be at this time of year after not getting what they want, as she was hoping to wake up on Christmas morning and find a Tom Tom of her very own in her surgical stocking, then she wouldn’t have to keep ‘wife swapping’ him with Willo. What’s going on in that street I want to know?

According to local hearsay, Willo also chucked her car keys in the bin and the bin men came before she had chance to retrieve them. Well that’s her story.
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Sofa to Go

December 1st was World AIDS Day and it was a special day for positive people like me to celebrate the fact that we are lucky enough to still be alive and to honour those who have sadly died. But on that day I found myself well out of my comfort zone. After a sleepless night I’d woken up in a strange hotel in the heart of London and a big silver chauffer driven car was waiting to take me to the television studios to appear on ITV’s ‘This Morning’ programme with Doctor Chris, Philip Schofield and the lovely Holly Willoughby, to talk about living with HIV. Practically comatose with fear and with knees literally knocking I asked myself over and over again – why was I doing this? The enormity of what I was about to do suddenly hit me – millions of people would be watching me, maybe even the Queen, who I believe often tunes in to ‘This Morning.’ Would I be able to get my message across and in fact, what was it?

My message actually was quite simple – to raise awareness about HIV and by speaking out about what it was like to live with HIV myself, hopefully put and end to HIV related stigma.

Sitting on that famous sofa with Doctor Chris, whose ‘bedside’ manner or maybe I should say ‘sofa side’ manner in real life is as genuine as he appears to be on the telly, calmed me somewhat and I managed to get through it. I was hoping my mum was looking down on me as she’d always loved Doctor Chris from his early days with Richard and Judy and I know she would have been so proud of me, as were the rest of my family and I have received so many lovely messages of support I feel quite overwhelmed – so thank you everyone who took the time to email me.

Incidentally, disappointingly I didn’t get any of that face crack filling makeup which was embarrassingly evident, nor a hair do and I wished I’d worn my sparkly jacket even though I’d been advised against it, because the gorgeous Jason Gardner (featured above in the picture giving me a big kiss) was doing a fashion slot and guess what was being featured – sparkly jackets.

The previous day I had been in the Houses of Parliament for the roll out of the Stigma Index, the first project of its kind in the UK – run totally by and for positive people. The findings were very clear – HIV related stigma still exists in a big way and our message was – “To Give Stigma the index Finger.” Annie Lennox who does so much valuable work for HIV/AIDS was there to give us her backing. Let’s hope our findings make a difference.

The other message I wanted to drum into the nation on television and also here in this blog, is to remind everyone that HIV has not gone away – that the statistics are ever rising, especially amongst women and heterosexuals and yet HIV is hardly talked about in the media – even on World AIDS day.


I don’t know the answer to that question, but I do know that there is a constant need to speak out, to make people, especially young people, aware of the dangers. So that is why I spoke out on television on World AIDS day and why I will keep on speaking out, because I know that every time I do it makes a difference in raising awareness and in combating stigma and if I can prevent one person from contracting this terrible disease it will all have been worth it.

After Sofa sitting I got the train back to Blackburn and went straight to the World AIDS Day Vigil at Blackburn Cathedral where I gave a speech. The following day I stood in the pouring rain at the Preston Flag Market and gave another one – then a couple of days after I was on the panel for two hours on BBC Radio Lancashire. Over doing it? Maybe. Over exposing myself (as the actress said to the Bishop!) possibly, but someone has to do it and fortunately many of us are. And this is no disrespect whatsoever to those who can’t speak out, forced into silence as they are by a society where unfortunately stigma and discrimination still exists.

Where HIV related stigma is concerned there is still sofa to go. By reading this blog you are helping to combat stigma so many thanks to all the hiviners who visit this site and please continue to do so, it means a lot.

Always remember, HIV unlike other chronic and terminal illnesses is preventable – by raising awareness and by putting an end to HIV related stigma – by practising safe sex and by getting regularly tested and knowing your status – together, we can wipe HIV off the face of the planet.