December 22, 2008

Mind Boggling Thought ...

If the Universe is expanding, what is it expanding into? And what did the Big Bang expand into before the Universe was there?

November 22, 2008

A Lovely Winter Poem

I found this beautiful winter poem and thought it might be a comfort to you.

It was to me, and it's very well written.



a poem by Abigail Elizabeth McIntyre


F**k Me!

It's Cold!



November 21, 2008

BBC - Radio 4 - Afternoon Reading

The Mural At Frau Krausers by James Hopkin, read by Tom Goodman-Hill.

The narrator stares at the green mural at Frau Krausers - a seedy tavern under an iron railway bridge in Berlin. He knows he should leave, but one beer leads to another.

Producer Rosalynd Ward.

   Listen again for 7 days from today.

I was listening to this on the way home from C & P's. It was brilliantly written and wonderfully read. The narrative had an almost poetic feel to it, with phrases like the description of the man at the bar with "... a grey beard thatching the place between his longing and his loneliness." While the narrative sounded natural and free-flowing, I suspect that every phrase was worked on for wording, rhythm, descriptive power, and naturalness. The whole story was dripping with brilliantly engineered prose.

November 20, 2008

A Bit of a Ramble

Got coffee and a fag (I know, I know) and I'm ready to rumble. Not that I know what I'm writing about, coz I don't. I just thought I'd go through a ramble of today's thoughts and stuff.

Counselling last week and yesterday was interesting, to say the least. All sorts of stuff came up about what I would have wanted from my parents and didn't get. I felt really quite sad at the end of yesterday's session and didn't want it to finish. It was quite touching how my counsellor stood at the door and watched me leave. Almost as though she had felt my sadness. I must remember to feed that back to her next week.

The upshot of the 2 sessions I've had is that I feel less depressed. I was going to focus on getting me back to work yesterday but felt like I rambled through past stuff instead, but it seems to be working. I'm feeling more like going back to work. Perhaps the focus is on 'parenting' in relation to work. I feel there are things I'm not getting from my managers that I would like to get.

In the news lately is much about baby P. While the case itself is horrific I'm rather alarmed by the media focus on Haringey Social Services. What about the rest of them? There were numerous agencies involved and they are all accountable. This child was seen 60-odd times in his short, pathetic life by hospitals, doctors, the Police. That amounts to almost once a week, presuming he was seen from birth. If he wasn't seen by anyone for some months after he was born then he was seen by somebody more than once a week. If there were failings on the part of one agency it should have been picked up by another and acted upon. There are ways of forcing the hand and the fact that that hand was not forced is inexcusable.

Lord Laming's inquiry into the Victoria Climbie tragedy highlighted the need for better coordination of services. He also said that there should never be an excuse for this happening again and that those responsible for any further instances such as this would all be held to account. There is now better coordination of services but the services themselves don't seem to apply it. A public enquiry is surely the next step to take. The public have a right to know what went wrong and why.

I've just been listening to a 'comedy' on Radio 4. I'm not sure what happened to the old school of comedians but I think it's closed down. Most modern comedies are a load of crap and contain childish remarks and phrases that are supposed to pass as funny. I can only presume the audience are paid to laugh at the right moment. Short bursts of sound that come and go at the right moment. They certainly don't sound like they're particularly enjoying it. Talk about canned laughter. It resembles laughter but could be something engineered in a phonics workshop. Needless to say I turned it off.

I'm running out of steam already. It's late and I'm tired. Why do I usually feel like writing late at night? I wanted to write yesterday but nothing inspiring would come to me. Maybe because I felt like writing about the counselling but was still a bit raw from the session and wasn't sure about approaching it all again. I went for the keyboard a few times and then put it off.

November 02, 2008

Hiram B. Redfern

"Hiram B. Redfern was a brave man until he dropped down dead." So wrote the man's wife in a reporters notebook as his body was carried from the auditorium on a stretcher.

There are few dreams that stick in the mind but this was one of them. The name 'Hiram B. Redfern' seemed so real to me after the dream that I was convinced he existed. For some reason it had a profound effect on me and I couldn't get it out of my mind for weeks. I can't even say what the effect was. It felt as though there was a deeper, almost hidden meaning that I could not quite grasp. Although the dream must have taken place over 20 years ago I still expect to come across the name one day!

We were gathered in a large hall with a curved roof that may have been domed but may not have been. I got the impression the structure was temporary. There were a large amount of people present, perhaps 500, and they all seemed to be reporters or scientists observing an area of grey rocky landscape on a huge screen at the front. The landscape was dark and pools of light dotted the barren ground like spotlights from some unseen gantry.

On the surface of the moon a small group of astronauts were bouncing in and out of the pools of light in the slo-mo manner of low gravity. It was obvious that the pools of light were sun spots and this was a scientific gathering to observe the phenomena. While I know what sun spots are, in the dream these were sun spots.

Hiram dropped dead somewhere in the middle of this event. The strange thing was, his wife was more concentrated on writing about him dying than she was about him dying. There was no indication, either, of what Hiram had done that was brave or why he had died.

And what Mrs. Redfern was doing there in the first place is unclear.

A Station Masters Son or a Mid-Life Crisis?

Just after I moved into the house I live in now, I sat quietly one day to see what would come to me. Emptying myself and opening myself up to be receptive has worked before. It's amazing what you can find out and what you can find out you already know! It didn't take long before I had the distinct impression of a boy of about 11 or 12, whose father had something to do with a railway station. He was wearing shorts that reached to his knees and a sleeveless jumper over a shirt. There was a definite connection with this house but I can't say for certain whether he actually lived here. The nearest railway stations to here, in their day, would have been either Maldon or Tollesbury or Tiptree. The last of these, Maldon to Witham, closed in 1963 with the Beeching cuts so it must have been before that. The feeling I got from the boy was a period around 1930's - 1940's.

I looked on the internet to see what I could find out about the houses and any past inhabitants. The coastguards who lived here are listed on a website ( but I haven't been able to find anything about railway stations or stationmasters. I happened to mention this to Grant next door one day and he said it rang a faint bell. The hairs on my neck stood on end. He couldn't place what it was but recommended some reading. Again, I looked the books up on the internet but no mention of railways or stations.

Chris suggested a trip to Essex Record Office. She wants to do some research and Doris wants to go along as well. I could do some research of my own. I'll need to sign up to ERO to start the process but that's no problem ... it's free. I think there is certain information I'll need in order to have access to any documents.

I seem to be concentrating on the past a lot lately. I've signed up to Harringayonline and delved into my long-forgotten memories and I'm fascinated by the history of the house I live in now. I think the latter is quite normal for the resident of an old house but overall, the 2 taken together and my recent state of mind make me think there's more to this than meets the eye. I'm 53yrs old - nearly 54 - I've just split with my partner and he's moved out, I'm off work with stress or depression (I'm not sure what it is sometimes), and I've had time to evaluate some of my life. Not that I've done much evaluating. My brain seems to have frozen over most of the time lately.

"If only hindsight weren't so retrospective."

Am I looking back along the road to see where I've come from?

By what route did I get here?

Will it give me any clues as to where I'm going?

So many questions, so few answers. What, after all, am I expecting by peering into the distance behind me when the way forward is, well .... forward. I've learnt in the past that acceptance is often more enlightening than trying to understand.

That's not to say I've got nothing out of this searching. I've brought to the fore memories I thought had gone forever about where I lived from the age of about 1 to 10. It all seemed inaccessible or forgotten to me. Like I'd blanked that part of my life out. Part of the reason could be that the move was such a wrench at that age that I blanked my past in order to survive the present. I had no contact with any of my old friends from Harringay after we moved so there was nothing to refresh what memories I might have had. Moving from the city out to the country was such a contrast in life style too, that I guess there was little room for remembering. I've always been good at shutting things out - forgetting places and people - ignoring, or disassociating from, situations, events, relationships.

Dad was now commuting to London every day and didn't get home til late. I can remember waiting at the stile by the railway line waiting for dad's train to pass. He would be leaning out of the window as the train slowed for Witham station, waving at us. We'd often cycle furiously down the road and wait by the little footbridge over the river for him to appear down the hill from the station.

Three years after we moved, my parents split up and dad moved out. This was to have a profound effect on me, one that echoes still today!

Dad moved to Braintree and we were on our own. And it really felt like that even though there was me, my mum and my brother. I guess that being children we looked to mum now that dad had gone and she had relied on dad until then. There was a lot of bitterness splashing around and most of it came from mum. There were some pretty awful times.

All the more reason to shut things out. My imagination flowered and I found places to go in my head that were better than where I was in life. I was able to still my mind and feel that the 'stilling' itself was balanced on a pin head. As long as I kept it balanced I was able to maintain the stillness. With it came a sense of being large and inflated and tiny all at once. I was large and I was small depending on how I thought of it at time (Quantum meditation?). I also had 'lives' in my head that I 'lived' throughout the day, whether at home or at school. I often wondered what my school mates thought of me.

Was it riding above the storm or escaping from it? You tell me. Perhaps some of each. Probably some of each, actually.

Once I went into the RAF I really lost touch with dad. He moved in with an antique dealer in Brighton, wrote to me a couple of times and I didn't reply. I think the last letter I had from him was about Grandma dying. I found that difficult enough without the blame I put on him for things that had happened and I shut him out too. When he died a few years later I put that behind me rather rapidly too. What did it mean to me anyway? He was dead and gone now and I couldn't do anything about it.

I've learnt over the years that these things come back and bite you on the arse from time to time. I think I've just been bitten again!

November 01, 2008

BBC Radio 4

Listen now



Illegal drugs can be good for you

Wednesday 29 October 2008 (rpt: Saturday 1 November at 22:15)

The scientist and writer Dr Susan Blackmore argues that drugs can be good for you. She says most of the problems of drug abuse are really caused by drug prohibition. It would be much better if we decriminalised drugs and taught young people how to use them properly and safely instead. She says that our society doesn't take the "dangerous wonder" of mind-altering chemicals seriously. As a psychologist Susan wants to understand the mind. She has experimented with hallucinogenic drugs because she wanted to learn "how to face demons and terrors, how to let go of self, how to explore the further reaches of human experience." She wants a society in which adults are free to take drugs for their own reasons: for comfort and delight, to ease pain, to inspire insight or creativity, and even to face death. Just as we can distinguish between alcohol use and alcohol abuse, so should we accept that there's a place for positive drug use.

Panel: Dr Axel Klein A lecturer in the study of addictive behaviour at the University of Kent, Dr Klein has a particular interest in the cultural contexts of drug use, the interplay of drugs and crime, and the development of drug policy at national and international level.

Dr Ken Checinski A psychiatrist and senior lecturer in addictive behaviour at St George's University Hospital, Dr Checinski has both clinical and academic expertise in the effects of drug abuse.

Sarah Graham Sarah Graham has a Priory Professional Diploma in Addictions Therapy. She works for the charity In-volve – counselling children in schools. Previously, Sarah worked in the media. She faced her addictions in 2001 and is an expert in holistic treatment models and communicating with young people. She advises Frank – the government drugs service and The Recovery Network.


I was only half listening to this but Susan Blackmore's argument sounded balanced and well thought out. To some extent I'm inclined to agree with her. The argument for decriminalising, or legalising, drug use has been put before. If it was legal and controlled there would be no need for the blackmarket and crime might drop dramatically. By controlled I mean from a health and safety point of view - quality would be controlled.

Of course, there would still be those who would abuse substances and cause themselves and others problems but there always will be. The crime that goes with drugs and selling would reduce and the sub-culture would evolve and change - hopefully for the better.

Paralympics vs Olympics

Why do we have Paralympians (if that's the right word)? Surely, they are all Olympians? The tag immediately sets them aside as different.

TV coverage was different as well. First we had the Olympics and then we had the Paralympics. Only the latter didn't seem to get as much coverage as the former. Surely that's a form of discrimination.

I realise there will be some differences in the equipment used but I'm sure everybody, regardless of ability, could be integrated in to the Olympic Games. No difference, no separate games.

Somewhere I have the email address of the Paralympic Association, the Olympic Association and the BBC. I keep meaning to ask some questions of all of them.


I've just emailed the BBC and the British Paralympic Association. Responses will be interesting.

October 31, 2008

All About Nothing

A blank page to a writer or an artist holds the same potential and the same fears. It has the potential to hold everything or nothing and the fear is of the first stroke you make on the page. That first mark is as important as the last one. This paragraph is my first mark.

I have no idea what I'm going to write about. I just feel like writing. All sorts of ideas keep flashing into my head so I thought I'd see where this went. I'll begin with the thing that is foremost in my mind. I'm listening to something quite jolly on Radio 3. The cats are asleep on the sofa. It's warm and cosy in here. And I've got a beer in the cupboard that I keep forgetting about.

Just after my 50th birthday I had one of those revelations that come to you through life now and again. You know, those bursts of insight that don't quite solve life's difficulties but can help with them. Once you've had one you know that it highlights the difference between knowing something and knowing something and understanding it fully. The supernova of revelation feels quite life-changing at the time but like any other burst of energy it wanes and loses its radiance. Doubt and uncertainty can creep in and you might have to remind yourself of the effect this insight had on you. Your own levels of confidence in yourself and your sense of self-belief eventually affect those revelations you have about your self.

My revelation was about me. I recall a poem about growing old disgracefully. I can't recall the title of the poem but it involved things like dragging your walking stick along the railings, spitting in the street, jumping in puddles, etc. The message was really about being yourself! Just because you're old doesn't mean you don't want to do those things. I love jumping in puddles now - and I'm 53. The content of the poem fits in with the realisation, for me, that I could do and say as I liked.

As long as I wasn't being deliberately hurtful, malicious, or criminal I could say what I liked and if somebody didn't like it then it really was their problem. I've always considered myself outspoken but I might not have been as outspoken as I thought I was. I often feared what others would think of me if I said or did what I was really feeling like doing or saying. If it damaged their perception of me would it, by default, damage my own self-esteem or self-worth? The answer often seemed to be yes. Like I give a shit anymore.

There are ways of saying things that can be as kind and thoughtful and diplomatic as you like. It's often how what is said is taken by the recipient that can cause the problems. I'm no longer afraid of the possible outcome like I used to be. Things are never as bad as you fear them to be. I realised one day that I'd overcome the fear of a result that might not happen anyway. That result certainly needn't damage my self-esteem or self-worth. It is only me who can do that.

If that sounds a bit arrogant it's because it is. That was another thing that came with being 50 - more arrogance. It's not at a dangerous level and I can't be classed as an arrogant person, it's just that I don't care. It's part of the development of my Grumpy Old Man phase, I think.

The impact, or causal effect, to stimulus external to our self is a subjective phenomena. It is our personal history, our genes, our primal instincts, that contribute towards our understanding of the outside world. In effect we all have a unique picture of the world and how it works. My picture is similar to yours but it will never be the same and I will never understand or experience it in quite the same way as you.

So I'm getting on with living in my world and experiencing it in my own way because it's comfortable and exciting to be me. I can't be anyone else anyway.

Not bad for having nothing to write about, huh?

And I still forgot about the beer! I'll have it now.

October 28, 2008

The Sound of Speech

BBC Essex on the radio, playing some nice music.

Why do so many local radio presenters sound so alike? Particularly the men. I used to be convinced the same guy dashed from one radio station to another to present shows under different names. Their voices sound similar and they have similar patterns of speech and intonation. Perhaps they all went to the same DJ school.

And that Robert Preston! BBC business editor or something - often on Breakfast TV and Radio 4. He's on a lot lately because of the credit crunch and the recent business with the banks running out of money. He trips along in his speech in quite an awkward manner. His inflexions, tones, pauses and emphasis come at the most unexpected moments. I find it annoying and fascinating all at once.

Listening to him is like trying to negotiate an unfamiliar obstacle course. I'm constantly stumbling to keep up with his flow. I've suspected there's evidence of some sort of past speech impediment overcome, or a learned, practiced, way of speaking that seems to him to fit the purpose.

There's often a young woman in tow on these radio shows. Think Terry Wogan (he's pc though - he has a man as well). They seem to be in the background to provide some back up to the presenter, and read the weather and travel news - a kind of afterthought or second-rate presenter. Perhaps they're in training. There's one who mumbles something now and again on whatever I'm listening to at the moment.

I find the way most people speak fascinating. I love listening out for their quirks in speech and expression of speech. I love listening to their traces of accents, their inadvertent windows when their real  selves show through. People also leak emotion in their manner of speech and in Freudian slips. Are puns Freudian slips? I've often wondered where the connection comes from in the train of thought that leads to the pun. There's always relevance to the initial subject of conversation.

Dawn over the Blackwater Estuary.


28th October 2008. 05:59. Barely getting light. Couldn't sleep and it started getting light with a clear sky so I decided to go for a walk with the camera.

This is the church with a pale lit sky behind. It got colder as I walked down Fish Street and I could just make out frost on car windows in the half light. The grass on the playing field was pale and crisp underfoot. By now my ears and nose were going numb. I was glad I'd wrapped a scarf round my neck as I went out.


The view down the Estuary from the bench at the end of Goldhanger Creek. I thought it would be interesting to lean the camera on the arm of the bench and catch some of the bench in the photograph.


Across the sand spit towards the oyster shed. I loved the sky and the pools of water in the mud here. The cloud in the centre of the picture is partly reflected in the main body of water. The band of orange provides a great contrast.


Approaching the church from the field behind at the end of the walk. You can see the frost on the ground. I'd just passed the first person I'd see that morning, out walking her dog.


The stile post at the back of the church, covered in frost with a brightening sky behind. I focused this one on the sky so it darkened the foreground. You can just see the line of frost on the top of the stile post.


The same post but looking down at it so it caught the light more. Although the two pictures were taken seconds apart there's quite a difference between the two. This second one looks almost as if it were taken some time later, when it was lighter.


The church again. On the way back at the end of the walk. 06:55. Again, there's a striking contrast between this picture and the one of the back of the church above. I was ready for a nice hot cup of tea by now.

Road Map (or lack of)

Tuesday 28.10.08 01:00

I'm not who I thought I was, am I?

I'm not what I thought I was either, am I?

I'm not the spontaneous, happy-go-lucky, accommodating, laid back person I thought I'd been. I can be all those things - and more often than not - but it can be selective at times.

If I've had a road map of life I haven't considered it. I think I've always had this picture in my head of where I want to be and strive for that. But just up the road and I come across a No Entry sign. The road's blocked and I haven't got a clue where to go now. Niadh has his side roads mapped out, but he was always good at reading maps anyway Smile

It was something I didn't even consider before speaking to Niadh tonight. I hadn't really thought about the 'who am I?' question in depth either. Oh, I have in passing. I've felt it at times when I retreat into my home (my shell?) and just be indoors. It's like I can't get enough of being here but it gets a bit lonely and claustrophobic at times and I don't know what to do about it. The solution at the time seems to be to stay here even more because that might make it better. But that doesn't work either.

Consequently, I become more withdrawn and less adventurous and spontaneous, etc. Deep down somewhere I'd be quite happy at home with me slippers on and me cup of tea and the paper. I've turned into an old fogey!! Surprise

That's not to say I haven't got a sense of adventure. When I've done something exciting in life I've loved it. Whether it was being fired into the air on an elastic catapult in Bulgaria, camping in the Brecon Beacons or on safari in Africa, I loved it all. Whatever happened to the day out Mick and I and Rick talked about? We need to do something. I need to do something.

Solution?:- Get out and do something then. You'll appreciate being at home more.

October 23, 2008


I've been signed off sick for another 2 weeks. I was getting a bit nervous about the thought of returning to work as this week wore on, so I phoned the surgery and asked if Dr. Roper would extend my certificate. I picked it up yesterday afternoon. It's amazing the amount of comfort it gave me to hold it and see the dates.

I'm not due back to work until about the 10th November.

October 22, 2008

Friends and Warmth

It was only about a week ago I was moaning about none of my friends seeing if I was OK or contacting me. It's probably a bit narcissistic of me to expect them to. They show their warmth in other ways.

Like Paul asking me if I wanted to stop for something to eat one evening. Then in the middle of dinner announcing that his wife had said I was looking a bit underweight. When I asked if that was why he had asked me to stay, Chris said that she'd merely remarked I looked like I'd lost weight recently.

32 Then about 10 days ago Siewkeen phoned and asked me over on Sunday for a walk and a roast. It was a lovely day and we walked down to Creeksea and along to 1Burnham, where we stopped for a pint and a bowl of chips.

Mick's mentioned coming over to theirs and stopping the night a couple of times and I took him up on it weekend just gone.

They all know I'm going through a difficult patch and offer their help in different ways. I like being with all of them and they give me a warm feeling when I think about the times I've spent with them all. In my last post I mentioned being with them and having a laugh. That's the sort of warmth I appreciate. It makes me feel happy.

Left Hug Open-mouthed Right Hug

And now Mick's got in touch to say he's going to pick up the dragon's tail tomorrow and install it in Mike Springett's garden. I'm going with him.

October 21, 2008

Friends & Conversations

I'd already thought about doing some visiting over the weekend but I'm not sure I'd have got round to it if Nile hadn't been here. And then Mick turned up on Friday afternoon out of the blue. I didn't know Nile was coming at that point. I was on my way out to get some shopping and he'd just pulled up in the car. We had a good chat and then I went to get Nile from the station. Mick invited me over on Saturday to spend an evening with wine or something.

Called up to the Gaffney's after getting Nile but they were out so we popped own to Doris's. I hadn't even thought that it was Friday evening and she would be working. However, JC was in and we stayed for a while.

I was leaning against the kitchen door frame chatting with him as he put the kettle on. I went for a wee and the toilet seat nearly came off. I remarked on this when I came out and JC jokingly blamed it on the kids. In his own inimitable way, looking quite serious, sounding very matter-of-fact, he launched into a diatribe about how plastic toilet seats weren't quite the ticket compared to wooden ones. He felt sure that they went skewiff after a while and there was always a line of shit down the side of the pan where you couldn't take a dump straight into the water. It used to go straight into the water but to get it to do that now he has to sit at a funny angle. I even had a vague demonstration of how he sat.

The conversation was typical JC but had a slightly surreal feel to it as well. Between him and Rick they manage to brighten any day with their honesty, openness and 'basic-ness'. Last week I had Rick talking about his piles and how they tuck them back in these days instead of cauterising them.

Saturday afternoon was spent at the Gaffney's. Doris was there as well and Susie arrived just before we left. I was relating the conversation I'd had with JC on Friday evening and couldn't get my words out for laughing. The same thing happened later when I was telling Mick & Carole about it. We also remembered that when Jack was quite young, JC was in the bath with him and lifting his legs to fart (JC that is!), only he followed through and Jack ended up scrambling frantically out of the bath as his dads turd floated towards him. The poor boy was probably only just getting over that when JC decided it wouldn't hurt to show his kids his piles!!

Saturday evening we had a Chinese take-away and some wine and sat in the conservatory most of the evening smoking. Mick took Nile to the station in Burnham when he went for the Chinese. I slept on the settee and woke about 10:30 the next morning when Carole appeared and asked if I wanted a cuppa. The rest of the morning was spent lazing about and Mick and I went for a walk along the sea wall at Mayland in the afternoon.

Following a dull overcast morning, there was blue sky and the sun was shining. The wind was a bit keen and had a definite autumnal feel to it. Our ears ached. Ozzie kept running off in the wrong direction and we simply sat down where we were and chatted while we waited for him to come back.

October 20, 2008


By the end of last week I'd switched off to the extent of not even knowing what day of the week it was. I seemed to be immersed only in the moment and had no thoughts of anything else. The empty-headedness wasn't a meditative state however, it was just empty-headedness .... and it was wonderful.

I kept forgetting what I was doing and as long as it wasn't dangerous it didn't matter. I must have had my wits about me somewhere to be aware of the things that did need doing, such as feeding the cats and feeding me.

Time became immaterial and irrelevant. It was like stepping off the planet again.

It was interrupted when Nile came down. He'd initially said he might come down this weekend or next. I didn't expect a phone call Friday afternoon to say he was on his way. By the time he got here I was in my own little world and wasn't very welcoming. I think I just wanted to be left alone. My focus didn't really come back until Saturday and that was only because I had someone else here.

We had a nice day Saturday, visiting friends, and he went back to London that evening. With hindsight I might have asked him to stay away if I'd known he was coming. Part of me just wanted to carry on that empty-headedness.

Tanya had tried phoning Thursday and Friday but  I ignored the call. By the time I spoke to her on Saturday she was quite worried. Apparently I'd promised to phone her on Wednesday but I was so into my own little world that I forgot. I had to pull myself up a couple of times when I got talking about work - something I hadn't wanted to do but it just seemed to get hold of me and come to the boil. I started feeling angry and my face began prickling.

I'm not sure I've ever had a physical manifestation of a subjective feeling before. The prickling in my face came about more when I thought about returning to work.

October 19, 2008

More Memories

It's been quite amazing for me since signing up to Harringay online. I have always had a lack of memories about school, particularly, in London and I have trouble picturing friends and classmates but I've been regaining memories I thought were lost to me. Partly, it's because I'm writing about them and exercising my memory anyway. But it's also about feeling re-connected to a place I left behind a long time ago. The responses to my blog posts and to my discussion have been warm and welcoming. Thank you Harringay.

I have to wonder, did I 'wipe' the memories of London in order to handle the separation from long-term familiar things and people? I can remember wondering how I was going to cope without my friends and familiar places. At 10yrs old it was slightly traumatic to move so far away and yet it was exciting too. I suppose the only way to handle such a move was to become part of the new life quite quickly. After all, it was all there was and there was no choice.

I have always been able to adapt quickly to uncomfortable and/or unavoidable situations. Is this where it comes from?

October 15, 2008

Texts and Intrusions

I've been getting used to doing nothing. I've slept about 8 - 9 hours the past couple of nights and it's great not having the alarm clock on.

Yesterday it took me all day to do most of the washing up. Not that there was so much of it but rather that I did a bit, stopped and had a cuppa or went on the internet, or pottered somewhere else, and then went back to the washing up. It doesn't matter how long it takes me and it's a wonderful feeling.

This morning I had a text from Tanya asking me to phone her about the 23rd. I'm supposed to be helping her present some training that day. I don't normally mind her contacting me about anything but this made me feel angry. I don't want to discuss anything to do with work at the moment. I've ignored the text so far and am wondering how to respond. Maybe rather than wondering I need to respond to get it out of the way.

I've also got to phone Vernon by Friday for my weekly contact - and even this feels like an intrusion. It's something I don't want to do. Or is it something I don't want to be bothered doing? I'd just like to shut off and not have to make decisions or be committed to anything at all.

October 10, 2008

Don't Give A Shit ...

Well, I'm feeling a bit calmer in myself. I keep getting bursts of work invading my mind but generally I feel like I'm letting something go. The kitchen's a tip, hoovering and dusting need doing, I've got letters to open, but I don't give a shit at the moment. I'm not doing anything for now.

Went to meet Tanya for lunch in Chelmsford. Had a good talk, which was half about her for a change. I think I've been all me .. me .. me lately. Tanya seems happy enough to let it be that way but then that's the sort of person she is. She was letting me have time to express myself .... but maybe she was avoiding her stuff as well. I don't know. We had a good chat today. She's leaving Paul and now has the ups and downs of moving out, leaving a village she loves, and moving on. I'll have to find the room to give her some space for a change. She'll need it.

The cats are outside enjoying themselves. They haven't left the garden yet and keep running inside chirping and squeaking. They seem to be loving it.

October 09, 2008

Stress and Outings

I've been signed off work for 2 weeks and referred for counselling. Dr. Roper was lovely as usual: warm; gentle; smiling; calm - I always want to cuddle him. I felt quite a sense of relief, not only time off but the offer of something that could help me afterwards as well. It might be a 6 week wait before I can be seen but it's the light at the end of the tunnel. I should hear from them during my 2 weeks off.

SquiggleThe girls had their first outing today. It seemed as good a day as any. I'm going to have a few days relaxing so I figured it was about time.

I'd not long got back from C&P's, it was a nice afternoon and I was The two of themgoing out to hang out washing, so I opened the back door and encouraged them out. It took a little while to venture further than the back door step but eventually they were up the end of the garden with lots of sniffing stops on the way.

When another cat appeared at the gate at the end of the garden they really weren't sure what to do. Visitor at the gateSquiggle suddenly appeared twice the size when all her hair stood on end.  They both took turns staring the other cat out, withdrawing now and again so the other one could take over.

When a second cat appeared they were more than curious. I think they were both A dog barking. Quick .... indoorsPatsy's and had just come to see who the newcomers were. There was no hair on end, growling or hissing on their part. When a sound startled them both they shot indoors and growled from the safety of the back doorway.

SistersA few times I came indoors and forgot about them. When I went outside they'd appear quickly or I'd find one of them behind a plant pot.

They can have another outing tomorrow.

September 25, 2008

Something's Got To Give

Not focussed, lack of concentration, irritable, angry, sad, lack of motivation - do I go on? Stressed? Maybe.

Just when I think I'm getting myself together I find I'm not. It hasn't helped not being well for the past couple of days. It started at work yesterday and then I felt incredibly tired and irritable in the afternoon and I think it showed. Last night I felt sick and nauseous and eventually threw up. This morning I felt achey and tired and spent half the day sleeping on and off. Needless to say I didn't go to work. I was reluctant to phone in sick as I thought it would be seen as a reaction to the way I behaved yesterday but eventually I couldn't care less. I wouldn't have been able to work effectively anyway.

I've been toying with the idea of going to the doctors and seeing if I can get myself signed off. I know all the symptoms of stress and think I'm actually suffering with them anyway. I've had nothing back from my email to Shelagh a few weeks ago regarding a de-brief meeting and still feel I am hanging on to all the stuff from Stevenage. I know she read the email but she never replied.

The friends I've known the longest have been no bloody help. None of them have phoned to see how I am. Tanya, Loretta and Maxine are more likely to do that. I'm not always very good at asking for help and think I can manage by myself. I seem to close down and keep it all in. Not good. Something's got to give - or is it giving already?

September 12, 2008

What Next?

So I'm getting a bit more used to the place as it is. I've re-arranged the bedroom and am going to make a start on the kitchen next. Then there's just the back room. I've been in there quite a bit lately and got more used to it as it is as well. It's just becoming a junk room ... my junk room. One I want to turn into a functioning room, where I can use the desk, or put someone up for the night. I might have to buy a nice, small, chair to sit and read in.

I've also found that my little idiosyncrasies are getting more settled. I can use the place as I like and when I come back to it, it's as I left it. All the time!

I'm not totally used to it though. It still feels like something is missing. It feels like there is a presence missing as well. Nile's stuff has gone and so has he and it's going to take a while to get used to that.

September 01, 2008


Nile moved out on Thursday.

There was no rush as far as I was concerned but Nile decided (quite rightly) that it might be better for both of us if he moved all at once. Steve and Barbara came down with a van and moved him up to Yas's. Was I trying to lessen the impact by drawing out the process, or would I have been trying to stave off the ending? His things would have still been here ... so he would still have been here. Fear of endings? Sort of. But from endings spring new beginnings, they just come quicker when the ending is short-lived.

It was more difficult than I thought it would be to look in the back room when I got home from work and see it empty of all his boxes. I'd looked in the back room when he was packing and saw all the boxes piling up but I'd pushed that aside and largely tried to ignore the process. Somehow it seemed more real to see the room empty. I didn't go to work the following day and ended up completely rearranging the bedroom. I needed to take out my frustration somewhere and I felt the need to make the place feel like mine. It would also be a contrast to the empty room at the back.

I could prattle on about how pleased I am with the bedroom now but I'm not here to do that. I'm not going to work anything much out at the moment apart from the fact I've identified feelings of failure, loss, sadness, relief, liberation, peace, loneliness and anger. I think that will do as a list for now. To put it bluntly I don't know if I'm on my head or my arse much at the moment.

I'd been aware all along that I hadn't helped him pack and I couldn't. Every time I thought of it I felt as though it would seem I wanted him to do it quicker and I didn't. I would also feel as though I was packing him up and sending him on his way and that wasn't my intention either. It felt difficult to step forward and I'm not totally sure why yet. The day he took it all away I was working a late shift and left home just after Steve and Barbara arrived. Nile sent me a text later to say they were on their way to London. Luckily I was working on my own that evening as I got more uptight with the anticipation of going home as the evening wore on. I took it out on the office by tidying up and doing some admin. I think I had a drink (alcohol ... of course) not long after I got in.

August 23, 2008

Finding A Way Of Being

Goodness, is it really that long since I write anything here? I've been mulling that over in my mind and I think one of the main reasons I haven't written anything lately is because I've been feeling a bit raw emotionally and writing here would be exposing myself and making it feel even more raw.

I have taken control of my life and Niadh is now leaving. It seemed to be a mutual agreement but it was me who brought it up. I'd been feeling unhappy and unsure and got to the point where if I didn't do anything about it the situation could have just continued and not gone anywhere. At least we were able to talk about it sensibly and maturely (what does being mature mean?).

Now I have to find my own way in the world once more, something that isn't new to me. As Cary said the other day, "You always were a bit of a loner". It's just the getting used to being on my own that may be difficult after all this time.

I seem to adapt to situations I find myself in quite quickly though. I always have done.

July 20, 2008

Sense And Sensibility?

Well, I'm not sure how much sense that last post makes. It all seems a bit vague and veiled. I know what I'm talking about so I suppose that's what really matters.

Come to think of it, the veiled theme has run throughout this writing. I've never really alluded to my relationship, or it's progression to be more exact. I made brief, happy reference to it last September when I started these writings but not after that. Things have changed and you'd have thought I might have written about it here. So why didn't I?

I guess because the world can read this if they like and I didn't want to bring other people into this other than in a superficial way. I was quite prepared to be deeply personal in my writings but only where my thoughts and feelings were concerned. I wanted to preserve other peoples privacy.

Now I think about it, what's the point of leaving things out when all of it is important here? I need to be honest with myself. The fact is this blog is not public and is unlikely to be found unless by chance (this has now changed - this blog is public). These are my own personal and private writings and are not listed as in the public domain (they are now).

The chances of someone finding this who knows any of the people involved are very remote (this still stands).

July 17, 2008


Tony did really well at driving.  He took the bull by the horns and went for it. There was the inevitable stalling but it wasn't long before he'd changed up to 3rd gear doing about 35mph!! I could sense he was feeling a bit out of control but let him go for it for a while. In the end he drove up the airfield and back, doing a 3 point turn, and only stalled it once. He's really keen to go again and now he has his licence we can do road driving too Auto

I'm beginning to feel like I'm really at home now. I've pottered and sat and shopped when I wanted to. The house feels clean and fresh and tidy and I don't even mind emptying the cat litter. I've had the windows open all day and it was even nice enough to sit in the garden. It got quite hot in fact and the other evening was positively Mediterranean; warm breeze late into the night Island with a palm tree

I feel much calmer.

Things took an unexpected turn today though and although it's a contradiction to what I just described, it's all part of the changes in life and the growing that I/we do.

Yesterday I felt completely fucked! I was having a good day and didn't expect to feel like that. Don't know what that was about. It was an unexpectedly nice feeling though. But today I felt melancholy, distracted and agitated all at once. At times close to tears. A wave of uncertainty came over me: uncertainty about myself and my worth; my actions; my thoughts and feelings. The agitated bit felt like 'charlie'. Raised pulse, deepened breathing, pounding sensation in the gut but without the speedy effect. It's gone now. It came on unexpectedly and suddenly and wasn't supposed to happen.

Now I feel more settled and certain. So where did it go? All that upset and turmoil.

I had the 'conversation' early enough to remind me I am OK and pretty much on the right track. Once I knew that, my mood started to lift. Now it feels warm and settled inside ... metaphorically speaking. Literally speaking, I feel bruised in the gut as though the earlier sensations were very real ... and the tops of my legs ache (but that could be because of my back).

So that's all OK now then Party

Or is it? Is it all a consequence of my relationship with Niadh. It's all a bit uncertain at the moment and I feel it is now Niadh's decision to make. He needs to know where he wants to be and who he is. That's my judgement alone but I think he would agree.

There's a lot of uncertainty around now I think of it. Me and Niadh and the future that holds and then there's going back to work. I know what I'm going back to it but not what it's like there now. Were my feelings yesterday and today related with this? The answer has to be possibly, or is it probably?

I guess it was all a result of how I have been feeling and how I acted upon that. I think I've been trying to get on with my life in a constant manner even amongst the inconsistencies. I just get into a routine and Niadh comes home. I'm not blaming him but it's not easy sometimes adjusting to having someone in the house who doesn't seem to be there a lot of the time. He's probably here more then he isn't a lot of the time, but it feels like it's the other way round at times.

So what I've been doing lately, it seems, is living independently of Niadh. The 'track' I was talking about. A bit of doing what I want when I want but also trying to include him when I can, but he doesn't always seem to want to be included. Trying to maintain my own routine amongst the adapting to his.

I think that might be where some of my 'niggles' have come from in the past. I've tried to maintain my own routine for some time and possibly got a bit obsessive about it. Wanting things done in a certain way otherwise it would wind me up. Even having friends round grew to be a bit of a chore even though I wanted them there! There's nearly always a mess when visitors leave.

I clear up as I go along and Niadh doesn't. He clears up afterwards so why does that wind me up? I guess it's because he's not doing what I'd do!

Ho Hum. The battle of trying to keep control when you haven't got it in the first place Sigh. If I didn't know what was going on I'd be worried about myself but I know I can calm this down and find the middle ground I need. I have to relinquish control because I've never had it in the first place. I mean the feeling that I have control over life - something common to us all. Truth is, we have some control over where we can take our lives but not over the events and changes that go on around us.

Ergo: I have no control over what I cannot control. So get on with it!

[ergo (Latin) conj. & modif. therefore, hence, consequently, thus]

I've also been ignoring phones a lot lately. My mobile has been switched off a lot when I'm at home and I haven't always taken much notice of who might have rung if I haven't heard the home phone. That part feels great ... not having to think about the phone, any phone.

Now I think of it, the unexpected events of the week probably weren't that unexpected. If only hindsight weren't so retrospective. I wouldn't have been so surprised!

July 09, 2008

Osteopathy, Driving, and Home

Off to the osteopath today. Just what I wanted to be doing on my holidays! My back got progressively worse last week until the weekend when it eased up a bit. Now I'm a bit freer but a bit sore in places and I've got to go back next week. He said I'm pretty much locked up on one side. There was bounce in my left hip but not in the right when he lay me on the table and pressed down on my hips. Now I need to stick to the exercises he gave me to do. It kinda puts the kybosh on going away anywhere at the weekend. I don't want to drive for miles and not be able to get out of the car at the other end!

Bumped into Tony while I was at Chris & Paul's. He wants to learn to drive so I'm taking him over to Bradwell airfield on Saturday. He says he's never taken control of a car before .... so that should be fun then Oh go on. I'm still not quite sure what he meant when he said I was the ideal person to ask about this. Did he mean I'd have the patience, or that I was 'sensible'?

Years ago I was the one who let go of Simon's push-bike seat and off he went for the first time under his own steam. He didn't realise he was on his own for a minute while I ran alongside as if I was still holding the bike up. My dad did the same thing to me. Now it seems I'll be first to take Tony for driving lessons.

It's been nice pottering around the house and not having to rush anywhere. I like having the time to clear up behind me and keep things tidy. I like being here when it's quiet; when the radio, the TV and the computer are off and I can hear the sounds of the village and the birds and the rain.

It's rained a bit in the last couple of days and thunder is forecast for Saturday. I love having the windows open and listening to the sound of the rain. There's something quite soothing about it. And the smell ..... clean, fresh, washed. I love it!

I like being here when it just feels like home. Not when it feels like somewhere to be in between being somewhere else. I like sensing it and experiencing it. I like coming back to it from wherever I've been. I like looking at it. I like sitting in it. I like feeling like I've got time to do things in it. I like being in it.

July 02, 2008

Here It Begins

HotThe Holidays Start Here. A 4 week break all bar 2 days. It doesn't seem possible. I'm obviously not in the swing of it yet as I keep feeling there's something I should be doing, or somewhere I should be going.

But there isn't.

I need to keep telling myself that.

This break could be the space I need to find my balance again. The space to balance my inner core. Balancing my spirit and soul. Continuing the journey of 'Righting' myself.

I thought some of it was coming back a while ago but it all seemed to come undone again. I couldn't get work out of my head and I felt full all the time - full in the head, that is. There didn't seem to be much room for what I wanted. I found Stevenage harder to get out of my head, at the end of a day, than CHAC. I guess there was the added responsibility in my post and the overwhelming nature of it at times. Let's face it, I had more jobs on the go at any one time than I was used to. I nearly always felt that there were numerous jobs not completed, that I was often chasing my tail and getting nowhere. It was the days when I started jobs and actually completed them that I felt good about the day. At CHAC I didn't have so many threads on the go at once.

Right now those threads don't matter. I can cut them and get on with my holiday. I still expect it to take a few days to really feel like I'm relaxed and at home and not having to go to work.

3 and a 1/2 weeks of freedom and relaxation. I intend to take it as it comes and be as spontaneous as I can. I'd like to find a cheap, short break at a moments notice. It sounds quite exciting. Or I may just nip off to the Brecon Beacons for a visit for old times sake. I haven't been there for years, apart from driving through them on the way down to Tim & Sues'. I'd quite like to spend some time there again, walking and sitting and looking. I could go on to visit Tim & Sue if they're at home.

Or I may just do both. A few days in the Brecon Beacons and a few days somewhere abroad.

Or I may go somewhere else entirely. Or I may not go anywhere at all.

The world's my oyster.

And then there's Dorset and Cambridgeshire .... and family. I now have the time to research local parish records and see what I can find out. There are the graves of the Dings in Fen Stanton and Fen Drayton and living family in Dorset. I've got enough to make some kind of inroad on more of the family history. And possibly catch up with some of them.

Would I feel more grounded, more aware of my roots? I don't know what I'll feel when I meet another member of my mothers family or my dads family come to that. There was that email from cousin Steven's mate a while back but no reply when I answered. I don't know who's dead or alive. That's one emotion I know I will feel ... sadness at the absence of people I'll never have the chance to see again. There are people I remember more than others  ..... Philip, Barbara and Lorraine particularly. The last time I saw any of them was at mums funeral over 20 years ago. There will be others I haven't seen since I was a child. Likewise on my dads side. Last time I saw any of them was at his funeral 34 years ago!

I might try looking up cousin Steve. I miss my dad more than I miss my mum but I think that's because he hasn't been there for most of my life. He died when I was 18. I feel like I don't really know him and yet I do. Part of me is him, yet I didn't have much chance to get to know him properly.

Perhaps this is something I need to do in my own journey - get to know myself through my parents and family. It'll put another perspective on life and things. It will certainly supply me with the roots .... or will it?

June 28, 2008

A Lovely Day


Burnham Art Trail today. And what a lovely day! Brilliant sunshine, 27 degrees, bit of a breeze. Felt so relaxed and carefree. Not a care in the world. The boat ride with Siew Keens dad. Azure (?) water, clear enough to see some of the hull of a boat underwater. Salt spray and wind in my face. No ice cream though 



June 12, 2008

Amsterdam and Beyond

Amsterdam was hazily brilliant! I was completely off my face Monday (and the Sunday night ... and Tuesday morning); like I haven't been for years. It got quite trippy and unreal a couple of times during the day.

Pauline spat red wine over Rick & Siew Keens trousers, Judith passed out spectacularly amongst a pool of red wine looking for all the world like a murder victim, and there were a few stunned group silences over the course of the 3 days ...... But when we laughed ... Rolling on the floor

I'd need a couple more days there to explore more. We got pretty lost for a while and went round in circles a couple of times ... but that was the fault of two policemen, a removal chappy in an open cellar and a passerby. Nothing at all to do with anything wee'd smoked! It was hot as well and our little legs got quite tired.

Cue the solace of a handy little coffee shop, in a square, outside, under the shade of a large tree. Well, we just had to stop, didn't we? Having partaken of sustenance and conviviality we soldiered on. The rest of the afternoon was spent on board a water bus on the canal. If I could travel to work like that every day I don't think I'd ever feel stressed out again. The journey was beautifully calming.

All too soon Tuesday morning was upon us and we had to do some serious smoking to use up everything we'd bought. Still, we managed it. Then it was off to the airport by tram (which we didn't seem to pay for either of the times we used it) for the afternoon flight back home. I think I was still recovering on Wednesday morning when I went back to work.

And I never thought about work the entire time I was away!

Maybe that's the answer. 3 days in Amsterdam at the beginning of July getting absolutely shit-faced and I'll be well relaxed and set up for the rest of my holidays.

June 07, 2008

A Profound Experience

I'm interested in the feeling of 'stepping off the planet" and the immense relief I felt the other day:

the chumbawumba wagon

discharging cooking oiley fumes and the smell of cheap burgers

looked like an inviting haven of tranquility

Medium sized caravan with serving bar at one end

Counter top tables along both sides and some chairs

Paul O'Grady on the TV

Sun newspaper

greasy sausage in a bun, and a cup of tea

it was wonderful!!

A120 screaming past outside seemed a world away

like exiting reality, or stepping off the planet for a breather.

everything involved with shutting the office down has made me knackered by the end of the day.

Everything about it was so different from the 'norm' for me. It was a spur of the moment thing. It took me far from the world just outside the door. And it was a bit more than just a break. I ought to do something like it more often. There's the woods at Wickham Bishops, the sea wall near home, a bike ride after work ... especially now the warmer weather is nearly here.

And now my thoughts are grinding to a halt .........................

May 26, 2008

Productive Talking

I'd got to the point of talking with Shelagh and asking for more help in Stevenage. Next week I'm down to one House Manager and Admin. One is leaving and the other one I'm not sure about. The same week sees the SAG meeting and a tenants meeting.

Shelagh called me in to talk about my tiredness on the way home. I was with her for two hours.

There's a lot I don't have to do and a lot I can relinquish responsibility for. We'll have a replacement House Manager in about a week ... by hook or by crook, a rents officer, and Loretta is coming one day a week to help as well and there should be senior manager there at least 3 days a week.

And the sense of relief is immense.

I felt a bit cavalier by the time I got into work and called them all together for a chat and some cake.

May 12, 2008

Another World

I've been feeling tired enough to stop driving on my way home lately. The first time I stopped at the rest area just east of Stansted, rolled a fag and had a stroll. Behind me the chumbawumba wagon was chugging away, discharging cooking oiley fumes and the smell of cheap burgers. Suddenly it looked like an inviting haven of tranquility. I went in.

Medium sized caravan with serving bar at one end. Counter top tables along both sides and some chairs.

Paul O'Grady on the TV and the Sun newspaper scattered around ... I don't do either! But, with a greasy sausage in a bun, and a cup of tea stirred with a tannin-black spoon, it was wonderful!! The A120 screaming past outside seemed a world away.

I read the paper and listened to the TV with one ear. I thoroughly enjoyed the greasy sausage-in-a-bun and the cup of tea in the polystyrene cup. I spent about half an hour in there. It was like exiting reality, or stepping off the planet for a breather.

I rolled another fag before I left and went outside and smoked it.

I stopped at the same place the next day. But this time I was tired enough to sleep when I got there. I locked the doors and went to sleep for just over an hour.

The building stress of the upcoming month and everything involved with shutting the office down has made me knackered by the end of the day. Tanya phoned Shelagh and told her, she was so concerned .... what a lovely friend. She said she wouldn't be able to live with herself if something happened to me parked up in a lay-by.

The upshot of that was the talk I subsequently had with Shelagh .........

April 20, 2008

The Way to Understanding (& Peace of Mind)

Philosophising is all very well but you have to live the life. Live the experience, live the knowledge. Understand, and accept,  movement and change. Know when it is time to hold still. Learn and grow and keep learning. This is the way to understanding (for me, at least).

It's all about putting it into practice.

It's all about finding peace of mind.

I have to point out that it is my understanding, my peace of mind that I seek. There is no absolute understanding as far as I'm concerned .... unless someone can show me differently.

My understanding of the world around me will be shaped by my perception of it. This is unique to me. The events that shape my life are also unique to me because I perceive them in my own unique way. (This will be for a number of factors that I won't go into in depth here at this moment. Suffice to say that nature and nurture both play a part.) So two people who experience the same event will have different memories and feelings about it afterwards. In time these  differences will probably grow because of the individuals internal 'construction' or 'de-construction' that takes place in all our lives.

By this I mean ... what do I mean?

When something happens in our lives, and it need not be a major event, just a passing occurrence, a spoken word, a gesture from a loved one, we 'construct' that event in our psyche. We try to make meaning from it. This happens largely subconsciously but will surface for more extreme occurrences. We apply meaning as well as seeking it afterwards. You will be familiar with the question, "What happened there, then?" frequently asked of ourselves as well as of external events. You will have told yourself some of what just happened there but you will also be asking yourself questions. This leads us back to our understanding of the world and our perception of it .... our uniqueness. No two people will come up with exactly the same reasons and answers for the same event, however close their answers are. Delving psychologically will possibly reveal further differences in how they arrived at their reasoning.

So, I am unique. A bit scary if I think too much about it. But I wouldn't want to be any other way now I have tasted this uniqueness. Subsequently, my search for inner peace will be quite lonely at times as no-one else can share it!

And isn't that the wonder of it all?

I've done it before, I can do it again.

April 19, 2008

The Tao of Physics?

A Thousand Colours describes exactly one of the things I'm trying to explain here. I just wanted to put it in my own words as well.

Existence = Essences, threads, facets, aspects ... it doesn't matter what you call them, they're all the same - only different. It all amounts to the same thing. There are myriads of each of them, only they are all one.

Think Quantum Physics (is light a wave or a particle or both? Can a particle be in two places at once?), Zen, Tao, Buddhism, and you'll get the idea. Separate facets indeed, but the Light that shines through them all is One!

I'm not talking about a god-like figure, or being, when I refer I to a Light (whatever Lao Tsu meant). No, I'm thinking more along the lines of a basic 'essence' that underlies everything. Something intangible and transient that is the basis of all existence. The tinted fragments of existence all shine because of the sun of being ... if you're getting my drift.

I've just ordered a book called "The Tao of Physics: An Exploration of the Parallels between Modern Physics and Eastern Mysticism" by Fritjof Capra. I read some of it years ago. What amazed me about it was how close the 'physics' side of it was to Eastern Philosophy. Some of the quantum stuff was close to reading the 'I Ching (or Book of Change)' (Richard Wilhelm). It all fitted.

I understood the' I Ching' better.

    • The I Ching holds that life is movement and that it develops through the conflict of opposites - change. All existence is based on movement and change. Through reading the I Ching we can cultivate an understanding of the world and ourselves. Without this understanding, the text is useless.

    I understood quantum mechanics better.

      • Everything is linked and it depends on how you look at it as to how you will see it - physically, psychologically and emotionally. How you look at things determines how you experience them and subsequently how you behave because of that experience.

      Sound familiar? Think psychology, particularly Cognitive Behavioural Therapy! Life is movement and change - it is inevitable. How you perceive movement (and our experiencing of the events on the way) determines how you behave because of those experiences. This is what makes us experience emotions and act on them, whether consciously or subconsciously. How often do we act on something only to wish later that we had done something different?

        The way I understand it, we have one perception of events at the time they happen, which shapes our understanding of the world around us at that moment. This is our unique, individual, existential view of a particular fragment of existence, of reality. There is a reality going on 'out there' regardless of our perception of it. But is that reality all of our perceptions, or just yours or mine? Is reality determined by perception? Does it depend on collective perceptions to make it accepted as reality?

        To view an alternative perception allows us to have an alternative understanding of the event and our behaviour. The same event looked at from two different angles ...... And back to quantum physics!

        How am I doing explaining myself?

        I know what I mean but I wanted to explain it in a way so that others can understand as well. It might help me to understand it all better! And reading back over what I have just written I do understand what I'm trying to say.

        It doesn't mean you will though!

      A Thousand Colours

      Lao Tsu2

      April 16, 2008

      Am I hitting one of the nails on the head?

      "The conflict between wanting to be alone and wanting to belong?" (see last para)

      Good question! Am I hitting one of the nails on the head here?

      I often disassociated myself from the world through fantasy, from a young age. I can remember when I was about 7 or 8 pretending to be a prince exiled from his land with death threats out against him.  Was it because I wanted to feel different or more important? Or was it because I was different, whether I wanted to feel more important or not.

      After my parents split up, I often felt that I wanted to disassociate from the family. I didn't get on with my brother, I wasn't seeing my father and I had rows with my mum. Hence I haven't seen any of my family for years.

      Do I feel different? I don't know, what does 'different' mean? How would I know? Do I feel more important? I do as a person ... I feel more valued and that I have more value.

      Did I want to belong? Yes! I tried that in other ways, but it never lasted. I needed something more long-term to really feel like I belonged. It comes from the people you know such as partners and friends and is more a feeling within than anything else. It's about who you are - with - who you are with, whether with yourself or with others.

      Do I feel like I belong? In some ways I do. In some ways I don't.

      This is all a bit existential but maybe that's the underlying root ..... the loneliness of being 'me'. No-one else can experience what I experience in the way I experience it. So now I have to ask the question:

      Do I belong to me?


      I guess I do. Would I have me as a friend? I guess I would. There are things about me I'm not happy with but I have that with some of my friends. I'm sure there are bits of me that other people aren't always so happy about! I think I'd be quite vocal (offering constructive criticism) towards me if I was my own friend!

      I like being on my own and I like being with other people. I think I'm fairly gregarious. I like talking to strangers. I can be considerate and inconsiderate. I can be kind and hurtful. I can take criticism when it's offered. It's when the negative aspects come out that I don't like it. I jab away at something rather than addressing it full on. Strange, seeing as how I can be quite direct and out-spoken about some things at times. Trouble is, it often takes me a while to work out what is bothering me and then I have to find a way of expressing it and dealing with it.

      I can be very good at pushing people away from me when I want to be on my own. That is something that can last for some time until I feel I've righted whatever was troubling me or got that feeling of being the man I like again. It happens at the very time I need someone. Contradictory or what?! Opposites is another word that springs to mind. That comes from my psychotherapy training. The pain of opposites. Do I (we) create one painful situation so as not to experience another situation that may hold a lot of fearful unknowns, or that may be painful in itself ... or both?

      April 01, 2008

      The Big Question

      Well, that was strange. I just met my brother in the supermarket .... briefly. He was with Val and has put on weight. When he asked me what I was doing in there, I found myself hearing his response to the same question had I asked it, "Shopping. What's it look like?" The most talking was done by Val. Her son, Thomas, is now 25. He was just a baby the last time I saw him! Tim asked me where I was living and when I told him he replied, "Well, I wouldn't know, would I?" We got outside and I remarked that I'd forgotten where I'd parked the car (I had forgotten) and then said, "Well, see you in another 10 years maybe". I think I caught a hint of an odd look from Val but I wasn't facing her full on so I can't be sure. And then I walked away.

      I didn't feel any compunction to hang around, like I might have done had it been a long-lost friend, but I was left with an odd feeling. Indifference, slightly irritated, wanting to ask loads of questions about our family, not wanting to know anything about him and his life, and vaguely wondering what his reaction was and what he was feeling after I left them.

      Did the irritation come from not asking the questions I wanted to ask? Or was I irritated before I went into the supermarket? I felt as though I didn't want to be in there when I entered and I felt vaguely irritated with the cashier, who was being the model employee ... all smiles and telling me what to do with my card in the reader, as if I didn't know.

      The questions I wanted to ask could come from other members of my family but I have about as much chance of asking them as I have of asking Tim. I don't know where he lives and I don't know where the rest of the family are. I could always find out. It wouldn't be too much work and it is possible.

      The big question.

      So What Stops Me?

      Nervousness at meeting them after all this time, maybe? Fear of the differences in knowledge between us? The overwhelming memories that may come flooding back? The density of the interwoven threads of the fabrics of our lives? The conflict between wanting to be alone and wanting to belong?

      I don't know them. They'd be strangers to me. Or would they? Some of them may be dead. I don't remember half their names.

      I haven't seen any of them for about 35 years! Not properly anyway. The last time I saw the majority of Mum's family was at her funeral. That was 20 years ago now.

      And then they were gone.

      March 26, 2008

      Things I've learned:

      • Cleaning your teeth too hard wears away the enamel and they don't look white anymore and they become sensitive to heat and cold.
      • Spectacles can be uncomfortable and hurt!
      • I've become more aware of death the older I've got but it doesn't bother me as much as it used to.
      • A very large Espresso can give the most hardened coffee drinker the wobbles.
      • Thunder isn't really caused by the clouds crashing together.
      • Ben was the best friend I ever had.
      • Bits of the ageing process stop me doing as much as I used to. Make the most of what you've got while you've got it.
      • Farting is perfectly natural.
      • Listen with your ears, not with your mouth .... you'll hear, and learn, more.
      • The Meaning of Life is "42" - it's what you make of it.
      • Pushing your limits is the only way to find out whether or not you will succeed.
      • The only certainty in anyone's life - is death.
      • Consider the worst but don't fear it. The fear may be the worst thing you experience.
      • There'll always be knots and tangles in life unless you do something about them.
      • Nothing gets done by sitting around doing nothing.
      • Cat hairs get everywhere! But they're worth it, I guess.
      • As you get older you're more likely to pee yourself when you cough or sneeze.
      • Baloney & Bureaucracy belong to the same family but baloney can be more entertaining.
      • A small contribution is still a significant one.
      • Passions are meant to be pursued - they help you make a difference.
      • Anger (or is it all emotions?) not dealt with is often directed elsewhere other than to the original target.
      • The best way to spin a yarn is to be outrageous and don't try to look too serious. Remember Labradors and seals, Denver?

      March 23, 2008

      A White Easter

      It snowed at last! Pity I didn't get any pictures. It was snowing when I got up this morning at about 8:30am and lasted until about midday. Then it settled into a sleety rain and most of the snow that settled has gone. It's not going to warm up until later in the week so we might have more yet.

      March 21, 2008

      Brilliant Entertainment

      Two videos absolutely worth watching.

      Per Depressivum Ad Adversitum...

      Through depression to adversity. A bit of a roller coaster ride lately, eh? Sliding down but springing up. The 'up' seems to make me angry or emotionally tired, or both and the 'down' comes about from that. Still, it's a fairly up day today so make the most of it.

      The thought that I have another 4 days off before I go back to work is sheer heaven. I feel more relaxed already. Today's been a day of doing bugger all so we can go visiting and shopping tomorrow. It's Carole's birthday today and Chris's on Monday so we need to get a card and a pressie for them. I also need to see the Koenig's so we could pop over there as well. If the coal yards open in the morning we can get some. It's supposed to be snowing by tomorrow.

      Niadh's upstairs killing things and claiming land and Squiggle is curled up and asleep on the settee next to me. It's gusting quite strongly outside but all's quiet right at the moment. There's no sound of the rain we had last night and this afternoon. It hammered down last night and was extremely windy.

      There, the wind's picked up again. I can hear the tree over the road rustling and the gentle rattle of windows in the house. But it's cosy in here.

      Baby Panda

      I couldn't stop laughing the first time I saw this.

      March 16, 2008

      Way of Life

      I_Ching_sml I really ought to get back to reading the I Ching. As a way of life it has taught me much in the past and I felt as though I could move through life much more gracefully. I want to get that feeling back.

      I haven't felt alive alive for ages. Much of the time it's as though I'm moving through fog, which is threatening to become a pea-souper. That'll be work then. Trouble is it spills out into the rest of life as well. I don't get much out of my spare time either. Life outside work seems to be misty and vague with no real sense of purpose or direction.

      It's only lately that I've been going out more with friends. It feels good to be amongst them. Perhaps more of the same and less time spent in front of the TV or the computer of an evening would do me the world of good. Something to get ready for now and then. Something to exercise my mind and possibly my body. I keep wanting to walk more and some of them get together regularly for walks. I might not be able to make the Friday walk but could persuade someone else to come with me. I wonder if Mick would. We can take Ozzy with us.

      I need some sort of regularity. I need to know that things are likely to happen and that, as far as possible, they will. I know things change, it's part of life ... well, it's all of life actually ... and plans don't always come about. It's the making of those plans that's important to me though. I've got nothing to look forward to otherwise.

      Oh, there are plans made for the year ... not many but some ... but it's not the Amsterdam-in-June or the Eire-in-August ones I'm talking about. They're something exciting to look forward to but don't give that regular feel-good factor. I'm talking about the short term plans, the daily, weekly and monthly ones  to look forward to. The ones that keep the seratonin levels up. The involvement, the banter, the camaraderie that cones from being with friends.

      I guess I'm trying to find meaning to life as well. The subtle meaning that nurtures me and everyone around me. The calming, purposeful Way that I've touched before. It's in the soul.