Thursday 31 May 2007

Space Cars

When I was a lad growing up in the 1960's; I was really excited about what the world of the future would be like. Based on televison shows and what I read...the 21st century was going to be awesome. So fully believing what had been visualised, way back in the 1960's...this is what I had anticipated.
I had expected to travel to work in my 'space car.' So where the heck are these space cars and other wonderful inventions predicted for the 21st century? What are we waiting for? I want my space car!
In 1940, Henry Ford assured the world that we would soon be manoeuvring about in machines that were a combination of aeroplane and automobile. So, here we are, 67 years later..and we're still waiting!
However to this lad of the 'Sixties', the biggest 'false hope' culprits were the makers of 'The Jetsons.' Okay, we had other contributors to these fabulous future predictions. Shows such as 'Thunderbirds' and 'Captain Scarlet.' And so far as..'Space 1999'...yeah right!
Yet, to me, 'The Jetsons,' were, by far, the biggest contributor to my expectations of the future. Zipping about in their bloody space cars. Living in some futuristic city, which must have had stunning views. Having some robot named 'Rosie' cater to the families' needs. I wonder what 'Astro', a real dog, (in the cartoon sense of real) thought about all the technology? Indeed, I wonder what he thought about electronic canine competition?
So where is my robot? Why are we still waiting to have our 'time-share flats' on the Moon? Why has nobody visited Mars yet? I read in a book from the late 1960's, that we would have a 'Man on Mars,' by the year 1977! So much for all of that then.
So I guess we'll have to wait for the 'predicted' visit by beings from another planet, to get the future back on track. If one of these 'little green dudes' comes up to me and says:"Take me to your leader." I will say: "Never mind that, little green dude, can you sort me out with a space car?"

Monday 28 May 2007

Home For A Holiday

Warm greetings to you-
I would like to share with you some childhood memories. These memories emphasise the importance of my reunions with my family in Canada. My family in Canada are a vital link to my mental health wellbeing.
When I was eight years old, my Mother went to Vancouver to start a new life. In England, she had met a kind and decent Canadian gentleman. In Vancouver, a place so far away, my Mother prepared herself to start a new journey. She craved a fresh start and now she had that chance.
That left me in England. A little boy, very alone and very scared. For now it was just my Father and me. Oh, how I missed my Mother. I was happy for her but I was hysterical with grief. When would my Mum return? So I waited and I waited. I knew she must return.
During this time, my Father, who was intolerable, became even worse. It saddens me to say that I have no pleasant memories of my Dad. From a very early age, I realised that my Father, took great pleasure in publicly humiliating me. He never praised me, all he did was mock me. My Dad seized every opportunity to point out how stupid I was. He instilled in me an all-consuming sense of worthlessness. I believed him when he told me I was stupid. If my Dad thought I was an idiot, then in the mind of a scared little boy, it was true.
Eight months passed by. To a little boy, it might just well have been eight years. My mother was back from Vancouver. How I rejoiced. My Mother was home from that strange and distant land. What were her plans? Was she back to stay or was this the closing of a chapter in her life?
I recall what happened next with remarkable clarity. I was called into the living room of our flat in Blackheath. My Mother and my Father sat there looking very tense. This now nine year old child was about to make the biggest, life-altering decision of his life. A decision that has had repercussions and ramifications ever since.
I was given a choice. Did I want to stay in England with my Dad ? Or, did I want to move to Vancouver and live with my Mum and that thoroughly decent Canadian gentleman? Being a nine year old, I was thinking...'big cars..real exciting adventure.' There was no doubt in my mind what I should do. ' I come!'
So my new life began. This little boy with the funny English accent moved to Canada. I adapted well. I blended into the Canadian way of life with relative ease. Heck, I had a Canadian accent by the time I was ten. My life seemed fairly positive.
They were exciting times but I always wondered about my Dad. How was he coping? He knew where I lived, yet he never communicated. The years rolled by and thoughts of my Dad became a distant memory. He had been a terrible Father to me. Perhaps it was just as well that I blanked him from my mind.
Curiosity did get the better of me. Fourteen years later, in 1976, I returned to England. Even though my Dad had made no attempt to contact me; I went to find him. I managed to contact his Mother. In her flat in London, she phoned my Dad. She handed me the phone. Thirty one years later, the words he spoke still haunt me. "What do you want?" he said, "as far as I'm concerned you're a ghost!"
Several heart-wrenching situations occured after that phone call. Indeed, many of the sad complications in my life have a direct link to what happened when I was that scared, lonely little boy. Yet, even though I have been disowned by my Dad. Even though my son has never known him as a Grandfather; I have much to be grateful for.
For in Canada, I have a family that provides me with love and support. They know how tough it has been for me, trying to live the British 'dream', I so desired. That is why, even though I am desperately lonely, even though I feel so isolated. I take great comfort that I shall soon be seeing my family.
So to my Mother, whose is a kind and generous soul. To my Stepfather, who has been more of a Dad to me than my own. To my two Brothers, who I don't know well enough. Thanks for all your encouragement and reassurance.
Thank you my friends, I leave you with the hope of a brighter, more positive future for us all. I am going Home for a holiday.

Monday 21 May 2007

Going Anywhere Nice?

Greetings good people-
If they can land a man on the 'Nevada Desert,' (Moon-landing conspiracies anyone?), then I reckon you will read beyond the first sentence.
How many times have you told someone that you were going on vacation and they responded: "Going anywhere nice?" Going anywhere nice!? Certainly not. Why go on the holiday of a lifetime, when you could, for instance, tour all the landfills in Britain?
In fairness, I have visited the landfill site in Leek. The views from there are actually very pretty. Off in the distance, you can see the 'Roaches.' When somebody first told me to check out the 'Roaches', imagine my confusion when I was told that they were 1657 feet tall! Man, I've seem some big 'Roaches' in my time..but heck..I wouldn't want a critter that size chasing me. Also ,who is this 'Winking Man?' Next you'll be telling me that 'Wallabies' have been sighted near the 'Roaches.' Yeah right! It's the flippin' 'Roaches' in the Staffordshire Moorlands not 'bloody' 'Ayers Rock' or 'Uluru.'
I knew this was going to be a bit of a strange blog..seemed to have gone off-track, just a tad. Oh yeah... landfills! When I visited the Leek Tip last week, I got to thinking. Seagulls, all around me, great squawking seagulls. "Why are you here seagulls?" I thought. "You are 'Sea'gulls not 'Tip'gulls." What is their reasoning?
Let's look at the seagull's options. Option 1- Hang around some filthy dump and scrap for disgusting morsels. Option 2- Go to some beautiful, tranquil beach and catch fresh fish from the ocean. Hmmm..very strange.
So to end this totally disjointed blog...I leave you with this. Does it take twice as long to wash double-glazed windows? Why can't I get free cash from a 'Free Cash' machine? And finally..."Are you 'Going Anywhere Nice'?"

Wednesday 9 May 2007

Not So Neighbourly

Greetings Friends-
When I moved into my flat I saw it as a great opportunity to start moving on with my life. The chance to rebuild my shattered world. I had been abandoned and forced to sell the family home. Over four years later, with my life savings almost gone, the house was sold. The home that the women I loved had left me to rot in. The home that surrounded me with sad, tragic, painful memories. Constant reminders of my wife and child, constant reminders of the pain we all endured. Left, on my own, no wife, no Tristan, no friends and a family so far, far away. All I had was the relentless torment of my all-consuming madness. This mere shadow of a man, barely able to function, gathered up his remaining dignity and prepared to start again.
With great enthusiasm and positive anticipation, I moved into my new home. At first, I was oblivious to the negative environment that surrounded me. Oh, the clues were there. I should have sensed that things were not right when I had to access the adjacent property, just to move in. The communal pathway to my flat was hidden under an unsightly, overgrown mess. Undaunted, I proceeded to clear the pathway. I wanted to be a good neighbour and thought the people below me would appreciate my efforts.
How wrong I was. After clearing the pathway for a third time in a year, I finally approached the neighbours below. I asked them to kindly start living up to their responsibilities. That's when the torrent of abuse started. "You live your life...will live our's!" I was told. Then the door was slammed in my face.
So now a year into my new life, I had a closer look around. The garden (if you could call it that) below me was strewn with rubbish, broken glass, vodka bottles, dead birds and a headless rat! Enough was enough. Despite battling with an ongoing deep depression, I knew I must take action. Action to make it a better place for my son, myself and the neighbourhood in general.
I contacted my Housing Association, the local Council plus Environmental Health. I battled with bureaucracy. Month after month of inaction followed. My complaints and concerns were ignored. I was one man battling with the system and battling with my mental illness.
While the situation below continued unabated, I turned my attention to the neighbours next door. Unbelievably, they were as anti-social as the people below me. Constant fighting, constant drinking and continuous disruption to our lives. Their children were often out of school and would run wild through my garden. Their dog, which was severely mistreated, caused us great concern. I contacted the R.S.P.C.A. They did nothing to stop the cruelty! The father who had been out drink-driving, yet again, demolished the rear end of my car. This meant I had to take legal action against him because he tried to get away with it. The tension was unbearable but I continued in my fight to make this a better neighbourhood.
Then, finally there was one other set of anti-social neighbours in the adjacent building. They too fought and screamed. It was quite common to see the 'lady' of the house chasing her boyfriend down the street with a kitchen knife! Yet strangley enough, I tried to become friends with these people. I looked after their kids for free. I drove their children to school for free. I helped them out on several occasions. All I got in return was disrespect and indifference. It was time for me to take further action. I could not tolerate this deplorable situation any longer. My own self-respect became stronger as I persevered.
At last, my determination was starting to be recognised. A five year battle to make this neighbourhood a safe, peaceful place began to happen. Some of my decent neighbours finally noticed our plight. They rallied around and the authorities finally paid heed to the nightmare my son and myself had been subjected too. The neighbours next door were evicted, the neighbours in the adjacent building were rehoused. The people below did a 'runner', abandoning the property and leaving their cats to become strays.
So I had one last battle with bureaucracy. I had to prove that the property below was vacant. Well not exactly vacant. Their five stray cats would run wild through the flat below me. Trying to sleep at night, I felt like I was caught up in some 'Tom and Jerry' cartoon. Anyway, two court cases later, the people below, were at last evicted. The cats were removed.
Through this harrowing experience, I have discovered great contentment. I am now blessed with wonderful neighbours. We are a happy community that work together. To have perservered whilst challenging my mental illness inspires me onward to even brighter possibilities.
My friends, we can turn negatives into positives. We have the right to be happy and live in peace. I did all this for my son, my neighbourhood and for myself. I am most grateful to be a part of the 'mindbloggling' experience. Dare to dream and be inspired.
I thank you for your time. Warm wishes adanac67.

Tuesday 1 May 2007

Pizza With Your Fingers?

Greetings Friends-
After my last blog, I thought I would get back to having a bit of light-hearted fun. Even though I have more 'baggage' than the backlog at Heathrow Airport; I really prefer having a bit of banter. I leave some very painful life stories for another time. So let the festivities commence.
When I moved back to England, I was most surprised to be informed that I had become two months older. This was most confusing to a guy who was still working out, that in Britain, we drive on the opposite side of the road. I thought that Britain was eight time zones ahead of Vancouver. So what's with with this 'two months' situation? Had I actually gone back a whopping two months in time zones? So what happened? Had I entered the 'Twilight Zone?'
The confusion started when somebody asked me some personal details. "Date of birth?" I was asked. I replied July 5th 1953. The lady wrote down on the form 05/07/53. What's going on here? I thought. Well, excuse me, I wasn't born on May 7th. Heck, at my age, you want to be feeling younger, not two months older! Then I found out that we reverse the dates here.
So now I shall tell you about October 9th (sorry! 9th October, 1988) My former spouse had gone into labour and was on the verge of giving birth to our son Tristan. I looked anxiously at my watch. Could she hold out for a few hours more? There were moments when I thought she was ready to give birth. Hang on dear, I thought. What's a few more hours of agony? The hours ticked by and then it became the 10th of October. Imagine my relief when Tristan was born on 10/10/88! No confusion, no worrying about dates being reversed. How considerate of my former spouse!
When I first moved back to England, I recall going to a pizza restaurant. Upon looking around I noticed that the other customers were eating their pizza with a knife and fork. So I'm thinking, people, it's already sliced, grab a slice with your fingers and shovel it into your mouth. Well, that's what most uncivilised North Americans do. Still, different country, different customs.
Undaunted, I thought to heck with it. I bravely grabbed a slice of pizza and lifted it towards my mouth. No knife, no fork, none of that for this dude. The other customers gasped. Responsible adults covered their children's eyes. Look at that guy over there eating pizza with his fingers! Oh I'm such a rebel!
So I ask you this, good people. Do you eat pizza with your fingers? Or do you eat them separately?
Kind regards adanac67 ( a guy who wants to know: When I read on a bottle of juice:'Dilute to Taste.' Does that mean if I don't dilute it, I can't taste it?)