Thursday 31 December 2009

A 'Wee Folks' New Year's Eve.

It is a quiet and gentle New Year's Eve.  The glowing candles and the colourful lights create the perfect setting for a perfect evening. 
I sit and I marvel at the joy on the faces of the 'wee folks'.  I watch them so happy in their carefree world.  They are good and they are kind.  No judgement is passed, no stigma attached.  The wee folks live in peace, sweet peace and contentment.  They wish for the world of us bigger folks to be more like theirs.  If only.

I sit here and I wish for our world to be a cleaner, greener, more loving place.  A world where no man shall live in fear, where no child goes to sleep, cold and hungry.  I wish for a world where we stopped competing, stopped comparing and started living.  I wish for a world where we celebrate our differences.  All different, all equal.
Let our legacy be to future generations, that it all stops now.  An end to bigotry, an end to the indifference to the plight of others.  Let us leave our precious, fragile planet a kinder, caring, more peaceful place for our children and, in turn, for their children. 
I sit here and I sense a new optimism for the dawning of a new decade.  I believe there are people who embrace a beginning of a fresh, vibrant and most positive reality.  We can make it so.
The wee folks wish us all a peaceful and positive 2010.

Sunday 27 December 2009

Strolling To Serenity.

It was a cold and clear late December day.  The final flickers of the sinking sun cast shadows on this peaceful, tranquil neighbourhood.  The view from my bedroom window filled my mind with thoughts of serenity.

Upon the top of the hill, is a wonderful place, a place I soon would go.

Behold, the place upon the top of the hill.  Westwood High School, Leek, Staffordshire, a magical school, a school of dreams, the school my son attended.

It was early afternoon, on a cold and foggy Christmas Eve.  I strolled the grounds, gazed at the clock tower and felt at peace with the world.
I walked alone, alone, yet content,   The cold wind howled through majestic trees.  The snow crunched beneath my feet.  This was my sanctuary, a place that nurtured my happy thoughts.
I heard in my mind the singing of a thousand choirs and the laughter of a thousand children.  This school, this enchanting school, this school of a thousand hopes and aspirations, had taken me under its spell.
One walk, one spiritual walk.  This Christmas Eve was a day I would remember, forever.
It was getting dark. Down the hill, off in the distance, I could see the twinkling lights of Leek. It was time to leave and reflect upon a perfect day.                                

I headed back down the hill.  I turned around to take one last glance at the alluring beauty of that special, so very special place.  I had been strolling to serenity.  Serenity beats strongly in my heart.

Saturday 19 December 2009

A Christmas Charm.

The ongoing shy, sweet, innocent romance between the beautiful fairy princess and the garden gnome, continues to grow in wondrous splendour.  This unfolding, gentle attraction is a tale of hope and inspiration.  For these 'wee folks' live in a world where kindness is embraced, rather than treated with suspicion.  Indeed, they live in a world where differences are celebrated and passing judgement is an alien concept. There is no stigma.  The wee folks, all different, all equal.
It all began on that glorious early summer's day.  Strolling around the garden, looking at the flowers, listening to the gentle breeze play tunes upon the wind chimes; gave me a sense of peace and contentment.  Then I cast my eyes upon the low blossoms of some awakening flowers.  There they were.  The beautiful fairy princess and the garden gnome.  'Behold', I thought, 'do my eyes deceive?'   I smiled, as I realised, that before me, was the early stages of a budding romance.
Over the last few months, I've had fleeting glimpses of these magical, mystical creatures.  The wee folks, seeking comfort from a rather cold early August day, had visited my home, navigating a way through my letter box, courtesy of a tiny string ladder.  I remember peeking into my kitchen and seeing them have a marvellous time.  I did not mind.  For to know that they were happy, and they were warm, filled my heart with glowing thoughts of joy.
It was a while before I saw them again.  The beautiful fairy princess and the garden gnome played and giggled amongst the resplendent autumn leaves.  They knew I was watching but they didn't seem to mind.  The nights got longer and the weather became colder.  I wondered if I would have another moment to experience the magic of the wee folks.

I went into my living room.  Upon the window ledge, standing on each side of a tiny Christmas tree, were the beautiful fairy princess and the garden gnome.  They looked so happy, so content, so thrilled at the sight of the twinkling lights.  I knew that this would be a special Christmas, a magical Christmas, an enchanting Christmas.  I could see by the way they gazed dreamily into each others eyes, that he was charming and she was charmed.  A Christmas charm.
Like I know the wee folks will have; may you have a peaceful, positive Christmas.

Saturday 12 December 2009

A 'Boxing Day Eve' Carol.

Now, I realise that previous blogs that I wrote, regarding the festive season, and Christmas in particular, were, at times, somewhat 'tongue-in-cheek'.  There I was going on about Christmas and affectionately calling it 'Boxing Day Eve'.
Now the usage of 'Boxing Day Eve', does sound quite awkward when used as a replacement in much-loved Christmas songs.  For example: 'Have yourself a merry little 'Boxing Day Eve', just doesn't work.  'Rockin' around the 'Boxing Day Eve' tree',  The twelve days of 'Boxing Day Eve', 'I'm dreaming of a white 'Boxing Day Eve' see, it just doesn't work.  And, heaven forbid, can you imagine 'Noddy Holder' from 'Slade' screaming out that opening line to, 'Merry Christmas everybody', with not, 'It's Christmas!', but instead, 'It's Boxing Day Eve!'  Me thinkest not.
So in my own ongoing tradition of 'thinking out of the 'box' day eve'; I present to you, A 'Boxing Day Eve' Carol'.  So this will be a slight variation on 'A Christmas Carol' by Charles Dickens.  My apologies to Mr. Dickens.  My apologies to you if you have 'great expectations'.
Now then, you may be familiar with Ebenezer Scrooge.  Ebenezer was a really mean, cynical and downright stingy old chap.  Ebenezer had a business partner named Jacob Marley.  Jacob Marley was not related to Bob Marley, or for that matter, had never even listened to Reggae music.  Jacob, as miserable as Scrooge, had passed away and left the business in the capable and greedy hands of our cynical friend, Scrooge.
On December 24th, Scrooge went to bed and got a visitation from Jacob who was wearing chains.  Apparently, the chains were symbolic of the way he had led his rather nasty life.  The chains had nothing to do with a kinky fetish.  Ebenezer also got a visit from the ghost of 'Boxing Day Eve' past, the ghost of 'Boxing Day Eve' present and the ghost of 'Boxing Day Eve' yet to come.  All of these visitations scared the crap out of him and thus he awoke a changed man.
Upon realising that only the night had passed and it was actually December 25th; Scrooge got all giddy, ran to his window and yelled at a rather confused child.  He asked the child to go to the butcher's and grab a turkey. This new, improved, happy-go-lucky Scrooge made amends for his cynical past.  He became a friend to his employee Bob Cratchit and his son 'Tiny Tim'.  In fact, Ebenezer became a changed man for all to see.  His family, his new friends, reaped the benefits of a kinder, more caring, more compassionate man.
'A Christmas Carol' is a story of inspiration.  It demonstrates that we can all change for the better.  Personally I didn't need a bunch of ghosts sorting me out.  No, I confronted, I challenged my 'demons'.  Being positive can be hard work.  Yet the alternative is a dark, dreary and lonely place.  A place I left behind.  Just like Ebenezer Scrooge...

If you want to see some of my past 'Boxing Day Eve' blogs , maybe out of curiosity, maybe out of boredom; here are some links:

Friday 4 December 2009

Dear Durham And Dear Friends.

Dear Durham and dear friends.  There has been many a time that heading out my front door was quite the challenge. Yet, I know that I can't just wait for things to happen.  If I want a better life, I have to take action.
So once again, I journeyed up to Durham to stay with my good friends, Julie and Philip.  Having friends such as these, has been vital, in my ongoing quest, to live a happier life.  For this, I am grateful.
Oh yes, we laughed and we talked.  Like three giddy school kids, we had the time of our lives.  It's so refreshing, so invigorating, to get out of my house, my isolation, and be a part of something, so very special.
Their priceless gift of friendship has inspired me to be more involved.  Indeed, to stop worrying so much about my perceived lack of social skills.  More and more, I am beginning to understand that it okay for me to have the 'audacity' to 'impose' myself on society.  It is about unlearning behavioural patterns that filled me with niggling self doubts.

The winter sun was setting.  I gazed upon the awesome splendour that is Durham cathedral.  I thought to myself how lucky I am to have such caring friends.  The scene was perfect and my heart sang with the joy of life.
I am now back in my house.  The fond recollection of another great time resounds in my thoughts.  Dear Durham and dear friends.  Wow, life just gets better and better.

A Cynics' Christmas Party.

"A cynic is not merely one who reads bitter lessons from the past; he is one who is prematurely disappointed in the future." Sidney J. Harris, American Journalist.

A very reluctant, somewhat indifferent welcome to the 'Cynics' Christmas Party'. In a few moments, I will introduce you to the folks who bothered to show up to this little farce posing as some kind of Christmas party. You know, a Christmas party, like the office Christmas party, where everybody has a good time, smiles, laughs and says how wonderful you are. That would ofcourse be the same people who actually hate your guts but put on a false smile, through gritted teeth and wish you a 'merry Christmas' and a 'happy New Year'. Yes indeed a fine collection of 'workmates', one tried to get you sacked, one had sex with your partner and one stole a doughnut from your lunchbox.
I will now give you the great pleasure of meeting this happy lot. Ofcourse they don't know you, so they, unlike the Christmas parties you have been to in the past, have not had the chance to hate your guts. But hey, give em' time, no doubt, they will soon dislike you.
Sitting over there looking totally disinterested with proceedings is that big fan of Christmas known as 'The Grinch'. Now the Grinch is a bitter, cave-dwelling chap, who lives high up on a mountain just outside of a town named Whoville. He despises the warm-hearted 'Whos' and their nauseating love of Christmas. With his only companion, his dog Max, he plans to dress poor Max up as a reindeer, use him to pull his sleigh and steal all the trappings associated with the festive season. No gifts, no decorations, no Christmas. That would be right, wouldn't it?
Perhaps the Grinch might say hello to you. Perhaps not.
Sitting over there looking even more disinterested, if that's possible, is another lover of this jolly season. Let me introduce you to Ebenezer Scrooge. Maybe Mr. Scrooge will say something. Mr. Scrooge goes off on a rant: "Why I came here, I don't know. I could have been back at my office working out more ways to make even more money. On Christmas Day, I shall have that idle loafer employee of mine, Mr. Cratchit working. Christmas is just another day and I need to make more money."
The cynics' Christmas party has not been that well attended this year. Matter of fact, all who bothered to show up were these two fine examples of the Christmas spirit, or lack of. The wicked witch of the west was evidently stuck under a house, whilst Montgomery Burns was too busy watching Homer Simpsons' activites, or lack of, on his closed circuit television. Heck, we even tried to bring in an 'off-the-wall' comedian, to liven things up, sadly, 'Humpty Dumpty' cracked at the last moment.
You know what? I got this feeling that the Grinch and Mr. Scrooge are going to have a rethink about their cynical ways. I believe that soon they will discover that Christmas is so much more than gifts and decorations. They will learn not to be bitter and envious of folks who are trying to be happy. Happiness is a right for all of us....and that includes the Grinch and Ebenezer Scrooge.

Friday 27 November 2009

Prawn On The Internet.

I keep hearing about folks searching for 'prawn on the internet'. I really have no idea what all the fuss is about. Something about soft prawn and hard prawn. Well, I don't know about that, but I've had a deep-fried prawn. Anyway, I didn't need to 'surf', or, for that matter, 'trawl' the internet, to find prawn. No, all I did was go into my local supermarket and found prawn hiding inside a bag of crisps (or 'potato chips', if you are reading this from North America). Yeah, I know, the bag states it is 'prawn cocktail', and at this point, you might be thinking up some double meaning connotation.
A prawn is a crustacean. A crustacean is chiefly an aquatic creature. Typically, having their body covered with a hard shell or crust. One type of prawn is known as a 'king' prawn. Contrary to what I had believed was true; a king prawn is not in line for the throne of the British monarchy. Crabs are crustaceans. One type of crab is known as a 'fiddler' crab. The fiddler crab, does not, as I was led to believe, play a small stringed instrument, or indeed, entertain the various sea creatures, with tunes from 'Fiddler on the Reef'. 'If I were a rich clam...' Lobsters are crustaceans. One type of lobster is named, 'slipper' lobster. To this day, not one slipper lobster has been seen wearing slippers, smoking a pipe and sporting some tacky cardigan.
I wonder if a prawn has 'coral sex'? Do they do it 'atoll'? I wrote this story just for the 'krill' of it. I think I need 'kelp'. I know this posting was 'all at sea'. Yet, somehow, it 'warmed the cockles of my heart'. Right, that's enough, I'll 'clam' up now.

Sunday 22 November 2009

Glowing Optimism.

I sat in my dimly lit living room. Three flickering candles cast dancing shadows upon the walls. The ambience of this tranquil setting filled my heart, my soul, my mind, with peaceful, contented gratitude. I have so much to be grateful for.
I sat there alone, yet I was not alone. I stared at the candles and within their glow, I saw the smiling faces of friends afar and friends nearby. I knew that they would be pleased, I knew they would be comforted. For they realise that such simple beauty, as the reassuring flame of a candle, would fill my being with a sense of inner peace.
I sat there and I smiled. I am so lucky. I have a lovely home, a beautiful garden and genuine, honest friends. My positive thinking of the world around continues to grow in strength. I will never, ever again, allow negative speculation to sabotage my right to a peaceful and happy life.
I sat there and I listened. The wind blew through the branches of the trees. The rain pelted upon my windows. I was warm and I was cosy. The candles, with one last moment of brilliant flicker, faded away and the room became dark. It was time for me to sleep. It was the end to a perfect evening.
The candles had glowed and I to shall glow. For glowing optimism for a better life, a better world for you, for me, is an ideal that I embrace.

Thursday 19 November 2009

Lovely Blog Award.

I have been most honoured to have a, 'Lovely Blog Award', bestowed upon me. It has come to my attention that I have received this award twice. So I must humbly apologise to that wonderful blogger, 'Julie Phillips', whose very informative and supportive blog can be found at the following address: Thank you Julie, it was really great for me that your daughter pulled my name out of a bag. Your posting regarding my blog was thoughtful and most encouraging. Wishing you much success in your ongoing writing endeavours. Happy writing and thanks again.
I would also like to thank Suzanne Jones. Suzanne does a terrific blog that is inspirational, informative, thought-provoking, humorous and conveys a transparency I much admire. Continued positive writing Suzanne and thank you again. Suzanne's lovely blog can be discovered at the following address:
Now I shall duly pass this, Lovely Blog Award, on. This is certainly a most difficult decision. I have had the great privilege of reading and interacting with many fine bloggers. They have made me think, stirred my imagination and made me realise I'm part of a very special community. However, after much deliberation, I have decided to pass this award on to a very positive and inspirational new writer. Who, despite what could be perceived as overwhelming situations; continues to be resilient and remains positive in the face of adversity. So, to not only a lovely blogger, but a dear friend; I pass this award to you. My friend Heather's blog can be found at the following address:

Below are the rules that relate to this award. I thank you for your time. Happy writing to you all. Kind wishes, Gary.

1) Accept the award, and post a link back to the awarding person.

2) Pass the award on.

3) Notify the award winner.

Monday 16 November 2009

Write Stuff.

After the 'nonsensical gibberish' of my last two, somewhat surreal blogs; I thought it might be a good idea to get back to a posting that was a bit more serious. I would have included a third, but 'Penny', the Jack Russell dog, would not be pleased if I thought of her interview, as just a way to exploit her genuine thoughts and concerns.
There have been a number of people who have said they: 'wish they could write like me.' Although flattered, I proceed to ask: 'Why not write, like you can write?' Their responses usually go something like this: 'I just don't know how to express myself.' I then ask: 'So tell me. What is it you find so difficult in explaining yourself through the power of the written word?' At which point, all the reasons they can't write come flowing out. With great verbalisation, with great articulation; they explain all those reasons that stop them from writing. 'There you go,' I state, 'now write it down.'
Writing, for me, no matter what style I use, is therapeutic, and is very much, a positive resource. I write for fun, for pleasure and to share experiences. This isn't a contest and comparisons are not needed. So those that tell me they can't write; can write. If one gets satisfaction from tapping away on the keyboard, and getting it out; then that is an excellent outcome. It doesn't matter the style, the formulation, or the flow of the sentences. What matters is that those who thought they could not write; realise that their words have a powerful validity. If it is cathartic, it is good.
I feel the passion. Comforted in the realisation that my writing transports me to wondrous place; a place that illuminates the magic of the imagination, recalls the good times, the sad times and the deeply profound times. So those that have told me that can't write stuff; have proven that they can write stuff. They know who they are, and I wish them well in their fascinating journey of discovery, through the ongoing tales of their lives. Happy writing to you.

Thursday 12 November 2009

'Daft As A Brush'?

'Daft as a brush'? So what proof is there that a brush is 'daft'? Now that's quite the sweeping statement. Should we go over the meaning behind, 'daft as a brush' , with a 'fine-toothed comb'? Next thing you know; we will all be 'tarred with the same brush'. Do 'beginner witches', 'fly off the handle'? Yes I know, that feeble attempt at a joke does have broom for improvement.
Right then, I'm cheating here, just a little. I'm posting up some of my past musings, along with a few 'Farcebook' profile statements. So if you are really, really bored you may just wish to continue reading on. Then again.... However, this blog is about to go colourful. No, not that kind of colourful. I've got this urge to 'paint the town red'. Knowing my luck, I would get caught 'red-handed' and end up 'red-faced', as I try to explain to the police officer, why I have an opened tin of red paint, complete with a paintbrush covered paint. So then I would feel 'blue' and would be 'green with envy' over those who have managed to get away with 'painting the town red'. Well, at least I can take some comfort in knowing that I can go into my garden and use my 'green thumb'. So you see, it's not all 'black and white'. They are always 'grey areas'.
Sorry about that. I wont try to 'chew your ear off'. Hopefully, you wont try to 'bite my head off' over posting another ridiculous blog. But, then again, be happy. I've been told that 'Bob's your uncle' and that makes you 'happy as Larry'.
Okay, if you were looking for real comedy; may I suggest you check out the legend that is 'Humpty Dumpty'. As far as I'm concerned, Humpty was the greatest 'off-the-wall' comedian..ever! 'Humpty Dumpty', now that sounds like a euphemism for a 'one-night stand', which is, of course, a euphemism for..well you know what I mean. Which reminds me, I wonder why it's called a 'one-night stand'.
Okay, this posting is about to end. If you are still here, thanks and well done. Now, I going off on a 'wild goose chase', dressed as a 'wolf in sheep's clothing'. Me thinkest that I have 'misplaced the allotment'..whoops..I mean..'lost the plot'. You want proof? Go ask any 'Tom, Dick, or Harry'. 'Daft as a brush'? Doesn't seem very fair on brushes. Perhaps we should 'sweep the whole thing under the carpet', 'make a clean sweep' and start all over again.

Friday 6 November 2009

All Over The Place.

Apparently, I can be 'in bits', 'beside myself', don't know whether I'm coming or going, 'shattered', 'falling apart', or even 'cracking up'. Little wonder then that I'm 'all over the place'. I have actually been told, by quite a few people, that they 'love their children to bits'. Well ouch. So in theme with the title of this blog; I shall now write haphazard, disjointed musings that will be...well...all over the place.
I am often puzzled why some folks think my name is the abbreviation or Richard Edward. 'Hey 'Dick Ed'! how are you?' Conclusions, conclusions. Now, if you were able to leap over the words in that last sentence; I suppose you would be 'jumping two conclusions'. Do you think that lumberjacks have an axe to grind? To end this particular paragraph, and for no particular reason; I end it with the following. I was thinking about placing a bet on a butterfly race because I like a bit of a 'flutter'. (If you are British you will know that 'flutter' means a small bet. If you are not British, now you know).
I recall a time when I was coordinating a meeting for a mental health charity. The meeting was disrupted by some smug, self-important chap who seemed to think it was perfectly fine for him to upset our meeting. I asked him kindly to vacate the premises, what with the sensitive nature of the proceedings. Well, he responded by saying; "Do you know who I am!?" 'Why don't you know who you are?', I thought. Due to the potential of causing the group members undue anxiety; I stated, 'Tell somebody who effin' cares'. Okay, I didn't say that either. Tempted as I was to give this guy a somewhat verbal torrent, I did calmly say that I didn't know who he was and for him to please come back after the meeting. Yes, he did leave. He turned out to be the chap that supplied the premises, free of charge. Still, he should of known better.
I did state that this blog would be all over the place. So lets now continue by ending with some further disjointed, totally random thoughts from the depths of my silliness. Have you noticed those hovering insects wearing watches? They are, of course, 'time flies'. Have you seen those hovering insects that have doors, double-glazed windows and a roof attached to them? They are, of course, 'house flies'. You know, I wear 'my heart on my sleeve'. Might explain some of the funny looks I get. I'm very fast at totalling up numbers, I hasten to add. Just about sums it up. And speaking of summing it up...this ridiculous posting is almost finished. It's Friday night, my son is in Prestatyn. Still, I have my two friends in the picture, a hedgehog and a monkey, to keep me company. Oh, and not forgetting, 'Penny', the Jack Russell dog. Penny says : "Gary would you please hurry up and publish your silly blog. I need to go for a walk." I did mention that this blog would be all over the place. "Okay Penny, lets go for that walk."

Saturday 31 October 2009

A Canine Conversation.

The following is an interview that I had with our beloved family member, Penny, the Jack Russell cross. A few years back, we got a Jack Russell cross. Now that is not a very good idea. Darn thing kept nipping at my ankles.
"Hello Penny. Thank you for kindly allowing me to interview you. Anything you would like to mention before I ask you a few questions?" Penny responds: "Hello, yes my name is 'Penny' and I am a Jack Russell. When I say 'Jack Russell', I mean a breed of dog and not to be confused with a certain former England cricketer."
"Thanks Penny. As you are aware, you are a bit of an 'internet star'. Do you enjoy this fame?" Penny replies: "Not 'arf'! But heck, I'm used to fame. I recall, when I was a very young dog, that I was constantly 'hounded' by the 'puppyarazzi'....and those pesky autograph hunters. The number of times they expected me to 'paws', just so I could give them an autograph!"
"Thank you Penny. Now Penny, I would like to try a word association game with you. If I say, 'vacuum cleaner'...Penny? Penny? Whoops, sorry, I forgot you are not exactly best friends with the vacuum. Come on, get out from behind the couch."
"That's a good girl, Penny. You sit there on this couch and we shall continue this interview. Penny, I've noticed that you do not like this time of the year. I get the distinct impression that Halloween and Bonfire Night are not fun times. Seems to me, fireworks equals wet carpet." Penny answers: "I get really scared during this time of year. All those loud bangs and bright flashes make me think that something terrible is going to happen. Why do all those people have to set off those fireworks out in the street? Why can't they go to a controlled display somewhere? It would be much safer, and most likely, much cheaper for them. I wish these people would understand how much it scares a lot of us animals." "Penny, I think you have made some valid points. Thanks for sharing that."
"Penny, I've got just a couple more questions. Would please tell me what's your opinion on cats? Penny responds: "Oh, don't get me started on cats!" Like I mentioned to you before; if the house caught on fire and the smoke alarm wasn't working, I would warn you, whilst 'kitty' would 'eff off' out the catflap. I'm glad we don't have a cat living here. I'd tell it a thing or two."
"Okay Penny. Here is the final question. What do you think would make this world a better place?" Penny says: "We show humans loyalty, love and trust. We pass no judgement. If man could be more like us; this world would be a better place."
"Now I have one question to ask you Gary." "What's that Penny?" "Gary, will I be getting paid for this interview?" "Sure thing Penny. I will give you a 'canine coin'. Here, have a 'dog pound'."

Tuesday 27 October 2009

Well, Here I Am.

Well, here I am. The picture on the left is me as a 'lil' dude'. Yes it's a dude. The centre picture is a fresh-faced me of seventeen, in my high school graduation photograph. The above right picture shows me at the age of fifty-five. I took that picture. The reason I took it, was because I could not get anyone to take my photograph. So apologies for getting a clear view up me old nostrils. I'm really quite shy and would not dare ask a stranger to kindly take a snap of yours truly. Unlike, for example, the smiling Japanese tourists who ask me if I would take a a photo of their happy entourage. No problem there, as I gladly oblige and proceed to run off with their state-of-the-art, all-singing, all-dancing camera. Yes, I'm only joking.
'Lil' dude', that sweet child of innocence, could never have envisioned that his future would be clouded with uncertainty and an overwhelming sense of being stupid. Stupid was ingrained in my mind and thus stupid dominated my thinking process. So, as a fresh-faced teenager, friendly, outgoing and caring; I used my bravado to hide the torment of a tortured soul. I was a young man, consumed with stifling fears of revealing the true magnitude of his stupidity. Thus I took the easy route and underachieved.
Oh, I had goals, dreams, aspirations. When I was ten years old, I wrote a play and sent if off to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. I never received a reply but it didn't matter that much to me. I wrote stories. I dreamt that one day I would be a writer. When I was little, the passion to write burnt strongly within me. I thought that when I grew up I would be this really famous author. Ah, I visualised the adoring fans lined up at my numerous book signing sessions. Then my other reality kicked in. Don't waste your time with writing. You are stupid. You've been told this enough times; so I gave in to my 'inner critic' and the relentless voice in my head that screamed, 'don't bother with your goals, your dreams, your aspirations, take the easy way out, underachieve and hide under the duvet.'
Now I am fifty-six. Still scared of revealing to you just how stupid I feel. Yet, despite this, there is another voice in my head that sings, 'challenge yourself, do not allow those who undermined you, to dominate your life. You are better than that.'
Yes, I am mostly a recluse. Yes, I am mostly alone and isolated. The duvet or doorway dilemma is a constant battle. The good news is that I am determined to get out there and be an integral part of that wonderful world that beckons me.
Well, here I am. I am 'lil' dude', I am that fresh-faced teen, I am that fifty-six year old man. What happens next? Well I know this much. I am becoming stronger and more determined to embrace a positive life. Who knows? Maybe, someday, I will have the confidence to submit my writing to a publisher.

Friday 23 October 2009

Fall For The Fairy Princess.

I watched as the leaves floated down in gentle whirls. Autumn, glorious autumn. A magical time in my magical garden.
The 'wee folks' were at play; frolicking amongst the fallen leaves. With childlike curiosity, I heard them sing, I watched them dance. The beautiful fairy princess and the garden gnome, at peace in the tranquil haven.
Leaf after splendid leaf, fell like splashes of golden flakes. The breeze gently sighed through the waving branches. The remaining birds sang a haunting tune that echoed all around. A tune in perfect melody with the wind chimes and the the cheerful singing of the wee folks. Sweet sounds, sweet music, sweet vision. A celebration of contentment, happiness and harmony. All was right in their world. The world in my magical garden.
We dream, we pray and we hope. We wish for our world to be a happy place. A world where no man passes judgement on his fellow man. A world, where like the world of the wee folks; a garden gnome can fall for the fairy princess and a fairy princess can fall for the garden gnome.

Friday 16 October 2009

'Method' Writing.

When I write, I become the story. I call it 'method' writing. My thoughts transport me to a place of many and varying themes and emotions. Sadness, laughter, comedy, inspiration, loneliness, isolation and pain. A feeling becomes a story. When I think of sad times; the tears run down my cheeks. When I think of good times; the joy flows, and my fingers type a merry dance upon the keyboard.
Within this man beats the passion of someone who writes for therapy, who writes to make sense of it all, who writes to inspire himself and others. I am but one man, a man who has discovered the power of the written word.
Now, I will immerse myself, take on the sensations that are lingering in the depths of my soul. I sit here and sense my pain. I am sad , I am scared, I am lonely. The bravado I convey to the outside world is nearly shattered. The reality of my isolation comes so very close to battering away the force that is my positive spirit.
I sit here and I cry. I think of a love lost, shattered dreams and ambitions that died a slow and painful death. Why did it have to be this way? Why did I hurt those I care so very much about? The complexities and the self-destructive nature of my past actions have left be bewildered, confused and aching to make things right.
So, I work through what I'm experiencing; as I continue to type away. I know that the tears will subside. I will be cleansed. The healing process, my recovery, remains undaunted by the verbalisation of this moment. For this moment shall pass. I have written this for you and for me to read. I am feeling better.
Today was a lovely day. Autumn is here with its resplendent blaze of coloured leaves. A final splash of glorious colour before the plants and the trees go to sleep for the winter.

Friday 9 October 2009

Waiting To 'Catch Me Out'?

It is indeed a sad reflection that some people are so cynical that they can interpret kindness as being some part of a devious 'hidden agenda'. 'Why is he being so nice?' 'What's in it for him?'
I have encountered this attitude on numerous occasions. It seems to stem from a trust issue. These people trust nobody. Everybody and everything is treated with suspicion. They have been let down and disrespected. So, to them, all people are waiting for the right time to inflict them with further pain and misery.
Caution is one thing, being constantly bitter, anxious, waiting for the 'dark side' to reveal itself, is another. They wait for that negative inevitability that confirms that they were right. Right, that even the person who is kind, compassionate and caring, has a 'master plan' to take advantage of their vulnerability. So they perceive that even genuine, well-meaning people are just planning to reveal their betrayal at a later time. Genuine, well-meaning people are perceived as being just like the rest.
Yes, I have been disillusioned, betrayed and disrespected. But does that mean I assume that all folks are out to get me? Of course not. For, if all I ever did was keep searching for the bad in people and dismissed the good; then I would find myself trapped in a world of suspicion, bitterness, anger and resentment. The end result? A life overwhelmed with negative speculation.
So they are waiting to 'catch me out'. My kindness treated with suspicion. I believe there is much good in our world. I celebrate, I embrace the spirit of those, who through the test of time, have been there for me, and I, in turn, have been there for them. I do not wait for a hidden agenda. I do not wait to catch them out. For to do so, would destroy the foundations of the trust and faith I have in them.
I have no hidden agenda. I haven't got time to be plotting the demise of others. I'm too busy trying to live my life as best I can. I try to display kindness, caring, compassion and empathy. What's in it for me? To realise that my demeanour has impacted someone in a positive way. If I make them feel good about themselves; then I feel good about myself. If this has been read from a cynical point of view; all I can say is that anger, bitterness and resentment destroys the pure heart that beats within. Look for the good. Seek and yee shall find.

Saturday 3 October 2009

Bringing The Colour Back.

My son has lived with me since he was twelve. My son, 'my little boy', is almost twenty-one. As a single dad challenging his mental health concerns and trying to be a good father; it has not always been easy. Yet, the responsibilities of raising my child has been very much the catalyst that enabled me to be strong for him, be strong for me.
Like any other parent, it has not always been a happy and blissful relationship. During those times I could have really used the input of a partner to back me up. No doubt, during our times of conflict, my son would have benefited from the opinion of a third party. Still, eventually, we work it out and our differences are resolved. Ah, the life of a single dad and his little boy who is now a young man. I have tried to instil in him that he should always try to maintain an air of dignity and use diplomatic assertiveness in his encounters with the outside world. I told him that when he signed on for benefits that he must realise that those in the Job Centre have more than likely had their fair share of unruly, unreasonable customers. "Son", I said, "if you go there with a calm, pleasant demeanour, you should notice a more positive outcome."
After much hassle, he finally got his benefits. What this entailed was for him to travel in on the bus every two weeks to sign on. One morning, about a month ago, he left the house in plenty of time to go on the bus and sign on. Unfortunately, due to road works, the bus got to his destination late. When he went to sign on, he was ten minutes late. Instead of making allowances for this, the people at the Job Centre told him, in an apparently dismissive manner, that he would have to come back several hours later that day. So instead of hanging around for several hours, wandering the streets of Stoke on Trent, he came home. Upon his repeat trip on the bus, when he arrived, to finally sign on, he was handed a written warning for being late that morning. The situation that occurred is hardly conducive to creating a positive environment. My son, already struggling with the fact he had lost his job, did not deserve this. Indeed, nobody deserves this type of treatment.
Yes, these have indeed been some tough, challenging times. For quite some time, his bedroom has been in need of a fresh coat of paint. The room had become dull and lifeless. Perhaps a fresh, bright coat of paint would do the trick.
I managed to persuade him to come with me to the 'DIY' shop and purchase some tins of paint. At last, a positive focus.
I will now conclude this posting on a very positive note. His friends have realised that there bubbly, lively mate had been down for quite some time. So his friends, his true friends, friends who have been there for each other, through the good times and the bad times; rallied round and came over to help him paint his bedroom. How heart warming, how inspirational. Heck, even his dog, Penny, wanted to be a part of the action.
So by bringing the colour back to a dull and dreary room, may just be of some help. Help to move on from the dark and gloomy times that have surrounded his life.
To my son, my 'little boy', my young man, Tristan; "You're going to be okay. Your dad loves you and the power of positive thinking will find a way."

Monday 28 September 2009

Cheese Please.

A blog about cheese? You Gouda been joking. I've never recovered from the fact that cottage cheese is apparently not made out of a cottage. Okay, let's get that old cheese joke out of the way. What cheese is 'made' backwards? 'Edam'.
I love cheese, the stronger, the stinkier, the better. If I open the pack and get an aroma that burns out my nostril hairs; that's a result. If I open up the pack and I am greeted with a pungent stench, reminiscent of socks that have been inside a pair of trainers, used in a frantic game of basketball; well that sends me to cheesy heaven.
Mild cheese? Forget it. To me, mild cheese is like eating glorified wax. No, I'd rather enjoy an exotic cheese. Heck, I have this urge for some Gorgonzola, which is an Italian blue cheese (and not, as I used to think, some female Greek mythical creature with sharp fangs, whose appearance, would turn anyone who looked at her, to turn to stone).
So just what have I learnt about cheese? Well, eating Stilton cheese will not make me seem taller. That eating blue cheese will not make me sad. That is not the law in Philadelphia that you must eat Philadelphia cream cheese. I'm going to end this 'cheesecurdling' blog very soon. I've got this urge to 'gorge' myself on some extra strong cheddar. Cheese please, anything but mild. Some cheese you must handle 'Caerphilly', because it crumbles so easily.

Tuesday 22 September 2009

A 'Barrel Of Laughs' ..And A Monkey.

A 'barrel of laughs', more fun than a 'barrel full of monkeys'. Okay this is a low budget blog and I only managed to get one willing monkey to go into the barrel.
I try to live my life with a sense of adventure, excitement, and yes, good-natured humour. It wasn't always this way. There was a time when I spent so much negative energy looking for the bad in people, that I overlooked the good within them. Those day are long gone and I am free. Free from the shackles that chained me into a negative mind set. Now, I celebrate life, for the alternative is a dark and gloomy place that I am determined to never visit again. I will never again give negative speculation permission to overwhelm and control my life. For to do so, would be of little use to me, and detrimental to all those I care about.
We all have the right to a happy life. If something is not working then it time to rethink our situation and seek within the inspiration, the motivation that tells us there is a better way. The negative energy that tried to strangle me has been replaced by a positive resilience. I will not allow those who try to sabotage my enthusiasm, with their own negative speculation, destroy what I have worked so hard to achieve. My positive progress continues. I grow in strength.
So, my life is a 'barrel of laughs'. Whenever I go out my front door, I smile, I laugh and the people I meet, smile and laugh with me. Their laughs, their smiles, are wondrous gifts. I have much to celebrate and I am grateful. "klahanie?" "Yes monkey?" "klahanie, can I get out of the barrel now?" "Whoops! of course you can."

Wednesday 16 September 2009

'Congratulations! You've Won A...'

'Ring, ring.' "Hello." Then the recorded message starts: 'Congratulations! You've won a trip to Orlando!' "Flippin' heck I have?" I found myself saying to the recorded message. "Wow wee, I have won yet another trip to Orlando! How lucky am I?" Then the message stopped and the dull hum of the ring tone took over.
I get a tad aggravated by these occasional recorded messages. Sometimes I answer the phone, only to get a blast in my ear. Can you imagine what it's like to answer the phone expecting to talk to someone; only to be greeted by the unmistakable sound of an ocean liner's horn? Suddenly, I'm thinking 'Love Boat' and the golden tones of Jack Jones singing the theme tune. 'Toot..toot'...'congratulations you've won an all-expenses-paid trip for a week cruising the Bahamas on a luxury liner!' "Thanks very effin' much.!" I scream into the phone. "Trips to Orlando, cruises in the Bahamas. How much luck can one guy have?" Once again, I realised that I had been ranting and raving to a recording. Then the message stopped and the dull hum of the ring tone took over.
I found out that most of the calls are coming from America and I have a plan. At certain times of the day, I can make free calls to the States. So maybe, just maybe, I will phone them up and state the following: "Congratulations! You've won a free trip to all the landfill sites in Britain!" I can just imagine the uncontrollable excitement of the person at the other end of the line.
In the meantime, I have our dog. 'Penny', ready to monitor incoming calls. So if you phone me and hear something that sounds like a slobbering noise; it aint me, honest.

Wednesday 9 September 2009

'Local People, Local Lives.'

I have been flattered that Media Action Group for Mental Health (MAGMH), which is based in Stoke on Trent, has asked me for my input regarding one of their upcoming projects. The project has been named, 'Local People, Local Lives.'
Statistics have indicated that approximately 1 in 4 of us will experience some form of mental health concerns within our lifetime. Yet the 'ripple effect' that mental health issues can cause, goes beyond these statistics. That is why it is vital for all of us to further understand the impact our enviroment has on our lives.
With today's uncertain world, a world where a change in lifesyles can produce negative situations; we may start to have worries about our mental health. With this change, you might find that a negative environment can be overwhelming. You might think you are alone but it doesn't have to be this way.
This is where a project like 'Local People, Local Lives', can be of great benefit. Together, those of us with mental ill health, those of us who are worried about potential mental health problems, or those of us who are just curious to learn more about mental health; can all be here for each other. We can work through the inaccurate stigmas and stereotypes attached to mental illness. We can realise that we have shared interests. We can see that beyond the diagnosis, is just another person trying to make the most of their life.
I am submitting the following links so you can get a better idea about this project. Those of you who do not live locally, may consider seeking out a similar, or creating a similar project where you live. After all, we are all in this together. Help each other, we help ourselves.

Here are the links:

You will see on this link a section pertaining to the 'Local People, Local Lives' project.

My good friend, David, has done a blog that explains very well what the ethos behind the project is.

I thank you for your time.

Friday 4 September 2009

Garbage Bloggler.

The picture above is me posing with what is named a 'garbage gobbler'. In case you were wondering, the one on the left is me. The photograph was taken around 1980 and I apologise for the rather blurry outcome of taking a photograph of a photograph. Maybe blurry is good.
The garbage gobblers were very much a roadside attraction throughout the province of British Columbia. You would see them at information points and resting spots. Sadly, there are few remaining.
Garbage gobblers were a fun way of disposing of rubbish and helped promote keeping the province, neat and tidy. So we would take our garbage and stuff it down into the gobbler's mouth. What a thrill. Garbage going into the waiting mouth of a gobbler. Whilst me, garbage ready to come out of mine.
So now I have done a blog about garbage. Most likely apt, considering all the rubbish I have typed in the past. Garbage gobblers bring back memories of my youthful days. Driving mile after breathtaking mile, through beautiful British Columbia, occasionally stopping to fill the friendly face of our friend, the garbage gobbler.
So that's a brief story from your garbage bloggler about the garbage gobbler. The gobbler taking garbage, the bloggler talking garbage.

Saturday 29 August 2009

Chip Off The Old Blog?

Hi there. Would you like a chip off the old blog? Please, help yourself. Or, maybe you might just like to rearrange the formation of the chips to spell out something else. I've already worked out 'bog doll'.
You may have realised that I have too much time on my hands. Yes, I was thinking about writing, 'too much time', on each of my hands and taking a photograph of it.
So feeling somewhat chipper, I have decided to do a blog about...ah...chips. When the chips are down, I chip away at the chip on my shoulder and take a chip shot at the chipboard where the chipmunk is chopping chips after cashing in the chips at the casino for critters who like...ah..chips.
I hope you have not become 'chipbored'. You might wish to chip in with a comment and maybe submit a chip pan, whoops, a chip pun. I leave you with my attempt at some semblance of poetry. I told you I have too much time on my hands.

Chocolate chips
Chip and pin
Some you lose
Some you win
Chip and Dale
Without fail
I doesn't matter

What? There's more? Just a little bit more. In closing...'get on with it man''s 'Goodbye, Mr. Chips'...chip, chip, hooray.....what do you get when you cross a potato-loving ape with a flower? A chipansy...

Tuesday 25 August 2009

Stress Enough.

You know when you have one of those stressful days? A day where you desperately try to clear your mind of the negative debris and search for that positive focus?
I lost a big part of my life to depression. Completely engulfed with a panicky sense of negative inevitability. Such has been my state of mind, that the 'inner chatter' spoke to me of impending humiliation, embarrassment and failure. Defeated before I started, this man refused to see the warm, reassuring rays of sunlight, peeking through the dark clouds.
I have been there and, to some degree, I am still there. Everyday is a challenge as I pursue a better life. My hope, my optimism, battles the opposing forces that tell me I'm hopeless, helpless and pessimistic. Everday, I get stronger as my positive energy refuses to let my negative energy control my world. My life depends on it.
The challenge continues. Determined resilience beats strongly in my heart. For no matter how daunting, how overwhelming situations seem; I will continue to embrace, to nurture all that is good.
I am inspired and I am grateful. Inspired by the beauty all around and the simple, yet profound pleasures in life. I am inspired by those who, despite the trials and tribulations that life has thrown at them, continue to maintain a positive outlook. I am grateful for what I have and for the kindness of those who have encouraged and supported me.
I took the photograph at the top of this blog. There was a time that I would not have attempted such a task. Yet now, I look at that photograph, think of the lovely garden I created and I'm filled with a sense of contentment and happiness.
Life is so much what we make it. We do have choices. I choose to celebrate all my positive possibilities. My negative thoughts will grow weaker, for I make it so. I cannot stress enough, the power of positivity.

Saturday 22 August 2009

What Shall I Blog About?

The 'Apathy Workshop' has been cancelled due to lack of interest.
What shall I blog about? I have no idea. Perhaps I should invite a million monkeys, on a million typewriters, into my home, and see what we can formulate. Maybe not such a good idea. My home is not that big.
A friend of mine shared some great news with me the other day. "Gary, I have some excellent news. Our furry friend is becoming very obedient. He can roll over, play dead, sit, stay, beg, shake a paw and the really good news is that he is no longer crapping on the carpets!" "That's wonderful", I replied. "Enough already about your boyfriend. How's the dog doing?"
The following thoughts I have posted up on my 'Farcebook' profile page. So if you have seen these before, my sincere apologies.
Here's one for the British. I have this urge to challenge a 'Staffordshire Oatcake' to a duel at a local ranch. So that would be: 'Shoot out at the Oatcake Corral'. Here's one for you football (soccer) fans. If A.C. Milan played D.C. United, would the atmosphere be 'electric'? I've heard people mention about the speed of sound. So what is the speed of silence?
I was in a pub and this lady said she wanted to do a sketch of me. I looked at her somewhat reluctantly because I'm very shy. The lady said to me, "Oh don't worry Gary, I've been sketching for several months now." I responded, "Well then, you really should get some sleep." Now here comes the predictable part. She then proceeded to say, "If you're really comfortable with it, I would like to sketch you in the nude." "Fine with me." I stated. "Go ahead, take your clothes off."
The 'Improve Your Memory' Workshop has been cancelled due to the fact nobody can remember where, when, or at what time it is taking place. 'The What Shall I Blog About?' Workshop has been postponed because I have no idea what to blog about...

Monday 17 August 2009

Pet Shop.

So I went to the pet shop and asked the owner, "I would like to purchase a 'peeve' please."
I try to avoid overusing the conjunction word 'and' (apparently, 'conjunction', in grammar, means a connecting word 'and' is not an intersection where criminals meet). I try to be careful with 'and' because it can lead me into writing a 'run-on' sentence and that means that instead of using a comma or a semi colon or a period (full stop) I end up using 'and' and that is not good for before I know it I have written a sentence that goes on and on and on and you can take a breath now for this sentence that may seem to go on and on will not go on and on and on...Gasp! What a long sentence. Maybe I should get a 'long sentence' for crimes against grammar or the fact I am writing another one of my disjointed blogs.
My neighbour has asked me if I would tidy up his front garden. "Gary", would you mind cleaning up my garden? I'm tired of the neighbour looking over at my garden and giving me dirty looks like I'm some kinda' twat. " I reassured him, and said, "What makes you think it has got anything to do with your garden?" Nothing like getting along with your neighbours. Okay, my neighbour and his girlfriend burst out laughing. Luckily, they took it the right way. Have you ever seen anyone 'burst out' laughing?
My accent is somewhat different than the folks around here. Often people will ask me where my accent comes from. Well, I tell them that it starts down in the bottom of my throat and works itself out of my mouth. I'm thinking of setting up a business looking after mansions for really posh people. A kind of 'house sitting' service. The name of this business? 'Mind Your Manors'. The lady on the phone from my bank said, "May I have your name please?" I responded, "Sure, if you don't mind being called Gary. " Well, I did mention that this blog would be disjointed. Pretty darn good evidence that I am obviously bored and need a serious lie down.
So the rather perplexed owner of the pet shop told me he did not have a pet peeve. Now my pet peeve is the fact that the owner of a pet shop does not have a pet peeve. This blog could go on and on and on and....

Tuesday 11 August 2009

Letter Box, Ladder and Love?

Can you believe it? There were some people who doubted that the 'wee folks' invaded my kitchen, took liberties by drinking my coffee, and had the sheer audacity to use only the finest in 'Royal Doulton' china. So some might think that I imagined that whole magical moment. Perhaps they reckoned that I had consumed one too many 'Pot Noodles'.
Well, I witnessed the aftermath of there merrymaking. Did they clean up their mess? Sadly, no. I suppose in their haste to leave and not get caught; they overlooked the fact that they should clean up the evidence. A fairy using 'Fairy Liquid'?
So there they had been and now they are gone. Since then, when I go to the kitchen, I think about our little friends, and I smile. Ah, the beautiful fairy princess, the garden gnome, and the ever-present entourage. Pixies in the pantry? An elf on the shelf? An oven with a 'Hob' goblin? If you had doubts and thought this ongoing story was just the ramblings of some delusional man; the above photograph is proof that they did indeed enter my house, via the letter box, using a string ladder.
If you believe that love conquers all, you can believe that the magical love between the beautiful fairy princess and the garden gnome grows ever stronger. Letter box, ladder and love? What some wee folks will do for a bit of warmth and a cup of coffee.

Monday 3 August 2009

Candlelight, Coffee and Congratulations?

The tiny string ladder hanging precariously through the inside of my letter box should have been somewhat of a clue. At that moment, I sensed that a moment of magic, a wondrous magic, had descended upon my home.
I gently opened my kitchen door. Behold, before my very eyes, were the garden gnome, the beautiful fairy princess and the ever-present curious gnomes, hiding, albeit, none to discretely, behind a pair of glowing candles. I was delighted, I was enchanted, my heart rejoiced at the gleeful contentment that sparkled in the eyes of the garden gnome and the beautiful fairy princess. Not wishing to startle them; I gently closed the kitchen door. I tip-toed into my living room and tried to comprehend what I had witnessed.
The last time my eyes had cast upon these 'wee folks', was way back on an early summer's day, in the mystical, magical world that is my garden. Perhaps the alluring warmth of my home had beckoned them in. Maybe the incessant rain had proven too much for these gentle folks. If they sought a bit of shelter, a bit of comfort, a warm brew, then so be it. Drink, be warm, be merry.
What happened in my kitchen has given me great inspiration. Twas beauty to behold the ongoing budding romance between our garden gnome and the beautiful fairy princess. Candlelight, coffee and congratulations? I hope this to be true.
To dream a dream, a lovely dream, where we see the beauty within. In that magical world of a garden gnome and a fairy princess, love is all that matters. If only mankind would see beyond the labels and stigmas we place upon each other, and see the beauty within. I bestow upon thee warm wishes, and I bid thee farewell until next we meet.

Wednesday 29 July 2009

Summer, The Warmer Part Of The British Winter?

Picture on the left: My friend Philip's boat at the ready for any continuance of the rain.

Picture on the right: My patio on July 30.

I'm beginning to wonder if the summer is the warmer part of the British winter. The 'Met Office' has changed its prediction from an 'odds on barbecue summer' to say rainfall is likely. Now, their weather forecast for the remainder of the summer states: "rainfall is likely to be near or above average over the U.K..." Well based on the fact they got their previous prediction so horribly wrong, back in April; I figure that there latest forecast may indeed be excellent news.
Where I live, in Leek Staffordshire, 'The Queen of the Moorlands', it is common for folks to say, 'ay up duck', or 'ast owright duck?' Now I understand that the usage of the word 'duck' is a local form of endearment. However this 'fowl' word used in 'fowl expressions', did cause me a bit of confusion. I would be walking along the street, someone would say 'duck', and I would take for cover, trying to avoid what I assumed were low-flying objects. Having stated this, based on the ongoing wet climatic conditions, I am sure that the ducks are most certainly 'owright' during this 'fowl' weather.
If this 'warmer part of the British winter' persists; Shares in umbrellas, woolly hats, raincoats, rubber boots and thermal underwear, may be worthwhile purchasing. Shares in sunglasses, suntan lotions, solar lamps, skimpy bikinis and swimming trunks may be as risky as having shares, like I did, in 'Bradford and Bingley'.
Then again, I do look at the positive aspects to this damp and dreary weather. My rain barrel is filling up very quickly. I am thankful that we get rain, there are places on our planet who would love to have a portion of our precipitation. And, when the sun peeks through the clouds, we may get to enjoy the wonder, the beauty, of a rainbow.

Tuesday 21 July 2009

Dreaming Of Durham.

"Hello, I would like to purchase a ticket from Stoke on Trent to Durham, please." The lady at the ticket office replied, "Would that be Durham, North Carolina, or Durham, England?" Okay, I'm making that up, she didn't mention Durham, England. Enough already, the lady sold me a ticket from Stoke to Durham, England.
That was on Monday, July 13. At 8:30 A.M., on Thursday, July 16, I headed out my front door to subject myself to the wonders of public transport. Bus number one, the number 18 from Leek, Staffordshire to Hanley bus depot in Stoke on Trent. Bus number two, the National Express to Manchester. Bus number three, a National Express to Leeds via Bradford. Then bus number four, a National Express from Leeds destined for Durham, via, Harrogate, Ripon and Darlington. Estimated time of arrival in Durham, 4:55 P.M.
Waiting for the final bus at Leeds proved to be the most memorable part of the journey. As we queued patiently to get on the bus, this one idiot decided he would jump the queue. He proceeded to put his packsack into the luggage compartment on the side of the bus. Then he smugly showed the driver his boarding ticket. The driver who must have observed what had transpired, promptly told the guy to remove his packsack from the luggage compartment and get to the back of the queue. Oh yes! Result! Full marks to that National Express driver and his no nonsense approach to that situation.
So I sat there on the final bus and relaxed. For in about 2 and 1/2 hours, I would be seeing my good friends Julie and Philip. I was most excited at the prospect of visiting and being witness to the new adventure that they had begun, way up in the North East of England. Just as the bus was pulling into Durham Bus Station; I got a text from Philip inquiring, 'are we there yet?'. Yes we are Philip.
Now I was aware of the weather, even in July, can be, shall we say, somewhat dreary up in that part of England. However, the optimist in me told me to bring sunglasses, the realist in me told me to bring a wooly hat. Upon leaving the bus and being greeted by them, we headed through the streets of Durham. To say that the weather was a tad unpleasant, is a bit of an understatement. The shop with the drastically reduced solar lamps may have been a bit of a clue. Luckily the rain eventually eased to a torrential downpour.
It was time to head out of Durham to the small village they live in about four miles from Durham. 'Gary? You're used to buses? So guess what? We're taking a Park and Ride bus back to the car.' stated Philip. "You're having a laugh? You're shitting me?" I replied. Bus number five and 'bus lag' was starting to catch up with me.
For the next six days I became a part of Julie's and Philip's lives, along with their, shall we say, rather playful dog, 'Zak'. For the next six days I witnessed the wonders of a world where the locals seemed to be talking in a foreign language. I think they might have been speaking English, indeed I thought it best to nod my head at what I guessed was the right time. For the next six days I saw peacocks strolling around the streets of their village, experienced severe flooding and got to go Durham Cathedral. An awe-inspiring place that transported my mind back in time and made me appreciate the incredible skill and determination of those who created such a magnificent structure.
Back home now. My own personal recovery continues. Every outing a personal triumph in my ongoing journey to regain my self-esteem. Thank you Julie, Philip and not forgetting Zak, for making my time in the beautiful city of Durham, England, thought provoking and inspiring. Now, if only I could get rid of this bus lag. "On the National Express there's a jolly hostess selling crisps and tea. She'll provide you with drinks and theatrical winks for a sky-high fee.." 'Divine Comedy' might say that.

Wednesday 15 July 2009


A lady friend of mine was telling me that she had to drive eight miles to borrow her sister's vacuum cleaner. Now that sucks.
The lady in question, her partner and their dog 'Zak', have kindly invited me up to there place just outside Durham, England. They reckon I need a change of scene and recharge my batteries. They are so right. So it's gonna' be duvet, doorway, destination Durham.
This is not easy for me. Travelling alone, going somewhere new, does create a sense of anxiety. Yet, the excitement of heading out on an adventure, counteracts the apprehension that I am experiencing. This is another positive step forward in my ongoing reclamation of my self-esteem.
So to get myself prepared for my journey up to Durham; I shall now start the recharging of my batteries, by seeing how many random, disjointed thoughts I can come up with. Somewhat different for me, I know. So here we go...starting now.
The next sentence will be made up of some of the most aggravating, overused expressions ever to fall upon my ears. 'At the end of the day, to be honest, I'm not being funny, you know, you know what I'm saying?' You know, (whoops!) you hear such expressions '24/7' (whoops again!).
I would love to see the Coyote catch that bloody annoying Road Runner and cook that smart arse (ass) bird on a barbecue supplied by the 'Acme Novelty Company'. Somehow, I don't think that will happen. No Road Runner, no show, and no more blatant plugs for the Acme Novelty Company. 'Sylvester the cat', for goodness sake, grab 'Tweety Pie' by its scrawny little neck and shove it down yer throat. 'Pepe Le Pew' (you little stinker) time to get 'Penelope Pussycat' and show that stuck up cat that the sweet smell of love is in the air and in your hair. And to you Elmer Fudd, take that shotgun, have a blast, and stick it up that 'wacky wabbits' butt.
So that's almost it. My batteries are starting to getting nicely charged. I'm set on trickle but that's another story. I am rechargeable, or perhaps that should be 'recharge able'. Know I take a few days out and look forward to being with kind, decent, positive friends. I leave you with this. No matter how bad life may seem, celebrate the goodness in you, and, in turn, you will see the goodness in others. Until next time, I bid thee farewell.

Thursday 9 July 2009

Positive About Being Negative?

There are people who are positive about being negative. I know what it's like to be so consumed with such a negative outlook, that any glimmer of positivity may appear to be some bizarre fantasy. A possibility only for others. Does it have to be that way?
I have met people so obsessed with their negative world, that anger, bitterness and resentment, to a perceived hostile society, dominates their very existence. I am aware that a series of disillusioning events in someone's life can make them feel that living is pointless. Does it have to be that way?
I realise that this is not a competition and I would never disregard the perceptions of a negative person. However, much of my life has been crap. I know what it is like to spend Christmas Day and my Birthday alone and isolated. Yet, instead of being angry, bitter and resentful, I, if anything, have become more determined, more resilient, to embrace a positive life.
With caution, and I hope diplomacy, I have challenged folks with their overwhelming negative attitude. I have attempted to illustrate the positive moments that have I have witnessed in their lives. Sadly, this seems to have been a mistake. Many negative people do not like being challenged. How dare I challenge their negativity. Perhaps it is because they feel safe in their uncomfortable comfort zone. Perhaps they need to be 'right' that the whole word hates them, and to sabotage such feelings, would jeopardise the self-imposed rut they are so determined to wallow in.
To all the negative people; I wish to inspire you. No matter what a perceived uncaring world throws at you, rise above those negative clouds that make you so sad. Search and never give up for those people who are good for you, and in turn, you are good for them. Believe me, you do have choices. Do not immerse yourself in the doom and gloom. Dare to embrace a better life.
Deep within you does indeed flicker a glow of positivity. Fan those flames and learn to experience the goodness that is within your reach.
I celebrate the blue skies and the sunshine in my life. The dark clouds and rain but fleeting moments. I am strong, I am resilient, determined to lead a positive life. Nobody will ever, ever again diminish my right to a happy life.
Self-fulfilling prophecy? Your own worst enemy? Negative speculation? Misfortune-telling? Negative inevitability? Anger, bitterness and resentment towards an unjust world destroying you? If you can say 'yes' to any of these questions; Is it not time to take a new, more heartwarming direction in your life?
If a few people have devalued you humanity; That is very sad. If a lot of people have devalued your humanity; That is even sadder. If everybody seems to devalue your humanity, perhaps you need to take a close look at yourself.
Having visited the dark and lonely place that lies at the end of negative road, I empathise with the plight of the tortured souls. Please know that if your life is lonely and desperate, I will do my utmost to understand and support you. Positive about being negative? How about, positive about being positive? With respect, I thank you for your time.

Thursday 2 July 2009


Homophobe: 'someone with an overwhelming fear of homogenised milk products'? Homo Erectus? Mooo..ving swiftly on.
So who first thought of the idea of using cow's milk? Was it a case of one thing leads to an udder? Was it a matter of someone thinking that it would be a really great idea to go and squeeze some cow's teat and see what happens? Did the person in question get some rather perplexed looks from those who may have witnessed this act? Did they perhaps think that this person needed to talk to a professional about their rather strange urge to grip the dangling underside of some startled, and no doubt, very confused cow? Would they recommend, that said person, make an appointment with a 'psycowatrist'?
Okay then, now lets get the milk joke out of the way. It's an old joke but, what the heck, I think it's kinda' clever. This lady wanted to have a milk bath. So she asked the milkman: 'I would like to order enough milk to have a milk bath please.' The milkman replied: ' Would you like it pasteurised?' She responded: 'No, just up to my shoulders'.
So why do we drink cow's milk? When was the last time you had a glass of cow's milk and a bale of hay for breakfast? Let me put it this way. When was the last time you saw a collection of cows lurking around the maternity ward? Can you imagine some cow wandering into the maternity hospital and demanding: 'Hay' lady! I want your human milk and I want it now!' Can't really see that happening. However, if it did, the cow might as well go all the way, have a glass of human milk and a full English breakfast with an extra portion of fried bread.
If you 'googled' 'milk' or 'cows' and ended up on this blog expecting to find out some fascinating information; I am truly sorry for any inconvenience. May I just say, well done though, if you managed to read this far. So, now it is time to end yet another completely silly blog. Our mission, to one day make 'Monty Python' seem like serious drama. I've had a dairy good time doing this blog. Now please smile at the cowmera and say; 'cheese'. That's it, I've milked this blog for all it's worth. 'Moo', or is that 'boo', followed by a 'groan'? Homo Erectus?

Thursday 25 June 2009

A Budding Romance?

It was such a lovely day. A magical day in a magical garden. The birds were singing, the bees they were a buzzin' and the 'wee folks'could be seen amongst the blossoming flowers.
My favourite garden gnome, a happy chap whose hat lights up at night, had gotten ever so close to my garden's beautiful fairy princess. Could this be a budding romance building in the budding blossoms? Could this be the start of a garden gnome having a fairy affair? Indeed, dare I dream that this could be the start of a wondrous love that leads to holy matrimony? A garden gala wedding for a garden gnome? A flower festival for a fortunate fairy?
If this be true, then I am thrilled for them both. However, when they moved to another location, hiding behind them were a couple of rather curious looking garden gnomes. Perhaps they were competition for the affections of the fair fairy. Maybe they were just well-wishers, (although I do not have a wishing well), who wanted to express their happy thoughts to them. Whatever the intentions of those other garden gnomes; if there is indeed 'love in the air' (well she can fly), then that is cause for joyous celebration.
So if there is to be a magical marriage, in that magical little world, that is just beyond my flowers; I wonder who the guests might be? Playful pixies? Enchanting elves? Gracious garden gnomes? Fabulous fairies?
Oh, to dream the dream of the love between a garden gnome and a beautiful fairy princess. A budding romance? Why not, I say. For us and the 'wee folks' must be seen for our inner beauty. Whatever is written in the hearts of garden gnomes, fairies and humanity, is all that matters.