Gone

It’s finally over the nightmare that was the building project. As I write an excellent all round craftsman who was employed by this awful builder, is coming over to finish off and tie up a few loose ends. This guy is truly wonderful and takes pride in his work. The only redeeming factor of the whole sorry buisness, is that we’ve picked up some amazing skilled guys who know what they are doing, and numbers have been exchanged for future work. 

The last two and a half months have played havoc with my depression, so much so that I’ve had to take myself away both physically and mentally for the last week or so. Thankfully my lovely wife was able to step in and handle the final countdown so to speak. Now everybody has been paid off, so goodby and good riddance. From here on in, from the chair in my newly built office, my intention is that my blog posts will be more upbeat and deter informed. 

 

 

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A box of free books is always a treat, these came just as the building work was coming to an end. It helped, it really did. 

Loosing The Plot

And I did, big time last Friday with the builder who is completely useless, full of bullshit, and I would not recommend him if he was the last person on Earth. His staff however, are first rate and if it wasn’t for them, it would have been a total disaster. This whole project (garage conversion into utility room and office), has stressed me out and brought me close to tears, many times in the last six weeks. The row I had with this man, left me drained, angry, so angry that my wife had to take over the proceedings, and is overseeing what is said to be the final week. We will see.

I’m much calmer now having had the most wonderful weekend with my family. My head has been cooled from the rancid outbursts of two days ago and I feel refreshed, and hopeful for the coming week. Earlier today, I paid a visit to a local museum here in Leicester UK, to see an exhibition called The Wolsey Angels. Please look up the New Walk Museum, for more details. It was a bright move, sitting there momentarily, looking at these four beautiful figures, a sense of calm enveloped me in the quiet of the room. My hope is that I can maintain that state throughout the next six days. Here’s hoping. 

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In It’s Own Time

the building work is still going on, weeks after it should have been done and dusted. This prolonged event which will in time I’m sure, yield huge benefits for my wife and I, has taken its toll on my mental health, and I’ve vowed never to have any major building work done to this property again.

As I write it’s Thursday morning, and everything supposed to be finished tomorrow, and I just can’t see it happening. We have a dinner party on Friday night, and guests staying over the weekend. That’s enough to cope with in itself. 

So, once again it’s going to be another weekend, another broken promise, another end time. So I have to step out of the firing line, Hand this all over to something greater than myself, and leave it alone. Never, never again.

 

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The conversion as it was several weeks ago. 

Any Day Now

At the beginning of this week, I was a bag of nerves regarding the building work we are having done at our house. Things have been moving at snail pace, so on Monday morning when I was told that nobody would be coming that day, I was like like a cat on a hot tin roof.

Luckily, I didn’t loose my cool, took the information on the chin, and settled in for a chilled out day of reading and writing, so by the Monday evening, I was thankful in a strange sort of way for the free time that had been granted in the absence of the ground force. 

Sitting here this Thursday evening, enjoying the perfect combination of bright skies, warm climate with a slight breeze, I’m just looking at the progress been made on the building front since Tuesday morning, and I feel much more at ease. Yesterday, watching my granddaughter assist and help a young deaf boy at her playgroup, was a joy to behold, bringing tears to Grandpa’s eyes. I am a. Dry,  dry lucky man in many ways. Problem is I don’t always appreciate it. 

 

 my beautiful granddaughter, asleep with Ian the sheep.

my beautiful granddaughter, asleep with Ian the sheep.

Getting Lost, In Books

Since June 1 I’ve been wandering in a maze of words, as that date marked the beginning of my ‘summer’ reading. Between now and the end of September, I will be devouring as many books as I can in many different places. My favourite being our own back garden. 

The combination of fresh air, sunshine and words does amazing things for my depression. If  only I could bottle this and give it out free to fellow sufferers. But it’s worth trying, even if book reading is not normally your ‘thing’.  

You will have to look at my book blog (address given out next time), for reviews and recommendations and all I can say is that it has helped me enormously both past and present. The image with this blog entry is of three books on my Summer list. Happy Reading!. 

 

 

 

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Keeping Calm? Not Easy.

Yesterday, our builders employed to transform our garage into a utility room/office were more or less a ‘no show’ for the entire day. It’s just the latest episode in a line of mishaps, that I anticipated before the whole project was concieved, and I was steamiing inside.

However, throughout the day, I managed to keep my cool and carry on with some reading, writing and domestic duties like washing, sorting out what needs to be posted. There is more to come today, but after a good night’s sleep, I’m even more prepared to face what is to come, like more delays?, we shall see.

 

 200 Degrees Cafe, Belvoir Street, Leicester UK.

200 Degrees Cafe, Belvoir Street, Leicester UK.

Chilling out, while the mayhem of building work goes on. 

Bank Holiday Routine

Even after four years of retirement from paid employment, I look forward to Bank Holidays, as I can pretend I’m enjoying the day before going back to work. Then the thought struck me that, I/we always have busy weeks, leading full and interesting lives, so in a sense the bank holiday is for us, well, a holiday.

Today, I’ve been mostly in and out of the half constructed utility room, being constructed from our gutted garage. And indulging in my favourite spring/summer activity, sitting in the back garden with a pot of coffee and a couple of books. Nothing relaxes me as much as reading and reciting (poetry), under a clear blue sky. So today, I’ve truly unwound, in readiness for the gang of likable builders who will be invading once again, to create my new hideaway office. 

 

 My Perfect Spring/Summer Afternoon.

My Perfect Spring/Summer Afternoon.

Stress

This last week has for me been one of the most stressful in recent memory. For the past four days, likable builders from Mansfield have been converting our garage into what will eventually become a utility room and office, the latter being for yours truly, to sit and write, think and get away from the world. I know things happen in their own time, but try as I might, feelings of anxiety overcome me and if it wasn’t for my wife, the more level headed one in this marriage, I would be a complete wreak.

As well as this, we’ve had very bad news about a friend in serious trouble, and the death of the husband of an old friend of mine, all of which have laid me low. Of course one has to try and get a sense of perspective, my wife and I are comfortable in our daily lives, not wanting for anything, but comfort has no bearing to the depressive, and at the moment I’m struggling with almost everything. Maybe if things go well next week and the builders make some real progress to the end product, I will being to settle, and the fog will lift.

At the moment, I’m burying myself in several books, in the hopes that page after page of decent writing, will give me a measure of protection from the world around me. So far it’s working, and I thank God for a loving family.

Social Media Nightmare.

I woke up this morning, with an overwhelming feeling to ditch 99% of the social media platforms I subscribe to. It was a little more than overwhelming, this was clear instructions, come from I know not where, but the truth of the matter was, that the ‘feelings’ were correct. 

Straight Away I went into action and sent a collective email to treasured friends informing them of my decision, and all came back with positive replies. There was one what I would call, disappointment. The reply was a thumbs down emoji, from somebody I thought would understand. I forgive this person, but it hurt a little. 

First to be dismantled was Twitter, and now I’m homing in on Facebook and Instagram. I’m keeping Goodreads, and that will be linked to my new revamped website, where you see this blog:) This evening looking back on the last few hours, I feel both stronger and much relieved that I will no longer be spending valuable reading time surfing through the shallow trash of Facebook. 

Blue Skies & Wispy Clouds.

Warm late spring and early summer days have such a soothing effect on me, it’s better than any medicine I know. Today is especially good, as I have the added bonus of the company of my stepson and my beautiful Japanese daughter in law. Like all my close family, I love them dearly and at this stage of my life, I find I need them more and more.

My wife and I have recovered from the cataclysmic holiday we had a couple of weeks ago. It was the worst time I’ve had in sobriety, and it’s the first time that I’ve ever considered completely eliminating the images from a foreign trip. I haven’t as yet, but I’m thinking about it. 

Next week, we travel to a tiny coastal town in Norfolk, with our immediate family, and we are both looking forward to those few days very much indeed. I’m so laidback today, writing about something meaningful and informed seems difficult, although I’m not usually stuck for words. Busy times ahead for my wife and myself, with serious beholding work just two weeks away.  

Looking around our small garden, there isn’t a lot of colour, mostly shades of green and reds, but it’s my refuge, my place of sanity. I was thinking about it last week on the way home from the city centre, where I bore witness to drunkenness, impatience, violence and zombie like trance in many people’s eyes. Scuse me whIle I dig out the sun bed and turn off all devices.

World Book Night.

Today being Monday, April 23, I can only talk about one thing. Tonight is World Book Night, and from early on this morning, I’ve been indulging in reading, browsing, choosing Lon, lost books from dusty and not so dusty shelves, to celebrate this little known event and relish every moment. 

Years ago, before the internet and mobile communication revolution, I buried myself in the healing power of words, reading countless books as part of my recovery. I didn’t have a TV or radio, had no money for cinema or theatre, but books were plentiful, and I found myself reading on park benches, peoples sofas, AA meetings, Town Hall Square, countryside walks, in fact anywhere and everywhere. 

Reading books led me directly to writing diaries and journals, and recovery from addiction, on a day to day basis. So I keep all this mind on this and other book celebration days, as I have the written word to thank (in part), for my soberiet. I’m still an addict of course, but the drug is in print form, or relieved by a Kindle from time to time. To you fellow readers followers I wish you happy reading and continued recovery. 

What a Difference a Day Makes.

My last entry was full of honest woe, but today I’m feeling much, much better. It’s application really, finding enough inside myself to realise that today is another adventure, in my case a trip through my bookshelves, and finding nuggets of gold. 

Next Monday is World Book Night, and I’m in preparations for a whole day of events, blogging and enjoying the day thumbing through pages of long lost friends (I’ve always referred to my books as friends). As for today a visit and sleepover of the granddaughter is always a delight, although she keeps my wife and I on our aging toes. As I write, she’s watching episodes of Peter Rabbit. I’m enjoying them too. 

Things To Come

My wife and I have recently returned from the worst holiday, both of us have had in living memory. There were little or no redeeming features that I could mention from the whole ten days. I slipped a little into my shell, but came out stronger so thinking about it, a little gold emerged from the shitty streets of Palermo, Sicily.

With this in mind, I’m moving forward with new projects, beginning on Monday, April 23 which happens to be World Book Night. So elsewhere on this site will be a new book and coffee blog, and an update with several blogs on these pages talking about issues and events which have helped me of late. 

Exciting stuff (from this end anyway). Spring is here, and we spent yesterday in our back garden, cutting back winter growth and keeping an eye on what looks to be a poorly hedgehog. I sat out there until the stars came out, and watched several bats hunt for food on the wing. Back in a couple of days. 

Walking It Off.

Yesterday, I got up very early and walked into the city centre. Nothing out of the ordinary there you might say, except that prior to this I was laid low by the aftermath of bad dreams. Dreams that were both terrifying in the fact that they seemed so very real. 

this is happening to me a lot of late, and try as I might to make sense of everything, it does lay me flat and the blues quickly take over when my guard is down. This latest experience was beginning to way heavy on my waking hours, so I walked, at speed in the warm hazy sunshine and parked myself in the window of a popular coffee chain, got out a notebook and watched the world go by. 

I admit this was a ‘quick fix’, but it worked and the muted colours of the early morning to and fro’, dispersed the dull grey of nightmare visions, slowly but surely. It took a real effort to get out of bed, but in the end, the self motivation paid a huge dividend. Later I met up with two close friends, and we talked, well moaned actually, about the state of this and that and laughed a lot at our own aging thoughts and gripes. It all helps and by the time I was walking back home, all the horrors had been exorcised and obliterated.

Making the effort to pull clear of depression even for a short time, can be exhausting. But the effort has to be made. The alternative does not bare thinking about. 

Tired, Oh So Tired

I didn’t blog last week, in fact it was a struggle to write anything at all, and what I did manage didn’t really say anything. The problem in part has been a lack of quality sleep, which in itself has led to conflicts, and daily battles with tiredness.  

Now ive known periods like this for most of my adult life, and by n’ large I’ve been able to handle it, get over it, manage to work or at least function in a way that those around me would hardly notice. The last few years have been so different. Not sleeping has laid me low, and several days ago I was low, very, very low and that led to several short periods where depression zipped me inside a mental suit case and for a few moments, I was trapped. 

Eventually I was released, and headed straight for the electric kettle and a large mug of black instant, and an hour or two of quiet in the back bedroom of our house. I absolutely refuse to take any medication that would induce a deep sleep, turning instead which I always do to my journal and drain the the wound with words and thoughts. 

All of us who live with depression, all of us who suffer with bouts of insomnia, have to be fully aware that we can without warning be enveloped in heavy black clouds and we have to be prepared. At the time of writing, I’m not too bad but still finding myself awake in the small hours. I’ve tried staying up later, but that makes no difference whatsoever.  

I’m doing the best I can with shields of books, poetry and literary blogs and taking books. And coffee, let’s never forget the attraction of good coffee, instant or otherwise. 

But It’s Raining

As usual I awoke early this morning to the sound of raindrops, tapping on the windowpanes, leading me gently to my floor exercises, breakfast of cereal, chopped banana and two rounds of brown toast and marmalade (no butter). And all was good with the world. 

That is until I switched on the iPad mini, logged into my emails only to be confronted with a bogus incoming, trying to hack my Amazon account. The last time this happened I few into a rage which did nobody any good, least of all myself. So this time around I stayed cool while I logged in and changed all my settings, adding some extra security features. 

Mothers Day, was spent taking early morning communion, and a visit I to my step-daughter’s place to have a magnificent lunch with my wife, our grandchild and the mother of my son-in-law. So welcoming and warm, there wasn’t a black cloud in my head,z all day long. Later I paid homage to my own mother on social media, which was picked up and commented on by various family members including my sister and cousin.  

The week ahead looks fairly stable, time I think to read and scan the books I purchased at an independent publishing event over the weekend, all of which is food and nourishment for my days to day battle with the dark clouds.  

The Power Of Words

When I began this blog site, I used to open up with a relevant or not so relevant quote. Well that will soon return, but what has lifted my spirits this week is a remarkable book of poems, composed by Jade Anna Hughes who lives in the United States. The book is called ‘Home’, and the poems are among the most striking and moving I’ve read in a long, long time.

Jade is also a talented photographer, and although I’ve never actually met her, we seem to share a kindred spirit with words and pictures. When I received the book a day or so ago, I was feeling a little deflated having spent several days in the sun and easy going atmosphere that was North Tenerife. Reading Jade’s poetry was like somebody lifetime me from the gloom, into the sunlight of beautiful literature, which for me is as good if not better than any medication. 

Thankyou Jade for brightening my return to home soil. Home, is highly recommended. 

The Heat Is On.

Weve been back from a welcome break in North Tenerife for just over 48 hours, and I’m still wishing we/I was back there. This is the first time I can ever recall that I didn’t want to come from a holiday. We had the most wonder, relaxing time and the sun and overall warmth was just what my body, in particular my skin needed.

Being away, taking a break from the day to day routine and with little or no accesss to the internet was very welcome. I had the opportunity to write without distraction, in a comfortable environment, in the company of some interesting and ‘not’ so interesting people. Thankfully the latter was confined to one minor incident, when someone made a racist comment about my home town of Leicester UK. I avoided this ignorance for the rest of the trip. 

There isn’t a shandow of a doubt that being away was good for my depression. It was in part an organised trip to see places of interest, and the guide we had was absolutely magnificent. The blues didn’t visit me once. Even on the last day when we had enormous problems at the airport due to the bad weather, I managed to keep my cool, with one exception, when we were left knee deep in used food wrappers on the flight, when the cabin crew forgot to collect it, and looked at me with daggers drawn when I dumped it on them. 

Now I’m getting used to the cold again, but I feel mentally refreshed and ready to tackle what’s ahead this week. We’ve decided that from now on, one or two winter sprints to pastures hot and sunny, is on our agenda for the rest of our days. Money permitting. 

Confined To Quarters

These past few days have been rather barren in the way of blogs or journal entries. The reason being a very bad head cold, whose dripping entrails have affected my entire frame, rendering me pretty useless. In between coughing bouts, I’ve manages to watch three box sets on TV, several scrappy and badly written entries into my physical journal, and sleep for England on my comfortable bed in the quiet back bedroom. 

Is it good for us to have downtime from the rough and tumble of everyday life?, maybe it is. On Wednesday mind, I had a really weird experience, that everything I was doing (which wasn’t much), I’d done before both in speech and tasks. I’m sure I was just very poorly and didn’t see this as some paranormal event or time travelling communications from past lives, should they exist. 

in the midst of all this illness, there was a moment, thankfully just a moment of heavy depression where I decided to cancel all my forthcoming meetings with friends and colleagues, and was emailing furiously. I’ve since thought better of this and rescheduled some but not all. We are about to go away fro a week of relaxation in Tenerife, it’s a week away from going, but I’ve already packed the suitcase. 

To Always Be Aware.

Last time I talked about social media at its worst. This week I have to report that less than twenty-four hours ago, I detatched  myself from a social media website, that was set up for people who battle with depression. I’m not going to give details of the site in question or it’s name, because it has nothing to do with the setup. The problem was some of the ‘posts’ I read in the daily feed, which I felt were, lets say, ‘not for me’. 

A decision was made, and I deleated my account and all the links. Let me say that what I saw wasn’t in any way suggestive or illegal, it just made me uncomfortable. When that feeling is present, I bail out, no matter what or where it is.  

It’s a sense I’ve developed over the years and it’s a major part of my armour of self protection. Later I discussed the situation with my wife. After explaining the what happened, she came to the same conclusion. If she hadn’t she would have been the first to tell me that I’d overreacted. We must always be on our guard, and do everything to protect our wellbeing. In the past, I have bore witness to far too many horror stories about people who should have walked away from difficult situations. No More!.