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!. 

The Worst Of Social Media.

Over the years, I’ve deleted my Facebook page at least three times. All have been the result of abuse of one kind or another, people from my past life who have nothing better to do than to try to embarrass me in front of a worldwide audience. Those people have now gone from my life, but quite recently somebody who I know said something very unpleasant, not derogatory, just categorised me in a way that was both offensive and unnecessary.

Ive forgiven this person, a Facebook friend who I know personally, but now unfriended as a result of this appalling behaviour. Trying to cope with depression in a world full of pitfalls is for me, a constant battle and sometimes my body armour is pierced, and I stumble. This time around I chose not to come off Facebook, but just eliminate the problem with several clicks of the mouse. I am sorry this has happened, not for me really, but for the person concerned. Sad. 

Social Media Depression Sites.

A few weeks ago I signed up to what could be described as a social media sit for people like me to suffer and battle with depression. At first I was a little apprehensive, having had some really bad experiences with popular SM sites, one of which I ejected from no less than three times, due to abuse some of which was vile.

But this seemed to be different and so far it’s going well. I’m very reluctant to say which one as I don’t want to advertise any particular self-help group, because what works for one doesn’t necessarily work for another. All I will say that it is based in the United States, and the people I’ve conversed with so far seem genuine and have a desire to support others. 

I'm telling you this on the back of what has been a rather challenging week here and there. I felt a lot better last Thursday having spent two hours with a very good friend of mine, a curate, in a local church who is young, progressive, supportive and completely free from rigid dogma. I had no problem in opening up to this but who I’ve known for some time, and we are to have further meetings over home made cake and delicious coffee.

Im writing this blog post from my warm position under a quilt, having already had my two pieces of dry toast and black coffee. I’ve been on a health and fitness kick since January 1, in an effort to loose 50 lbs in weight ( one pound a week). So far I’ve lost 12 lbs, so I’m very much on target. But watch this space.

Not Being Used.

Several days ago, somebody who over the years has gone out of their way to avoid me, sent me an email asking for a loan of money. I was so taken aback, so angry that I had to take a few moments just to stop myself from flying off the handle. How dare they, I was asking over and over again, after all this time of silence, even think about sending me such a request?.

Two cups of coffee later, the anger subsided, enough that I could sit and discuss the matter with my wife who was equally shocked and disgusted as myself. I have to admit that blocking this person from contacting me ever again, has been a thought I’ve been wrestling with over the last twenty four hours. It may seem a bit of an overreaction, a little sudden perhaps, but self preservation for the depressive is in my opinion, absolutely essential. 

As yet I haven’t done anything but sit heavily on my natural reaction of anger and disappointment. I’ve slept on it,  and will make a decision later. Of late, it has been a period of confrontation with people from my past, some I’ve dealt with, some I haven’t. It’s been a lesson in forgiveness that I’ve had to face head on. Not easy for me unfortunately. 


Snow Fall In The West End.

I have just had the most wonderful weekend celebrating my daughter-in-law’s birthday. The house was full of my step children, son-in-law and our beloved granddaughter. When they all left on the Sunday afternoon, my wife and I snuggled in the warmth of house, looking out at the snow which had made the West End (our district), look something like a belated Christmas postcard. We were both saddened by the kids departure, the house seemed so empty. 

The value of a loving and supportive family to me, a depressive, is worth a thousand or more anti depressants. But just for a moment, I was uneasy as it seemed like a layer of protective armour had been stripped away. When we play games in the lounge, I am ‘horse’ to my granddaughter. Despite years of back problems, I give in every time as we create adventures among the furniture and bookshelves, Grandma joining in when not distracted by the every day rough and tumble. 

The weather is getting me down, and soon we are to fly off and bathe in some warm sun around the equator. But nothing warms me as much as a loving family. I am lucky, this time around I see it in all its glory. 

Walking Away

This morning I walked away from a situation, a situation that could have ended in tragedy, for me that is. At a local gathering somebody appeared in front of me, that years ago I came to blows with and have never spoken to since. Looking t this person, I felt anger rising like a volcano about to blow. If I had stayed, despite being more calm these days than I’ve ever been, a confrontation would have occurred. I didn’t want that for either of us, so I got up and left.

Now there is an argument here for people to ask ‘why don’t I sort this out and sit down with this human being and just talk’?. It’s a fair question, but some things in life are beyond any reasonable form of discussion and this is one of them, for it involved vocal attacks on my family and an entrenched stubbornness of this person to see anybody’s view but their own. Just walk away.

Sitting here in a local cafe, drinking a regular Americano, I feel something close to cool and collected. I did what I would say to other people, just walk away.  

They Don’t Have To Understand, Just Listen.

I’ve just arrived back home from town, where I met up with one of my most cherished friends, over a pot of delicious tea in a city centre cafe. The beauty of that moment, is beyond words. He doesn’t judge, give out unwanted advice, make light of my plight, all he does is listen. 

How valuable is that!. In my experience, depression can at times put a great strain on personal relationships, including that of what we call our best friends. Back in the 1980’s I had a whole string of people who I thought were friends, abandon me, and I remember being angry and very upset. Looking back with the luxury of time, they were probably correct in their decision to gallop away. Not that I see any of them these days, but I don’t bear a grudge against any of these people. 

But there are those in my circle who give me the most precious gift of time, and today being with this wonderful man, a friend of the family, who I love dearly, has given me a peace of mind that has exorcised the monsters, that were bugging me earlier on today.   All thanks to him, my mate!.

Undiluted Fear

As I’ve got older, panic about things which have no base or foundation, seemed to have increased. Yesterday was a prime example. While taking my granddaughter to the local park in the mid afternoon, two guys on a bike rode by. They were scruffy, unkempt, but said or did absolutely nothing. Immediately I was passing judgment as to who they were and their behaviour.

In truth, it was just two guys sharing a bike ride and they were more than likely on their way home, or two a friends for a tea or a beer. But for the rest of the day, I was full of fear about what?, God only knows. I’m struggling of late, and this all comes down to letting my guard down and enabling the sickness and prejudice of another human being invading and polluting the chinks in my armour.

More work needed on my own persona, and soon. 

A Friend In Need

It’s taken me a while to come back to this blog. Why one would ask?. The truth is that Christmas, coupled with an invitation for a old friend to stay for five days, was one of the most challenging Yuletides I’ve ever experienced in my entire life. 

We have known this person for nearly a decade, so lets leave it at that, with no description, not personal details. But if it’s up to me, he/she will never enter our house ever again. It was hell on earth, and to be honest I still have’t fully recovered. If it hadn’t been for the patience shown by my dear wife, I would have been or transported into a very dark enclave. 

So as much as I love Christmas time, I am very glad that this one is over and done with, and now I can move forward into 2018, calm and collected. The only redeeming factor is that I/we have been dealt a lesson in tolerance. I’m sorry, truly sorry to have to say goodbye to this ‘friend’ of old, but their company is no longer wanted, or needed. Good riddance. 

My next visit here should be much more positive, much more upbeat, much more serene. This is a classic example where I’ve had to put myself first. And I have no problem with that whatsoever. 

The Festive Season

Christmas comes but once a year as the saying goes. For some that is one too many, as those of a similar disposition to me (some at least), find this time very depressing and lonely. I feel for such individuals, I really do, but thankfully for me, I'm not one of them.

I have always enjoyed Christmas ever since childhood. For the life of me I cannot remember what kind of Christmas time we had at home in the late 1950's and early 1960's, but I have no recollections of them being unhappy?.  And to be fair, Mum and Dad did their best to ensure we had something under the tree to open on Christmas day.

In later life, even at my worst with alcohol and drug abuse, I managed to capture some kind of inner peace as the words of 'Silent Night' and 'Oh Come All Ye Faithfull' filtered through church doors as I passed by.

So my heart goes out to all who are having a bad time right now, nothing is helped of course with the bitterly cold weather we are all cowering against. But from the bottom of my heart I do wish one and all a very Happy Christmas, and a peaceful and much more positive new year.

In A Deep & Dark December

Pinch, punch, first day of the month. As a five year old, clinging to the railings of my infant school, I can recall that saying as if it was yesterday. Mostly because of the bullying I received from a girl who years later, I passionately kissed in the Palis-de-Dance, on Humberstone Gate, Leicester UK. We never dated, just one kiss. Sometimes I think the depression stems from childhood, other times I think it lingered as a by-product from the addictions. Who knows?.

I'm trying to get fitter, much fitter than I've been of late. That of course involves discipline, which doesn't come easy to this guy. Nevertheless, it's needed as my waistline is just beginning to cascade over the waistband, so into action I go. Watch out for updates.

We do however eat very well in this house with NO junk grub. My wife wouldn't allow it even if I was incline to consume such crap!. It's not the food I have to get to grips with, it's the amounts.

I hear that snow is on it's way to these parts. To me it's a delight, and in no way effects my state of mind. So  here I go to post the first Christmas cards of the season, and take advantage of this glorious winter sunshine. Back Soon.

A Winters Day

These days, I'm no good in cold weather!, just can't function like I used to. So after talking to my wife, I've decided (for the most part), not to venture out at night. There will be exceptions, like 'Beer & Carols' at our local pub but apart from that , no, staying in.

I have been reviewing the past year, and scanning my written journals for the highs and lows of 2017. To be honest, it's been slightly on the 'low' side of the dial. Which gives me enormous room for improvement over the next twelve months.

I'm writing this entry using my new computer. My old iMac was dying, so I've purchased an Ockel, a PC no bigger than a smartphone, beautifully designed and plugged into my TV monitor, so I can type away in the warmth and comfort of my own living room, rather than cream at the Mac in a cold garage. All these things make my life much more manageable, all to the good of my 'head'.

Things are OK, I have decided to 'fight the flab' belt around my middle, as I think that getting physically fitter will have an enormous impact on my mental health. We shall see. Hugs and back soon.

Let It Go, Let It Go.

There comes a time when you have to stop crossing oceans for people who wouldn’t even jump puddles for you.                                                                                       - Unknown


Our granddaughter sings a song I think called 'Let It Go'. She knows all the words and I think it's from Beauty and the Beast, but don't quote me on that. When she sang it recently in the car home from a shopping trip, it rang so true that she could almost be singing it for me.

Loss of friendship is for me a bitter pill to swallow. The closer those people are, the more foul the after taste. And I choke on all the loving memory I have of these people. In times past this has caused me immense pain and blown a hole in the underbelly of my armour, sinking me to depths unknown.

I can't allow that to happen in the here and now, my own wellbeing is much to important to risk the grapeshot that's being coming my way for several months now, from people I loved and cherished. So, the simple solution is just as my granddaughter would sing 'Let It Go'. which I have, and it's OK.

This is an 'absolute' for one who either has or leans towards depression. Priority begins with one's self, otherwise the day to day becomes a ticking time  bomb. I've managed so far to defuse potential explosions. It's hard, beut absolutely necessary.

I Remember The Page, Not The Time

Apart from making a serious attempt to get fitter and leaner in the last few days, I've been toying with the idea of setting up a 'My Favourite Book' blog on this site, beginning with a book I read nearly fifty years ago - A Cold Wind In August by Burton Wohl.

This amazing book was to have a profound influence on my life. The base of the story is the relationship of a young, poorly educated man, with a much old woman who earns a living as a stripper in a seedy nightclub. I wont give anything away as I don't want to ruin the story for any of you who would like to read this 'classic' (in my opinion).

I read this book as a young teenager who was going through many of the problems that  young people have, one of which in my case was sexual identity. Also, my parents home was not a happy one, so I used to seek the comfort of loving arms wherever they could be found. And for me that meant other boys. 

A Cold Wind In August came to the fore much later in my life, when I began what turned out to be a ten year affair with a woman sixteen years older than me. I was 25 when it began so you can do the math!. That ended as one would expect in acrimonious terms in 1989. Unfortunately I found out several years ago that she died in 2001 at the age of 65.

Over the years, books have nboth educated and saved me from sinking deep into a quagmire of depression and still do today. I can remember reading many books, but delebrately blocked out the time and situation that I was buried in the pages. Re-reading 'this' book has brought back a time when I could have gone either way (sexually). But I regreat nothing, and today I have pretty well everything.

Literary Protection

“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies, said Jojen. The man who never reads lives only one            -  George R.R. Martin, A Dance with Dragons


Lately I have taken to reading at all hours of the day and night. Not because my demons of depression have been keeping me awake, no, this is insurance if you like. Exercise for the mind, jogging through a road of words and feeling so good at the end.

Books are everything to me, always have been, always will be. And I revisit old friends like 'The Snow Goose', Wonderboys' and 'A Month in the Country' on a regular basis. At the moment I have four or five (or is it six?) on the go right now, So an early night for me thses days, means a warm bed, a silent room, mug of tea and a book.

My Mum and Dad were enthusiastic readers, and back in the late 1950's, they were always first in the que when the mobile library stopped in the square opposite our house in Leicester, UK. We had works by Henry Miller, D.H. Lawrence, Leslie Thomas and many, many more. Both Mum and Dad are long gone now, and I still have a couple of Mum's books which she treasured to her dying day

So how am I? All in all good to go!, As Autumn and Winter creeps up on our daily lives, I have to take care of my aging bones and muscles. My back is staring to cease up, so regular walking is a must. So far this week, I've notched up around 10 miles. All this is money in the health bank. Better go I have more to deposit.


What's Another Year?

Let us never know what old age is. Let us know the happiness time brings, not count the years.                                                                                                                           - Ausonius

This past week, I've celebrated two birthdays. My own (64) and my oldest friend who is 65 and as I write sorting out his lump sum, pension, and bus pass. I remember this man in tight black cords, long black hair, beard and never without something interesting to say. The cords, hair and beard have long gone, but he remains the most sweetest guy and still has lots to say. 

We celebrated along with another close friend, in a stylish cafe in the middle of our hometown, Coffee, tea and excellent food were all served up to three guys, chewing the cud, mostly about our shared passion of photography, but also about life and it's daily challenges. All three of us have our ups and downs, but every couple of weeks we get together to shoot images, and discuss the photographic black arts, as we all come from backgrounds that included darkrooms and developing tanks.

Our regular meetings are vital for my mental health, and I know the other two guys feel the same. It's a trinity of friendship and fun, sadly lacking in many people's everyday world. Do I feel 'old'? No, not a bit of it, if you take away my bad back, creeping arthritis, and oncoming cataracts. But even with all this, my mates will still be there. At least I hope they will.