Anything To Hand

Not been a good week to be honest. Some of it was my fault, some not and it would have been so easy just to sit back and wallow in the disappointment and heartbreak. But that isn’t the way for me these days. And by turning a low situation into a positive outcome has been the saving grace these past few days. 

For recovery, I turned back to my passion for photography, and got to grips with a project that had been on hold for sometime, the construction of a very large pinhole camera. The body I already had. It was a gift from an old friend of mine some years ago. What was needed was things like paper film holders and a tripod base, all of which are very expensive to purchase, so I went about making my own. 

I used oddments of wood and old drawers that had been gather dust and cobwebs in one corner of the garden shed. So with patience and imagination, with a good friend for company, the first stages of a new camera project for next Spring and Summer are well under way.  There is of course a lot more work to be done both on the camera and the ‘problem’ that still looms in the background. Both need focus. The way is becoming clear, but lots and lots of work and sacrifice are needed. Like all problems for the depressive mind, things have to move at a slow pace, with thought, consideration, and an ability to forgive. Not easy I know, but necessary. 

 

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Keep On Talking

Met up with a good friend today who is not in a very good place right now. We talked about many things including the failure of people to forgive. No easy answers to any of this persons problems, other than to keep on talking, no matter what. Even if it’s all one sided, just keep on talking. 

Over the years, I’ve seen many families and individuals cut to pieces, by staying silent and not talking. Of course talking ones problems out is not easy for a lot of people, but goodness, it’s well worth the effort to try. 

 

 Writing and coffee. 

Writing and coffee. 

waiting on a good friend to talk, talk, talk.

Sleepless Nights.

Of late, the heatwave has been keeping me awake, night after night after night. I’m waking up with sweat soaked sheets and pillows, thirsty and as restless as hell. What to do?. Mostly I read, then I fall asleep only to wake up again wet through like before and feeling worse.  

I’ve always said to people both privately and publicly, that night time is the worst time for my depression. It’s the time when if I let my guard down, the demons come for me and I’m full of fear, about everything. This is why after much thought, I’m going to keep what will call my ‘After Dark Diary’, which will be separate from my daily writings, noting down my fears as they happen, no matter where they come from, dreams or thoughts. 

As most people know, writing about my depression has been and continues to be both my armour and shield. But what arrives in the wee small hours, has never been written down for reasons I can’t honestly explain. Let’s see how it goes, so tonight armed with a new notebook and pencils, I’m going to try and fend off the blankets of negativity, that leave me tired, drained and unable to function first thing in the morning. Demons beware, it’s me coming for you this time. 

 

 Great coffee in a local outlet with my family. It was this moment I thought about writing an After Dark journal for the first time.  Not a cure for nightmares that induce depression, but I now have a chance to make sense of it all.

Great coffee in a local outlet with my family. It was this moment I thought about writing an After Dark journal for the first time.  Not a cure for nightmares that induce depression, but I now have a chance to make sense of it all.

A Day Away Keeps The Blues At Bay

Today, my wife and I decided to pack our side and backpacks, and head out to the city of Ely in Cambridgeshire, and explore the magnificent cathedral, drink afternoon tea, indulge in cake overkill, and turn back time by paying a visit to Oliver Cromwell’s house.

It felt so good to get away from the back garden, and the familiar sounds of our own district, as comforting as they are. Depression sufferers like me, can if not careful, isolate themselves from the outside world, and become chained to where they are most comfortable. With support, like that I have from my wife, I’ve not travelled down that road of late, and walking too and from the railway station, I could feel the benefits of a good walk, and a day out.  

 

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Ely Cathedral, it’s magnificence is breathtaking, whether one is a person of faith or not. For me it has purpose being a Christian. But I love the surrounding area, and today spending time there was so beneficial to my continuing fight with the illness of depression.

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The Heat Is On.

Today, my wife and I along with our adorable granddaughter, drove to a local park for a few hours and packed a sizeable picnic, which we devoured in two halves at two different locations. Normally we would take her in the buggy and walk,but the heat has gotten to all of us, me especially and frankly I’m struggling like never before. 

Now I love the summer as much as anybody, and for depressives like me, the long warm days, generally have a positive effect. However, too much oppressive heat, has all my alarm bells ringing, and there were moments today when all rational thought drained from my powers of reason, and I had to take myself off to a quiet, shady nook and recharge.

I’m not too worried, when we packed up and came away, I sat in the coolest place of our garden and dozed off to sleep for a few minutes, waking to a cold glass of lemon water and a small bowel of strawberries. We built a tent, and wandered into the land of make believe, for a couple of hours, before my wife and I walked her back home. 

Evenin the most calm moments, uncertainty can sneak up on you, so it’s important to have on board the tools to cope with the unwanted intrusion. Next week our beloved is on holiday, so Grandma and I are off on a bus trip to Coventry. I acquired my first bus pass yesterday.there really is no stopping me know.

 

 I like to think of strawberries and yogurt as a healthy ‘seconds’, or just on its own. Either way it still remains my favourite summer food.

I like to think of strawberries and yogurt as a healthy ‘seconds’, or just on its own. Either way it still remains my favourite summer food.

Alone With My Own Thoughts

As I write, I’m sitting up in bed, it’s 10.47pm, and I’m listening to The last episode of Radio 4’s Book Of The Week. One of the Adrian Mole books by Leicester’s own Sue Townsend. I met her once, at the old Phoenix Theatre back in 1982. Today I’ve done very little other than go for a longish Walk, see my wife off on a bus to South Wimbledon, eat good sandwiches write and read a little, and watch several movies.

it feels good to be alone for a while, a chance to clear my head and make headway with the summer reading. A chance to do nothing if you will, but a nothing that’s constructive and induces a sense of calm in these aging bones. The building work is all finished, and I have a new workspace, a place to read, a place to write and blog. My space, my turf, my place of sanctuary. Bliss

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My new workspace. It’s even more clear of clutter, as I’ve ditched the speakers.

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.