Thursday, December 22, 2016

Thoughts from the Wee, Small Hours

A new year beckons; I am single and my thoughts turn to relationships. Please don't think I'm looking for one but I'm wide-awake and I've been thinking about the relationships I have had in my life.

Two marriages, two long-term relationships and a couple of medium-term ones also (we'll keep quiet about the time I had in my early twenties though :D). There has been someone in my life since a very early age so being single now is a very new feeling still. I guess I am lucky to have been loved by a few although, with my first wife, her having an affair with my best friend didn't help its long-term potential. Strangely enough, a couple of the others ended up having affairs, so guess it doesn't say much about me as a stayer.

There's also been situations of right person, wrong time where, to give one example, I have put my perceived duty above my own feelings which still haunts me to this day. Perhaps, one day, I can put that right with the lady concerned but how many years of happiness have been lost and how much damage  has been caused by trying to "do the right thing" and abide by a commitment to a relationship which was moribund for several years.   

Loving and being loved is wonderful. Loving and being loved with a soul- burning intensity is a heady mix of excitement and roller-coaster ride. Love, though, comes at a price; whether it dies or, in many cases, becomes the loser if the relationship is sacrificed due to a husband/wife and family at home, there tends to be a reckoning.

In some ways now, I feel I don't want the responsibilty of a relationship because I'm basically shit at them. I don't want to hurt or be hurt either although I appreciate one has to take risks in life. Would I be let down again? Would I be replaced by another, younger model? It's a huge lottery really and I don't know if I want to even risk the chance. I'm certainly not ready for an intense relationship even if one appeared but, I have to admit, it's a lonely life now when one has been used to another presence.

That's the trouble with becoming older, one makes decisions based on past experiences rather than just going with what feels right. Experience and common sense is all very well but, at times, it prevents the heart from doing what it should. Been there, done that, not only got the teeshirt but the whole frigging wardrobe to match.

Thursday, August 04, 2016

Fleeting Thoughts

As a photographer I am alone. I have a moment of interaction and connection which I capture forever but then I am alone once more.

As a writer, I am alone. Fleeting thoughts, which otherwise would be long forgotten, committed to paper and either lauded or ignored.

As a person I am alone. My thoughts are my dearest friends and direst enemies, my persecutor, my judge and my jury.

Today I was with people who are now an important and treasured part of my life. Tonight, alone again, I feel I have to pay the price for being happy and imprison myself with grief, fear and doubt. Tomorrow, I shall become the photographer once more, the clown, the joker, the entertainer.

I am reminded of this which I wrote a couple of years ago:

Acting a part, standing  apart
Whilst wearing a smile of delusion
Fooling the crowd, laughing out loud
Yet within, broken dreams and confusion.

Hoping to want, wanting to hope -
The needs of a child never changed
Put on the act, big smile intact
it's merely a frown rearranged.

All things to all men, just be what you need
Please others, don't take, just keep giving
The coward's way out, don't scream or shout
Just leave Life to those who are living.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Future Perfect?

Frustrating, waiting, vacillating: future full of fears
A curtain of uncertainty, a smile that masks the tears?
Or is it just another gamble made, in this lifelong trip?
A chance to play the cards I’m dealt, bet one last precious chip.

For the first time in my life, I am free to do as I want with no sole responsibility towards anybody anymore and, you know what? It scares the crap out of me. I have always taken responsibility for others (probably because that way I can forget my own failings and needs) and to suddenly think that I can go where I want and do as I please is a mind-blowing realisation. Since I retired 16 years ago following the burn-out, I’ve often gone for the easy option as it’s a nice, simple coping strategy. Equally, I’ve often disliked myself for doing it and thought wistfully of the missed opportunities although I think I’ve always been lazy and unambitious. Adventures in life, job opportunities, situations always seemed to seek me out however and I can look back on some (more than) interesting memories.  I guess, really, that I’d like just a little chance of a few more adventures and I need to take a few small footsteps in that general direction. I know I have to get well first and stop this damn treatment which makes me look like a Michelin Man wearing a sumo suit but I need to start somewhere, even if it’s joining a few local organisations to try and resurrect the few tenuous social skills I once possessed. Fate and the great arthritis god denied Mrs B and I the chance to travel but the world is still there and, for the foreseeable future, so am I. I just need to be dragged into it!

To where would I like to travel? Oh, anywhere really. Obviously, these days, there are many dangerous places in the world full of mad, demonic leaders and trigger-happy citizens but I think the USA is the only one that really scares me :D

Sunday, July 24, 2016


I really don’t understand this death malarkey. I mean, I totally accept it’s the one inevitability of birth that neither kings nor commoners can prevent, but what I cannot accept is its comprehension. Every day, I try to rationalise what’s happened. I try to draw parallels with the deaths of both my parents as well as several good friends over the years but it doesn’t work. Mrs B and I were hardly Love’s young dream. We were companions who had fun and many good times together, especially in the early days when she first moved to the coast and we realised that we were more than friends. As time went by, we settled into a relatively comfortable existence of mutual dependence which began to subdue as we got used to each other and, presumably, the tumour began to exert its influence. For many months, it was extremely difficult trying to cope with her increasingly irrational behaviour. For example, she was convinced that there were loads of snakes that hid in the pipes within Bassett Towers and came out at night when she saw them by the dozen. She didn’t seem overly bothered and I almost treated them as imaginary pets with many conversations between us of where they had originated, did they have names etc. That was the acceptable part. Sadly, there was far more which was unacceptable and that stays with me rather than becoming public knowledge. Knowing how I reacted to her behaviour and subsequently discovering that she wasn’t responsible for this is yet another burden to be carried.

Anyway, as I was saying, I cannot get used to her not being here. It’s not a wishful thinking feeling but a total inability to comprehend that she will never be here again: a triumph of irrational thinking over cold, hard fact. Perhaps it’s something that comes with age? As we grow older, I think we all cling to something as our anchor to Life whether it be religion, money, activity or whatever is the most comforting or available. Religion requires faith and I prefer logic, money is not something I have ever had more than a sufficiency and activity doesn’t suit my wreck of a body these days. What then, is my anchor? I guess it is friendship and company although I have lost the ability to be comfortable in such an environment hence my semi-reclusive existence of late. So, by a process of elimination, I cannot accept the absence of Mrs B because that is all I have as an anchor. I have some wonderful friends but I have failed one or two at times over the years and this inevitably leads me to doubt my commitment and qualities to be a friend.

I don’t look at the many things of hers that still surround me and feel sad because I simply don’t think she has gone. Yesterday, for a small period of time, my mind allowed it to register that she was dead and, whilst this opened a huge new world of emotion, I welcomed it as a start of a new chapter. Within minutes though, the window had closed once again leaving me stranded, rather like when you know a sneeze is there but it won’t come. I was so damn’ close to allowing the emotion to come out but, sadly, no cigar.

So here I am, hearing lots of encouraging words from so many friends and acquaintances but not really believing them. Wanting to go out yet it’s easier and more comfortable to stay indoors. It was truly strange coming home last night to an empty apartment but I need to get used to it sooner, rather than later. Usually, when I write these ‘unburdening’ posts, I try not to feel sorry for myself as I was taught that this was “not the thing to do”. Yet another lifetime habit is about to disappear as I totally admit to being a bit of a mess. My body aches from the arthritis and where I hold myself so tense all the time as well as the cancer thing, my mind is tired from too little sleep and too much thinking and my emotions are …. well, who knows where the feck they are?

In so many ways, I want to give up but I know I can’t do that. I have two families to whom I owe so much, I have friends who have been like the proverbial rock and, who knows, one day I might even start to travel once more and see all the places for which my camera hungers.

Perhaps the most significant fact is that I don’t think I have had any cheese for at least a couple of weeks!

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow

Not been one of my better days today. Physically, I feel exhausted, mentally I feel pummelled and emotionally I'm totally wrecked. OK, I've had some alcohol tonight - not much but the first in many months but it doesn't dull anything. On the contrary, it tries to remind me of parts of my childhood I would rather forget. The influence of it might manifest itself in this so be prepared!

Tomorrow morning, I have a medical assessment to see if I am eligible for payments under the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) scheme. I applied last January and it's taken this long for the claim to be considered. It can do a couple of things: 1) provide some financial benefit and 2) make the chances of getting a blue badge easier. The arthritis in my ankle is now permanently causing pain and difficulty walking and it's really the ability to park more easily that is important to me as, by the time I walk from a parking space to where I am headed, I am usually in real discomfort. I've finally accepted that I can take some pretty special photos and now I wonder just how many more I'll be able to produce. Even walking over the road to the promenade and back this afternoon wore me out.

Having said that, the cancer, together with the arthritis now invading my hands and several other problems means that housework, shopping, cleaning etc is quite difficult. My partner, for whom I am voluntary carer, does very little and is unable to take any responsibility so, effectively, the buck stops here.I have enough to live on and live relatively comfortably but not enough to maybe get in a cleaner/ironer/general helper a couple of times a week. Any extra monies would help pay for that.It's quite ironic really; my partner has a blue badge which allows much more flexible parking but it can only be used when she is in the vehicle and she doesn't really go out any more. My conscience (and general cowardly fear of wrongdoing) stops me using it whilst I am out alone.

Anyway, as I say, I have this assessment tomorrow morning, here at Bassett Towers. One reads all these terrible stories about how the Government is trying to limit benefit payments so I am envisaging a cross between the Gestapo and Mr/Ms Cynic of Cynic Road, Cynictown, Cynicshire. I hate the thought of being "tested" and always have done. It makes me feel incredibly vulnerable and scared so it's going to be a trial. It also serves to reinforce my disabilities which seem to have flourished in the last couple of years. It's my granddaughter's 2nd birthday tomorrow and my thoughts are constantly filled with silly things like I wont be able to play Chase with her or run around with her. I get so very angry at all this crap. I must have done some really bad things in a previous existence to have all this and, to be honest, I've almost got to the point where I don't care any more. If I am asked stupid questions tomorrow then I fear the worst. I've spent my whole working life in some authority and if some little upstart is going to start trying to piss me off then I'm prepared for that.

Still, on the good side, I've bought Isabelle her very first camera and a Sooty puppet. What child could ask for more? Please God that I am still around to teach her how to use a proper one.

As for those puzzled by the title, it's yer Macbeth, innit, and seems singularly appropriate.
Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.