Friday, 25 September 2015

Do You Know Who You Are ?

Do you know who you are ???   do you really ???   or do you have those moments when you realise that of all the people in your orbit nobody really knows you ???    do you find that incredibly isolating ???    do you have any idea what i'm talking about ???

I don't mean those secret thoughts that involve the person you least like and a chainsaw, or those  memories that occasionally hit you from behind with a blast of adrenaline and a rush of shame, akin to those nightmares of school sans underwear, that you have hidden under your kilt for decades.

No.....i'm talking of the essence that makes you, you.   the experiences and memories from your formative years that have shaped you into the adult you have become, the inner heart of your being, what some have called The God Shaped Gap.

Mostly if conversation turns to this question i'm met with total miscomprehension.    people seem to know who they are and why they are and how they became who they are.   they don't have this gap in their soul, the need to be known, the desire to connect with a human who has experienced their story.   i envy that.   they think i'm weird.   maybe they're  right.   

I certainly had a very unconventional youth living in squats and hitchhiking round the country.  saw people die, spent a lot of nights in hospital waiting rooms, walked some very  dark roads.   had plenty of fun along the way too and met fascinatingly creative people.

It can be lonely if you don't fit. the temptation is to become what society expects, but you end up losing your identity and becoming isolated even from yourself,   knowing you are a living lie.
So......if you have absolutely no idea what i'm talking very thankful.   it means you know yourself and you are in the right place. you are living true to your soul........lucky you  ! ! !

Thursday, 17 September 2015

Your Story. Your Words. Your Memories

There must be as many styles of diarist as there are varieties of ice cream in the universe, and equally as many motivations for initially picking up a pen and applying it to paper.   my flavour of choice tends towards the intermittent, dusted with crisis sprinkles and a dollop of good intentions.   like David Cameron's description of his Christian faith "a bit like Magic FM in the Chilterns, it comes and goes."

The muse tends to raise her head when life becomes a bear pit and there's no escape route for the emotions swirling around  inside and, apparently,  the exit has morphed into the wall without a release switch and  there's not a single doubt that  i'm destined  to  be  bear's   dinner. That's the moment the stash of pretty notebooks that live in my cupboard get raided, a handful of coloured, sparkly gel pens are clutched and i vow to keep at it this time.......just like all the other times.

Advocates of journalling will expound at length on it's benefits and hold up it's worthies as guiding lights.   it's hard not to admire Mr. Pepys for grabbing his diary rather than his wife in The Great Fire, or Anne Frank ensconced in her attic pouring out her heart as Holland burned.  You and i probably wont be destined for equal standing in history but that doesn't mean it's a worthless venture, if only as a reminder in years to come of the person you are today and the way you lived you life.

I wish i could tell you that when re-reading my early journals i can see how much i've grown and improved but........i would lie !!!   the demons that haunted me in the 70's and 80's are still hovering at the edges of my existence, the flaws and faults of character are still battling for my soul, but.......their all encompassing strength is diminished, they wield less power, consume less energy.   if there was no record with which to compare it would be easy to think there was no change, no improvement, no defeating that would be.

You may think you would face that blank page and have nothing to say, that your life involves nothing worth writing down, that nobody else would ever be interested.   but you know something?......that really doesn't matter.   when the time comes for my children to empty my home of all that has made me jeni my diaries will most likely end up in the recycling really doesn't matter because they aren't written for others they are written  for my future self as a reminder of who i was and who i hoped to become.

A blog is a form of journal.   a place to let the creative juices run free, to put into print your personal thoughts on issues of import, or simply to ramble on about your latest passion or random fancy.    the one big difference, of course, is that bloggers half hope someone will read their witterings, maybe even enjoy them, and hopefully come back for the next instalment. may be a far finer person than me, for whom the following confession wouldn't be a necessary caveat, human fallibility leads me to keep my failings and frailties purely between the covers of the hardback journals for my consumption only, to be revealed  after my demise when i can't see the disappointment in the eyes of those i love.   sad......but true.

Are you tempted to have a go?   all you need is a notebook and pen, or computer and doc and a short time set aside to catch the fleeting moments of your life.   nobody needs to see, so no need to be shy or embarrassed about the results, simply put down the events of the day and the  emotions that those events stirred.   keep at it, then re-read.   you might be surprised how in retrospect you find patterns in life, both positive and negative, and how distance puts our dramas into perspective and balance.

Saturday, 12 September 2015


My nonagenarian neighbour is struggling with the indignities of an aged body that has finally failed her.    this time last year she was still caring for her garden and occasionally taking a gentle walk into Hexham when in the mood.   early in the spring she fell during the night, spending hours alone on the floor, and hasn't been able to move much since........i know......i know.......why have an alarm system and not wear the call buzzer?.......too proud......too feisty......she wears it the words horse......stable.....door come to mind?

Throughout the summer i've watched as little by little her independence has been stripped away and compromises made.    ready meals replacing cooked from scratch.......spotless home becoming the domain of dust and bed...... nurses......carers.....on and on, step by woebegone step.    and now the final humiliation........nappies !!

She isn't incontinent, never has been, but...........carers put her to bed at 7.00 pm and return in the morning at 10.00 am.    FIFTEEN HOURS !!! She's stranded half sitting up with pillows under feet and arms like a beached whale for fifteen hours, unable to move more than her forearms......that's ok then?......that's all you need to work the TV remote isn't it? and.......because fifteen hours is too long without a loo break she's been put into incontinence pads......even i, endowed    with a touch of the Blarney, am stumped for words.............

Sunday, 6 September 2015

The Great Media Manipulation

I've postponed publishing this topic for a long time because i just KNOW it's intention is open to being totally misconstrued.   why take the risk now?   because it's been burning for expression, events of the past weeks have provoked a response anodyne blog  is a waste of writing and reading.   

Before  i  attempt  to  articulate these thoughts P~L~E~A~S~E    know
it is absolutely NOT a comment on the rights and wrongs of the west's ambiguous approach to immigration, nor my personal view.    i simply don't have sufficient insight or knowledge to make that judgement.'s the cynical behaviour of politicians and  media and our gullibility in the face of their manipulations, in a multitude of areas, i'd attempt to address.
Until the heartbreaking picture of Aylan Kurdi, the Syrian child drowned on a beach in Turkey, washed over us what were the images our newspapers and TV's spoon fed us every day for weeks, and what emotions were those photos provoking?   Almost without fail we were shown boats crammed to the gunwales with young, predominantly male, dark skinned, hungry looking "migrants"........take note of that word!!!........MIGRANTS, usually prefixed with "illegal" or "economic".   We saw lorries and ferries at Calais being "breached," "boarded,"   "hijacked,"  and heard stories of "armed thugs" and "ruthless raiders." ahhh don't you love the restraint of the press?

We were told they  were a "horde,"  "swarm,"  "invasion,"  "influx," "danger,"   "destabilisers."   we were told there was "no room on our little island."  we were told they would "overwhelm" our housing, hospitals, schools, services.   we were told they were the equivalent of Attila The Hun at the gates.    and guess  what?.......up to that point all the polls showed we believed it by a huge margin, 82% by one estimation.    at this point deaths had reached many thousands.......we didn't much care.......

............then Aylan died........what a difference a day makes!
Gone are the threats of invasion and illegals storming our borders, instead we are talking of "refugees".  women, children, elderly appear in photos alongside the  men, condemnation  has turned to  compassion,   social media is being used to organise aid and previously antagonistic newspapers are crying crocodile tears. Dire warnings at Calais have morphed into donations and the polls have experienced a swing worthy of Tarzan.     fickle aren't we?   we were played weren't  we?     before or after Aylan?

Let's think about a home grown hobgoblin that our wonderful media and politicians would demonise........the disabled and  sick.   the welfare changes mean that when Disability Living Allowance turns into Personal Independence Payment......notice the absence of "disability" in it's new name.... everybody who has a claim.....and i mean EVERYBODY......has to reapply yearly.    that includes the terminally ill, those with an illness that will become progressively worse, those who will never recover, the learning disabled.   they will no longer be covered by an "indefinite claim".   annually they need to fill in a 20 page booklet and undergo assessment to see if they just might get better.   when did terminal cease meaning..........?

A few days ago i posted two items on Facebook, a cartoon about a book and an e-reader,  and the petition below.   the cartoon had twenty two likes and comments,  the petition........5......five.... FIVE !!!

OK some might have signed it elsewhere, i hope so. or......maybe........possibly.......the dialogue about benefits cheats, scroungers, undeserving  fakers etc. etc. etc. has placed us up there with the original unworthy bogey men in their leaky boats.    i wonder how many of the sick and disabled will have to die before a heart rending photo pops up to save us.