In the shadow of Heathrow

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Right on cue the air screams with the vibrations of a timely plane as it passes overhead, seemingly close enough to reach out and touch. This is Heathrow, one of the busiest airports in the world and arrivals and departures number in the seconds not in the minutes. Believe it or not you do tune it out to some degree but the sight of the giant metal Avians littering the sky is a familiar one and one you expect of a bustling city like London. Being somewhat of a country bumpkin myself i nevertheless feel very at home in my city second home and thrill in the vibrant diversity of it all. The hustle and bustle feels very compact and crammed in , with every available space untilised to the maximum and hardly a green space to be seen unless it be of the grass verge variety. Or so i thought.

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Following a maze of urban streets you step through the gates of a city park and are instantly transported to rural heaven. Along winding tree lined avenues, following the wild overgrowth of the River Crane, you would believe yourself to be in the heart of the British countryside and not infact in the depths of the largest city in England. Butterflies wheel and spin, vying for airspace as they dance their fluttering dance across the heat shimmering sky. The air of silence is oddly shattered by the alternating sounds of the overhead jet engines interspersed with the raucous cries of squabbling magpies. Crossing an elderly bridge to gaze down at rippling water and contemplate a game of ‘Pooh Sticks’ before turning a corner and stepping back in time.

St Dunstans church nestles serenely in a sunlit corner of the park showing visible signs of age yet none the less impressive for all that. Splitting wood and age worn gravestones announce proudly that this elderly house of god has been there for many more years than you and i could contemplate.

”Come inside” it smiles invitingly, like some beneign old grandfather welcoming you around for tea. Who are we to refuse and we walk carefully around the grounds interestedly peering at those gravestones visible enough to still be read. Yes old it is and the gravestones lay testament to its age. Who were you we wonder as we pause by first one and then many more of the higgley piggledy scattering of stones. Serene and welcoming and cause indeed to linger a while before continuing on our way.

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Much of a surprise then to round a corner and see undeveloped land as far as the eye can see. The alien bulk of a distant control tower the only blight on the otherwise rural looking landscape. Golden fields ripple in the gentle breeze leading to enticing looking tunnels of trees and yet more green and golden expanse. A flash to the right as a little grey body makes a dash for cover, white fluffy tail bouncing madly as it makes a bid for safety.

Bunnies!!

Yet another and then two more as they pause to consider our motives before either fleeing or dismissing us of no consequence and remaining as they were. We briefly halt our progress and tarry a moment to consider them as they in turn watch us a little warily but do not flee. Another is not so bold and dashes for the safety of a large patch of undergrowth yet perhaps it was not us who sent him there as a large magpie hops madly around upon the path infront of us. Just about to perform my usual superstitious salute i spot another and lower my arm in relief. The area is almost deserted compared to the overpopulated urban madness not a stones throw away, yet here it is peaceful and only the odd passing stranger indicates that we are not totally alone. Along the river we wander before out into the wide golden wilderness we step once more. Some thoughtful soul has cut a wonderful path of crossroads within the expanse and some time is spent wandering first one way and then another , randomly taking first one turning and then a  second. The bunnies give way to a lone kestrel soaring in the evening sky, clearly it is time for dinner and we are too far away to disturb his efforts and so he pays us no heed. Look another and yet another and still one more! Six we count in all and they swoop and soar in the warm evening air first gliding landwards before flapping madly to hold in some advantageous position. Glorious they are and so many is a sight to see but secretly i pray ‘dont catch a bunny, oh PLEASE don’t catch a bunny! ‘
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Again the raucous call of a bullying magpie as a tag team of the embullient avians lay chase to an unfortunate Kestrel. Clearly laying ownership to a small tree they are having none of the poor Kestrels attempts to gain perch there for some small moment of time. Two against one is no match and in defeat he wheels away to seemingly float upon the night sky with his bretheren. Pause for a ‘selfie’ for posterity and then it is time to let those jet engines intrude once more as the rural hideaway fades and urban life encroaches once more. How magical to find such a place so hidden from view in a most unexpected place and one i hope i shall visit again sometime in the future.

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A tale of two kitties… or maybe just a few more

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Love them or hate them you can barely go a step down the street without running into a furry feline of some form or other. I am definitely a cat person and am the frazzled owner of a barking mad part bengal tabby. Tally thinks she owns me and thinks nothing of creating havoc in order to have me chasing around after her.

So when some weeks earlier my boyfriend announced that a feral cat had given birth outside his parents house i immediately went into full-blown gush mode. Definitely a very smart mama cat, she had wedged herself and her furry brood in a very small space between the two houses, far out of reach of human hands. Peering excitedly into the gloom a couple of weeks later i could just about make out a furry bundle of shapes at the very far end. Strangely mama cat did not seem one bit fazed by us cooing over her offspring and merely flicked a tail in our direction and sauntered off in search of food.

But one day mama cat did not come back and the hours rolled into one day and then two. The poor kittens far from being safely hidden at the back of the small alley were cuddled up at the front awaiting their missing parent and the promise of food.

But mama never came.

As two days rolled into three and boyfriend was keeping a strict vigil it became clear that something had to be done. It was clear that mama cat had either abandoned her tiny offspring or something untoward had befallen her.  It seemed there was no other option than to mount a rescue and since very concerned boyfriend was the only one on hand, the task fell to him. Now i can only tell you the events as related to me but as you can imagine all did not go according to plan. Whilst three were very swiftly whisked away before they could even realise what was going on, the other two made a very wobbly run for it further back into the enclosed gap. Definitely not wide enough for human occupation, it meant that our hero had to be inventive in his attempts to shoo the elusive felines out of hiding. Since the gap was too small and too high to reach into or enter  it meant a long length of wood had to be fashioned from smaller pieces in order to lean down and shoo them along with it. Now even today i cannot help but giggle at the thought of dear boyfriend balancing on high smacking a kitty up the bottom with a plank of wood. It did prove effective however and two little bundles of hissing fur were dispatched into the box with their siblings.

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So what exactly do you do with 5 feral kittens who havent eaten for days? Feed them first of all..one by one with syringe and cat milk and bless him he did a good job. The little tortoiseshell was definitely not impressed and hissed madly whenever approached but after deciding exploring was more fun set off on an adventure. Thankfully after several calls a veterinary surgery was willing to take them and raise them so back into the box it was, bumping and fighting all of the way to their temporary new home. I have to admit they are adorable and i got to visit them myself some days later. Very much changed and much more sociable than before they happily came close for attention as we approached. Houdini, as i have christened the tortoiseshell, was very much an escape artist and made a bid for freedom at every opportunity. Scampering around the surgery with boyfriend in tow he alternated and in return followed at my other half’s heels like a nosy puppy. As i sat and watched they jumped and tumbled, pouncing merrily upon each other as they played.

All but one.

Sitting right at the back one tiny black kitten made no attempt to join in. Staring with wide blue eyes he appealed to me greatly for where the others made every attempt to gain your attention, this one did not. Simply sitting quietly observing whilst the others vied for attention this one did not even try. This would be the one for me were i to take one home. Timid and overlooked yet to me the one that stood out the most.

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So that dear readers is how you save a life and proof that just sometimes, just sometimes, a hero does come along when you need one. Five little kittens are going to have a better life than the one they would have had before and i shall remember a quiet pair of blue eyes looking up into mine.

PURRRRRRRRRRRRR

Three wheels on my wagon



 

You never let anything get you down do you, you’re always so upbeat?

I’d never really been one to take much notice of other people’s perceptions of me until the above statement from a colleague made me pause and examine my own psyche. Long ago i ceased to care what other people thought of me and decided that they could like me or not but i wasn’t going to change who i am for anyone. I guess the truth is i lost myself for a while, forgot who i was and lived smothered under an alter ego created for me by others. I forgot how to have an opinion, i forgot how to have a voice, i forgot how to be me. Now i remember who i am and i shall not let anyone take that away from me again.  To this day whenever i see a bird in a cage i feel so sad, for i know very well how it feels and wonder where it would go were i to set it free. Would it know how to be anything but a bird in a cage? Probably not and i have seen instances when even were a cage door to be opened the bird makes to attempt to leave and make a bid for freedom. It simply does not know how.

It is said that a persons personality is set by the age of 7 years of age and that whatever traits we have gained by then will remain with us for life. How much truth there is in this i do not know but i do know that without doubt the experiences of childhood remain with us forever and invariably shape the people we become even if we are not aware of it. Having seen both first hand and in others the effects of a negative emotional upbringing versus a positive one there is no doubt the effects of both are lingering.  Life  experiences made me tough, i’m a survivor, a practicalist and an eternal optimist and if i ever feel down only one person should know it. I’m often told im a strong person and i guess i am, i have needed to be. There is very little that life can throw at me and i have been told i have a very pollyanna attitude to life (most of the time). But i have also seen the ill effects an emotionally damaging upbringing can have on an individual who is not as battle hardened as i and there is no doubt that however hidden those scars may be they are scars nonetheless. A lifetime affected by actions that were given little consequence at the time leaves me wondering how blind we are to the effect we have on others. Certainly it seems a lot more than we should be.

My childhood was rather contradictory. Whilst i was quite rightly taught that if i could not say anything nice then i should remain silent, this was not infact put into practise by those setting the rules. It however seems the ‘Do as i say, not as i do” rule was very much the number one when i was young and sadly this was simply taught to me and never followed. I thankfully to this day remain a firm advocate of remaining silent rather than say something unforgiveable and i try to be as mindful as i can, for something once said cannot be taken back. Some wounds, as i have seen for myself, run very deep and are very slow to heal and some just simply fester and may remain as wounds forever. The power of words has never been more in evidence for me than as of late as i have seen the suffering they have caused.

Yes i firmly believe childhood has more of an impact on us than at any other time in our lives. It is when we learn the most whether the good or the bad and follows a road that sets us upon a way of life we will barely waver from. Being a child is tough, being a damaged child is even tougher still. Childhood made me stubborn, strong, resilient and a dreamer. Yet it also made me caring and empathetic to the feelings of others in the most unlikely way possible.

Strangely and perhaps quite perversely a song popped into my head when i was musing over my colleagues remarks on my attitude to life. A song from my childhood that used to make me laugh until the very last verse when the poor man has no wheels left upon his wagon.  I used to get very upset imagining the grisly demise of the poor unfortunate fellow at the hands of the pursuing Indians. Today the song still makes me chuckle but i find it very fitting for me as i plod my merry way through life.

Two wheels on my wagon and i’m still rolling along…..

 

 

The memory box

Folding the letter she gently smoothed the sheet of paper under her fingers feeling beneath them dryness of age that had affected it. Eyes too poor to read it now, nevertheless she knew every word by heart having devoured it so often over the years, now carefully stored with so many others and only now seeing light of day.

HARRY!

Closing her eyes his face flashed into her mind, hazy now as she struggled after so long to keep his features sharp and clear, she was losing him to time she knew that and the thought made her smile sadly. So long ago yet brief moments of clarity would invade her thoughts, his smile cutting through the fog and making it seem like only yesterday and then he was gone again leaving her with only these tangible memories. 

Sighing softly she replaced the pages into the large carved wooden box, fingers brushing a small packet as she did so drawing it slowly towards her before cupping it gently in her wrinkled palms and clasping it to her chest.  ‘Not long my love’ she thought to herself ‘Soon, it shall be soon’

Leaving the packet unopened she returned it quickly to the box, thrusting it inside as guilt burned and she slightly afraid of being discovered although she knew she would not be, nobody came any more. A splash of bright colour caught her eye and she reached towards a garish painted picture of a child’s hand with crude scrawl underneath depicting the artist’s name.

Ella.

Another smile, eyes warming briefly before the light quickly faded, no Ella was long gone and this just yet another memory of things come and gone in her many years of being. Sadness less sharp as each year went by panged momentarily before she dismissed it and returned the picture to lie back along its fellow inhabitants of the cluttered old box. 

Her worn gaze swept over the small grizzled teddy bear and the beribboned letters, oh she had been so popular in her day with her many suitors all begging for a smile, a glance, some sign of recognition from her but almost from the first she had only had eyes for him. Sweeping an errant lock of hair from her forehead she leaned further over the box disturbing the contents in her hunt for the one thing she sought. She needed to find it, to bring him close again before her failing mind refused to remember what she was looking for and left her in that absent place where nothing mattered any more. 

There! There it was.  Her heart leapt as she found the one thing she wanted and fingers rapidly cleared the dust from the front of the small framed picture. Lovingly she gazed at the sun bleached photograph, yellow with age, showing a young couple smiling shyly at each other.He resplendent in some bygone uniform showing duty to his country and she delicately pretty in florals and lace, bonnet trailing from fingers gently clasped between his.

Harry.

Even as she gazed the fog came and eyes clouded over, picture already forgotten falling into her lap and memories of him vanishing like mist in the sun. In the shadows of the room a figure waited, brass buttons shining on a uniform of old, boyish face echoing the love reflected earlier on hers. He could wait, he’d waited such a long time that a little longer would not hurt. 

‘Soon my love’ he smiled ‘ i shall see you soon’ 

goodbye my friend

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From the time we are small we will encounter many other people whose lives will interact with our own. Some of them will linger for a time before passing along their own path whilst others may stay with us forever. No matter the length of time each leaves behind some tiny little footprints in our memories and often our hearts. 

It is with great sadness today that i learned of the passing of a very old friend. A friend lost in the distant past but despite the different paths our lives had taken still a friend for all that. Mingled with sadness is an overwhelming guilt that perhaps i should have tried harder to hold on to the friendship instead of letting it go,. Perhaps my presence could have made some difference to her as it did in the past. Could i have saved her?

She was fragile you see and i knew it. A total contrast to my own mulish strength and i often was the support for her failing life. She did not cope well with the downsides of life and sought solace often in the bottom of a glass. I know it was not my choice and she lived the way she wanted but memories of old remind me that i could have stopped her or at least led her to moderation as i had in the past.  But maybe i failed her by not being there. 

It is all too easy to become wrapped up in our own lives and i am the first to admit i am very solitary. My friendships are few by choice even if my acquaintances are many. Yet we found each other she and i, in a time when we were both at our most vulnerable and formed a firm kind of limping friendship that i like to hope mattered at least a little. That she was only slightly older than i is a painful jab at just how short life really is and perhaps makes me more aware than ever of my own mortality. Yet i like to believe that once a friendship is formed then it will always be so whether the years steer you in different directions or not and i think that perhaps she would have agreed with that. 

Wherever she is i hope she is in a better place for i know that for her life was not an easy experience. Perhaps now she will find the happiness that for so long eluded her and finally find herself some peace.

Goodbye my friend, 

There is a happy land

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In the course of my work i encounter many many people. All walks of life, all ages, races and religions. Some of these are your average pleasant examples whilst more often they are sadly the opposite. Whatever the person you meet there are occasionally those who for some reason or another stay firmly lodged in your memory. Up until now it has been my misfortune for all of those of my experience to be of a negative nature rather than a pleasantly positive.

Recently all of that changed when i had a conversation with an elderly man. To begin with he won me over with his lovely chirpy greeting and after a morning of exceptionally rude people he was definitely a balm to my downcast mood. They say that you can hear in the voice when a person is smiling and of this gentleman this was certainly true. Smiling he most definitely was. 

Faintly Welsh with that singsong lilt to his voice he replied that as the sun was shining he was very well indeed and asked after myself in return.  ‘My Lovely’ he called me and that in itself made me smile for it was nice to hear after a particularly harsh day. I explained the purpose of my call and he listened intently before pausing for a moment after i finished speaking. then he began to chuckle and i was taken aback as he announced that he would be glad to help but he really did not see the point for he was not long for this world. ”I’m dying you see” he told me quite nonchalantly.  Like any empathetic person i was horrified and apologised profusely, condolences rushing forth although i wasn’t really sure any of them were enough to befit the situation. Startlingly he dismissed my words with another chuckle and told me that he was ready to go.

”I’ve lived my life you see” he told me ”I’ve lived a very happy life, had a wonderful wife who is waiting up there for me to join her”

Then he began to talk. He told me of his life and his time in the second world war. That he found in me a willing audience there seemed to please him greatly and we talked for some time as he told me of his time as ground crew personnel. Scoffing genially at me as i enthused my love of the B-17, telling me firmly that there was nothing to hold a candle to the good old Spitfire. As he talked he never changed, that same chirpy happy nature shone through and despite his bombshell i found myself smiling too, very much warming to this old man i had never met and he did seem to be genuinely happy. 

Smiling still he told me of his wife, clearly from the gentle affectionate way he spoke of her it seemed he really did love her. That he was looking forward to seeing her again in whatever place exists after passing touched me and made me smile. No clearly this lovely old man had lived a happy life, this much was evident from the way he spoke. He stuck in my memory for his charm and his friendly nature and his gentle acceptance of his lot and i wondered if in my own turn i should feel the same. 

I have always been a big believer in trying to do the best we can with the life we have for we really do only get one try at it. There is no ‘return to go’ for those who make mistakes and get it wrong no matter how much we should wish it. Although many years hopefully yet to go i couldnt help but hope that i should be able to say the same as this lovely man, that my mistakes however many were still nothing compared to the happy parts of the life i managed to have. I have to admit a relief that my time is not yet up for i have not yet reached that place where i can look back and say i have led a happy life. My mistakes are many and i am not so very good at getting things right. Yet there are those things, however few, that definitely make all of the difference and i can truly say i feel i got right. It is so very hard to realise just when something is worth counting and when it is of no consequence at all but just sometimes there are things you just know you have to count. Regrets will follow when you realise you should have counted something that you didnt or in hindsight put too much stock in that mattered not at all.

It is all a question of balance and doing for yourself those things that will make you look back and say you led a happy life. Perhaps you may not have started out that way but the world is full of choices and it is up to us to choose the path to the right memories. For myself i shall remember that lovely old man whom i met only briefly but who made me smile on a very bad day and who gave me faith that if you stay true to yourself and what you believe you really do have the potential to be happy. 

Wherever you are sir i wish you and your wife a most happy ever after. 

On a whim and a prayer

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I knew today was going to be one of those days.

I knew it the minute i woke up at the wrong end of the bed, nose to nose with a teddy bear that shouldn’t have been there.  I knew it the minute i tripped over my over long pyjamas as i crawled out of bed and i knew it the minute i fell over the cat whilst making my coffee.  No surprise then that as i emerged from the kitchen blearily clutching my coffee i should pause in the lounge and frown at my surroundings.  My family would groan and hurtle me speedily up the stairs on seeing this look for they know very well what it means.

Amanda is going to rearrange the furniture again. 

I do this often, i have no idea why but i will be seized by a sudden compulsion rearrange a room and make it different from before. Okay so its still the same items in the same room but it’s different. At least i tell myself it is.  

So in full grip of room change fever i abandoned my coffee and started rolling up the rug to the glee of the cat who decided this was a very good game indeed. 

”Get OUT of there!” i grumbled, as the cat tried madly to wriggle into the middle as i rolled it carefully across the room.  My reply was a swish of the tail as monster moggie disappeared head first from sight.  My cat is a little horror you see. If she is not supposed to touch it then she will deliberately do so, everything is a toy and i mean everything and i cannot move without her skipping like a pint sized kangaroo between my feet. 

”Oh stay there then” i tutted ”PLEASE behave just for 5 minutes!”

Hauling at one side of the sofa my feet skidded from under me and i landed in a heap on my bottom to the delight of the newly emerged cat who launched like a tiger at my hair which for some reason she is always trying to eat. 

”Get OFF me you furball!” 

Now my sofa is a very big, very very heavy leather one and although i am definitely no lightweight it is still rather a hefty weight to move. Retrieving my posterior from the floor i hauled again at the sofa and succeeded in moving it some way away from the wall. A cascade of coloured balls scattered across my feet as i dragged it leaving me rolling my eyes at the cat who was, as usual, in the way. 

”So thats where all of your toys went” i sighed kicking them sideways across the floor. The cat was ecstatic and hurtled across the room after them before returning to drop one particularly bright sphere at my feet. My cat thinks she is a dog you see and loves nothing better than a game of ‘fetch’ . Rarely is she seen without some kind of coloured ball in her mouth and my house is littered with the offending items. She has however, the most annoying habit of always chasing them either under the sofa or instead under the television cabinet from where they have to be regularly rescued. Another tug on the sofa brought forth more coloured balls and i reached down and picked up as many as i could before throwing them across the room. A furry head shot up, ears like radar swivelling to find the source of the sound before the cat bounds at speed to see what is going on. Bumps and bangs from the hallway as she chases first one coloured ball and then another whilst i swiftly take advantage of her absence to haul again at the massive sofa. 

”Move darn you, MOVE” i muttered, hauling madly before crashing drunkenly into a large bookcase. Yes definitely one of those days as the bookcase wobbled and the contents tumbled out onto the floor. 

”Its your fault” i growled at an image of Liam Neeson on the front of a dvd case.  Scooping up the contents i dumped them on the now mid room sofa before hauling at the large bookcase to move it out of the way. 

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Yes definitely one of those days as i tugged too hard and the entire back detached itself from the teetering carcass sending the remainder of the dvds in a great wave across the floor. The cat returns, ball in mouth and drops it besides the dvds before deciding this must be some new game and skitters her way across the offending items. 

”Get OFF there” 

The cat was not amused and stares balefully at me before scampering after the string on my pyjamas as i am picking up the mess. 

”WILL you get off that you furry fiend, go and play!! PLEASE”

Of course she didnt and my shadow followed me closely as i went in search of some tools to repair the now very sorry for itself item of furniture. Firmly between my feet we performed a now familiar ballet as i tried to make my way across the room with supplies in tow and the cat doggedly following with customary ever present ball . Probably a bad idea then to place the items on the floor for within seconds the cat had stealthily crept up to investigate. Holding pieces of wood together with one hand i turned and groped for the screwdriver, finding nothing as i fished blindly around. I could have sworn i had brought it with me and fished around again. No screwdriver.  I had, of course, brought it with me and further investigation saw the screwdriver disappearing as if by magic around the foot of the stairs. Who else but the cat, who now was frantically trying to drag the new toy up the stairs in her mouth. Realising she was caught she flattened herself upon the stair and swished her tail at me for taking away her prize. 

Much tugging and hauling later i had furniture rearranged with much hampering from the cat who was definitely enjoying this new playtime as she dangled merrily from the tv aerial i was trying resignedly to reattach to the sky box to no avail. Moving the cabinet to reach better i heard suspicious slurping noises leading me to look inside to see the now prostrate cat chewing contentedly at another as yet unconnected length of cable. 

”Oh for goodness sake will you just leave things alone!” I exclaimed frustratedly batting at the ever present cat who was most reluctant to be prised away from her chomping. 

Swiping madly at the cable as i moved it across the room she valiantly tried to thwart my every attempt to reconnect the offending item. As usual only one respite from catzilla and i threw a ball across the room for the want to be canine to retrieve which right on cue she did. It is amazing how swiftly you can move when needs be and i hastily did the necessary repairs before the return of my furry nemesis. Hindered and plagued every step of the way by this shadow of mine i hauled and heaved and rearranged to my hearts content before deciding a compensatory coffee was a suitable reward. As i paused sometime later, cup in hand, in the doorway of my smallest bedroom my mid whirred as yet another urge to rearrange seized me. Almost on cue the cat sidles to my side and sits down before looking expectantly at me. 

No, then again perhaps not.

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Broken Wings

It is easier to build up a child than it is to repair an adult choose your word's wisely

It is a fact that never in your life will you experience a time that makes more of impact on the person you are than your childhood. Whether we realise it or no those milestones of learning are set to impact our lives in ways we cannot even imagine, often having a reverberating ripple effect that will stay with us forever. We as adults often do not realise just how much the children we were has shaped the adults we are now and i wonder if ,were we more aware, we should change the way we are lest we affect another.  Throughout my life i have encountered many different people and each has had a very different childhood and as a result each has grown into a very different person from the other. 

My own childhood was not a good one, being both abusive and massively dysfunctional. I grew up feeling that i could do nothing right for it was hammered home in a most painful way, forever to stick with me after that. When you are repeatedly told you are not good enough, that you cannot do anything right and hear the constant ‘why cant you be…’ then eventually this sticks in some permanent recess of your brain. I believed it. Then and i still struggle with it now. 

Stupid. I heard that word a lot. 

Useless. That too. 

Thick. Gormless, Mental,  Not right in the head…i can go on but you get the idea. 

Perhaps not the worst of it is hearing it at all but on hearing it after you really have tried your very best to be good enough. I remember as a child trying so hard and emerging flushed with success for i believed i had done well, only to be dashed to the floor when i was told it wasn’t quite good enough. If i got an A it should have been an A+, likewise a B should have been an A. 

After a while i guess you just stop trying for what really is the point when you’re stupid anyway right? I often wonder had i and many others like me received the right kind of emotional scaffolding and encouragement, just where and what we could have achieved as a result. Back then, however, i was not as wise as i am now and like many i had very little comprehension of any self worth. We settle you see. Settle for what we can get for we do not believe we are worthy of anything better and thus we forget how to try. It makes me wonder just how many of us could have been a somebody had we only had the belief that we could. 

Self Esteem. Such an important factor in taking us where we want to go in life yet rarely do we put any effort into either our own or that of others. I struggle badly with self esteem, thankfully aware of it in my wiser years than i was when i was young. Yet being aware does little to fix the problem for being aware does not repair the damage of a lifetime. You can stand infront of a mirror all you like and tell your reflection that you are wonderful but if you do not believe it deep down then it is all really for no gain. 

I am great, i am wonderful,  i am a nice person,  i am worthy….NO you’re not youre STUPID remember!! Youre FAT and USELESS….remember?

It is surprising how much power we hold within ourselves to be the build up or the tear down of another person. I am very much a silent observer, i people watch and i see and i learn. Even in adult life there remains this blatant self absorption that sees little room for the consideration of others and sadly it seems the more successful one becomes, the little we care for the feelings and struggles of others. It is sad to see that often people forget to remember from whence they came and pay it forward to those not yet so far along the road. Instead the childhood behaviour continues and those lesser mortals are trampled over, ignored or made to feel just not quite good enough. It makes you wonder just how any of us get anywhere at all for it seems that far from being an enlightened society we are often most predatory in behaviour, having the ruthless uncaring aggression of our long ago predecessors. It is so easy to revert to type and look down our noses at those we consider not our equal but are they really? But for twists of fate and fortune are they infact your equal after all but without the positivity you were privy to throughout your life.

I don’t particularly want to be a significant somebody. I have no aspirations to be a member of an elite superiority that cares naught for the little people in life. I do not want to be holding out my hand for a little help up the ladder and finding nothing there for i was not considered ‘good enough’    I never wanted to be famous, nor infamous and i certainly do not want to be a ruler. I simply want to be the best version of me that i can. You may consider yourself superior and i am truly glad for you if you do for i shall not mind a bit.  I am learning to accept those things i cannot change and i have learned the hard way those people worth putting my care and effort into and those who are not worth my time at all. I do not need to impress anyone with some fake version of myself to make people like me for i no longer care if you do or no. Being popular no longer holds any attraction for me if it means i have to be anything other than myself. 

Still occasionally like everyone i find that some hurtful behaviour from another, some slight or some ignorant dismissal will cause the childhood conditioning to crowd in and overwhelm me before i stick out my chin and remind myself i am not a child any more. Still the fact remains we shall always be a product of our upbringing and the teachings of a childhood remain with us for a lifetime in more ways than just the learning from books. Perhaps it stands to reason that the cure is to build the solid foundations in the first place and avoid the crumbling walls and shaky buildings later in life. Look around you, do you put out your hand to help someone else just for no other reason than because you can? Do you ever give someone a chance to prove to you that they can be great even when you have no proof that they can? Do you ever stop and think about how you treat someone else may impact them for longer than the time you actually interact with them?  Instead of berating someone for their ‘failings’ have you ever instead just praised them for their successes?

Childhood has a far reaching impact within our lives and it is sadder still when the actions of we as adults continue the damage that has already been done. It costs nothing to help someone else, perhaps you may in turn get help when you need it most.

You can learn to fly with broken wings. You just need to heal them first, 

In the end

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Ask any person if they consider themselves polite and well mannered and they will undoubtedly tell you that they believe that they are. They will heartily endorse their own virtues and emphatically state that they are infact most definitely polite and courteous. Although there is no doubt that there are those who may be as they say alas it seems to be that, these days at least, those persons are in a definite minority and on a steady decline. 

Even the most unobservant of us cannot fail to be aware when out and about of the general lack of regard for each other as there exists in our modern world. Rarely do people hold doors for each other any more, road courtesy is deplorable and general etiquette  is minimal at best. When reading of the sense of community spirit and general care for each other of bygone eras , it seems hard to equate that with the world we know today.   It seems that people just really do not care for each other any more and lives have declined to the point that most cannot see past their own center of gravity.

Working for a charity as i do means that i regularly deal with the public in large numbers each day and those people with whom i come into contact you would expect to be caring and courteous. There are definitely those kindly souls who really are both things but again sadly in rather smaller than expected numbers. People, i have found, are for the most part rude, aggressive, uncaring and selfish. 

Sadly it has been the experience of myself and many of my colleagues that what may be seen as ignorant disregard or general discourtesy in public is often greatly amplified when on the other end of a telephone. It seems the semi anonymous shield of it leads people to behave with much less regard than the would in a face to face situation. Despite telling myself never to be surprised by the behaviour of those faceless individuals i encounter, i nevertheless have gaped in horror at some of the aggressively rude responses i have received. People, it seems, forget to remember that we are all human too and perhaps in our place they too should be mildly affronted at being spoken to in such a way. Unfortunately they do not put themselves in our shoes  since for the most part i find often people have care and empathy that barely stretches past the length of their own nose. 

 I expect you look horrified right now and stand ready to leap to the moralistic defence of mankind but there is no escaping the truth of the matter.With the exception of a dwindling minority people in general are mostly not very nice at all.

 Sadly as i have passed through life in recent times i have witnessed behaviour towards others as to shock and sadden me deeply although i confess i really am less than surprised. Acts of road rage, abuse and profanity screamed in aggression for nothing much worse than failing to move aside for the aggressor. The fact that this person was not observing the proper rules of the road meant little for he considered himself due deference from anyone he met. Whilst instinct is to retaliate and respond in kind it does little good beyond escalating a situation already out of proportion for the imagined crime. Perhaps it lies to us to break the cycle and turn the other cheek lest we find ourselves guilty of the same.

Doors once held courteously open for whomever was following us are now mostly left to swing closed in the faces of those behind. The elderly struggle with shopping where once a helping hand would have offered to share the load. Snug and dry in their warm safe cars, drivers ignore those sodden souls shivering by the roadside hoping desperately for someone to allow them to cross. Once it would have been the norm to slow for those few seconds to help another but now it seems that arriving at your destination thirty seconds sooner is more important. 

Everywhere you look you cannot help but see the growing self absorbtion that seems to come as standard in this present day existence.  I wonder as i look around, which i do frequently for i am a keen people watcher, if people have just become so disenchanted with life that they forget just HOW to care.  I guess it would be all too easy, on the frequent receiving end of such treatment, to become angry or bitter and vow to behave in exactly the same way yourself. Granted you may feel better for it but ultimately does it really make you feel better to be one of the many? Is it really any harder to say please and thankyou, to hold out a hand to help or just take that few extra seconds to put someone else before yourself? I have and i do and no matter the response from others i shall always try and help if i can. I have to admit it is often rather amusing to see the surprise on the face of the other person since they clearly are not used to courtesy as a norm. 

Still as a sullen voice rudely tells me in no uncertain terms where to get off i sigh and wonder if perhaps it is a change that cannot be undone. Perhaps people only band together in times of great adversity and at others care little for anyone else. Perhaps it is not until you view yourself through the eyes of another that you realise just how much you are guilty of yourself. No it hurts little to put yourself out, to be less selfish and to make a little time where you insist you have none.

Because in the end it doesnt even matter.  Does it?

Ain’t no mountain high enough

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Pick up any newspaper, turn on the television news and you cannot fail to see the constant doom and gloom predictions of the current economic climate. As we read daily of hardships and hurdles, of food banks and homelessness you cannot help but see the downturn of life in general for so many. There is surprisingly an odd detachment in society  however, with the true realities of a life of hardship being a most alien concept to those more fortunate and favoured. Perhaps it is true that unless you have had to live a reality then why should it even exist for you and this definitely seems to be the case today. Not for the first time i have witnessed people shocked by the genuine realities of life for the less privileged and the admittance of a total unawareness of such existence. Media it seems has much to answer for in its portrayal of modern human lives.

Personally i cannot deny that things have been somewhat of a downward spiral in some elements of my life and, control freak that i am , i find being hemmed into very tight corners a most unpalatable situation indeed. I have likened the situation very much to running a hurdle race and finding that some imp of fate is gleefully adding extra hurdles only in my lane, leaving me running far behind my fellow competitors. 

I have in the past often imagined my life as like that of a rat in a maze, constantly searching for that one door exit whilst fate peers interestedly at my struggles to succeed. I guess here though is where my quirky sense of humour kicks in and i send up thanks that i am not growing an extra ear upon my back. Yes the life of a lab rat would definitely not be one of my choosing and i am more than a little thankful that i am not so far down the species ladder as to genuinely be of the rodent variety.

Despite normally being of such a positive nature it is very difficult after some time not to allow those glimmers of disillusionment and negativity to creep in. It is easy then to self doubt and wonder perhaps if it is not society at all but yourself that is lacking and failing on an epic scale. Looking in the mirror you cease to smile and focus instead on those imaginary flaws and inflate them to fantastical proportions until they dominate your life. I have to my shame done this and i freely admit it. 

”Stupid ugly cow” i have hissed at myself in the mirror. 

I have never been the type of person to outwardly direct my frustrations and self doubt, instead choosing to direct it inwardly at the person i consider to blame. 

Myself.

Perhaps this is more than a little unfair as most of my obstacles have come as the result of outside influences that i genuinely had litte control over and whilst hindsight is a wonderful thing it would have been very hard to erase any of them as each sprang out of an at the time necessity.  Frustrating in the present though when any present efforts are hampered by the chains of the past. But the whole point of running a race is to get to the finish line and often those most remembered are not the ones who came first in blazing glory but those who fell and yet got back up and finished despite coming far behind everyone else. 

So as another monday rolls around i feel a little lightened and ashamed of myself for my negativity thanks to the words of a friend.

The strongest wood, is from trees that withstand the strongest winds, And steel, has to  go into the hottest fire/furnace to become the strongest steel. And of course a piece of coal, has to undergo the most tremendous pressures, to become a diamond

I am running my own race, i realise this and must keep on running no matter the hurdles. I may not come first but i will never fail as long as i just keep on running. The same friend pointed out to me the following quote and i realised he was right, i knew it all along i just let negativity blinker my goal. 

Behind every fear, is a person, you want to be. You face your fears, you become the person you want to be. You run from your fears, you’re not living

So following a friendly mental slap, armed with new motivation and the offer of help from that friend i am willing to walk out onto the ledge and take a small leap of faith. Not in him but finally in myself.  Perhaps after all it is not for me to judge my own strengths and weakness but someone more impartial and less biased in any direction as i am in myself. I am willing to try at least for i shall never reach my goal if i keep on standing still. Someday you may know my name, someday you may not but whatever the result i shall know i gave it all i had. Obstacles are there for a reason, to climb over but often the biggest obstacle of all is infact yourself.

It is possible, so i have been told, to climb a Panda.

Anything is possible if you only try. 

New Year Dread-olutions

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Yes its that old January time again and just the same as every year i ponder the resolutions i’m going to make. They rarely vary much and whilst i don’t exactly break them i couldn’t say i exactly keep them either. As usual on the top of the list is the inevitable post christmas diet which, were i to stick to my pre christmas vow, would not really be necessary. But as usual i ate too much,  wolfed down more chocolate than a cadburys taste tester and generally overindulged on a grand scale. After so many months of restriction it is rather reminiscent of offering water to a man in a desert and so rapidly the pounds piled on. Fortunately i know when to stop and as january rolls around i was once again haunting the aisles of the local supermarket avidly scouring labels. 

I am actually quite resolute once i actually set my mind to something and since i like being slim more than i like my beloved chocolate i wasn’t too unhappy about the diet at all. Until……

Sitting in the mall later that day i had forgone the greasy pasties my companions had favoured and instead had opted for a lower calorie salad sandwich. I had just taken a bite when a blur appeared infront of me and thrust a small plastic bag at me saying ”Here have a freebie” before rushing away. Rather startled i lowered my sandwich and peered inside, wondering what on earth she had given me. My expression changed somewhat as i pulled out a notebook, pen and shopping bag all emblazoned with the words ‘WEIGHT WATCHERS’

Now whilst i may mention dieting i am not infact obese, being 5ft 10 and a healthy size 10. I had certainly not considered myself as looking in need of Weight Watchers and to say i was rather offended was putting it somewhat mildly. Truth be told i seethed about it for rather some time afterwards muttering crossly to myself in the mirror as i tried to breathe in hard and look like a size 8. Eventually i had to breathe out and pondered for some time the positives and negatives of wearing corsets in the modern day world. Bridget knickers perhaps??

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So the New Year diet is in full swing and i sat today dolefully prodding at my cottage cheese wishing it were something a sight more interesting. I do not dislike Cottage cheese but it is one of those foods one would definitely not rush to get in line for. The kitten twitches its nose in the direction of my lunch trying to decide if i am eating anything tasty and i wave a forkful in her direction. ”Help yourself” i tell her generously, but she twitches her nose again and decides i am not eating anything palatable and stares balefully at me before settling back to sleep.

”No” i tell her prodding it again ”I wouldn’t eat it if i had a choice either”

Perhaps the cat has the right idea and next year i should bypass the chocolate, ditch the cottage cheese and make an altogether more exciting resolution.

Skydiving anyone??

Don’t you DARE!!

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Like many people i confess i have been hiding indoors lately avoiding the ever present rain. I do not really mind the rain as a rule but i have no crazy desire to run out into it when i have no need. Not being a driver sometimes does limit my plans but mostly i tend to just get on with things whatever the weather. The rain however has been excessively heavy of late and exceptionally cold so i have been content to merely admire it from my window.  There is something rather relaxing about the rhythmic drumming of the rain against a window pane. 

Alas though i am a little of a magpie at times and when i see something i want i do not let a little thing like rain deter me at all. Seeing a collection of books pop up for sale on a local selling site, my eyes lit up at the sight of a beautiful hardback book about my beloved Lancaster bombers. I just HAD to have this book and two others besides so i quickly rattled off a message to the seller asking could i PLEASE have those books. At bargain prices, a little thing like precipitation was not going to deter me!!

Thankfully the designated sale and time agreed, i was relieved to see the sky had cleared and with a favourite catchy tune ringing in my ears i set off on my mission to the other side of town. You will be relieved to know i did not sing out loud since i really did not wish to inflict my tuneless warblings upon  an unsuspecting public. I rather think the rain would be punishment enough without an onslaught upon their eardrums! But so musically engrossed was i that i did not at first notice a rapidly darkening sky.

”oh no” i exclaimed on spotting the angry looking sky above my head ” Dont you DARE!!”

Yes i confess i have a habit of talking to just about anything and this was no exception. Still obviously the weather was in no mood to listen as a big fat raindrop plopped right onto the end of my nose.

‘Don’t you DARE” i repeated and began to hurry a little faster.

Wasted words, it seems i am no weather whisperer and the heavens opened around me with a rather emphatic whoosh. I actually stopped, put my hands on my hips, looked skyward and snapped half amusedly ”Thanks a LOT!”

Now at this point my boyfriend would be chuckling for i had an expression he finds most amusing. I have a terrible habit of screwing my mouth up to one side in a wry expression that he  finds extremely comical. But yes there was i with my wry expression, rolling my eyes in resignation, hands on hips talking to the sky. Still there was nothing to be done but carry on walking and as little rivers began to run along the road i hurried to the house i was bound for.  

Thankfully the walk was not far and books collected i hurried for home with trickles of rain running down my neck. Cold now i tried to hurry faster when..

eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE

Somohow the rain had gotten into the soles of my trainers and each step was making an air whoosing squeak. By now my socks were getting rather sodden also and i cursed whichever genuis had decided ventilation holes would be an ideal design. 

eeeeeeeeeeeeeee eeeeeeeeEEEEEEEEEEEE EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE

Swiftly i looked around hoping there was nobody around to hear and stamped my feet hard hoping to stamp out the water. My walk had become a little more of a plod as i  squelched merrily in my shoes, rain running like a waterfall from the end of my nose. I guess i am lucky i have an upturned nose i mused for a second, having images of myself with a hook nose and a mouth full of water. This of course made me giggle and im sure any passer by would have found me rather odd with my drowned rat appearance, giggling madly at who knows what. 

eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee eeEEEEEEEEEEEEEE squish EEEEEEEEEEEEEE squish EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE

Definitely getting louder i realised as i hurried along with Olly Murs singing chirpily in my ears. 

”Dear Darling, please forgive my EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE squish… i cant stop my hands from shaking EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE squish, i miss you EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE squish squish EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEe”

So as Olly and i hurried home, in a rhythm of squishing eeeeeeeeeee’s and chirpy singing, i decided that perhaps just sometimes i do mind the rain after all. Nicely topped off by a passing car that flung a nicely timed tidal wave in my direction i decided that in future i shall only go out of my house when the skies are raindrop free. 

eeeeeeeeeeeeeeee eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!! 

Lo-commotion

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Being a regular train passenger means i definitely do get to meet my fair share of characters. Christmas eve therefore was defintely likely to be one of those events that i was likely to encounter those fellow travellers designed to stay in memory. The terrible storms of the previous few days did nothing to help the travelling conditions and as cancellation after cancellation flashed up on the deparature board even laid back little old me began to become a little worried. 

”I’m leaving on a jet plane, don’t know when i’ll be back agaaaaaiin” i yowled tunelessly.

I know i cannot sing and although i was not infact actually going on a plane at all, nevertheless i was looking forward to my destination and happily crucified a much liked song. My singing has been likened in the past to a strangled cat, a fact i announce quite proudly for i happily admit i am tone deaf and could not carry a tune in a bucket. Stil since i am never likely to be dragged kicking and screaming onto X Factor and nobody but my cats have to hear, i quite happily launch into my very best rendition a la Armageddon style.

”Leaving on a jet plaaane” i screeched merrily, whilst keeping one eye on the train updates for further news. What can i say it was Christmas eve and i was excited! That is my excuse anyway and i shall be firmly sticking to it. 

Checking the train timetables yet again i squawked in horror as my planned train flashed up on screen saying ‘CANCELLED’ followed by a message from the train operators advising passengers to travel earlier than planned and by any route necessary. 

PANIC!!!

Okay, maybe not quite panic for i am far more practical than that and having travelled to London so often these last two years i know every route like the back of my hand. Several swift minutes of  searching left one available route flashing merrily on screen.

‘ON TIME. ON TIME’

The problem was this train left in 40 minutes instead of the two and a half hours i had originally planned on. Standing there in my oversized pyjamas with my hair stuck on end i really was not exactly travel worthy nor fit to be seen in decent society. Now when i say my pyjamas are oversized i MEAN oversized. So after a quick call to the local taxi firm i hurtled for the stairs with great swathes of fabric bunched in one hand, tripped drunkenly over the over long trouser legs and narrowly avoided using my staircase as a prayer mat. I trip over these trousers so often you would think i would throw them into the trash but i cannot bear to part with the tent like comfort of them. With a speed worthy of Wonder Woman i effected a rather miraculous transformation only stopping to lecture myself on the demerits of carrying luggage down a flight of stairs in high heels. 

”Put the shoes on DOWNSTAIRS next time  you dummy” I chided myself ruefully as i clung like a limpit to the bannister with my one free hand. 

Giving myself a mental shake i don an air of sophisticated composure that belies the hurried rush of the previous few minutes. Surverying the mountain of luggage as i slicked on red lipstick i had a momentary doubt as to how i was going to manage the less than small pile sitting waiting to accompany me. A load worthy of Scott of the Antarctic, the amusing thing was that this did not include clothing which was already at its destination. A tooting horn from outside left me frantically gathering up baggage, pausing momentarily to  swiftly swap from arm to arm until i had a balance i could safely totter along with. It all seems such a good idea at the time until you have to actually carry it although i consoled myself with the hoped for reception to the gifts inside. What can i say, i love to give and can easily be accused of going overboard when it comes to gifts but i do not care. Giving is fun. The taxi driver knows me and as we drive along buffeted by the storm force winds he enquires ”London again?”

I nod happily and once at the station gather up the giant luggage bags and stagger towards an elevator. THEN comes the spanner in the works….they cancelled my train!!! 

”Noooooooooooooo” i wail in horror, frantically wishing at this point that i had data left on my phone. A passing platform attendant hears me and enquires where i was trying to get to and helps a very relieved me onto a waiting coach outside for the first leg of my journey. I can already feel myself turning green for i do not travel well on buses at all and have a mental image of vomiting into the lap of the gentleman beside me which makes me stifle a hysterical giggle. Oh well it’s only for half an hour i console myself as a rather large gentleman and his equally large partner squeeze themselves along the narrow gangway, bumping everyone as they go. 

A frazzled looking woman dashes for the seat behind me tapping my shoulder as they sit down. 

”Are there toilets on here” She whispers loudly ” i’m dying for a wee and i didnt have time to go in the station”

I shake my head and tell her no and at her wail of dismay enquire where she is going. I feel a pang of sympathy as she tells me her destination is over two hours away and tactfully suggest she plead with the driver to tarry a minute at the next station to allow her to alight and find a bathroom. Thankfully the driver is in a most Christmas like obliging mood and allows the desperate woman to rush from the coach in search of relief. 

Once on the move the conversations of my fellow passengers swirl around my head and i am confessedly nosey enough to listen half interestedly to what they are saying. There is a man rushing to get the last flight to the channel islands behind me sitting next to the now relieved ‘i need a bathroom’ girl. I listen as his rather cultured tones describe his desperate need for the coach to arrive on time for he will be stranded with no way to his destination if it does not. To my right a twenty something lad telephones his obviously clucking mother to reassure her that he is on his way whilst my heart feels for the man and his daughter infront who are trying desperately to get to the nearby city hospital. So many people all in the same boat, almost all trying to get somewhere for christmas. As i listen i hear some complain, some are resigned and some like me do not care too much about delays just as long as we get to where we are headed. 

Alighting at my station i am relieved to find that one solitary train is due to head for my London destination and i clutch a much needed cup of coffee and wait with those straggling few who had dared to take a chance on getting a train. A smilingly apologetic platform attendant flits from person to person enquiring on destination and offering solace to those waiting to depart. As yet another train is cancelled and replaced by a bus, a man at a nearby table explodes in anger and thumps his fist onto the table infront of him. He does not want to get on a bus he shouts although i gently point out that i have just come from that way and the journey was fine. He is not to be mollified, he wants a train and not a bus though i cannot understand why since does it really matter HOW you get there just so long as you do?

Relieved i gather up my baggage as the train to London is announced, abandoning my much wanted coffee when i discover i do not infact have a free hand to carry it. Tottering along like a japanese geisha i am startled by a twenty something guy clutching a coffee who offers to carry one of my bags for me since it seems obvious i am rather overloaded. There is plenty of time to board and i am not too far from the train so i smile and thank him and assure him i can manage. Eyeing his coffee i cannot help but wish i could have managed to carry my own for i am very much in need of it and i have a long way yet to go. Thankfully the carriage is not infact the crush i had expected, instead being almost empty and as i reach for my tablet to read a book i am relieved at the thought of a nice peaceful journey. 

Did i say peaceful?

”I dont WANT to sit in the middle” Hollers a scowling little darling, blonde pigtails bouncing furiously as she mutinously shakes her head. She climbs determinedly into the seat across the aisle from me defiantly folding her arms infront of her. My heart sinks and i mentally wave goodby to my peaceful trip. A woman i can only assume is her mother rushes back from the middle of the train and pleads with the child to move offering colouring books as a proverbial carrot to persuade her. Miss pigtails is having none of the womans wheedling and announces even more loudly that she is NOT moving and intends to occupy her current seat for the entire journey. 

Oh great! 

”Please darling, come and sit with mummy and we can look at a book together” the woman desperately pleads.

As the child still resists she admits defeat and wanders back to the side of her male companion whilst Miss pigtails stands up in her seat and bellows to her father that she wishes them to move and sit where she has chosen. His refusal brings forth loud wailing which he ignores until catching the expressions of the other passengers upon which he leaps from his seat and barks at the child to move. Surprisingly she does and i heave a sigh of relief before an older woman throws herself into the seat opposite.  i smile politely and continue reading my book but it seems she clearly is something of a chatterbox and does not care if i wish to read in peace. 

Ten minutes pass as i politely answer her questions and engage reluctantly in the conversation she seems to seek before trying to get back to my much enjoyed book. She however has other ideas and continues to talk incessantly and i abandon all hope of my quiet trip and i had hoped. Flicking through a magazine reading my stars i am startled when the woman pulls my magazine down with one finger and announces ”oh im a virgo are you looking at your stars??”

My mouth drops open in surprise and i mumble that yes i am just having a quick glance although i only partly believe in them. Still she tries to peer at my magazine until i at last offer it to her hoping she will read it and leave me in peace. 

”Oh MY” She exclaims loudly, leaning across the table and waving the magazine at me. ”How could anyone actually DO that to someone?”

I mumble something non commital and return to my book but it seems she is not finished for she again exclaims loudly and wafts the pages in my direction. Inwardly i am muttering with a diatribe worthy of the cartooned Mutley although i refrain from grinding my teeth since this might be rather audible. 

SHUT UP!!!! PLEASE!!! 

I am not so rude as to say it though. Generally i am very sociable and will politely talk to anyone but right at this time i just wanted to quietly read and get the journey over. As time passed and the refreshments arrived she eventually subsided into her tea and magazine and i quickly produced another incase she should read faster than i hoped. 

Peace at last. 

I journey a lot and never fail to meet a character or two on my way and most make me smile although some i should like to never meet again. But as my train slowed for its final stop and a smile crept on to my face, a beaming elderly man wished me a merry christmas and gave me a wave. I grinned back at wished him the same then happily departed from my Lo-commotion journey. 

That which i do not know

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Plans, plans plans.

It seems our society thrives on them and for many of us it is a predictability that dictates our lives. We plan every aspect of them with regimental detail and for many of us the resulting order is the only path we feel safe upon. We like to know what will happen and when, from getting up in a morning to when we go to bed. All carefully organised in a familiar routine.

I hate routine. I find it suffocating and i am one of those rare people who hates to plan. I abhorr appointments and preplanned order, partly because i am terrible at remembering to keep them but mostly because i do not like being forced to do things at a certain time. I am very much a whim person, if i want a haircut i want it done the same day or i do not bother but this works very well for me.

So with the passing of the Yuletide holidays, waving goodbye to christmas, as usual my friends are planning planning planning. Holidays, Easter, Birthdays, going to the gym, family get togethers and even those christmases yet to come. No sooner has one ended than another one is already in the planning department being drawn up for final review. However i try i just cannot seem to bring myself to think further forward than a month at the very most. Oh of course i have hopes and dreams like everyone else but i would never begin to forward think on any of them.

If i am honest i would have to admit that unlike most people i am not afraid of the unknown but more likely the complete opposite. It is the fear that what i do know will be taken away that scares me most of all. So often the unpredictable comes along to scupper any plans you have made and then perhaps it is all the more painful because you had expected things to happen or for situations to be a certain way. Instead you are left devastated when your hopes and plans are shattered because it was not as you had imagined it should be. So no i do not plan, i do not take for granted that what i have and where i am now will stand to be the same a month from today. I am too afraid to want for certain things to happen or for certain things to stay the same. So i expect for change and loss and should it not transpire then i am only left gladdened and never disappointed. Perhaps if in the back of your mind some small part of you expects to lose that which you have, it makes you value it all the more rather than taking for granted.

Is it any way to live a life, secretly fearing? Perhaps not, but as i listen to those friends making plans for many months from now i cannot help but wonder how many of them will actually get to see those plans transpire. I should like to hope they all will but experience tells me it shall not be so. I do not know where i shall be  a year from now, i will never imagine or even plan for it to be any particular way. Life has a funny way of working out exactly how it is supposed to now matter what we try and do about it.

For now that is enough.

A Mother’s Love

A-mothers-love-poem

He sits in half silence surveying the scene around him, lips flickering with a smile now and again as some humorous interaction infringes on his somber mood. Hunched slightly forward with arms around his waist he half heartedly joins in the conversation flowing around him although i know he secretly wishes he were back at home. The woman is not fooled she knows his moods better than her own and she leans forward, gently touching his arm. 

”What’s wrong?” She says and he shakes his head, shrugging slightly ”Nothing”

She knows better than to accept his words. A brow creases with concern and fluttering hands beckon him closer and i watch as in an instant the face of the man i know becomes instantly again a small boy. Abashedly he hangs his head and he smiles somewhat ruefully but does as she asks moving instantly to her side.  Those motherly hands reach for the boy within offering comfort and he confesses some small discomfort to the woman at his side. Ever the mother she gathers him close, this man of mine, this child of hers and the caring embrace soothes and pets him and he relaxes beneath her ministrations, smiling at her words. Murmuring softly to him, words i cannot hear she seeks to make this child of hers feel better with the love only a mother can give. He makes a pretence and  shrugs away slightly.

”Mama, i’m fine”

But she knows he is not, this boy of hers and continues to mother him making him smile for despite his protests he secretly  feels better for having her caring arms around him hugging him close. Strange how sometimes all it takes is mother to make it all better again just like when he was small. 

Suddenly i feel very much an outsider. Like some small wistful child looking in a toyshop window on Christmas Eve at the toy she knows she will never get, i watch an unfamiliar scene. Strange that i should miss something that i never had in the first place but then the moment passes and i cannot help but smile at the little boy before me where before i saw a man. He has no idea how endearing he looks as he tries to pretend that he does not need the care she gives yet secretly relishes it all the same.

 A mother’s love it seems brings out the small child in all of us and no matter how old we may be we will always be someones little girl or boy. Just as he is hers and i am glad for the small easement he feels from her gentle affection. It just goes to show that no matter where we go nor how old we become, you really never are to old to be your mother’s son. 

The tides of life

D86

Sometimes, just sometimes, life has a way of making itself felt with an almighty slap that sending you tumbling off your feet with no idea of where you will land. My philosophy has always been that sometimes fate just steps in and gives you a push into the direction you were to afraid to take for yourself. Other times perhaps it is simply because we were taking too much for granted and merely needed a sharp reminder to be just that little bit more grateful for the things that we do have. There is no doubt that most of us are guilty of complacency when it comes to our lives and often do not cope well when change upsets our little world and everything in it. 

When i was small it all seemed so easy. I had my life mapped in a fairytale way that only a child can imagine and never at so young an age did it occur to me to think any differently. I may not have liked everything nor been happy with it but since it was all i had ever known i accepted it as a given and never had the thought to even try and change any aspects of it.  As a child, even when things are not perfect, we do not really see nor really register the less than ideal but merely accept it as it is. We simply do not know any different and therefore have no reason to hope for more. Only when exposed to situations more idealistic than our own do we sometimes wonder what life may be like if we were someone else. I never imagined for myself the life that i have now. Never did i imagine going wthout nor sacrificing until you wonder if you have anything left to give. No, for me i imagined a glamorous lifestyle and a handsome husband who adored me. 

As i should have realised, life does not work out in such a fairytale way for most of us and even those we imagine living the perfect lives have their own regrets and unhappiness. Perhaps then it is not merely what you have that makes you happy but your perception of it. Is it enough to have money, esteem and material things or perhaps is it a case of the more that you have, the more you want. Whilst it is a good thing to have things to want and aspire to, to be without dreams makes life not much of a life at all, there comes a point when perhaps the wanting is not merely for ourselves but more to appear credible and successful to others. What hope of happiness when we rely on others to give us some sense of worth, yet will living our lives for others give us the feeling of success we crave? Will it make us happy?  At the end of the day when doors are closed and we are alone, there is only our own reflection looking back at you in the mirror. It is then that perhaps you realise that without a love for yourself and a sense of inner peace, the regard of others does not count for much at all. 

Life is sent to test us. Some of us more than others and whilst the instinct may be to bury our heads in the sand and ignore that which is happening, sometimes the solution is to stand up tall and weather the onslaught the best way we can. Perhaps we will emerge a little battered and we may need to pick ourselves back up from the floor, but sometimes we can rebuild a better stronger version of what was there before. It is easy to be swept along by the tide and overwhelmed the the deluge that life occasionally throws our way but if you do not swim just that little bit harder then it is so easy to be washed away and drown in the tides of life. 

I have lost my focus of late because i forgot to remember to count my blessings. I fell victim to the need to feel sorry for myself when circumstances dealt me a decline in fortunes. So focused was i on what i had lost and what i no longer had that i forgot about those things that i do. In hindsight all i have done is waste months of my life on worry, regret and upset when really i should have stuck out my chin and taken the blow. We never lose everything, there is always something left to cling to even when it seems like we have nothing left at all. It is that one thing we need to hold on to and start building upon it until we have more than we had the day before. Even as i am I am fortunate, i  somehow forgot that along the way, but there is no doubt that i AM fortunate. Whilst i could definitely have more than i do right now there is no doubt i could easily have a lot, lot less. I have been there before and i will try to remember how far i have come. 

Grant me the serenity to accept the things i cannot change, the courage to change the things i can and the wisdom to know the difference.

Oh yes, i am fortunate. 

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