bookmark_borderChristmas Rapping?

xmas-wrapping

I’ve decided I’m probably not human.

Possibly not even Leprechauniun.

The more observant of you will have noticed that the tag line for this blog is I’m not entirely sure this is my home planet, and it’s not without some justification. You see, every one of us are unique but some of us really are from another planet, or so it seems, especially when it comes to the London Leprechaun and Christmas prezzies.  This week I’ve been doing a survey at work and asking everyone at what stage they’re at with buying Christmas presents and the vast majority haven’t even started. However, I bought my first Christmas present in April and the last one on the 31st October. Told ya. Definitely not human. Probably the pointy ears gave it away.

I know this seems weird but I’m trying to pay attention here, we men get accused quite a lot (justifiably so) of not paying attention so this is my attempt to make ammends. Previously I have joined the last minute panic and bought my presents during the last two weeks before Christmas day and I’ve hated the madness of it all – and the freaking long queues, life’s too short to queue but I’ve done it for my family and friends. And in my twenties I’ve even bought flowers and chocolates from the petrol station on Christmas Eve, after all, what woman wouldn’t be delighted to receive a lovely bouquet of poinsettias with the heady scent of 4 Star or a box of no-name chocolates well past their sell-by date and with a taste slightly reminiscent of Turtle Wax car polish?  But I’ve been there and done that and have the scars (from thrown boxes of chocolates) to prove it, so when I turned forty I decided I would do what no man has ever done in the entire history of the planet and get organised for Christmas.

Consequently I’m now always on alert for presents for family and friends, it’s like my default mode, thus in April when I was wandering around Camden Market I saw something perfect for a friend and bought it, it’s been sitting in a box under the bed for eight months but that’s one item ticked off the check-list. And over the rest of the intervening months I’ve been gathering up presents, mostly in September but I bought the last one on 31st October. I know that sounds extremely smug (I can only apologise!) but the thing is, it’s important I learn from previous mistakes and I really really really REALLY don’t want to join the madness of the Christmas rush.

And if you needed further evidence that I’m non-human then it’s this. I know that all men are shit at wrapping presents, myself included, at the end of a wrapping session I usually have more sellotape on me than the presents and I’ve had to ask my sons to cut me free, one year I got so bound up with tape that I really did look like an extra from some kinky bondage movie.

rubber_bondage_tape_black_bpi-300x300

 

Anyway, I digress, I’ve given presents that look like they’ve been wrapped by a puppy high on drugs, I’ve given presents that have been wrapped in brown packing tape, I’ve given presents that are nuclear bomb proof by having more tape than wrapping paper and required an acetylene torch and crowbar to get to the actual present. So I’ve learned that lesson and I spent last Tuesday evening wrapping everything up nice and neat and even putting string and bows on a few boxes.  Most of them look reasonably presentable, (from a man’s perspective they look bloody fantastic!) but even then I know that no woman would hand over a present looking so shoddy, really quite shoddy, so I’ve got to keep on practising my wrapping skills.  And I reckon that’s why websites like Amazon are so popular, because (1) they save us men having to queue and fight for presents but more importantly (2) they have fantastic gift wrapping service thus saving us men so much grief, and to misappropriate the Mastercard slogan, Amazon Gift Wrapping – priceless!

 

And to put you in the mood, Christmas Wrapping by The Waitresses

bookmark_borderIf I was God, Part Deux

famous-men-inspiring-quotes-2

I like to think that my natural ‘default state’ is being nice, kind, generous, supportive and loving, it’s my default mode but isn’t it fascinating the way the Universe conspires to teach me lessons, lessons I have no desire to learn, lessons I didn’t even know I needed to learn?

I read this on the interweb a while back;

Isn’t it ironic?
We ignore the ones who adore us,
adore the ones who ignore us,
love the ones who hurt us….
and hurt the ones that love us.

It’s not a one-way street, sure it isn’t, I’ve been on both sides of the equation and I dare say most of us perhaps unwittingly have, though in my defence I stupidly didn’t know I was being hurtful. It’s said that ignorance is no excuse, which lead me to thinking this.. I don’t think God did that bad job when designing these fragile human bodies of ours but I think I’d like to suggest a small 21st century upgrade if that’s at all possible, I’d like to tactfully suggest God, if you don’t mind, that we evolve USB ports in the back of our heads. Then we can connect a simple lead to each other and really know what the other person is thinking, and more importantly, what the other person is feeling. Sometimes ignorance is indeed bliss, we humans are masters at hiding things from each other and we’re experts in not seeing what’s plainly in front of our eyes but just occasionally it would be nice, refreshing (and probably extremely sobering), to connect with someone we’re close to and know when we’ve hurt them unwittingly.

Oh, another thought has occurred to me, perhaps evolving an USB port on the side of the head is too geeky a way of looking at things, how about instead of a USB port, that whenever we make love we connect our minds as well as our bodies…there, wouldn’t that be more fun..You’re in a bad mood hon, I’m just going to plug myself in here and find out what’s wrong…..hmmmm perhaps not such a good idea..

I think it’s of the upmost importance to treat others well, even if they’re knocking you down it’s still important to provide an example of how to live rather than kicking back, it’s something you will never regret doing when the years have past and you look back. I read somewhere that you should watch how a man treats waiting staff because how he treats them is how he will eventually treat you and I think there’s a lot of truth in that, I tell the beasties that there’s three golden rules to life and rule number one is always be nice to people, consistently, because yes there are people out there at will take advantage of your kindness but generally, like attracts like, being horrible attracts equally mean souls but being nice attracts equally lovely souls.

I kind’a have this weird idea, this intuition, that we create our own little universes, and are constantly creating it with every action, with every act of kindness, seven billion souls on this planet and seven billion unique universes. In the movie Cloud Atlas,  Somni 451 says “The nature of our immortal lives is in the consequences of our words and deeds, that go on and are pushing themselves throughout all time. Our lives are not our own, from womb to tomb, we are bound to others, past and present, and by each crime and every kindness, we birth our future.” In the book she’s talking about future lives but I think it goes further than that, I think by every kindness we birth not just our own future lives but our future years, months, weeks, days, hours, minutes and even the next second..

bookmark_borderI might just get a dog..

babemagnet

So… been trying out internet dating again for a while and it’s been an interesting experience. Almost immediately I met up with a local inmate who described herself as ‘athletic’ but it turns out emailing is fattening, extremely fattening and she had put on a huge amount of weight in three emails. Next please… next was ..well actually just best to list them

  • Lady who didn’t mention she was about to bugger off to Australia for a month..tomorrow! but wanted to keep chatting! (But why are you on a dating site when you are away off for a month?)
  • Lady who said about three words and then told me off for filling in the conversational gaps (again…why are you on a dating website?)
  • Lady who berated me for holding the car door open for her, apparently she’s QUITE capable of doing her own door..
  • Lady who was very obviously closer to 60 than 50
  • Lady who was ‘technically’ separated but still living with her husband..and sleeping in same bed
  • Lady who was really living in St Petersberg, not London

There’s been a few more, some of them even nice and sane but no one who was sticky..is that the right term…no-one I wanted to stick around with…  It’s been interesting…did you ever watch Ray Mears doing his survival program…he goes into the bush, picks up a few twigs and some dry grass, rubs them together and ever so gently, sooo gently blows softly on the smoldering grass..until it bursts into flames.   That’s what it’s like with dating, you have to find someone with that small spark and you have to gently try to look after that spark and try your best to fan it into a proper fire..

OR…you can cheat.

A friend of mine was in work the other day visiting, she’s on maternity leave and she brought in her two month old son. It was really interesting, as I held him there were about six or seven woman in the office and they all came over and coo-ed over him..and I realised two things…

1. A babies world is just full of smiling people…everywhere he looks people are just smiling at him

2. Babies have this smell that women can’t resist..the baby smell..I could smell it quite clearly and as the other girls got close I realised this was what they were smelling too…it’s a unique smell and if someone could bottle it into aftershave they would make a fortune as woman can’t resist it..somewhat ironically I’ve realised that babies are real babe magnets..

bookmark_borderA Word to the Wise

Young King Arthur was ambushed and imprisoned by the monarch of a neighbouring kingdom. The monarch could have killed him but was moved by Arthur’s youth and ideals. So, the monarch offered him his freedom, as long as he could answer a very difficult question. Arthur would have a year to figure out the answer and, if, after a year, he still had no answer, he would be put to death.

The question?…What do women really want? Such a question would perplex even the most knowledgeable man, and to young Arthur, it seemed an impossible query. But, since it was better than death, he accepted the monarch’s proposition to have an answer by year’s end.He returned to his kingdom and began to poll everyone: the princess, the priests, the wise men and even the court jester. He spoke with everyone, but no one could give him a satisfactory answer.

Many people advised him to consult the old ugly woman, for only she would have the answer.

But the price would be high; as the woman was famous throughout the kingdom for the exorbitant prices she charged.

The last day of the year arrived and Arthur had no choice but to talk to the old woman. She agreed to answer the question, but he would have to agree to her price first.

The old ugly woman wanted to marry Sir Lancelot, the most noble of the Knights of the Round Table and Arthur’s closest friend!

Young Arthur was horrified. She was hunchbacked and hideous, had only one tooth, smelled like sewage, made obscene noises, etc. He had never encountered such a repugnant creature in all his life.

He refused to force his friend to marry her and endure such a terrible burden; but Lancelot, learning of the proposal, spoke with Arthur.

He said nothing was too big of a sacrifice compared to Arthur’s life and the preservation of the Round Table.

Hence, a wedding was proclaimed and the woman answered Arthur’s question thus:

What a woman really wants, she answered….is to be in charge of her own life.

Everyone in the kingdom instantly knew that the woman had uttered a great truth and that Arthur’s life would be spared.

And so it was, the neighbouring monarch granted Arthur his freedom and Lancelot and the ugly woman had a wonderful wedding.

The honeymoon hour approached and Lancelot, steeling himself for an horrific experience, entered the bedroom. But, what a sight awaited him. The most beautiful woman he had ever seen lay before him on the bed. The astounded Lancelot asked what had happened.

The young beauty replied that since he had been so kind to her when she appeared ugly, she would henceforth be her horrible deformed self only half the time and the beautiful maiden the other half.

Which would he prefer? Beautiful during the day….or night?

Lancelot pondered the predicament. During the day, a beautiful woman to show off to his friends, but at night, in the privacy of his castle, an old ugly woman? Or, would he prefer having a hideous woman during the day, but by night, a beautiful woman for him to enjoy wondrous intimate moments?

What would YOU do?

What Lancelot chose is below.

BUT….make YOUR choice before you scroll down below. OKAY?

————————————————————————————-
harrison_guinevere

Noble Lancelot said that he would allow HER to make the choice herself.

Upon hearing this, she announced that she would be beautiful all the time because he had respected her enough to let her be in charge of her own life.

Now….what is the moral to this story?

The moral is…..

If you don’t let a woman have her own way………….. things are going to get ugly!

bookmark_borderChildish Confusion?

parenting-emo-baby-sad-cry-cubby-demotivational-posters-1298853903When I was growing up a lot of things confused me (and still do), here’s just some of the more obvious ones.

Cranes – no, not the feathered variety but the one’s used for heavy lifting on building sites. Where do they come from, in half a century living on this rock I’ve as yet to see a big lorry carry a crane. They just suddenly appear as if by magic, it’s like some builder plants special beans during the night, waters them and next morning a huge crane has sprouted up. We have the country’s tallest crane at work at the moment helping build a helipad on the top of the sixth floor but it appeared by magic. I didn’t see any trucks carrying it and if it came in pieces then how does it get built as it’s the tallest crane already..  all very mysterious.

Seasons – when I became first aware of seasons I had it all quickly figured out. The earth moved closer to the sun during the summer and we got warmer, 91,402,640 miles from the sun, three million miles closer than in winters 94,509,460 miles. Someone at this time told me that the earth tilts on it’s axis and that’s why we have seasons but the effect of tilting didn’t appear to my tiny mind to be as significant as coming three million miles closer to the sun so I discounted that. That was all very well and good and I held onto this theory until my teens when I discovered that Australia had summer while we had winter. This flew in the face of all logic, why would Australia be warmer in the middle of winter?

Spain – When I was very young one of my neighbours told me she was going to Spain for her holidays. She was very excited, told me it was another country and she had to travel to it in a plane. In my imagination I envisioned Spain as being a city in the clouds like in Buck Rogers Cloud City. I had this concept in my head for many years until my teacher showed me a proper globe with Spain firmly on terra firma. Imagine my disappointment, no cities in the clouds 🙁

Elephants and giraffes – I know David Attenborough will argue differently but when I was young I assumed God had slipped up when it came to designing elephants and giraffes, I thought God especially slipped when drawing the trunk and neck, or he wasn’t really paying attention. Evolution? Yeah right, pull the other leg, do you think I came up The Lagen in a soapy bubble?

Spelling – this confused me (and some of my friends as a child), why are the words pubic and public so similar, and prix and pricks… this lead to much amusement by my elder brothers as I assumed both words were pronounced similarly. I can still hear them laughing now..

bookmark_borderLife. Chapter One. Page Two

Exactly.
Exactly.

There’s a Greek expression which I’m sure you’re all familiar with, it goes like this – na ise kaliteros anthropos apo ton patera sou– and what it simply means is ‘be a better man than your father’. I quite like that expression – can’t pronounce it as well as Peter from Fringe but being a better man than my father wouldn’t be difficult as he was a complete shit. My boys on the other hand have a slightly more difficult task because I give them a lot more input than my father did to me – which was 50% of my DNA and ummm that’s it.

I’ve realised quite a while back that we live our lives as examples to other; to people who come into contact with us no matter how fleetingly, to our long time friends and most importantly to our children, no matter what we do – we can’t help but provide examples to everyone on how to live, how to behave, how to be.

And it’s very easy to forget this (and try not to get too paranoid here) but everyone is watching you for cues on how to live, they don’t realise this but it’s true, we are constantly providing examples of how to live to those around us. So even if someone has treated you badly, treated you unjustly, treated you like a shit, it’s still no excuse to lower your standards, rather it’s best to see the bigger picture and do something to be proud of, something you hope will bring them up to your level rather than you come down to their level. Remember, everyone’s watching.  But sod off boys if you think you’re getting the car keys!

bookmark_borderThe Cat’s Version of The Rules

cute cat funny

BATHROOMS: Always accompany guests to the bathroom. It is not necessary to do anything. Just sit and stare.

DOORS: Do not allow any closed doors in any room. To get the door open, stand on hind legs and hammer with forepaws. Once door is opened, it is not necessary to use it. After you have ordered an “outside” door opened, stand halfway in and out and think about several things. This is particularly important during very cold weather, rain, snow, or mosquito season.

CHAIRS AND RUGS: If you have to throw up, get to a chair quickly. If you cannot manage in time, get to an Oriental rug. If there is no Oriental rug, shag is good. When throwing up on the carpet, make sure you back up so it is as long as a human’s bare foot.

HAMPERING: If one of your humans is engaged in some activity, and the other is idle, stay with the busy one. This is called “helping,” otherwise known as “hampering.” Following are the rules for hampering:

  1. When supervising cooking, sit just behind the left heel of the cook. You cannot be seen and thereby stand a better chance of being stepped on and then picked up and comforted.
  2. For book readers, get in close under the chin, between eyes and book — unless you can lie across the book itself.
  3. When human is working at computer, jump up on desk, walk across keyboard, bat at mouse pointer on screen, and then lay in human’s lap across arms, hampering typing in progress.

WALKING: As often as possible, dart quickly and as close as possible in front of the human, especially: on stairs, when they have something in their arms, in the dark, and when they first get up in the morning. This will help their coordination skills.

BEDTIME: Always sleep on the human at night so he/she cannot move around.

LITTER BOX: When using the litter box, be sure to kick as much litter out of the box as possible. Humans love the feel of kitty litter between their toes.

HIDING: Every now and then, hide in a place where the humans cannot find you. Do not come out for three to four hours under any circumstances. This will cause the humans to panic (which they love) thinking that you have run away or are lost. Once you do come out, the humans will cover you with love and kisses, and you probably will get a treat.

ONE LAST THOUGHT: Whenever possible, get close to a human, especially their face, turn around, and present your butt to them. Humans love this, so do it often. And don’t forget the guests.

bookmark_borderStrange things most Americans aren’t aware of..

Robert LincolnStrange Thing #1

Nearly all Americans will (or at least should!) know that John Wilkes Booth was an infamous American stage actor who assassinated President Abraham Lincoln at Ford’s Theatre, in Washington, D.C., on April 14, 1865. However, I wonder how many know about his brother, Edwin Booth and the following spooky co-incidence. In late 1864 or early 1865, shortly before Edwin’s brother assassinated President Lincoln, Edwin saved Lincoln’s son, Robert, from certain death.

Robert was standing on a train platform in Jersey City trying to purchase a place on a sleeping car, it was very crowded and he was pushed against a stationary train carriage by the size of the crowd. Suddenly the train started moving forward and Robert lost his footing and fell into the gap between two carriages.  He would have been pulled under the train wheels very quickly but incredibly luckily he was grabbed by his coat collar and pulled to safety by a quick-witted stranger and therefore saved from a terrible death.

The stranger who pulled him out from under the wheels was none other than Edwin Booth. Edwin didn’t know who Robert was and it was only a few months afterwards that he learnt it was Robert Lincoln. The fact that he had saved the life of Abraham Lincoln’s son was said to have been of some comfort to Edwin Booth following his brother’s assassination of the president.

boris-johnson

Strange Thing #2

The other thing most Americans aren’t aware of is that our London Mayor, Boris Johnston, was born in New York City in 1964. So technically I suppose, instead of running for Prime Minister he could run for President of the USA.  In fact I would encourage him to run, we’ve managed to palm Piers Morgan off onto America (what a relief!) and this would be a great way to inflict another upper class twit onto them. Perhaps I should start a campaign..

bookmark_borderOn Death and Dying. Chapter 1. Lesson 01.

holding handsIt’s the ultimate irony that an atheist will never know if they are right, (that there’s nought after death)  but those that believe in celestial spheres will never know if they are wrong (that’s there’s nought after death), I think this is why some folk hedge their bets and believe in something after death, after all, what have they got to lose?

It’s a generalisation but once a person gets past 50 then the usual turn of events is that people around us start falling ill and dying. Generally, and I stress generally, most of us make it to our 50’s without having to attend too many funerals (I know some young folk who break this rule). But then it seems body systems wear out (helped along with crap diet, smoking, drinking, lack of exercise and living too close to a friggen nuclear power station) and suddenly the damn bursts and one hears about colleagues falling ill and passing away suddenly. One of my colleagues, an Irish friend passed away suddenly last week, totally unexpected and quite a shock to us all and a part of me is wondering about the atheist/believer scenario. I wonder where she is now – apart from six foot under of course.

Death seems to be a taboo subject in this society and I think it’s because it’s so unknown, no-one seems to have definite proof of what happens (unless you’re an atheist of course) but after working for a long time on a major London ICU I think I have slightly more insight than the average bear. Having held the hands of the dying on so many occasions and watched them slip away, I’ve learnt two important lessons.

1. Nature is not cruel. As the time of death approaches I’d say none of my patients felt any discomfort. Yes, we would be failing in our job to let anyone feel pain but there’s another physiological reason why people tend to pass away peacefully. Towards the end your systems tend to break down; your liver, kidneys, heart, lungs, nervous system etc start to fail and so does the oxygen exchange in your lungs. What this means is that your brain also starts to fail, it’s not getting an adequate supply of oxygen plus all the toxins (natural by-products of metabolism) and CO2 build up and the brains ability to function efficiently is severely impaired, and this goes for the ability to feel pain signals via the nervous system, the nerves don’t work effectively and the brains ability to process those signals is hampered as well. It’s like trying to drive a car with polluted fuel and blocked air-intake/exhaust, the engine is not going to run effectively, it’s going to eventually stall. It was obvious to me that as death approached the person progressively withdrew from this world and became unable to feel any sensations at all.

2. My mother believes emphatically in a Heaven and Hell so the following is going to annoy her greatly. She thinks everyone who hasn’t accepted Jesus into their heart is doomed to eternal fire and brimstone for eternity. I think even the modern day church has moved away from such views. Personally, I have absolutely no doubt that we come from a place of complete and total love and we all return to that place, all of us, no matter who we are, because quite simply, there is no where else to go. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin wrote in 1955 ‘we are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a human experience’. This is a fundamental truth and each and every soul returns home to a place of love love love, where there is no blame, no fear, only the unconditional love that a parent gives to a child.

Having said all that, I hope when I die that somebody holds my hand.

bookmark_borderTo dunk or not to dunk, that is the question..

Careful..
Careful..

There was a FASCINATING thread on mumsnet last week that one of my friends alerted me to, I have copied parts of the thread below for your enjoyment, the full thread is here;

http://www.mumsnet.com/Talk/mumsnet_classics/1875847-Do-you-dunk-your-penis

Enjoy.

Do you dunk your penis?
(1001 Posts)
SaraCrewe Tue 08-Oct-13 09:16:47

I considered name changing for this, but, fuck it.

We have a dedicated post-sex cleanup area on the bedside table. A box of tissues, a small bin, and a beaker of clean water for temporary cleaning/dunking while the bathroom is occupied by me.

Apparently our penis beaker is strange and not the done thing.

Does everyone else just lay there in a sticky post coital glow until morning? Really?

———————————————————————————————————-

This was rapidly followed by the following 1001 responses, yes, seriously, 1001, the default limit the system can handle and it went viral, made the newpapers websites all over the world here and here and here and here and even twitter got in on the act

——————————————————————————————————–

No. We have a normal bedside table. With books and a lamp.
Not a sex clean up bit!

——————————-

Have never heard of this. And used to be quite the harlot, so really think I would have seen in, if it were a common thing. But maybe my tastes just run to the unwashed…?

Has there ever been a midnight mixup with a glass of drinking water?

Am waiting in fascination to see rest of responses.

—————————-

SaraCrewe Tue 08-Oct-13 09:24:07

No I’m not a troll. I have only ever slept with my H and we’ve always done this! Might have started when we were teens and couldn’t make a dash to the bathroom in our parents houses.

Luckily my drinking water is in a sports bottle!! grin

——————–

You’ve just had sex so I assume you are on fairly intimate terms. Even if you have an acid fanjo and his sperm is nine tenths itching powder, surely you can use the bathroom at the same time? You can wash your fanjo in the bath and he can scrub his cock in the sink.

—————-

grin!! No! I bidet and he showers in the same room together at the same time!! if we can be bothered

I’d hate to get the spermy beaker mixed up with the squash beaker in the middle of the night grin

—————-

SaraCrewe Tue 08-Oct-13 09:29:34

I don’t think he wants to spring off the bed but doesn’t want to sit there sticky, so I dash off to pee while he does his temporary clean. I am sure at least one other person will come along and say they do something like this, I am sure.

—————

OP your penis dunking bedside beaker is odd.

You see another day and I’m blessed with another sentence I never thought I’d say.

I love MN.

—————–

SaraCrewe Tue 08-Oct-13 09:37:33

I really thought if I was going to find anyone who agreed with me it would be on mumsnet. Sigh.

I refuse to believe not one other person cleans up while still in bed. Maybe not a beaker but a bowl? Baby wipes?
———————

No dunking beaker in our house, we must be scummers. I’m fascinated to know how you discivered this wasn’t the done thing? Have you been discussing this in real life Sara?

———————-
SaraCrewe Tue 08-Oct-13 09:47:33

It was him warning his mate not to make squash in said sex beaker that outed us IRL. So if he gets stick it’s his own fault. I used it as my pee beaker while TTC too, poor, abused beaker.

—————

No never heard of this and how often do you wash the beaker? Do you put it in the dishwasher?

—————–

Do you have it all on a tray covered with a small cloth and uncover it in a manner of a priest uncovering the communion wine & wafers?

bookmark_borderFirst world problems

1stWorldWater

Was surfing the net last week and came across #firstworldproblems.

“First World Problems, also known as “White Whine,” are frustrations and complaints that are only experienced by privileged individuals in wealthy countries. It is typically used as a tongue-in-cheek comedic device to make light of trivial inconveniences.”

Thought I would list some of them here;

  • “I have caviar stuck in my braces.”
  • “Every time I download a language learning app in order to be able to order food ‘authentically’ at my favorite ethnic restaurants, the waiter asks me to confirm my order in English.”
  • “I have to turn down the bass in my car to look in the rear view mirror.”
  • “I need to go to the supermarket but the Viagra hasn’t worn off yet.”
  • “I know more about how my meat was raised than the meat did.”
  • “I’m not sure which side I’m supposed to be rooting for on Downton Abbey.”
  • “The increased legroom they have in First Class means I have to stand up to get my inflight magazine from the seat pocket in front of me.”
  • “Just spent 20 minutes tucking in my shirt and making it all perfect. Now I have to take a dump.”
  • “I tried to unlock the wrong Prius today. Twice.”
  • “It’s nap time and my housekeeper is not done cleaning. How will I sleep?”
  • “My Porsche is too old to be new, and not old enough to be classic.”
  • “I accidentally gave a homeless man a Euro coin. I was going to use that on my trip to Vienna next week.”
  • I have no idea how to reheat my leftover omelette, so I guess I’ll just have to drive to the restaurant and order another one.”
  • “The jazz music playing in this cafe is drowning out the sound of me typing on my laptop. Now how are people supposed to know I’m working on my novel?”
  • “I live rent free in a three-bedroom house with a garden in North London with easy access to Central London, but I hate the wallpaper in my bedroom.”
  • “My internet-capable fridge only connects to Twitter, and not Facebook.”
  • “My gardener’s suggestion that my cilantro peach salsa is not “authentic” has me wondering if he really is from Mexico.”
  • “Our nation’s parks and wildlife preserves are woefully under-equipped when it comes to Wi-Fi signals.”

358qra
1stWorldWater3rdwrldWe won the lottery being born in the West, didn’t we?

bookmark_borderSuch is life when lived

gateway

Occasionally surfing the web you stumble across something that succinctly expresses feelings that you’ve never managed to put into actual words, fermenting, condensing, distilling those feeling hovering in the back of your mind for ages until at last they make some sort of sense, it’s like the Universe giving us a helping hand.

It’s hard to avoid the feeling that an awful lot of people in this world have a padlocked gate around their heart, it’s there because they have been hurt in the past and had their heart broken more than once, it’s a matter of self-preservation, they’re unwilling, even unable to go through all that heartache again.

Sometimes, just sometimes, someone can reach in through the gate and touch the heart with the tips of his fingers but it’s not easy, he has to stand on his tippy-toes and really stretch himself to barely touch it. That’s not how it’s meant to be, how to really live.

A ship is safely protected in harbour but ships aren’t designed to remain in harbour, they’re built to travel the seven seas and ride out storms. If one wants to be happy then the only way to live, to be truly happy, is to throw open the gates to our heart and let everyone in, not just the select few; not just our children, not just our closest friends but everyone, we have to have a ‘gates wide open’ approach, living via your heart.

Very few souls are willing to risk this, they prefer the safety of the harbour, but I stumbled across this recently and thought this sums it up perfectly, B D Gulledge hit the nail on the head with this;

“I used to sit on the banks with a raft and watch the water roll lazily by. One day I pushed my raft into the shallows of the water and found the water moved swifter than I thought, but my raft was actually a little rowboat. Then, after some time I rowed my little boat into deeper water. There were great storms, mighty winds, tremendous waves, and sometimes I felt so alone. But I have noticed my little rowboat is now a mighty ship manned by my friends and loved ones, and beautiful calm seas, warm sunny days, and nights filled with comfortable dreams always double after a storm. Now, I could never go back and sit on the bank, in fact, I search for deeper water. Such is life when lived.

bookmark_borderWe find comfort in familiar things

meerkatsA few years ago I watched a wildlife programme on the BBC about Meerkats. Off they would go hunting and foraging early in the morning and return late afternoon to the great delight of the remaining group. There was much rubbing together and re-establishing bonds as the clan was reunited. I was reminded of this the other day when I came back home from my trains planes and automobiles (and hiking boots) holiday as I re-established bonds with my family and friends.

Although it’s lovely (and a privilege) to go away on holiday it’s good to be back home. It’s said that familiarity breeds contempt but I find great comfort in familiar things, for me familiarity breeds contentment, for example;

The embrace of our family and friends
My own bed and pillow
My favourite chair
My favourite cuppa tea done just right
The usual talking heads on the radio
Reaching out through habit for something in the kitchen and knowing it’s there
The purr of the cat as it settles beside you
Walking the dog in familiar woods
The sounds of my home
Seeing familiar faces on the way to work
Even the neighbours arguing as usual

It’s lovely to go away on adventures but it’s good to be back home on terra firma.

bookmark_borderIf I was God or Mark Zuckerberg..

ohdeargod

I was at a funeral of a close friend yesterday, it seems kind’a ironic that the word funeral starts with the letters f-u-n.  The mid 50’s isn’t the right time to die, it seems like it’s the prime of your life – although my mother Doris says 85 is the prime of your life – co-incidentally the age she is at now.

I’ve never quite got my head around this whole life and death thing. If I was God then I think I’d make a few changes to the system, an upgrade so to speak.  Instead of letting people die and having to replace them with new ones, wouldn’t it be much better to keep the one’s we have? It seems a terrible waste of resources (and souls) to have to keep replacing them with new ones, this whole built-in obsolescence that we have with modern cars and gadgets seems to have extended into souls as well.

I think I’m going to have to update the Wikipedia entry for Obsolescence;

Obsolescence is the state of being which occurs when an object, service or practice is no longer wanted even though it may still be in good working order. Obsolescence frequently occurs because a replacement has become available that has, in sum, more advantages than the inconvenience related to repurchasing the replacement. Obsolete refers to something that is already disused or discarded, or antiquated. Typically, obsolescence is preceded by a gradual decline in popularity.

The thing is, my recently departed friend didn’t experience a gradual decline in popularity, much the opposite really, and it wasn’t like she was less productive or useful, in fact like most souls she got better and better at this whole ‘life’ thing and it seems to me to be very inefficient and bad management to replace her with someone brand new and completely incapable.

Of course I’m not saying that we shouldn’t replace anyone, there are certain souls that deserve to be sent back to the manufacturer and reset back to blank factory settings; Hilter, Stalin, Mao Ze-Dong , John Wilkes Booth amongst others but my friend didn’t do any harm to anyone, quite the opposite, she brightened up everybody’s lives and really, isn’t that the sort of soul we should be holding onto rather than letting go?

Chris Rock once said that instead of trying to outlaw guns wouldn’t it be a much better idea to increase the price of bullets so that each bullet costs a million dollars, that way when someone was shot then everyone would think “well, he must have deserved it, at $1m a bullet then he must have REALLY deserved to be shot” and the same goes for Hilter etc, if someone dies under this upgraded system them we’d all think ‘wow, he really must have deserved to die!’ and we won’t be so sad.

Of course the consequence of not letting people die and having to replace them is that the few new souls that get born to replace the tyrants of this world will be extremely precious and that can only be a good thing. I see babies born in the third world and suffering and many dying because of lack of care and attention but if the birth of a baby was such a rare event then it would pretty much wipe out child poverty… every single child would be cherished beyond belief, the way it should be now.

If I couldn’t get this new system past the celestial committee then I’d like to make an alternative suggestion. I’d like a Facebook update. I’d like Facebook to be extended to Heaven. I think it would be nice to get status updates from my friends who are there and let them know I’m thinking about them. You’d think that with all the money Mark Zuckerberg has got since Facebook was floated on the stockmarket then this wouldn’t be so hard to do. It’s a win-win situation for Facebook because it means once they reach 100% saturation point here on earth and all seven billion of us are signed up, well, I suspect there’s an even bigger number of souls waiting in heaven, all clamouring to sign up and let their friends and family down here on earth know what they are up to. I’m sure my dearly departed friend will be first in line.

bookmark_borderConfession Time?

job-interview-irish-joke-job-interview-pzy-demotivational-poster-1283819019So I have a terrible confession to make, a dark secret that I’ve been hiding for the last 25+ years, one that I’ve been in denial about and tried to ignore. I’ve been fooling myself and trying to fool everyone else about it but I think it’s time I came clean and owned up.

The sad fact is that I am an Irishman. Yes, I know, the shame, the shame. I have tried to hide it since I moved from Ireland to London twenty five years ago but as Shakespeare said, the truth shall out ya and there’s no use pretending any more.

At the start it was difficult, when I first moved here I struggled with the lingo and it took me literally years to learn how to pronounce words the way Londoners do, at home we’d naturally say fur instead of fair, hur instead of hair, tar instead of tower. I practised and practised and after many years have finally learnt to say fair and hair but even now it doesn’t come naturally. And I have tried my best to stop using Irish expressions like ‘do you think I came up the Lagan in a soapy bubble?’ or ‘sure a blind man rushing past on a horse would’na notice’ or’ have you been up all night raking the streets’, perfectly legit expressions everyone uses at home but double-dutch in London.. And I have failed again and again the one big test for all Irish, we find it totally, congenitally and physically impossible to say film without sticking an extra ‘u’ in it so it becomes filum, it is our reverse shibboleth, everyone else can tell we are Irish because we can’t pronounce that word correctly.

I’ve tried to slow down my machine gun delivery, (no, I don’t get regular deliveries of machine guns – at least not these days) but we Irish naturally talk very fast and in a constant stream and at home it’s just normal but here in London no-one’s ears are attuned to it, to us Irish it sounds like everyone in London is talking really s l o w l y, like chatting with a child…very weird.

I’ve had to hide and deal with this affliction, I even signed up for Recovering Irish Anonymous but that didn’t really work out because it wasn’t really that anonymous, if your name wasn’t Shaun then it was bound to be Patrick. I would attend meeting and stand up and say ‘My names Patrick and I’m an Irishman’ and everyone would clap and offer support, we’d watch episodes of Brideshead Revisted and Downton Abbey and practise the pronunciation over and over again… like Julie Walters in Educating Rita until the chairman would say “by Jove, I think he’s got it, I think he’s got it!”

Being an Irishman does have one advantage; whenever I address a stranger I can say practically anything I like in my first sentence and I’ve done this frequently, I’ve said to folk on first meeting them “did you know your shoes are on fire?” and I know they are too busy trying to figure out where my broad accent is from to even think about what I actually said. In London by the second or third sentence they usually figure it out and then tune their ears in and I have to stop talking nonsense but when I go to America I can spend the entire holiday talking bollocks and no-one notices…they don’t think I’m speaking English at all, they think I’m speaking Gaelic constantly..

Sadly all this work on my accent (and my attitude) has been mostly in vain, yes most Londoners can now just about understand me but I only have to go downstairs at work and talk to the Irish girl who works there and instantly twenty five years of elocution lessons are undone and we ‘spake’ to each other like we never left home.

Perhaps I should just keep my gob shut and learn sign language..

bookmark_borderMy Favourite Things

OK, you can try singing this to some Gilbert and Sullivan tune… deep breath.. this is the shortest list I could possibly think of;

My Favourite Things;
Sitting between my two boys
Saying WOW!
Laughing out loud
Rumi
Someone’s name on my mobile display making me smile
Hedgehogs..
Shared body warmth
Traffic lights staying green as I speed towards them
Laughing inappropriately (oops!)
Rainbows
Red sky at night
Not wearing black like everyone else
My black cooking apron
Hugs
Dogs
Cats…actually anything with more fur than me – barring dates.
The smell of cut grass
My cooking
Anyone else’s cooking
Holding hands
Giving flowers
Douches chaudes avec deux
Pretending I can speak French
Pretending I can speak intelligently
Snow
Snowball fights
Real Christmas tree’s
Giving presents
Receiving presents
Questioning everything
Accepting everything else
Getting on a plane
Getting off same plane unscathed
Arriving home
My impenetrable accent
Ploughing my own furrow
Fireworks
Fireworks inside me
Clean sheets (is that sad?)
Ironing done (ditto?)
Bruce Willis (you won’t understand, it’s a bloke thing)
Father Ted (ditto, it’s an Irish thing)
Being brave
Finding rules and stomping all over them
Live music
Dead Can Dance
Riceboy Sleeps
Icelandic music
Music
RHS Wisley
Antoni Gaudi
Butterflies
Butterflies in tummy
Real icecream
Anything quirky
Hot strong sweet tea
Ditto woman
Bookshops
Folk saying Thank you
Spooning
Forking
Connection and engaging
Surprising folk
Jeans
Getting spruced up
Communication
Depth
Life, and the stupid stupid wonderful way it all plays out!
Me
You
People
Absolutely everyone else
Did I mention HUGS?
Hugs

Obviously not an exhaustive list, except perhaps to read.

Things I don’t understand
Israel/Arab conflict
Bling – obviously not on the same scale as above
Country and Western music
Dust – where does it come from?
Why are there no baby pigeons?
How much deeper would the ocean be if sponges didn’t live there?
Why we don’t ever read in newspapers ‘Psychic wins a lottery’?
Where do Forest Rangers go to get away from it all?
How is it possible to have a ‘civil’ war?
Why does the word ‘lisp’ have an ‘s’ in it, is someone being cruel?
Why is abbreviated such a long word?
If a poison expires, is it still poisonous?
If you choke a Smurf, what colour does it turn?
Would the world be a happier place if the law was that everyone had to skip instead of walk?

Stupid things I have done;
Ran into a lamp post at full speed
Was de-briefed in front of 1,000’s
Never learnt to cook proper
Never learnt to spell propery
Never learnt the meaning of the term ‘brevity’
I also…actually this could be an endless list

Books near my bedside table;
Illusions, Richard Bach
101 Things to Do Before You Are Five (!) (live?)
Bad Science
:59 seconds (not a reference to my sexual stamina; that would be called :13 Seconds)
Quirkology
The Deeper Meaning of Liff (sic)
The Cosmic Ordering Service (Would you like fries with that sir?)
Why is God Laughing? (was it something I said?)
Plan Bee (there’s always a plan B)
13 Things That Don’t Make Sense (14 if you count me)
The Bridge Across Forever
Notes From A Small Island
Northern Lights
Notes From A Big Country
Dead Men Do Tell Tales
Essays In Love
50 Psychology Classics
How To Live Dangerously (my other bible)
Conversations With God (trust me, it’s never ending)
Life’s Missing Instruction Manual
Is it just me or is everything shit? (turns out it’s just me after all)
The Little Book Of Silly Questions
Freakonomics
The Tipping Point
Blink
This Book Will Save Your Life (no, it won’t, two evening of my life I want back)
NLP For (shop) Dummies
Thirty Days Has September
Red Herrings and White Elephants
In Exile From The Land Of Snows
The REALLY Good Orgasm Guide
Everything I’ve Ever Learned About Love
The Queen’s English
The Way Of The Superior Man

(I fully intend to read them someday!)

Movies;
All Stieg Larssons ‘The Girl..’ movies
The original Swedish ‘Let The Right One In’
Young Frankenstein
Amelie
Oh Brother Where Art Thou
The Piano
The Hours (blew me away)
Amadeus
Blade Runner
Shawshank Redemption
The Princess Bride
Green Mile
Snatch
Love Actually
Armageddon
5th Element
Stranger Then Fiction
50 first Dates
Stardust (sorry)
Enchanted (so sorry!)
The new Star Trek (so soooo sorry!)
The Truman Show
Dead Poets Society
Hancock
The Matrix
Pan’s Labyrinth
Shrek 1 & 2 but definitely not 3
and I hate to admit it but Robert Downey Jr. in Iron man was surprisingly excellent
(Have to admit to loving watching The Big Bang Theory with my two beasties..)

bookmark_borderA Pregnant Pause?

Pull my finger..
Pull my finger..

I’m in my 50’s now and suddenly there’s a whole rash of friends whom are becoming grandparents. Fifty’s a bit too early to become a grandparent, I don’t think one should become a grandparent until you’re 80 and look the part; the round glasses, cardigan and rocking chair.. and maybe a pipe.  I’m keen to have a few years between the time my two beasties move out to University or fulltime work and eventually produce kids.  (I hope you are paying attention boys!). I want to enjoy empty-nest syndrome, I want to travel the world, meet interesting people and blow them up (sorry, old joke!) but if grandchildren pop out before I’ve had a chance to do all that then I’m going to have mixed emotions, happy and sad at the same time.

So I was thinking the other day, if I was God, (or Morgan Freeman – some folk claim they are one and the same), then there’s another change I’d like to make to the current system. I know the previous suggestion was a bit radical but this one’s not so radical. If I was God then I’d give womankind a large ‘pregnant pause’ button, a pregnancy hibernation mode.

I think it would be good to be able to fall pregnant but crucially be able to pause it and carry on with it when circumstances change.

With all my friends whom are grandparents or about to become grandparents, only one of them was planned, all the others have come about because of carelessness and some of them are out of work or not in a position to give a child the best start in life. So wouldn’t it be good to be able to press a pause button and carry on with your life until your circumstances improve and when you feel it’s right then carry on with the pregnancy..

You see, there’s another angle to this, the only sure-fire way a woman can know she can have kids is to actually have one, it’s kind’a a major thing “oh yes, hurrah hurrah I’m pregnant, I can definitely have children..oh crap..I’m pregnant and I’m way too young!”   A relative of mine spent about ten years trying not to get pregnant, and each month there was this tension, pregnant or not pregnant…  For ten years she and her partner took precautions but when it became time to have kids they tried and tried for a few years and then were told that they couldn’t actually have kids and were too old for fertility treatment. So if they had tried getting pregnant at the start, safe in the knowledge that they could go into pregnancy hibernation mode then they would have known there was an issue and could have started fertility treatment earlier and maybe be a happy family by now.

So, upgrade time, a ‘diapause’ if you please Morgan and yes, you can google that..

And other thoughts occur to me, if I was God then I’d mess around with men’s hair loss. I am blessed with full head of hair but I think it’s interesting that men lose hair from the crown outwards, so they have a growing bald spot on the top. Wouldn’t it be more fun if it worked the other way, men lost hair from the sides and it receded upwards towards the crown. Then they could grow it longer and not have to bother about comb-overs. Of course it means that the Beatles MopTop hairstyle will come back in fashion and for some it’s going to look like the genie out of Disney’s Aladdin..but at least the top of their head would always be warm and they wouldn’t have to wear hats all the time…and we’d see the end of comb-overs..

bookmark_borderModel Parent?

your-idiot-parents-demotivational-poster-1220403854

A few of my colleagues here at work are expecting babies in the next few months, so being the man (father) of experience I have been passing on my fatherly wisdom. When I took my first born to the crèche he wouldn’t stay there, he clung to my leg like a limpet mine and I’d have to shake him off and run like hell before the crying started. There was this game the staff and I played – distract First Born and whilst he’s distracted slip away…  Of course it’s nice (I think!) to be suddenly wanted + + + but I had to go to work and at the time children and Intensive Care Units did not mix.

So I resolved, after lots of tearful mornings and guilt trips about being abandoned in crèche from First Born, that I wouldn’t make the same mistake twice. When Second Born appeared and was ready for crèche I built it up, I told him how exciting it was going to be, he’d get to play with all the toys, make a mess and have great friends, I made a big big deal of it and when the first day came for crèche he was so excited and looking forward to it. I dropped him off and he ran away to play…

Problem solved and I patted myself on the head.

Or so I thought.

About two weeks into his time at the crèche the manager pulled me aside one evening and said the following “You know, I’ve worked in this crèche for 15 years and your child is the first one, in fact the only one, that’s ever cried when his parents come to take him home…usually it’s the other way around, they cry in the morning but your child runs into this place and doesn’t want to go back home……………” she said this rather suspiciously….

Damn. It looks like I had overdone it. She looked at me like she ought to be reporting me to Social Services… I explained what I had been doing but still… I think she never stopped being suspicious of me… So the lesson here, dear friends who are soon to be parents, you can’t win.

Ever.

But you can get even….

Leaving your kids off at school is always interesting, during the first few years they always cling to your legs and make you feel bad but then at around year five it suddenly becomes uncool to walk to school with your dad and suddenly they start to run ahead before you actually reach the school. At first it’s just at the school gates, a quick snatched ‘bye dad’ and off they run but then as time passes they run ahead at increasing distances from the school gate, anything to avoid being seen with dad..

And then they start secondary school. Here something remarkable happens. On day one you take your ‘relatively’ sweet and innocent child to school, all presented neat and tidy, school uniform worn correctly, shirt tucked in and top button done up, tie worn correctly, hair nice and neat …and somehow there’s is a remarkable transformation over the first day. You met them at the school gates and you don’t recognise them, they look a mess, like they been in a car crash but the big big transformation is in the voice – suddenly that sweet innocent childish tone has gone and now it’s all deep manly grunting.

In the previous June they were kings of the castle in junior school, everyone was smaller than them and childish but suddenly in secondary school they are surrounded by some really big bruisers and they desperately want to fit in. So out goes talk of collecting Dr Who cards and in comes talk about rap music on Youtube and the most unsavourly computer games. From now on you know the shirt will always hang out of the trousers and the tie will never ever be done up properly, you know that ‘street creed’ is now hugely important and talking about Telly Tubbies or even Action Man is verboten because they are in a rush to be men.

Of course, being somewhat mischievous of nature, I look upon this as an opportunity to reek revenge on all those years of clinging to my leg like a limpet mine and all those guilt trips from First Born. Now when I drop the boys off at school or pick them up I make a point of calling them ‘darling’ in a very loud voice, especially when they are with their friends. It’s great, it’s even more fun if you try hugging them in front of their friends and telling them how lovely it is to see them..  This ‘probably’ is quite evil of me but I’ve been doing it for a few years now and when it’s pouring out of the heavens I make an effort to drive there and pick them up, their joy at seeing me is tempered by the knowledge that I will indeed called them darling very loudly and they will cringe..

However, their school mates have started to cotton on to my little game and they all realise that really I’m just doing it to embarrass them, they look upon my boys with some sympathy and tell them “your dads a lunatic, isn’t he?”

So now I’m starting to think what else can I do to play with them at school, they are nearly always the last ones out through the school gates – too busy chin-wagging with their mates and leaving me standing there…  So I was in Sainsburys the other day getting some shopping and I saw some really nice ‘daddy’ slippers, you know, those checked ones… and it suddenly occurred to me – what if I was standing outside the school gates in my slippers… I wonder just how quickly they would appear..I reckon they would be first ones out in the entire school…I’m VERY tempted…

You see, why get mad, when you can get even… 🙂

bookmark_borderGaining Perspective

When I was about eleven, Mary Whitehead, our art teacher, asked the class to draw a typical street scene. We had two hours to complete our works of art and then she would tell us what she thought. I dutifully drew the High Street, the shops, people out shopping and a few cars, typical Saturday afternoon scene. I have to admit that the cars were very square-ish…boxy.. and the people…even the dogs…square-ish but I was reasonably pleased with my effort and thought Mary wouldn’t have much to quibble about over it.

So she sat down beside me, hummed and ha-ed a bit and then said, “look, it’s a very good attempt but can you see what’s wrong with the cars?” I said they were very boxy and even the wheels weren’t very round… and she said “no, that’s not the problem I have with this, it’s the size of the cars in relation to the background that’s a bit off, your cars are too small for the foreground, the people in the background are much bigger, your perspective is all wrong, the cars need to be much bigger or the background much smaller, you need to get some perspective..”

God, you were so right, weren’t you Mary? It takes more than a few years to gain perspective and once you have it then you view the world and all those around you differently, you tend not to sweat the petty stuff (or is it not pet the sweaty stuff?) . Spending twelve years of your life working as an ICU nurse certainly gives you perspective and I’m 51 now and I can look back over the last five decades at what I’ve learnt and some things come to mind;

  • Our children help us grow just as much as we help them grow. I’ve spend a lot of time teaching my two boys lessons and trying to give them perspective early but it hasn’t been a one way street, as much as I’ve tried teaching them life lessons I’ve also learnt just as much, if not more, from them, we learn just as much from our kids as we teach them.
  • And the older I get, the wiser I get. Duh! I gain more wisdom but crucially it seems that as I get older and wiser that I know nearly everything – about less and less. And I have a sneaking suspicion that by the time I shed this mortal coil I shall know absolutely everything there is to know – about absolutely nothing.
  • You don’t realise it but we live our lives as examples to others, examples of how to be, how to live, how to love. Some souls are quite content to treat others shitty, that’s the example they are setting, but it’s not an example you have to follow. And just to make you a little paranoid, everyone is watching you, they are watching you for cues, give them good examples.
  • It doesn’t have to be this way. Happiness is a choice. Life may have dealt you a pretty dire hand of cards and you may see no future but the remainder of your life – the life your previous years have programmed you for – doesn’t have to happen, nothing’s wrote in stone. You are allowed to break your programming, you are allowed to go beyond your programming, no matter how badly some souls have treated you in the past you can forgive them, you can break the cycle and become something or someone much much more.
  • There are very few things in life that don’t change, given enough time nearly all things come to an end, one of the only few constants is change, if you want to grow then embrace change, it’s not a challenge, it’s an opportunity. The key word there is ‘if’, not everyone wants to grow.
  • Regrets, we all have them but the purpose of life is to have as few as possible, no-one’s perfect, I certainly am not, I have lots of regrets, but I’m willing to bet I have slighter fewer than you.
  • “The most common ego identifications have to do with possessions, the work you do, social status and recognition, knowledge and education, physical appearance, special abilities, relationships, person and family history, belief systems, and often also political, nationalistic, racial, religious, and other collective identifications. None of these is you.” –Eckhart Tolle.
    Very true Mr Tolle, though it’s still a good idea to pay our bills, feed our children and pay taxes so social security can pay benefit to unemployed blissed out 29yr old Germans sitting in Russel Square, ..but true Mr Tolle…very very true..you earned your money with that one sentence.

bookmark_borderThe Caretaker

Someone once said that we don’t own possessions, possessions own us. To some degree I can agree with that, we arrive in the world empty handed and seem to spend the rest of our lives gaining possession but looking back over the years I’ve come to realise that I don’t actually own very muh at all, I travel light. I’m constantly de-cluttering my life, in fact I like to think I’m more of a caretaker than an owner, I have this habit of giving my stuff away.

1. Many years ago I was traipsing around second hand bookshops and I found a first edition Winnie The Pooh, it cost seventy quid and somewhere deep inside me I knew I had to buy it. So it sat in the loft for years wrapped in black plastic to protect it and then one day I met someone who was an illustrator. Her passion was to illustrate children’s books and it was her birthday soon so I thought why not, this is why the Universe wanted me to buy this book, to pass it on to it’s rightful owner. She was thrilled to bits by it but I, the caretaker, was thrilled even more to give it to her, it’s rightful owner.

2. A friend was having a 100th birthday party, he was coming 55 and his wife was turning 45 so that equals 100 and they decided to have a 100th birthday party. I hate buying bog standard presents so I searched and searched for something appropriate. He was really into bee keeping and lo and behold, one day I was wandering the streets when I came across yet another second hand bookshop. I went in and had a wee nosey around and what did I find but a book on bee keeping, from 98 years ago. Almost perfect. I held on to it for the month and then gave it to them at their ‘100th’ birthday party. They were both gobsmacked and told me it was the best present they had got that day. I told them I was just the conduit, the caretaker, holding onto it until it found its way to its proper home – with them.

3. And then there was Honey, the Sheltie dog that the Universe wanted me to rescue from a crap unloved unwanted situation and moved to a loving home elsewhere

But you see, this caretaking business, it’s not just possessions and animals that I look after for a short while and then pass on, it works even in relationships too, sometimes I feel like I’m just holding onto someone for a while, keeping them safe, until they find the person they are meant to be with.. and when I see them happy and content then I’m pleased, thrilled actually. But then I’m weird, aren’t I?

And between thou and I – I wonder, how many folk have passed me on too, I suspect there are a few woman out there who are breathing a sigh of relief and thinking dodged a bullet there!  🙂

bookmark_borderGroundhog Day?

having-your-summer-off-teacher-students-school-demotivational-posters-1340840242

Buddha Siddhartha Guatama Shakyamuni  (yes, trying saying that when tipsy) said the following; “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.” I didn’t realise it at the time but my teacher appeared 20 years ago when Groundhog Day was released.  I remember watching it at the flicks and enjoying it at the time;

“Murray plays Phil Connors, an arrogant and egocentric Pittsburgh TV weatherman who, during a hated assignment covering the annual Groundhog Day event in Punxsutawney, finds himself in a time loop, repeating the same day again and again.”

However, I was 30-ish and pretty wet behind the ears when it came to this ‘life’ thing and as usual wasn’t really paying attention, probably a tad arrogant and egocentric like Bill at the start of the movie. So, last night I watched Groundhog Day again and had an epiphany, the sudden realisation that really it’s the story of our lives and relationships, isn’t it, I’m stuck in my own Groundhog Day, repeating my mistakes in what seems like an endless loop. Like in the movie, slowly and very patiently, the Universe is doing it’s best to teach me and guide me – despite my best efforts to bugger things up and refuse to learn the obvious lessons.

This is particularly true in relationships, we can go through many relationships making a lot of mistakes and keep on repeating those mistakes until the message finally begins to sink in, only then do we wise up and start to use what we’ve learnt and make some progress. We have to attend the Groundhog festivals in the genuinely right spirit, we have to catch the falling kid from the tree, we have to fix the old ladies tyre, we have to perform the Heimlich manoeuvre to save the guys life in the restaurant and we have to learn French poetry and play the piano like a pro, not in an effort to impress Andie but because we genuinely want to. And learning to speak French and play the piano like a pro takes a hell of a lot of effort and that’s the kind of commitment relationships demand.

These (or their equivalent)  are the things that changes us into better human beings and as a by-product, charms Andie and makes her want to bid $339.89 for you in the charity auction and want to spend the night with you. It’s because you do these things not as part of some scheme to eventually play ‘hide the sausage’ with her but you do them genuinely through your heart and it all pays off, you wake up on February 3rd and the cycle is broken and you have the woman of your dreams in bed beside you.

It’s just such a pity both of us have to keep repeating the cycle of heartache over and over again until the penny finally drops. Sigh.

I read the following a few years ago;

“The secret to getting my wife to be less inhibited had more to do with me than her. It wasn’t until I started listening to what she wanted from me outside the bedroom that changes happened inside the bedroom. I needed to show that I loved her by talking to her and treating her as my equal in all aspects of life. Once she became secure and felt deeply loved by me, all her inhibitions disappeared. Damn, I wish I had figured that out sooner. “ Danny G, age 58, husband for 24 years

I know how you feel Danny, I know how you feel, I wish I had been paying attention 20 years ago when I first watched Groundhog Day.

bookmark_borderPatience, a virtue?

In 2009 about five million people watched the ‘My Finale’ episode of Scrubs when John Dorian left Scared Heart Teaching Hospital. It was a hour long special and the last few minutes of the episode was taken up playing the above song. You can view the actual scene here.

This song has haunted me ever since then, I’ve heard it a few times, just snatches of it but missing the whole song, the radio never mentioned whom it was by and I wasn’t quick enough with SoundHound. It turns out it was a cover of ‘The Book of Love’, originally by Magnetic Fields but this version by Peter Gabriel. It’s strange how, if you have enough patience, everything comes to you eventually. I feel strangely sad and yet happy when I listen to it, it’s somehow very poignant, like it’s triggering something deep down inside me and I finally figured out what it is this evening.

Over the past few years I’ve been following various blogs, nearly all of them are about dating and misadventures but there’s been about ten blogs I’ve regularly dipped into and smiled and recognised the same mistakes, the same fuck-ups, the same embarrassing failures.

But here’s the thing. Over the years, one by one, each of these blogs have slowly disappeared. Last year one of my favourites disappeared but before she went off the air she told all her readers that at long last she had found someone special, someone she wanted to start a life with and she needed space to work on that relationship without everyone else knowing the daily ups and downs of her day, so she thanked the readers for all their support and a few weeks later it was lights out.

Part of me was sad, (some of the postings were hilarious!) but a larger part of me was happy, happy that eventually after all the mis-steps, all the weirdos, all the dishonesty, all the trying, all the let downs, all the longing and missed chances, that she was happy and in love.

And so that only left one blog remaining, Middle Aged Dating, I’ve enjoy reading Charmaine’s blog, a lot of it resonated with me but it seems there is news on that front too, she’s just got married and I’m enormously pleased for a couple of reasons. Firstly I’m pleased because she’s had a rough time and it’s nice to know she’s finally met a (Italian) man and found true love but secondly and more personal, it means it must be getting near my turn. I’ve watched all the dating blogs slowly disappear and now the last straggler is finally gone, so it gives me hope, hope that if one is patient enough, kind enough, open enough, true to oneself, generous of the heart and willing to keep at it, then eventually you will find the one soul you are meant to be with. My mother Doris agrees with me, everything comes to the man (or woman) with patience.

(but secretly, between thou and I, I can’t wait!)

bookmark_borderIf I’d known my life was going to be a comedy, I would have dressed differently.

Jeez..I can't wait!
Jeez..I can’t wait!

When I was growing up in Ireland we had our own version of the National Rifle Association, it was called the Sunday Observance Committee. With a title like that one would think they sat around and spied on everybody (but only on Sundays).. However, they do something much more stupid, they made sure everywhere was shut on Sundays. This was before the Sunday Trading Laws were passed, so if you ran a store you weren’t allowed to open on a Sunday, Sunday was a day for family and attending church according to the powerful SOC. If you tried opening up on a Sunday then they would lobby the council very noisily and protest outside the shop in large numbers until the shop closed. Council members knew they would be chucked out of office if they crossed the rich and powerful SCO.

Generally this meant all the large chain stores were closed on a Sunday but the local shop around the corner was open. So, rather stupidly, this meant that one could buy Playboy magazine on a Sunday (apparently!) but couldn’t actually buy a bible because the local corner shop didn’t normally stock them, only the chain stores would have them. It also meant that the pubs were closed but hotels couldn’t be, so one could go to the local hotel and buy a drink there. Going to the local hotel (which also happened to be quite plush) was no hardship, in fact it was a good excuse to drop in there and it kind’a made a mockery of the law and the SCO.

And whilst I’m on the subject of religion and silliness – breaking news – Jesus gets tossed out of a darts match!

Nathan Grindal, a darts fan was forced to leave a live televised final because he looked like Jesus. He was ejected for distracting players when the crowd started chanting “Jesus” at him during a match earlier this month.

Personally, if I was him I’d never have to work another day in my life, I’d simply hire myself out to the church! Can you imagine how popular I’d be at the Popes Christmas message, there would be a riot…especially if I denounced the Pope. Even better, pitch up at someone’s deathbed, we’re talking about 100% conversion rate here, get some billionaire atheist and ‘repent and leave all your cash to the church and you will get into heaven’, I can’t understand why the Church of England isn’t beating a path to Nathans door! The opportunities for mischief are endless! Imagine sneaking into Richard Dawkins bedroom when he’s sleeping and he’s woken up by Jesus shouting ‘UNBELIEVER” at him, his next book would be ‘The God Conclusion’. And speeding tickets, who would give Jesus a ticket…”you will burn in the fires of Hell” has extra impact when it comes from Jesus… and parking tickets…forget them… And then there’s sex…would the missionary position have extra frisson when it was Jesus doing it?

Yes, I know, I’m going to hell…