Dance with the Wolves

Location: St Annes, Lancashire, United Kingdom

I'm happy. I'm amused by life. I know who I am and why I'm here. I have a masters degree and very little money.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Happiness, joy, guilt, frustration and the monarchy.

What a fekkin week. Its been short but nasty. Bank holidays always screw up my working week. I’ve had no time to update this week until today.

Easter was brilliant, the weather was fine and warm, we did some gardening (a lot of gardening actually I’m still in pain), saw the grandchildren twice; it was perfect. We spent a day with my son and his wife (fantastic meal) and the little ones. It was interesting to watch my son and daughter interact with each other and a joy to see them enjoying themselves together.

My wife pointed out that W still doesn’t often look at us when he speaks. I’ve read that this is a warning sign in small children but I’ve no idea what it means when an adult does it. Are J and I responsible for his depression by giving him an unhappy childhood? I think not. We have photographic evidence to the contrary. I know that my relationship with W was as difficult as my own relationship with my father, I had a happy enough childhood but I couldn’t do anything right after the age of 11. I didn’t look at my father either. I did begin to do it sometime around my 50th birthday. So is W’s depression my fault, did I repeat my father’s mistakes? I could have I honestly don’t know. I do know that my relationships with my other children have been slightly different but they are all quite different personalities. I’ve suffered from depression myself and I know how rotten it is. I also know how easy it is to start and think in a different way. I woke up one morning and decided that I didn’t want to feel horrible any longer. I didn’t think of suicide I just decided that I wanted to be happy. I stopped thinking about what I wanted and started to enjoy what I had. There’s a line in a Sheryl Crow song that goes something like “Its not getting what you want/ Its wanting what you’ve got” that sort of sums up the feeling. I realised that I was lucky, my life could have been a lot worse. So should I be feeling guilty about my son and his problems? On balance I don’t think so although I don’t think that I will ever know for certain. Something else to carry about in the emotional back pack.

My second son D has MS. He also has woman trouble. He has been waiting for some sign of commitment from his latest girlfriend which hasn’t been forthcoming. I understand his position. I also understand her position, she has just come out a long relationship and may not want to commit to anything. Any way instead of asking her what she wanted and wait politely for her decision he asked (or demanded it depends on who you read) for his flat key back and that’s when the fun started. She has a blog too (doesn’t every saddo). She is telling the world that she now intends to harm herself. D has faced this before with his previous girl friend. How does he attract these obsessive, dependant women? D has enough stress in his daily life without this. I think that D should concentrate on getting his own life sorted out and let the poor girl make her own mind up. If their relationship is over then its over, they should both move on. Self harm? Life is too short, grow up and get on with it.

My musical support this week has been firmly rooted in the days when the world was a happier place. I am still listening to Captain Beefheart who wrote and performed some truly odd songs with titles like “Sun Zoom Spark”, “Big eyed beans from Venus” and “Their ain’t no Santa Claus on the evening stage”. He has an impressively deep gravely voice and his gentle humour and craziness have kept reality at bay or at least at arms length this week. Well its Friday afternoon. I have the prospect of beer and gardening this weekend weather permitting (although I’ve never seen it rain inside a pub).

Oh and the head sponger is 80 today. Happy birthday your majesty! Without you we could have afforded a better National Health Service. There is a book written in 1776 by an American, Thomas Paine, called Common Sense. In it he says some interesting things about Kings, Queens and the British Constitution. On page 11 he says “The prejudice of Englishmen, in favour of their own government by kings, lords, and commons, arises as much or more from national pride than reason”. Right on Thomas old chap. It’s a good read.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Easter approaches.

We had a good weekend with Jill’s dad and his girlfriend. On Friday I had to collect them from the airport which was a depressing experience. I always associate airports with travel and adventure. It’s a bit of a downer to go there and not get on a plane and disappear off to somewhere warm/different/exciting.

We had a good time over the weekend though had two nights of music and conversation listening to the fabulous time they had in Goa. It was 39 degrees C over there! It was 9 degrees here (he he). We had the BEST lamb dinner I’ve had for a long while. Roasted simply with garlic and rosemary it was brilliant.

The in laws left early on Sunday as there were tales of snow in Newcastle! They rang when they arrived back in Newcastle there was no snow but the temperature was 3 degrees C. My father in law thanked me for picking him up and our hospitality, he called me “son”. He’s a top bloke who has been more of a father to me over the last 34 years than my real father.

My wife and I spent the afternoon in the garden catching up, clearing and sowing. We’ve got a lot of work to do during Easter; kitchen units to price up, allotment gardening, our back garden reconstruction. The holiday will start on Maundy Thursday and continue until the following Wednesday. My son with MS may be with us, he has to work the Saturday and Sunday. Hopefully the grandchildren will turn up too; we may even see my parents. I look forward to weekends like this. It’s a shame that it will be too cold for a barbeque.

My son with MS has moved from his top floor flat into a ground floor flat. He was having increasing difficult with the 4 flights of stairs. We helped him move and I must admit to being at little shocked at the standards of cleanliness of the average flat dweller in Manchester. The flat that he moved into was perfect for him but it was so dirty! The walls need a coat of paint as does the bedroom and the bathroom is just awful. The room has the look of something that stays at the bottom of the Manchester ship canal and rises up when the light is switched on. He is so brave – he has no other option – with his condition but to move into a filthy flat takes guts. He won’t be able to clean it as well as a healthy man; mind you a lot of single men just don’t care. As a fully reconstructed male I am aware of the need for cleanliness. I cringe at the thought of my son living in such poor conditions. I would rather he came home. But as long as he can work he will have to stay in Manchester. The independence is important as is the daily interaction with other human beings. Manchester is better for both his financial and mental wellbeing but he needs to be near his family and friends when things get tough.

My son and daughter’s problems seem to have receded somewhat. They both are a lot happier. My daughter was torturing herself over the hows and whys of my son’s behaviour and the woman with whom he had an affair. More self-destruction. She was badly shaken by the events over Christmas and has a need to analyse every element of her own anguish. She is still casting about for help but I think that she will be alright in the end. Its going to take time for both of them to come to terms finally. But they are not alone and they are not stupid even if their behaviour last year indicates otherwise! They have I think realised what their relationship was all about and how important they are to each other. They also now know the value of love and the value of children.

I’m still worried about them though, can’t be helped I’m afraid.

I like to think that I have a wide taste in music and I have been listening to new stuff and old stuff.

New Stuff: Hard Fi, The Editors (they sound to me like REM with a little U2 guitar thrown in), Coldplay (are they becoming old stuff now, already?), Franz Ferdinand, Black-eyed Peas, Jose Gonzalez, David Gilmour.

Old Stuff (mainly for nostalgic reasons): Micheal Breaker (he’s dieing), Frank Zappa (he’s dead), Captain Beefheart (listen to “Clear Spot” on vinyl to be transported to early 70’s madness and mayhem; this was poetry set to music really but at the time it was pure anarchy, real punk music before the Sex Pistols invented their fashion statement), The Ramones, The Cult, Queens of the Stone Age and Massive Attack (this last is pure nostalgia for me. I didn’t like them at the time as I prefer blues to soul, but it sounds quite quaint now).