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.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006


Feeling down? Go to google an type "Who won the eurovision Song Contest". Take a look at the heavy metal band from Finland that won the competion. What a bunch of freaks! KISS have a lot to answer for. When you listen to them talk I can imagine that they take off their costumes and make up at the end of the day, put on a smoking jacket and with their pipe and slippers sit and watch crap Finnish TV all evening.

I dont watch the eurovision song contest, I stopped watching it when I was 11 years old. It stopped being funny in the sixties when the UK entered for the first time and Sandy Shaw won with "Puppet on a string". Later that year I went to Belgium on holiday with my folks and their friends. We went into a cafe full of burly lorry drivers who were, and I kid you not, dancing in a wierd puppet fashion to what was probably the worst piece of music ever produced by this country.

While Belguim could be the subject of a separate rant, the dancing lorry driver episode made me think that Europe must be an awful place. A place so starved of "proper" entertainment that a below average 60's pop song could suceed where the other 6 countries (the european community was much smaller back then) failed.
Of course what I couldn't appreciate at the time was that the 60's happened in Britain and not throughout Europe. Until quite recently the UK has been leading European youth culture by the nose. Since I was 11 years old I have travelled over much of western Europe and found that their TV, radio and music output have been crap. To be fair the UK oputput during the same period wasn't brilliant but we did have some quality entertainment.

Nowadys our TV output is a mixture of American crap, Australian crap and good old home made crap. Our radio isn't much better. There's talk of privatising Radio 1 & 2. Our music scene is a little better and it is streets ahead of Europe. The English Channel isn't very wide (20 miles) but there is an ocean between English and European youth culture.

Monday, May 22, 2006

I may be in trouble

Common courtesy used to be something that was taken for granted in these cold and wet islands. We used to be polite. Before the sixties came along we were so far up ourselves that a social gaff of any kind could lead to exclusion or social isolation and defamation of character. This was not political correctness it was the English way. It was the middle class, Church of England way.

Things are a little more relaxed nowadays but I think that your loved ones deserve a degree of courteous behaviour or at very least civility even if you can be more relaxed with them.

I may have made a mistake. Nothing new there but it is very easy to do the wrong thing, write inappropriate words or text the badly constructed message.

So I’d like to apologise to everyone who knows me. For having that extra drink, for the inappropriate use of the F word, for the apparent neglect, for the letter or email or text that could be read in two ways, for spending too much, for the harsh words, for being an idiot, for being irritable, for being in the wrong place at the right time and vice versa, for not knowing better. For everything.

This will not, I am sure, go any way to making the recipient of my last text message feel any better. Ignore my text. I really hope that you get well soon. That was all I wanted to say.

I feel better having that off my chest. I have to make sure that I don’t need to do that again.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Good times bad times

Good times bad times. The weekend started badly. Another trek into Manchester, a city that I now detest as much as I detest a certain Swedish furniture store. It costs £15 each way but its not the cost I dislike its time I use up. I have no issues picking up my son its just that he lives in Manchester a 45 minute drive that actually takes an hour and a half so it’s three hours out of my day. The purpose of the trip was to collect my son because he was about to embark on his fourth attempt at a parachute jump in aid of some MS charities. On Friday the weather was beautiful (although it was raining in Manchester). The following morning I was up at six and we drove off to the parachute club. The weather had changed and there was too much low cloud for the jump to happen. They didn’t tell us that though, well not at first. First they made us sit in a freezing cold shed and buy their awful tea and fried items. It was an old fashioned greasy spoon in a freezer. At one point my son said “Just in case something goes wrong I should let you know that I’m insured for £1 million. If I died it all goes to Mum”. I asked him if he had made any arrangements to get someone into his blog if the worst should happen. He said “I’ve asked my brother to do that”

We eventually went to a warm pub for some real food and rebooked the jump for next Friday. During the conversation my son said that I had an “apathetic” approach to life. It is all to easy to misunderstand the way that others see you. I will have to clean up my act. I think that I am cynical and indifferent to life although I do care about my family passionately. I think that whatever happens on this ball of rock it doesn’t matter at all.

If I’m showing nothing but apathy to the world then it must look as though I don’t care about anything. Perhaps I should stop caring about anything and see if anyone notices.

In the afternoon I did something I haven’t done for years. I watched the FA cup final. It was a mid-life crisis type of day but I enjoyed that part of the day.
It was a good match, I didn’t care who won but in the end the North triumphed over the South so all was well.

On Sunday we did very little. My daughter and her husband (and her very difficult dog) were staying with us as was my son. My eldest son and daughter came by with fantastic news and that cheered me up a lot. After putting off the drive back to Manchester we eventually got back home near midnight.

I love my family more than words can say; the ones in crisis, the ones with debilitating illness and the ones that are merely unhappy. I’ve been in crisis, I have two debilitating diseases and I’ve been unhappy. I’ve got through it all and I’m happy now. I know the secret, its very simple – care about the ones you love. Apethetic? Ridiculous.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Life! Don't talk to me about life!

I don’t know whether I have time to update this blog or not. My life just seems to get busier and busier. Yesterday lunchtime I was in Cardiff and I received a phone call from my boss that went something like “hello there, how are things going in Wales? And in the South West? Yes it all looks very good indeed. Well as things are going so well in your regions would take over the West Midlands just to help out, it will only be for a couple of months..”. Bastard. A couple of months? That’s how I ended up with the South West! The West Midlands is about to be one of the busiest regions of the country so the responsibilities ramp right up. I very nearly quit right there and then.

I used to like my job; I can work from home so I get to see my grandchildren regularly. I get paid to travel to some of the most beautiful scenery in Britain at least once a month. But it doesn’t seem to matter how good you are or how hard you work the only reward you get is more work. There are days when I think that they want me to resign. I need a holiday. Trouble is I won’t get one until September. I have to wait 5 months; until the European weather, not to mention the British weather, changes for the worse. As Ian Dury once said:
“@rseholes, b@rstards, f**king &unts and pr!cks”.

My wife and I “agreed” that we would not have a holiday or at least not travel too far this year. Well all I can say is that if we don’t go somewhere warm and restful (or warm and exiting) this year then next year we are going to the Caribbean, the States, South Africa or Australia. That’s if I haven’t died from too much stress.

I still have weekends when I can do what I like and last weekend I went to see my son and daughter run a 10k fun run. They both did extremely well and I felt both proud and inspired. I used to run a bit many years ago and I’ve also done long distance walks and cycle rides. My wife was also inspired and has agreed to do the race for life 5k in July. So we are about to start training. I hope that my heart and lungs and legs hold out.

Perhaps the exercise will help with the stress, perhaps not. What I have to remember is that it is not my life, or events within my life, that give me stress. I’m giving myself stress. I know that I care about things too much. I don’t want to stop caring about things passionately because that would change who I am and I like being me, its fun to be me. What I think I should be doing is caring more about the important things, my fabulous family and my friends, and less about the non-important things like work.

My son and daughter seem to be happier. I think that they have a bit more work to do but the they are back together and that’s what is important for both themselves and their children. My son still has some health issues (smoking and drinking) and may be on medication for the rest of his life but he has a better chance of a happier life with his wife and children with him. My daughter is certainly happier. Her blog entries have changed from out and out angst to a more relaxed form of reading. I am still worried about her though. At the height of her troubles she was reading common sense Buddhist advice and she is now back to the horoscopes and tarot cards. I take that to mean she has returned to what passes for normality amongst the western female of the species. I hope that she stays that way forever. I am always here though.