Holidays cont..

So after my knee op and a week in the Dolomites with my parents I have spent a week in Northern Ireland with my in-laws before this week in Scotland with my loves.

I have been lucky this summer to get plenty of space to spend time with all and sundry.

My parents (the sods), happily retired as they are, have spent much of the early summer jaunting in Europe and it was pleasant to join them for the tail end of their trip including a bit of time in the mountains in Italy. Despite hoping to walk and maybe even climb once I was there a little bit of the reality of having torn cartilege in my knee hit home. Although the keyhole surgery went very well it is true that it was too soon to even walk more than a kilometre without pain. Nevertheless both my parents and my dog forgave me and soon I was walking further and further.

After that little excursion I was back in the UK for some of the Olympics (on which more later) before heading to the wilds of Belfast and the excitement of the in-laws.
I love my wife very much, and as such I am both grateful to and thankful for my in-laws. I do respect their opinions and even care about their well-being but gods know we have some fundamentally different view-points (not least on the fantasticness of my sweet W) so spending time with them is always complicated. I want to make them happy and proud, I want to be sure my wife is comfortable and adored and I feel like my existence is a blot on their life-chart. So overall it was with relief that the mrs and I engaged on a series of adventures to keep out of the way of the smother and make her life basically easier. I wish that given the shit that the family have gone through and constantly struggle with I was in a position to improve things but I fear the best I can offer is being out the way.

However, planning was to hand and the wife and I have moved straight from parents to the highlands of Scotland having been picked up by B. Hurrah for the hills and hiding with my loves.

Gigging and Mutual Motivation

I don’t often go out dancing but some things are important…

Last night, after being taken for curry by Sleepy, B & I went to see a local band head the bill at the club a friend of ours is sound-engineer at. I have mentioned our equivalent of Flogging Molly & the Dropkick Murphy’s before but its always worth plugging a little more.

So “Smokey Bastards” have been on the punk-folk scene for 3 or 4 years now and working in the local pubs too. They play a lively set and have a good following – Last night was the launch party for the new album – Tales from the Wasteland – and we also had some of the fabulous eponymous beer brewed by the lovely John and Becky at Art Brew.¬† Splendid¬† stuff.

Today I have been productive – with much thanks to kitten. We have been texting each other all day in encouragement to get up and get on with the housework. I have cleaned the bathroom and the kitchen as well as doing laundry and mopping the living room floor. We have agreed to support each other losing weight so we also went for a walk together. Hurrah for friends

Introspection on a Decade

Apparently I started University 10 years ago.
Oct. 2001 was an odd time to move away from the country to a large town – the world was changing and I was 18 and that peculiar mixture of cynical and idealistic best manifested by being a teenager free to live their life how they chose.

2 years ago I wrote:
[Tuesday, 14 July 2009 at 15:59]

Having an introspective moment.

What were you doing 10 years ago? What did it feel like? Do you remember? How much have you changed as a person since then?

10 years ago: 1999- the edge of the silly number change and some parties, a pre-twin towers world.

In ’99, I sat my GCSE’s and turned 16, spent my last summer as a semi-pro showjumper, started clubbing and going to pubs on my own, turned loneliness into self-destruction, fell in love, helped make a film, came out to my friends and bought the only CD single I own – though not in that order.

So what was it like? My memory of myself at that time is that I was an arrogant fuckwit, I refused to admit there was anything I couldn’t do on my own & yet I also remember that I didn’t believe I was capable of what I was doing. I remember the sense of optimism about the possibilities of the world and the things I wanted to try – a new sense of financial and personal freedom and the beginning of clearer self-definition. But I remember the absolute certainty that my friends thought I was stupid, lazy and superfluous, crying myself to sleep every night running up to my exams and thinking it was normal and pushing myself to exhaustion to be good enough. Its odd but I don’t remember feeling miserable, just useless, and also restless and determined to get on and get experience.

How have I changed?


I never got around to really answering my own question, but as I muse on my decade in this town I can begin to look at the things I have done and achieved and the people who have passed through my life in that time.


Got a degree and a masters, and am working towards a PhD
Got a job that I haven’t been able to quit for 8years
Walked up Kilimanjaro, wandered across much of Scotland and learnt to climb (then knackered my shoulder so I can’t)
Moved 5 times and bought a house

9 Weddings: A Handfasting and civil-partnership of my own, witness for Dad & My Step-Mother, Best Man for D&J, Readings for L&A and Kitten & Mr.C and a guest at 3 more (cousins various). Also witnessed a decree absolute for a divorce.
3 Funerals: Shirley, my Aunt Maddie and Fenton, plus an extra 2 where I only went to the wake[Good to know I am still in the phase of my life where I have been to more weddings than funerals]
Tried 4 different medications and seen 3 different counsellors; helped 3 of my closest friends make the decision to get professional support and taken one person to a psych ward
Taken over 2.5 thousand pain pills!
Sat at my sister’s hospital bed as she struggled through a coma and watched her learn to speak again and finish her degree.

Mostly I have fallen in love and started to build a life…

Home Again and back to uni?

So B & I are back from our impromptu holiday, safe and a little weary.
I am filled with the uneven feelings of joy at our spontaneity – something easier with B who doesn’t have W’s family anxieties – and irritation at a lack of achieving – which is entirely to do with a need for personal achievement. We did a little walking, though it was mostly low level, and sadly discovered just how unfit I am. (ugh – having some body dislike issues at the mo which don’t need to be dragged out) but didn’t see as much of that part of the world as I would have liked.

Have had several other important and relevant thoughts which somewhat escape me except the key fact that I am damn glad that I have not just sat my a-levels; cos clearing was humiliating and painful back in the days when university was a privilege not a government-mandated necessity I cannot imagine how terrifying it is to be leaving school in 2011.