Friday, October 09, 2009


Respect is a much overused word. As is disrespect.

Having had another day of stuff thrown at me, some of it, a lot of it attitude. People with a high opinion of themselves, or more accurate a dissmissive attitude of others

Very disheartening to have people or persons actual be very rude and dismissive of you.

Being me is sometimes, not easy

"My God, My God why hast thou foresaken me....."

Monday, September 07, 2009

Flesh of my Flesh

The thought started reading this:

"Ferraby loved everything to do with being a father, from wheeling the pram out in the afternoons to preparing a bath at the exact temperature: even to be woken up in the middle of the night was an acceptable part of fatherhood, establishing his connection firmly. But most of all he liked simply to be with the child, watching her, talking to her, feeling her minute fingers curling around his own. He felt no need for any more exciting hind of activity, these days; he whole leave was passing in this simple and tender fashion, and he would have chosen nothing else. "
The Cruel Sea by Nicholas Monsarrat

This stuck a sudden cord - not by the whole part which is poor Ferraby losing it and unable to stop himself having waking nightmares of sinking - but the besotted father, not wishing to hold anything but the flesh of his flesh close.

And that made me remember my grandfather lying in a hospital bed, in a gown designed to rob you of any dignity. Flesh of my flesh, his shoulder and arm despite being that of a ninety year old man, could have been mine- same broad shoulders, freckled skin, long forearm.

The stroke had robbed him of most of his speech and will. He lay mostly in the bed, move open eyes close, seemingly unaware of the world.

And he would not eat.

I ended up at one point feeding him baby food -combined with selective swearing this finally seemed to trigger his appetite. Then the hospital were persuaded to puree his food. Then, he finally started eating for them. He was like a large baby in the end; waking up at odd hours, making inappropriate noise and needed cleaning and helping with basic functions of bladder and bowl.

And it was not much fun at all. But then we had the only hope of him returning to being the cantankerous, casually racist, misogynistic bastard he was before where as a baby will, always of course, turn into someone great/good/worthwhile. Even a potential baby is invested with so much hope.

Alas I do stir the cup of bitterness I have prepared myself - the child we, I, would have had would have been three now.

And my grandfather - he was released, expelled more accurately, from hospital and the family found him a good -ish care home. As good as any can be expected really. And I left the fighting to get him to recover, to live to others for a few weeks, while I lived a bit of my own life. And in that short time he went and died. Maybe because I was away, maybe it was just time. No one aside from my grandmother seemed overly upset - he was just old. I felt guilty I was not more upset. And I had looked away. Flesh of my flesh, blood of my blood but I cannot say, due to character traits lain out above, we were at all close. Which makes it worse.

"Il y en a toujours l'un qui baise, et l'un qui tourne la joue"
There's always one who kisses and one who turns the cheek

Again the Cruel Sea; though it is a French proverb I think.

I am childless and age creeps up on me - I fear I will be childless and alone come my end, or at least not much loved like my Grandfather. Perhaps that is what I must face.

Some things do not turn out how you want, no matter how hard wished for or worked for and some do.

Cynical experience over my hopeful heart says; "Life is not fair. At best she is impartial. At worst, downright vindictive."

All you can do is brave the Cruel Sea and roll with the waves and storms.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Translations from Personal Reviews

Once or Twice a Year we have these in most places of work. Unlike school reports (where if you are lucky your teacher remembers who you are when writing it), work ones often decided bonus and promotion. You can be damned by faint praise or ambiguous words. What do the words actually mean? Some key phrases and the possible meaning behind them

TENACITY - a polite term for bloody mindedness or stubborn attitude that has worked in your favour rather than against you

EVEN HANDED - they mean that this person tries to offend no-one so does very little

PASSIONATE - over enthusiastic to border line obsessed with certain areas of work

COMMITTED - over enthusiastic to border line obsessed with certain areas of work

DEDICATED - over enthusiastic to border line obsessed with certain areas of work

KEEN - over enthusiastic to border line obsessed with certain areas of work

DRIVEN - over enthusiastic to border line obsessed with certain areas of work

FOCUSED - over enthusiastic to border line obsessed with certain areas of work

ENTHUSIASTIC - over enthusiastic to border line obsessed with certain areas of work

TEAM PLAYER - cannot complete a task of his/her own so involves everyone to help with it, making decisions and announcing to office what is going on. Also first to stop doing their job if something more interesting is being done by someone else and they can assist/take over doing it

IN TOUCH WITH THE BROADER PICTURE - Complains all day about how badly company/organisation etc is run, usually with jaundiced but sadly accurate facts rather than doing anything about how badly place is run

SELF MOTIVATING - have not actually spoken to him/her for months and they have not sent any reports in or attended any meetings, but still claiming expenses and saw them in the corridor last week, striding past whilst talking on a mobile phone.

SELF ASSURED - arrogant self opinionated and rude. Possible senior management material

NOT A TEAM PLAYER - failed to bring in cakes on birthday, make anyone tea/coffee, go to pub after work or go to Christmas party and seems to have an OK home life and no personal problems. Smugly happy so not popular.

QUICK THINKING - someone who thinks about what they are doing; not to be trusted and got rid of when redundancies happen. If they stay that long.

At The End Of The Day

The sun quietly got on with setting – it did it every day and was well practised by now. With the casual easy of a brilliant artist it painted the horizon in reds, oranges and gaudy bold pinks, shot the stray grey clouds with the startling colours and bathed the side of trees and buildings in deep warm gold.

The long grass in the field by the side of the road shimmered like the sea and shadows stretched and lengthened, like a cat waking from sleep. Darkness rising and waiting to take over the whole ground, but at the moment only a contrast to the last, glorious huzzah of the day, a counterpoint to the spectacular light show in west.

The car tyres hummed on the road, the engine quietly growled along, like a slightly perturbed dog. Light bounced off the bonnet, refracting, dancing around. Intensely bright, the driver of the vehicle, squinted through dangerous dark shaded glasses – care worn hands, scarred and battered gripped slightly tighter the steering wheel. He, a large, slightly running to fat, slightly greying man, shifted in the drivers seat, unintentional making the car shimmy and shy like a young horse before a jump. It did not stray over either line, but the mistake made him grimace in disgust at the lack of control.

Fortunately he was alone, both inside the automobile and on the road. No one was beside him to admonish him, no other driver to flash their lights in alarm, no policeman to haul him over.

Just him and the sun, quietly setting across the wide flat landscape at the end of a long hot summer's day. And Miles Davis playing. The beginning “Flamenco Sketches”, starting in that unwinding and cool way that was at once a rush to the head and a release of tension, like that first sip of dark red wine, or the hit of water from the shower as the cares of the world were washed away, the tension between his shoulders and in the small of his back eased. The noise in his head turned off for a few moments and was replaced with calm.

He should hit shuffle on the mp3 player; change the music and the mood to something upbeat, to keep him alert and focused; He should not be thinking, reflecting, shooting glances to his left to admire the beauty of the great ball of fire slipping gently behind the horizon.

He should have left earlier, he should have arrived earlier. He should have planned better; so that at the end of a long day, he was not driving, tired and hungry the two hours from home.

Lots of things he should have done. Hundreds, thousands. This was why he was where he was, not somewhere else, though he was realistic enough to not think that somewhere else was on his own luxury yacht being hand fed peeled grapes by some scantily clad ex-super model.

But right at this moment, at this sudden apex of his life curve, because it was an apex, a highest point, he was driving along a quiet, blissfully traffic free and untrammelled by repairs, road, with Miles Davis playing and the warm summer sun, softly, caressing the day goodnight.

He exhaled, blew out the worries and fears of the day, pushed them out of his mouth with his breath. Took them from deep within himself, placed them in his diaphragm and pushed them away, in on long steady exhalation.

The bills, the passing years, the job that took too much from him both physically in time and emotionally in care, the ageing relatives that seemed to exist between life and death now with no joy or interest in the world, the sad disappointments and rank unfairnesses.

Gone, or at least pushed away in the exhalation. Put aside; 'parked' as that annoying, peppy, polished but above all young middle manager would say. No longer part of the moment.

Because the high point was now, he was on an open road, comfortable sat, listening to some nice music and enjoying the sunset.

He toyed with the idea of pulling over to watch it.

He dismissed it.

Not because he was late, or that there was no where to stop, or that it was self-indulgent. Though these were second, third and fourth thoughts that notice what he was thinking and rushed into the decision making process late, all a splutter, demanding to be heard, far too late as the decision was taken.

He did not stop.

The moment was an apex, a high point for all the constituent parts of the situation.

The open road, with the car moving at an acceptable, progressive but above all constant speed – not stopping, starting, bouncing around with our impatient road users in their urgent demanding efforts trying to get where they were going, endangering or impeding him. No sea of red cones, no flashing 40 signs, no pathetically chirpy young woman explaining on the radio, that due to a broken-down-lorry (now one word in the English language) there were “severe delays”. The car moving, the feeling of movement, of progression, of transit, of the transitory nature of the whole situation and life was tied up in the fact that the car was in motion.

Whilst the sun setting was the perfect backdrop, in this apex scene, the perfect moment. Not quite literally driving into the sunset, but some director- of a particularly cheesy melodrama - would have sat with with his camera filming frantically as the car sped along the road, gold and red sunlight all over it, the closing moment.

The end of the day.

Sadly unlike cheesy melodrama there was no closing moment, apart that rather final cold hard closing moment, in life. No happy driving away with the setting sun.

But the moment had that, the beauty and the tranquillity and the calm to it.

The music was a great soundtrack, though he probably, knowing his budget it would have to played by someone else, not use the original as here.

Bill Evans starting the tune, improvising over the cord changes, with Miles Davis coming in at just the right moment. The perfect mix, of reserve, of sadness and melancholy but with a “heh that's okay” shoulder shrug in there as well. Jazz, born of the blues, knowing sadness as well as joy, this encapsulated the end of the day feeling, the slight tiredness, the weary sad smile.

The last track on the album.

He must have played this tune so many times.

Actually now he thought about it, as the road began to come to a bend, he had played this at other sunsets, sometimes deliberately sometimes accidentally.

Escaping Birmingham, after a hellish day, the sun hitting the hills as he scudded down the M5, with only a few other drivers around. The nasty taste in his mouth after the unpleasantness of the day's business, the ache in his fingers from writing, the mobile phone firmly off. He had put the CD in the player, skipped forwarded, and carefully still of his speed and road position went past Tewkesbury toward Gloucester, the Sun on his right, the road painted red. The end of the day and all the stress and time stopped, or at least paused. Out of the loop and at peace.

Or sitting on the patio, a cool glass of something in front of him, cats hunting in the flowerbeds, the wood at the back of the house, full of summer noise, the music slowly reaching out its tentacles from in the house, so he was distracted from listening to the friends around him, but still captivated by their faces, animated and smiling and talking as the music filled his head.

Or the harsh winter, cold and stark coming back from work, and walking from where the car was parked, miles from the house, and the tune popping into his head, as the snow and ice that frosted the cars and roof tops went pink and red with the setting sun.


He pushed the clutch dropped out of gear, down two gears, lifted his foot, slowing the car smoothly, calmly in above all pleasingly controlled way. Checked right, nothing, slowing still, making sure.

Then away, accelerating, round to the second exit, up a gear and off on another section of unblocked, uncluttered, lonely road.

Then rushing toward him, familiar buildings.

The tall towers of the disused power station, with light shooting through the rusting girders, the broken building sad and old, but some how less sad, with the soft dying sun light, the summer breeze moving the heavily leafed trees near it.

Flamenco Sketches finished, and something else on random played came on.

Something upbeat and poppy, with a repetitive and grammatically incorrect chorus but above all no soul, that had somehow found its way on to the player.

He turned off the music, sighing that the moment had now passed. Sad, that it was over, but happy that it had been good.

At the end of the day, it was just the end of the day. Like any other of the 13000 or so he had witnessed, many he had not really paid much attention to at the time.

The end of the day, with the night waiting.

The car sped on leaving the open road behind it.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Eurovison Hell

Is there a support group?

Surely this comes under the Geneva Convention as torture or Cruel and Unusual Punishment.

I am being forced, AGAIN, by She Who Must Be Obeyed And Feared, to watch this - show is too small a word to encompass the sheer utter awfulness of it.

Ok Graham Norton is helping as very funny, but if it was not for my decision to self medicate on home made cocktails (Daiquiri's but now sadly out of Rum), would be gnawing my own leg off...


Wednesday, April 01, 2009

The Tower and the Light

The evening sun hits the cathedral
And the red bricks glow red - like a hearth stone, warm and inviting
and the roof is as green as a cricket pitch
cool and bright and fresh

and over the town, as the evening comes in, the tower is bathed in the dying days light
and it looks as if this was ever thus, England in the evening spring sun

and the sun goes behind the hill.

And the cathedral goes grey and dark.
And the bricks are old, and cold and dirty
And the roof is an old off green
And it is cold

Night is coming
The dark coats the land in a dark, soft blanket

The tower is gone, lost in the night sky

And then lights come on

And the tower is a beacon of light
Golden and bright
The colour of the sun
ethereal, floating over the dark land
shafts of light bouncing upward,
connecting the cathedral to the heavens