Cat Shoe – the ramblings of a recovering misery – step 2

“Just being there for someone can sometimes bring hope when all seems hopeless.” – Dave G. Llewelyn

“Never be so busy as not to think of others.” ― Mother Teresa

‘Living the dream’ and ‘another day in paradise’ are lines that those around me will be used to hearing. Usually they are used with a strong flavour of irony. Well, at least on certain days not associated with the weekend, and not in hours associated with being social time. But, then as I committed those words to text, it got my wandering mind wondering.

And, with that, off we go viewing from the ground what we can do with our way of thinking and supporting other.

Let’s paws for thought as we contemplate what, in the name of moggy, ‘cat shoe’ as a title is all about? It will, I promise, make sense at the end. It always does. Well, it does in my mind.

As I said in the last blog, I’m on a mission. It kind of forms as the ramblings of a recovering misery. But, not as in what caused the misery. More a case of the learning that came from realising how lucky I am and am not in fact miserable.

It’s funny, even when I think about the cause. It’s more a case of causes and, let’s be honest, some of those causes will always be there. They just never go away. Things such as inadequate drivers, late buses, Amazon parcels not turning up on time, late or nonexistent buses, Indian take aways not spicy enough or too spicy, a hole in the socks, odd socks, no socks, socks rolling down when you’re walking, sweaty socks, other peoples’ socks, cheap socks, people talking about socks, designer socks, cats socks in cat shoes …………. ENOUGH!

And that’s the thing, our life path will always be blighted by bumps (for Aud, that’s literal. Every path seems to have a bump, bearing in mind the number of ‘ouch’ she screeches as she trips (again, literally) along). We can focus on the big bumps and hopefully they will fade away; be flattened as it were. But, we have to accept that other bumps will always be there. It’s how we deal with, or accept, those bumps. Making sense or are you wishing I’d put a sock in it?

Now, for me, it is still a case of dealing with those little bumps that is the challenge. Most days, it’s all good. But some days, or as I would observe and call them, Mondays’, those bumps, no matter how small, can cause an almighty trip. I could even fall over a cat shoe such is might state of mind.

As you can see, a recovering misery can still be challenged. And, there’s the propensity to ramble on when trying to deal with it.

It’s challenging on a Monday morning – holy socks, mixed socks, rain pouring just as I take Ringo for his walk; forgot to buy the salad dressing for lunch; slow drivers and HGV drivers on narrow country roads; Brexit on the radio; Theresa May on the radio; weather forecast on the radio; roadworks everywhere on the drive to work; low petrol light pings in the car. Aud singing to Keane who suddenly appear on the radio (you should listen to hear sing. You’d want to shove cat shoes in your ears). And this is all before 8.30 am. It’s may sound like a slower recovery than I’m claiming. But, believe me, all of these things are in control. Well, maybe apart from Aud’s singing.

I think the message is one of getting wound up or frustrated with some stuff is just normal. And, accepting the moments of grumpiness is fine. My journey, though, once I’ve realised all of the above is okay, has been learning to let go, move on, and enjoy the great stuff that life has brought to me.

I guess I’m stating the obvious but I know I’ve had times of worrying about the small stuff and probably letting that then effect my way of dealing with the bigger ticket challenges that had been placed before me.

But, I know, it’s not that easy for everyone. There are many others when the small stuff is actually the big stuff. Not having to get wound up about socks, because there are no socks. Not getting wound up with other drivers because there is no car. Not having the debate over whether the take away is spicy enough because there is no take away. And not getting blasted by a tone deaf partner’s singing along to Keane because there is no radio, there is no partner.

So many people are struggling and it feels like it is getting worse. You read it every day about the struggles people are going through. The famous – too many escaping their plight too soon. The not famous – just the same but the difference is we don’t read about them. Another sad statistic.

Too many people are lost and, whilst we all feel truly saddened, we still lose too made people. I really feel that we all have a strong responsibility to shout out to our neighbour, to our friend, to our colleague, to our family, who ever it may be. But we should shout out loud, we are here and we are ready and want to listen.

Just think, and I know I’ve said it before, be there to listen. Not give option, not judge, not ‘be disappointed’, not even empathise. Just listen. And when you’ve listened, be ready with a hug, a box of tissues, a drink, whatever is required. It may in fact be, the person you’re helping does want you to pass on wise words or whatever. But, we should wait to be invited.

I hope and believe there is always someone to catch you when you fall; catch you when you’re down; catch you when you feel hope slipping away. There is always hope. It’s just sometimes difficult to see when all around you is darkness. But, those arms ready to catch you are the shining beacon of hope. Believe me, I was caught at my time of falling and the light that was provided shines around me now and I just hope I can share it with others.

And, with that, I will move on through another day.

Cat shoe as a title a bit light? Not in the slightest. In fact, the opposite. I’d truly love to see Cat Shoe as being a group of guardian angels who are ready to catch you when you fall. You never know but, for now, let us all be ready to catch a falling person. It’s not about catching a falling star, it’s about catching a falling person who needs you. For us to be there, for who ever it may be. To be there, at the end of the phone, to be there online, to be there at the bar, to be there behind the door. Where ever, just be there.

Don’t get me wrong, the likes of The Samaritans are awesome. I am truly in awe of the support they give those in need. But, the more support that can be available, surely that’s for the better?

Ultimately, we all need someone. We all do.

I wish you well. It you need someone to catch you, jonlduke@sky.com.

Take care.

Jon

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The ramblings of a recovering misery – step 1

“I was happy in the haze of a drunken hour. But heaven knows I’m miserable now. I was looking for a job, and then I found a job. And heaven knows I’m miserable now” – The Smiths

And those lyrics were the opening chimes from my ringtone for many a year. So, welcome to the view from my chair. Welcome to a slight change in the ramblings that I occasionally put out in the guise of a blog.

I love those films which start at the end. Do you know what mean? A shot of the main character, smiling and walking into the sunset, hand in hand with the love of their life. Or, as was the case of my favourite musical, Blood Brothers, a quite different start show the end.

But, I guess, this is almost what I seem to try and live to – kind of. If I was to shoot a film – or get the book done – the start would be the end. It would be ‘hello’, welcome to today. Now, let me show you what things have taken place to help me arrive at this great day’.

Live and celebrate the day, but never forget how you got here.

I know I’ve rambled on about a book for too long but I have had to wait until I could ensure the content would be in the right context. Clearly, my circumstances following events nearly 3 years ago left me angry, bitter, confused and negative.

I’ve mapped out in the blogs the massive life rebuild that has been enabled by Aud, Ben, Liv, and then Gaby, when she came on board to add to the fun. I’ve talked countless times of my gratitude to family and friends who provided love, light and support during those challenging times.

I do, sometime, want to write a fictional book. Somewhere between J K Rowling’s stunning Harry Potter works and the excellent Wilt books by the late, great Tom Sharpe. The title? ‘And so the door closed’. Let’s see.

But, until then, my plan is to use the blogs of the last 15 months as a structure for something. Probably, something that will be put out online as a self published ebook.

What gives me the write (do you like the play on words?) to put out a book? I have no right. I have the desire to write it. Why? Because, like so many, I have something to share. Yes, so many have something to share but they don’t get, or seize, the chance.

Share you say? Yes, I’d like to think I have something to share.

Oh no, not self righteous nonsense you cry? I’d like to believe the opposite but that’s down to opinion.

But, you’ve talked about being angry, bitter, confused and negative you question? Any book, kind reader, will be based on the good stuff not the bad things. That’s in the past and my learning has in part enabled me to appreciate even more how good life is now.

What I want to share are the situations, circumstances if you like, which helped me to realise just how great things are. Situations that help to focus on the present.

Every sunny day is preceded somewhere along the line by a storm and it is only experiencing that storm that you can really appreciate that sunshine. The warmth; the vibrant colours; the smell; the beauty.

But, hey, everyday can’t be sunny – I wish! Isn’t that most people’s happy place, a sunny day? Either climate wise or spiritually, it’s a joy to feel bloody good!

Now, people may look at me and think I’ve got a face like a slapped backside. Some may take it further and say that I have a face that just needs to be slapped. Harsh I feel but then I’m the master of my own slapped face or slapped backside. With regards to the latter, I’ll leave it just hanging there – just like my enormous backside.

But, as is established above, I tend to ramble and through those ramblings I sort of wind back to the theme of the blog.

As I said at the start I kind of want to take a slightly diverted direction with the blogs. I expect I’ll know what that is as they develop but let’s start with the take that, yes, I’m a recovering misery.

I enjoy playing the straight faced, some may think unsmiling, role. Yes, to you I may look thoroughly miserable but I’m creased up laughing my absolute socks off inside. If you cut me in two the loudest laugh would escape from my severed body. Well, to be fair, if you cut me in two I’d scream and die but I hope you know what I mean.

I guess, over time, for my own reasons I’ve just got used to this lived in, saggy expression of grumpiness and it has stayed with me like a curry stain on a white shirt. But, the blogs, from now, are meant to be a chat through my recovery programme which, I hope will in part entertain, and in part inform.

As I’ve said before, if my words can help one person – job done. If the words can entertain one person – job done. Although, clearly my aim is to reach out to so many, many more. But, in a gentle, friendly sort of way.

And so, the scene is set for a series of blogs that will form the ramblings of a recovering misery. I could argue that I’m a recoverers misery but, like a lot of things in life, I don’t think I can assume I am recovered. One thing happens and it’s back a few steps so I’ll be happy to be recovering.

My mind is already set on what step 2 of the series will look like. At some stage, I’m keen to form a group for people to go to when they’re not having a good day. One of those ‘it’s okay to be not okay’ days and where you want to reach out to someone. In the group I would see there are people ready and waiting to help, to stop you falling. There to catch you if you like. Now, I rarely do things simply, so perhaps the group name and the next blog will be ‘Cat Shoe’. Think about it.

Another day in the life of a recovering misery. Recovering? Oh yes, definitely recovering but done read that as recovered. Not yet.

Take care. And be ready. What size cat shoe are you?

Jon

Teach me how to see the way you see me

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who the hell is that looking at me? It’s me? Nooooooo! Surely not.

Look in a mirror, what do we see? We see what we expect to see. First thing in the morning, tired face staring back. Feeling grumpy, we see a grumpier face. How often do we honestly like, no -love, what see? Very seldom I would guess.

So, welcome from a view from the ground floor mirror. As they say, it’s been a while. I’ve always thought that if you have nothing to say, say nothing. So, there you go. But when I’m quiet, I think, maybe too much. It could be called reflecting. Mmmmm, looking into my psychic mirror?

Or, maybe I’ve been looking in the mirror and have been rendered speechless.

Anyone who has read previous blogs will know I like to start with a quote. Maybe, after reflecting in the mirror a change of style is called upon.

Life’s full of changes and, from a personal point of view, I’ve had a few. But, it’s been able to then look at what those changes have done to you and trying to ensure they put you into a better position. One where you look and realise everything happens for a reason.

You’ll probably find, if you make it to the end of the blog, it’s a scatter gun of thoughts. But the theme is my thinking around how we view ourselves and then trying, from a personal point of view, see ourselves through the eyes of someone else. Someone who sees us in their own way.

Making sense? No? Don’t worry, as I said I’m on a bit of a scattering journey of random thinking.

I’ve mentioned a book before which explores the thinking that we are not who we think we are. It’s a fascinating subject and one I kind of subscribe to. In essence, we are who we want to be; the person that we create.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing when you think about it. The trick is to ensure that the person that you want ‘you’ to be is the best person you can be. Of course, if you’re creating a homicidal manic, that’s not a good thing.

But, who are we? The million euro question. Who are we supposed to be, and would that person be better than the one we have created?

Strangely, I feel that I was put on this planet to be a family man. To care, protect, and help grow my family. But, perhaps the family man is just a person I have created. Regardless, that’s what I am.

I wouldn’t say my role is any different from any good parent. When we are blessed to be parents – be that biological parent or adopting or as a ‘step’ parent – we have a role to follow. To be there for our ‘children’ throughout their lives. Not to control but to nurture, guide, support and, absolutely, to love.

To guess when I look in the mirror, from a parental perspective, I’m happy with what reflects back at me.

But the theme of looking in a mirror is, of course, metaphorical.

“Won’t you teach me how to see. The way you see me.” are words borrowed from a wonderful song by the equally wonderful Talos.

I’d love to see me through the eyes of my loved ones. Just to understand me better and then become the person they see, as in that I feel like I’m the person they see. Is that making any sense at all?

As I’ve said, I’m proud of what I’ve achieved as a parent but I would love just to see me the way I’m seen. For sure, my work colleagues see me as a grumpy, over weight, dower, old man whose mood lifts somewhat on Friday. Is that a disguise? Nah, I’m all of those things and I guess that’s why I’m intrigued to learn the way the likes of Aud, Ben, and Liv see me.

Just imagine if we had the ability to see ourselves through the eyes of others. If we could then take that person and to become it – for ourselves. If we could do that we could then transform our inner being and become that person to everyone that we come into contact with.

I hope I’m making sense. I’m just wrestling with the concept that we could all become better people if we believed we were the person others see – as long as it’s a good person.

So, there you go. The confused ramblings of someone edging towards mid-second half of his 6th decade on the messed up planet. Let’s see what happens in the next few week, as The Trump fights to get his wall; The May fights to get the U.K. out of Europe, whilst staying in Europe without being part of Europe but keeping our European identity. Will a yellow jacket shortage hit France? Will the USA and Canada send some their snow and ice to Australia to help them cool down. Who knows.

I’m going to finish with something I saw on Facebook. A lot of what’s on there is nonsense, but this really struck a cord with me – if an egg is broken by an outside force, life ends. If an egg is broken by an inside force, then life begins. Great things happen from the inside.

A nice thought.

Take care and believe you can achieve whatever you believe you can achieve.

Jon

Wake up. It’s just another day

“Let our New Year’s resolution be this: we will be there for one another as fellow members of humanity, in the finest sense of the word.” – Goran Persson

“A New Year’s resolution is a tradition, most common in the Western Hemisphere but also found in the Eastern Hemisphere, in which a person resolves to change an undesired trait or behaviour, to accomplish a personal goal or otherwise improve their life.”

Welcome to a review from the ground. A brief glance at 2018 before we leap into 2019 with enthusiasm, hope, and new dreams.

I never fail to wonder what the heck New Year’s Resolutions are all about. We’ve all done them. Lose weight is the best, but then there’s to exercise more, eat healthier, be kinder, see someone more often, get a new job, so on and so forth.

We wait until one specific day to make that change which, for the previous 365 days, a whole year, we have been unable to do. Or more often the case, something like 360 days since we realised we couldn’t stick to the resolution made 365 days ago. So, in essence, for 360 days we have considered ourselves a failure.

In reality, we set ourselves a dream which, by classing it as a New Year’s resolution, we already know we’re not going to achieve it. I’ve been as bad as the rest. But, I’m still fat, I still enjoy the wrong food, I do exercise but I should exercise better.

Yes, a new year is just that, the start of another year. In the northern hemisphere, the weather is cold, wet and grey. But, those of us who are lucky enough to wake up should celebrate the chance of living another year. Another year where we should commit to be our best, and to give our best.

We should carry on the good work we have been doing as been a good citizen of our beautiful planet.

We should love with every last bit of energy and give that love without condition and without the believe that by doing so we are a greater person than others.

We should strive to enjoy the moment. To be grateful for that moment. And to have no regrets. Live. Laugh. Love.

We should share our love and to lift those who have fallen and to give them the chance to see the world from the same level as others. Here’s where I accept that if someone is lifted by Audrey, as she is 4ft 11 inches, they won’t see the world at the same height as many others.

We should replace hate with tolerance. We can’t all think the same but that doesn’t mean we should hate the person with the opposing view. Now, I accept in the cases of the likes of Donald Trump and Theresa May, right now, it is difficult to feel any tolerance towards them. But, hopefully you know what I mean.

Let’s hug a lot. A good hug can be transformational. If you’d have said that to be a couple of years ago I’d have done a Forest Gump, but a good hug is magic.

Now, in reality, everything I have said above is not stuff that should be committed to New Year’s Resolutions. This is life stuff. This should just be happening everyday. Think about it.

We wake up on 01 January and it is just another day. It’s another chance to get things right. It’s another chance to be hat person that you want to be. Yes, you could say it’s a new chance. But it’s not a 1 in 365 chance, it’s a 1 in 1 chance.

So, let’s stop limiting ourselves. Every day is another chance to do it.so, just do it. Do it with every bit of energy you can. Do it like you mean it. Do it like you want it. And do t because it matters.

And that my friends is where, for who knows how long, is where I clamber off my soap box and get on with the day.

I do wish you all a truly beautiful 2019. Please keep on believing. Life is good and we are lucky to have it.

Take care!

Jon

The greatest gift

“Health is the greatest gift, contentment the greatest wealth, faithfulness the best relationship.” – Buddha

“The greatest gift that you can give to others is the gift of unconditional love and acceptance.” – Brian Tracy

“Lighten up, just enjoy life, smile more, laugh more, and don’t get so worked up about things.” – Kenneth Branagh

‘‘Tis the season of good cheer. Well, it is for those who celebrate at this time of year. Well, it is for those who celebrate at this time of year and are fortunate enough to celebrate it. Well, it is ………………………

Welcome to a bumper packed eye ball induced collection of grounded words. Thankfully, grounded not due to some stupid person (please note, gender neutral) taking the idea to fly a drone near an airport.

As we gallop like a slightly exhausted reindeer searching for an elusive carrot, this last few weeks feel like the world has truly gone crazy.

In the U.K. we continue to do the Brexit Hokey Cokey. The left leg wants to stay in, the right leg wants to come out. Well, my knees are bent – in despair; my arms are raised in frustration. Rah, rah, bl00dy rah!

And in the USA, everything has gone into close down mode, with thousands of people not being able to attend work whilst The Trump sulks and rolls around in his multimillion dollar presidential residence because he can’t have his money to build his wall.

Whilst all of that is going on, in the UK, the issue of homelessness gets worse and in the USA a greater divide continues to grow.

Oh, and let’s not forget France. Several weekends of yellow jacketed protestors taking to the streets, burning cars and basically reeking havoc as they try and take their message to the French government.

Now, forgive me for a view from the ground but have the above 3 examples got a theme? Government and world leadership driving their agenda of chaos?

Sorry, I’m not been mean spirited or bah humbug but it all feels terribly orchestrated. Almost a distraction from other things. I watch Theresa May with a blend of anger and sympathy. The chaos all started with the bottle-less David Cameron thinking how wonderful it would be to give the country the opportunity to decide whether we wanted to be part of the European Community or not – never realising that the dross trotted out by the likes of Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage would be believed. Well 54% of those who voted (note: not 54% of those eligible to vote, a key point forgotten) believed we would have a Greater Britain. At the moment it feels more like a Grate Britain as we get shredded by the continued political jousting.

Oh, oh. I forgot. The Drone Gate scandal of 2018 in the UK. Thousands of people unable to leave or arrive at Gatwick airport as an errant drone caused all flights to stop. How can that be? So say this has been an identified risk for a long time but apparently the 2nd largest airport in the U.K. could do nothing about it? Could they have installed a system to help prevent this? Well, I understand for a sum far less than the money they will have lost, a deterrent is available. So why was this not in place?

I’m not a conspiracy theorist but something stinks here. For just a few days the headlines gave Theresa May and Brexit a break; a distraction. Interesting!

Well, of course, Jeremy Corbyn did try to add to the distraction by throwing a mumbled insult – at Theresa May? At the Cabinet? Who knows but the media was falling over itself to speak to the wise and the wonderful. Mr Corbyn denied it being aimed at Ms May. Really? This was a waste of time, money, energy, and many minutes of many, many people’s lives. Ultimately, we shouldn’t throw an insult which is gender specific. That’s pretty straight forward. Perhaps, we shouldn’t throw an insult. Perhaps, particularly when you are in the glare, you should think before for mumble.

Wow, what a wonderful few weeks at a time when surely we should try and be NICE! We should look in the mirror and try a smile, practice it and get ready to unleash it on a desperate public (I’m actually talking to myself here because, for reasons well known, I’m grumpy. No, my home life is better than it has ever being. Other distractions are, well, not really distractions; just an irritating itch that I’m struggling to scratch. I’ve had the best year ever. So, why grumpy? Well, I’m not really grumpy, it’s been a thin disguise to distract people.

Okay, so, the greatest gift? Nearly 800 words and I’ve just remembered the reason for the blog. And, I hope you have stayed with me to get here. It’s that time of year for many when we can kick back, and join together with family and friends to celebrate. It’s also a time of year when we exchange gifts. Like many, I love to give gifts and to see the expression of the recipient. Not from a self gratification perspective. Nooooo! It’s that oooooooo socks look. Or the embarrassment of opening up underwear in from of everyone.

More than anything though, it’s just nice to be able to give a gift as a thank you for someone special in my life.

I always tease Audrey about not buying tat. But, every gift received is appreciated.

It’s interesting though when you look at the definition of ‘gift’, as they are all horribly pompous. The nearest to what I thought was ‘An act of giving something as a present’.

Not quite where my head was when I thought of the blog, but then it is kind of. You see I am looking at the greatest gift not being a present but being the present. In other words, the gift is The here and now. Who we are; what we are; who we have with us; the love that we give and the love that we receive. The greatest gift, to me, is life.

Buddha sees the greatest gift as health. Well that must be right and good health helps to lead towards a good life.

I’ve heard of 3 people I knew passing away in the last 2 weeks. So sad, particularly when 1 was a similar age to me and another younger. It’s a wake up call to all of us who are gifted another day of life. The greatest gift.

Just think, when you wake up tomorrow. How about making your first two words “thank you”. In fact, just as you close your eyes, try it as well.

It’s just a thought. I’ve had my rant about those charged with running our countries but, ultimately, there’s nothing individually we can do. So, let’s celebrate what we can do and enjoy the greatest gift.

and, so, my friends, another blog draws to a close. Thank you for joining. I’m not sure what form future blogs will take. Obviously, my drive towards completing a book has stalled. The day will come but for now, let’s see what happens.

If you celebrate Christmas, May your celebrations be full of magic.

To everyone, stay safe and please enjoy the greatest gift.

Take care.

Jon

Are you listening?

“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” –Stephen R. Covey

“Listening is often the only thing needed to help someone.” – unknown

So, here we are as the masses who recognise Christmas trampled through Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Wobbly Wednesday, and Skint Saturday. Every year it’s mayhem. How do we use our learning? We invent more chaos. It’s the only annual celebration – which, let’s face it, is actually to celebrate the birth of Christ (for those whose faith recognises this) – that brings such global madness. Am I being ‘bah humbug‘? I’ll let you decide.

Welcome to another observation from the floor. Floor I hear you say? Well, if you start there you should only then be on an upward trajectory.

And an upward trajectory is what we should all aim for. Onwards and upwards as the expression goes.

So, the nights are cold and wet and, those of us who have the good fortune get the chance to make haste to our warm and friendly homes every night. But, do we see those who can’t do that, as they are huddled under whatever shelter they can find?

In my humble opinion, homelessness seems to be getting worse. I was interested in a situation recently in my wonderful home town of Leeds. The temperature dropped below a certain level and an alert was issued that all of those living on the streets who wanted shelter that night, it would be provided. Brilliant!!!! A great initiative……………….. but, if shelter can be found for that night, why can’t the same shelter be provided more long term. Now, I don’t understand the background here but I just throw it out there as something I noticed.

Christmas. Now there’s a subject. Smile, it’s nearly Christmas i keep hearing. Yep, I get that but the next day it’s not Christmas. How about smiling then as well. How about, and here’s something controversial, smile it’s LIFE!!!! YEY. Just a thought.

Mr Grumpy? I guess so. Maybe it’s age, maybe when I played Scrooge in the school play 40 odd years ago, I decided to live in the spirit of Scrooge. Actually, don’t get me talking about spirit. I’ve got more bottles of gin than I’ve every had. All because I developed a taste for rhubarb and ginger gin.

Spirituality? There’s a subject. Lots written about it. Lots of what’s written is insightful and attention grabbing. It certainly provides focus for us seeking to deliver the greater good and helping our fellow man, woman, and child. It can bring a great sense of worth and vision on what we are hear to do. But, and it is a big but (not butt), some of the stuff on Facebook seems to be written in an inward facing style – I.e. look how good I am and will be rather than look at what good I can do. Or, is it just me. Maybe I’m Mr. Satan.

Brexit? Oh my, oh my. Even The Trump can’t achieve this level of stupidity. I’m embarrassed by the politicians who gather in the name of being MPs. Muppet Pillocks I assume that stands for. The lot of them. I make no bones of it, I wanted to remain in the EU. But people voted out and, after 2 1/2 years of talks we are closer to remaining in the EU than ever. WHAT? Thank god we haven’t wasted billions of pounds. We have? Oh, b0110cks! Or, maybe it’s just me. I’m probably just Mr. Entente Cordiale.

Well, I feel better now. Thank you for reading my rant aka listening to me. And, that’s the point, I am grateful to you for listening to me. Of course l that’s if you’re u got this far in the blog.

How many times do we hear someone going off on a rant, we roll our eyes and think of something far more important that we need to do. Or the phone ring, a name pops up and we decide not to answer because it’s going to be a barrage of ranting. Or we get a text or Facebook message and choose not to read it,and ensure that it doesn’t show the sender that you’ve seen it.

Have you done that? Have you? Have I? What do you think?

But then, think. Is it a rant or is it a cry for help. Someone is down on their knees and they need you to listen and let them feel wanted. Just think a 15 minute conversation, or message exchange could, just could, pull that person back from the brink.

Dramatic? Maybe. Maybe I’m just being Mr Drama Queen. But I worry that so many voices go unheard. So many cries for help get muted and the black dog trots onto the horizon.

We all need someone to listen. I’m lucky, I’ve got many. Sometimes I just forget. Sorry. I actually sometimes choose not to speak rather than letting out. There’s a juxtaposition. Here I am talking about listening and I’m now revealing I sometimes don’t talk. Maybe I’m just Mr. Silent. Maybe I should be just Mr Get A Grip and let those who want to be there for you, be there.

So, in essence, my plea – please listen to that person who needs to to hear and help. And please open to those who are ready, willing and able to listen.

And, so to close another wailing wall of words, written in the main on a crammed train journey out of London. Back to 2 ears, willing to listen to one mouth. Thank god for Ringo! JOKE!!!!!

Thanks for sharing some time with me. I always appreciate your company. Apologies for the numerous typos. As I said, I’m on a train and just writing as I return home. If you spot the mistakes, improvise what you think I meant. It’s probably funnier than the original intention.

Anyway, for now, take care and please, please keep listening.

Jon

The Beautiful Ewe (57 varieties but the inter galactic beings ain’t one)

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“Be stupid, be dumb, be funny, if that’s who you are. Don’t try to be someone that society wants you to be; that’s stupid. So be yourself.” – Christina Grimmie

“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

I’ve realised, I’m not very good at starting these blogs. How do I make them interesting enough to secure a broader audience. I could go political, but that’s old news. Brexit is broken, but everyone knows that. Trump is an imbecile but opinion is divided and I don’t really have the right to comment. Teresa May is the most ineffective Prime Minister since ……………… her predecessor. But, that is quite clearly because Brexit is broken.

So, the political angle doesn’t work.

I could preach spirituality, but that could lose as many people / person as gain anybody. What do I know about spirituality anyway. Or about ‘special ‘ signs of being a chosen one. I see 14:44 on the clock a lot, but I also see 13:40 as often. I read about the fifth dimension and clearly I am not an ascended grand master flash of the overload brethren from the outer galactic reincarnated version of an angel with a dirty face. I know my mission, it’s written in the bars.

So, a spiritual route might not work. Joking apart, I have a real respect for those who follow a genuine spiritual path for the betterment of themselves and to create a better planet. I understand the place of peace that they create and seek to share to help others.

There’s always music. Now I could write about the joy of music. Regular visitors know my love of music. This year has seen many music related highlights for #TeamDurky. We are lucky. I guess the love of music is part of what makes me the person I am. 

Mmmmmmm, now, is this the start of the plot to the blog? Follow me as we open the lid of my mind and find out.

It’s strange how the blogs have morphed from their starting point of analysing why white feathers are scattered before us as we walk. A moulting bird to you might be a guardian angel to someone else. Who am I to question either perspective? For a while, I deeply wanted to believe a guardian angel was with me but no angel would have walked me into the hell that followed. And, well, now #TeamDurky provide my angelic protection.

The blogs then moved into shamanic journeying and wise words from the big chief. Again, who am I to question people’s desire to believe in such things? I now question my own reasons for following that thinking for a time. Reality or desperation? I like my reality now and the closest I get to sham………… is a shami kebab as part of my Friday Night Dinner. That does mean I disrespect others’ views.

We then went a bit dark and a bit bitter. I make no apologies for some of the anger. At that time in our lives there was good reason for anger. But, that was then and this is now. As easy as ABC. Am I angry now? Hell, yes! Leeds Utd lost yesterday, I’m trying to find money to see AHa when they play Leeds, Leeds Rhinos haven’t made any announcements recently, and the weather looks naff. And, that’s the size of it. Talking about size, my 4 foot 11 inch beautiful partner is humming to Mumford and Sons in the background (as in ‘musically’ – very loose definition – not stinking). That makes me very happy.

And, then, I suddenly got it. I realised I have all I could ever dream about – I have #TeamDurky. I have the foundations to build blogs to, hopefully, share our joy and bring a smile to the face of any reader. To help to show that, I pray, everyone has something to be happy about.

Anger isn’t me. I know I’m a grumpy old git, I have a face like a slapped bottom half the time, and I need to turn that frown upside down. But, I’m not angry. I just need to be me. Be the me that I know I am. I spent so much wasted time trying to ‘fit in’ to a belief system that wasn’t me. The Devine was an 80s singer – in my world, and I know I walk like a man and I certainly think I’m a man. But, I also appreciate the Devine means something to others.

As the song goes, I’m a family man and I love being just that. Family extends beyond the house, family extends so much further. It was awesome to see just that at The Wee (4 11) One’s party in the summer. Such a wonderful day and to see the family in all of its glory. It was a joy to step back and just revel in what we have around us, but to also realise this is me.

And, that’s the point; the reason for these words is to celebrate that we can enjoy just being ourselves, and the need not to try and change into what others want you to be. Or is that what you think they want you to be? 

We are all born to be ewenique. Surely? Maybe it takes time to see the true ewe. Let’s face it, at school we try to blend in. At work we seek to be accepted. As we develop friend groups, we want to be liked. But you are ewe are u are you. That’s got to be cause for celebration.

So are you going to be your unique self? Are you going to say no to following the sheep around the field of life and decide to be the beautiful ewe. 

It’s so good to realise that you can be the bewetiful you, not to be the person you’re being told to be. As Hootie And The Blowfish once sang, ‘Cause they don’t look like you’.

We are all different, after all. It’s good to realise there are 57 varieties – and more – and you don’t have to be any. Be ewe, be you, be u. Be an inter galactic being? That’s your choice. I’m sure there’s space out there if you take that option.

As I’ve said earlier, and in many blogs, I / we in #TeamDurky love music and I want to close with possibly the most powerful lyric I have heard for a long time – “Can you live a life worth dying for?” (Tom Searle / Dan Searle / The Architects). Think about it.

Take care

Jon