Saturday, 26 February 2011

Anyone for Tennis - Hell!

My Dear Friends!

Here we are, on a Saturday night, not too far away from the witching hour and yours truly is bravely facing the excruciating pain of the ludicrously-monikered tennis-elbow to bring you what little news there is from the Bijou Penthouse Suite . . . I'm also painfully aware that it has been another week since last we spoke; I really can only apologise profusely but the simple fact of the matter is that I have so many things to do and not enough time in which to do them . . . anyhow, here I am for a brief update and hope that will, for the moment, suffice.

Everything went more or less swimmingly with the new house and so come the first day of Spring I shall be ensconced in Myrtle House and hopefully a web page of the same name will be up and, if not running, at least hobbling around a little . . .  The focus of that page will be, like this one, words but these ones will be more in a book type format; I've got two wee publications on the boil at the moment that, media whore that I am, I want to publicise shamelessly on the MH site; also a couple of other publishers have contacted me with a view to doing bit on their latest offerings, complete with competitions and giveaways so you will not only be able to wallow in my words but maybe get some freebies along the way!

Packing up the BPS is, as always, something of a nightmare; I could probably fit most of my furniture into a Fiat Punto but need something along the lines of an Edwin Shirley juggernaut to fit in all my books! In between now and the planned exodus I also have a residential weekend away in Whalley Abbey which I'm sure will be fun; I am in the process of collecting wet-wipes, shoe boxes and old clothes for that . . . the mind boggles, does it not! This however, takes away valuable sorting, throwing away, recycling and packing the remainder time and so although under control at the mo a wee sprig of panic is beginning to unfurl it's tendrils!  Help!

Monday sees a quite important milestone too; it is my liver's very first re-birth day and we shall be celebrating with a glass of bubbly (water) or two!  It's hard to comprehend that after around 35 years of professional drinking I have actually spent the last 12 months without a single drop of the demon brew passing any part of my semi-permeable membrane - that doesn't sound anatomically correct, does it? - anyhow, you get the general gist . . . the brewers loss has been Nero's gain as sales of green tea have rocketed, not to mention cheesecake . . . I said NOT to mention cheesecake!

My wrist, elbow and all points in between are causing me a great deal of discomfort now and so I will sign off and leave you to what is left of Saturday night; I will keep you informed about the Myrtle House venture and wish you a wonderfully warm and welcoming weekend

'til next time

Be Seeing You !

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Good Morning Dear Friends . . .

Welcome to the latest in a series of very tardy and lax postings; a whole week has passed since last we spoke and for an almost daily blog ( which is what it is described as) that is surely something approaching shocking!  Anyway, with apologies out of the way we can get on with the business of catching up and that is, as Mma Ramostswe of the No 1 Ladies Detective Agency would undoubtedly agree, never done better than in the company of a cup of tea . . . I'll pop the kettle on . . .

My mood of tiredness and irritability of last Sunday persisted for much of the week along with increasing aches, pains and sniffles until I believed I was about to be subjected to another viral attack; I felt so rough that I was forced to cancel my Friday client sessions which is not something I do lightly . . . the pains are still with me - my right arm and elbow are incredibly painful but this is because of some form of tennis elbow or RSI due no doubt to bad ergonomics on my desk - but I seem to have had a stroke of luck or two which has  allowed just a little sunshine to drip into my cloudy day . . .

The first drip was when I received my monthly counselling publication and was interested to read of a local branch of an organisation that seems to offer a service to children which ties in very nicely to my professional leanings; I contacted them and will hopefully be meeting up soon to discuss my possible involvement, which I find both encouraging and exciting.

The second occurred when I was chatting to Sister Eileen on Thursday and she remarked that she had seen a property advertised that I might be interested in; she gave me the details and I  immediately thought that it would have been snapped up as soon as it was advertised because of its location and desirability, however, I gave them a ring and was invited to view it on Saturday morning . . .  handshakes were exchanged and when the ink dries on Thursday I will, with any luck, have a  new location from which to post these blogs!
Myrtle House is one of two Victorian town houses slumbering in a sleepy backwater and sheltering in the shadow of The Parish Church of All Saints.  It is a most peculiar shape and layout - but all the more appealing for that - and should allow a certain amount of creative activities to take place in quiet and solitude which is something I crave badly! It has just enough space for me, my books and, of course, Sal and is hopefully going to provide me with a base for the next phase of my creative life along with a name for my publications website - of which more later!

It will be strange to leave the BPS having spent the past 8 years here; I will miss its very sun-filled aspects and feeling of space but will not miss the very negative day to day conditions that greatly erode creativity and positiveness. It is sad that I have spent so much time and energy - not to mention money - turning it into a real home, only to have my peace and solitude constantly denied by those who live around me, ah me!

So now I have the prospect of packing up my troubles in my old kit bag and smiling as I stride off into the sunset; it's only when one begins to face the reality of all the people and organisations one has to contact in order to simply say"this is my new address" that realisation dawns about just how connected and monitored we all are these days, scary!  Re-reading this I am reminded of the old phrase "many a slip 'twixt cup and lip" and hope that I am not jumping the gun in announcing this; nothing should go wrong but . . . I think I'll believe it when I'm sitting in the new library typing my first post to you all!  You can all help by thinking positively for me, if you will, and I will invite you round for a virtual tour when I am safely ensconced.

Other snippets of happenings from the last week included meeting up with the old Duchess in Nero on Monday; she was returning a book on old Wigan that I had lent her and just as we were discussing it the author of said tome Geoff Shryane came in and spent a few minutes chatting to her about it which, I have to say, proved to be a little high point in her day - thanks for that Geoff!

On Wednesday, and  much against my better judgement, I was enticed to the cinema to watch The King's Speech; I have never been a great fan of Mr Firth, his previous offerings reminding me of something purchased in pre-sawn lengths from DIY establishments but I have to say I was more than impressed by his performance in this all-round brilliant film. I tend to ignore all the blurb about so-called blockbuster films and so was greatly pleased to see that Geoffrey Rush was also starring; he is one of my favourite actors, Shine being a wonderful film. The entire production was a joy and for once the honours heaped upon it are indeed well deserved.

And now my tea has become cold and I need to get on with my day; a very patient black and tan terrier type will need to be springing out into the wild blue yonder very soon and, needing to accompany her, I shall have to attend to my beautification . . . I hope you have a stunning Sunday and if you can all keep your fingers crossed for me I will love you all forever!

'til next time

Be Seeing You !

Sunday, 13 February 2011

All Aboard the Skylark . . .

Good Morning Dear Friends . . .

It is Sunday morning, grey, cold wet and windy and, as is de rigueur on these occasions, bloody miserable!  I can't believe I haven't posted for nearly a week; life just keeps getting in the way it seems and throwing all kinds of obstacles in my path . . . never mind, here I am at last.

I've just had to edit my last post and remove the short poem I had included; evidently even though I credited correctly, posted where the poem could be found and even told the author I had quoted it here, it went against his wishes which, I suppose, one has to respect. Frankly, I did find his reaction a bit arsey but then again I suppose that's his prerogative . . . 

I think my (over)reaction to his comments tell me that I'm getting more than a little weary of the things that people think it's okay to subject one to; I seem to have had nothing but a tide of negativity washing over me in my interactions with folk, ah me!  I probably need a break; a change of scene for a while to recharge the currently never-ready's  and regain some perspective . . . It is time to get my Pac A Mac and head off to Venice for a month or so . . . or Stratford Upon Avon . . . or somewhere wet that isn't Wigan!

It is at times like this that one begins to reconsider happiness; this photograph represents for me the last time I remember being really and truly happy; I was about ten years old and lived in a Ladybird world - at least in my head - and had achieved my ambition of being the Nature Table Monitor at school under the watchful eye of the indomitable Hilda Docker who was a fantastic inspiration but who, for years I was conscious of having let down in some way, by never having achieved her dreams for me of Oxbridge.  Although I was born and grew up in a rather poor area of Wigan I lived for all intents and purposes in books and spent the days with the Famous Five and Alice and tramping the heathland looking for rare butterflies courtesy of a wide range of reading materials.  These days the real world has a dreadful propensity to intrude; I can't say that it is a trait of which I am greatly enamoured!

On the positive side, I have managed to begin cobbling together the outline of a new story which, being a sort of family murder type thing, is quite a departure from my normal genre and I've also written the first two chapters of a rather amusing little book for kids all about death.  Like all of my stories and poems these will soon be available at a new WordPress website dedicated to my writings;  I am aiming for a launch date of 21st March, or the vernal equinox which, as a sceptic and devout follower of Sagan, I see as a good omen - hahaha!

Plans for the day include a short trip through the elements to procure some chocolate biscuits and then an afternoon of books and films with maybe, if pushed, a small amount of work thrown in;  I have a mass of work accumulating for my course which needs to be sorted but today my frame of mind has no right angles only wrong ones and so 'tis best to leave it for the moment. 
As I write I notice that I'm also beginning to become increasingly annoyed by my keyboard quirks; I have developed a habit of typing things like 'WHen' i.e. including a second uppercase letter at the start of a sentence and, my particular bête noire, where I transpose the letters in 'from' to 'form' - this is something I do all the time and it irritates the life out of me!

Such irrational sensitiveness to these unimportant aspects confirm that I definitely need to relax and chill today and allow reasonableness to resume; to that end I shall finish here and allow you to enjoy your Sunday which will probably be made easier without the whine of me moaning and whinging in the background!  I hope you make the best of today and the rest of the week.

'til next time

Be Seeing You !

Monday, 7 February 2011

The Speed of Night . . .

Good Afternoon Dear Ones!

You're just in time for tea and digestives you lucky devils! What a blustery old day is has been; I seem to have spent rather a lot of it to-ing and fro-ing and not achieving a spectacular amount . . . Poor old Sal has been running at almost quantum speeds in order to remain within a nodding acquaintance of the attraction of gravity in the face of these howlers - I use that term in the Shakespearean sense as opposed to a accurate critique of my scientific knowledge by the way . . .

It was on one of my journeys that I noticed that my local and long-established health food shop had closed down; Only Natural had been around for about 25 years and was finally seen off by business rates, can you believe it? Chatting to other shop keepers it seems the rates on a not very large shop are somewhere around £22.5k pa or £432.70 per week - a ridiculous amount to find if you're a newsagent or a small independent trader - plus rent, utilities, staff . . . so very sad and a major reason why our town centres are dying; there are so many empty shops these days . . . a situation that was highlighted in the excellent BBC series Turn Back Time - The High Street where the town centre of Shepton Mallet was revitalised by recreating the shops as they had been through 6 periods in history and persuading the locals to experience real shopping! All well and good if you are being bank-rolled by the BBC, not so good for the real life retailers though . . .

Talking of shopping I am away soon to the hallowed halls of plenty to try and stock up on all the essentials I so desperately need; and looking out of the library window it is just as well they are essentials otherwise yours truly would not be shifting his rather pert and well formed buttocks one iota this evening - it is dark, wet, windy and cold . . . the evening that is, not my buttocks, Brrr!

I also spent a part of the early morning trolling through my collection of snaps in the family album, trying to find some suitable ones for a little exercise we are carrying out on Wednesday evening about therapy using photographs and regression etc - should be fun!  

I have great pleasure in reproducing one of the snaps I found which portrays a young pretender to the throne in his first car - the dolly bird on the bonnet is dear Sister Cate who was around 14 at the time . . . This was taken in the first house that I remember living in although I was about 18 months old when we left I still have vivid memories of it and, curiously enough, many years later I ended up living in an identical one and have to say, for whatever reason, it was one of my most beloved abodes and I was truly sad to leave it.

As the shopping is calling me I suppose I'd better leave you to it; please have more tea and biscuits and make yourself at home . . . I shan't be too long but before I go I'd like to leave you with a lovely poem by Rafal Zabratynski  called "Faster and Faster" (which can be found at 


So simple and yet so beautiful . . . and, no, I wasn't going to add "just like myself" you are all very wicked!

'til next time

Be Seeing You !

Saturday, 5 February 2011

Ex Libris

Good Morning lovely people - how are you?

It's actually a very dark and dismal and appallingly wet morning - much the kind of day I love to spend in my library by the fire with a book or seven, passing the time by expanding my literary experiences - not so today though as I'm off to the Vale of the Deer Crossing for a damp day in the country . . . 

Today is also National Save Our Libraries Day when we are being encouraged to use our libraries in excelsis in order to prove to the Government who - let us not fool ourselves here -  really don't give a toss about anyone but themselves, that we the common rabble should be allowed a little access to education and learning and that that access shouldn't come with an admission charge!  It is a truly appalling state of affairs that those who have never known want or need decide that the only way they can keep their coffers filled is by taking away the very organisations that not only are a focal point of activity for communities but also allow access to books, cd's, dvd's* and the internet for the very many people  who simply could not afford these 'luxuries'

I hear you say that it is the local authorities who are being forced to close libraries; that's true, in the face of the cuts that are being implemented in order to prop up the banks and pay bonuses and allow companies and individuals to get away with massive - and I mean billions of pounds worth - of avoided tax . . . it is a very clear cut case of rocks and hard places!

I use my public library in Wigan an excessively large amount; admittedly I don't use it for internet access as mine is not one of the 1 in 5 households still without access, but for everything else it is a fantastic resource.  In Wigan we are lucky enough to have a brilliant Museum of Wigan Life which holds the most interesting evenings about historical topics and which I also attend; are these gems about to get the chop? It would be a sad day for us all . . .

I'm sorry I appear to have been ranting and haven't even offered you a cup of tea yet . .  . look, you'll have to help yourself, is that okay?  I have to dash and sort myself out for my rural retreat - as well as trying to persuade certain beasties that a walk in the rain is not such a bad thing . . . I believe I would have more success getting a free iMac out of Davey Boy Cameron that getting the good and famous Sal to shift her haunches in this weather . . . oh hum!

So just a brief word or two to let you now I still love having you here;  I shall try and regale you with something slightly more amusing soon.  Have a wonderful day and go and borrow a book or dvd or something and sit by your fireside and think how lucky you are - for the moment!

'til next time

Be Seeing You !

* I am aware there is a very small charge made for the loan of these items, normally £1 for two or three weeks hire, much less than the cost of buying them

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

"February is Merely as Long as is Needed to Pass the Time until March."*

Good Morning Dear Friends!

Once again I wish you the joys of the morning; especially this one as not only should it contain the pleasure of albino triplets of the order lagomorpha**, which is reason enough to throw caution to the winds and celebrate wildly but is also the birthday of two lovely people who I have the pleasure of knowing personally:

The first named being a certain Mr Ian Henderson who, whilst being a knowledgeable chap and decidedly handsome rogue, pales into mere stunningness besides the area of outstanding natural beauty that is Ms Lissy Clements who celebrates her 16th today!  I hope you both have an astoundingly wonderful day!

I have, for once, a day with little lined up to do - except all the usual coursework  naturally - but I do have an invitation to take tea with an old friend who I haven't see for a while so that should be good; the venue being Nero I shall take my trusty laptop and forge on with the poetry collection whilst waiting . . . there is something so enjoyable about sitting in a café writing - I'm sure some of you uncharitables out there substituted "posing" there - how could I possibly pose with a Dell notebook?  Now, with an iMac Air that would be quite a different matter . . .

But the poetry is going well . . . well, it isn't really poetry, just doggerel but amusingly so I hope.  The idea behind it is to introduce the idea of poetry and language to children in Key Stage Two - that's those between sort of seven to eleven years old.  The language used is fairly accessible but has a smattering of "difficult" words and perhaps unusual concepts included to provide opportunities for further work and investigation.  I will, of course, be writing lesson plans and whatnot for teachers to use and would love to go in and perform some of the poems . . . just an old ham, aren't I !

Other than that I am going to spend the day recovering from the weekend which involved the near self-immolation of a neighbour and the resulting damage and distress hangs over the BPS like a pall; time to throw open the windows and let the sweet breath of Spring freshen my life a little - although as Spring is around 6 weeks away I shall have to make do with February's grey damp caress instead!

The rest of the week pans out pretty much as normal with clients and client-related business taking up pretty much all of it . . . I had the exceptional pleasure of working with a counsellor colleague with clients for the first time yesterday; it was an interesting experience and one which I believe worked so well clinically . . . sadly, it looks as if Tessa (the colleague in question) will be departing these shores for the delights of home in LA pretty soon and will be sorely missed!

Allons! I should be about my business as should you - do you really have time for that extra cup of tea whilst you read this balderdash? You do? How very fortunate for you! If you're popping the kettle on I may well dash round and join you . . . otherwise I will wish you an absolutely stunning day filled with all pleasures and treasures temporal, corporeal and spiritual . . .

'til next time

Be Seeing You !

* Attributed to Dr J R Stockton - whoever that may be!
**White Rabbits x 3!