Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Contains words about football, and another dream

This will be the one and only comment I make about England and the World Cup - specifically about the England-Germany game the other day.

A lot of people have said that we would have lost to Germany regardless of the fact that our second goal was disallowed, that we just weren't good enough. Up to now, I've agreed. In general, we most definitely weren't good enough, throughout the whole tournament. Pretty poor in fact.

So - we were losing by two goals to nil. Yes, our midfield and defence made very basic errors which allowed them through. But how many teams, in that position, make a good enough comeback to equalise within the first half against a team such as Germany, on a high-profile stage such as the World Cup finals? I'm finding myself starting to agree with those who suggest that if our second goal had been allowed - which it obviously ought to have been - that, at the very least, England were in with a chance to regain the initiative...we could well have been up against the prospect of an enthralling and more evenly-matched second half, possibly (just possibly, mind) with a different outcome.

Still, I did have the sense that if we'd won against Germany, we would only be prolonging the agony until the next game. Regardless of the what-ifs I've just posted, overall we were really walking a tightrope the rest of the time. We're out now, and I'm neither bitter nor am I exactly smarting about the outcome such that it was.

Right, that's that out of the way.

Last night I dreamt that I was in a shop and, as I walked along a particular part of it, everyone turned to me and told me I wasn't supposed to stand there. There was nothing to indicate that this was the case, it was just a normal part of the shop, with shelves displaying goods that were on sale - but everyone looked at me with sheer disapproval.

Meanwhile, in a different dream (or part of the same one, I'm not sure) I was sat with three security guards. One of them was actually a greyhound but also a dinosaur. He was a very decent sort of chap, all the same.

Friday, 25 June 2010

Weight lifting

This is the first Friday evening of the last several where I've felt calm and relaxed and feeling like the weekend will be ok.

The last few weekends have, in themselves, been ok - but the pressure of the preceding week has, on those occasions, left me tired and grumpy on Friday evening, waking early Saturday morning, and only starting to feel the benefit of a break from work when it's almost time to go back.

I don't wish to tempt fate, but the crisis points that have been a real challenge of late seem to be lessening. I'm not making any assumptions about what next week will bring, but I'm not feeling burdened by the residue of the (working) week that I've just left behind.

Which may leave me better prepared should there be any more nightmares.

But right now, I'm feeling lighter, and that's enough.

Update - Well, not really an update, but I should add: have a good weekend, all.

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Beautiful World

You wouldn't expect me to write a post with a title like that would you?

I don't know, would you?

Anyway, the title itself refers to the name of a group blog that I'm part of, set up by the indefatigable Fire Byrd.

I like it, and perhaps you might do too. Go on, take a look.

Saturday, 19 June 2010


Still on the theme of dreams, last night I dreamt that I was in a posh living room that happened to be at basement level, and noticed a ventilator grille right in the top of one of the corners of the room. Later, I went up to ground level - the street outside - and was amazed to be able to look down through the same grille and see the posh room from above.

So I went back down to the room and looked up, then back up to the street and looked down. I really couldn't get over it.

Thursday, 17 June 2010


I dreamt last night that I was at a manor house for some big event, and that the photographs I had taken all had ghosts on them in the background. I was sure that no-one would believe me, but when I showed them to everyone, the ghosts were changing, moving round on the photographs as we looked.

Sunday, 13 June 2010

Sometimes you step outside of yourself

I've alluded to some pretty intense stuff going on at work. The last three weeks have been among the most testing - if not the most testing - I've ever had to deal with. There was the potential for the worst of all possible outcomes, amongst all sorts of other upheavals and uncertainties.

I'm not saying it's over yet, that particular scenario, but it feels like a critical point has been reached, and passed. I had to confront a rapidly-building crisis, and in doing so then I suppose I had to confront me, too.

It's touched a raw nerve in me. No, not touched it - poked it, prodded it, gripped it tight.

It has, I think, made me more aware, slightly more conscious, at least for now. More sober too, far more sober, but not far too sober. It feels like dust has been shaken in some of the darker recesses of my mind, to reveal something.

To reveal, erm, a thing. An I'm-not-sure-what. We'll call it a knot. But it's something, and it's there, this knot, and it needs to be untied. This knot feels as though it isn't just about the raw nerves that have been exposed over the last three weeks - it's about other things besides: recent events have perhaps served as a catalyst.

That knot was there last weekend when I went to visit my mother. It's been there for a long time, I think - and it needs to be untied.

I remember once, when I gave up drinking for a few years, there was a curious sense of unravelling in the first few months. Not in the sense of falling apart, but in the sense of things, feelings, long hidden - perhaps that I'd chosen to hide from - gradually revealing themselves again, sometimes in a subtle way, other times sledgehammer-subtle.

That, however, was when drinking had itself become an issue which needed to be addressed. That's not the case this time, I have no concerns in that respect, I'm in a different place. Yet still there's this knot, and it needs to be untied. Whether I address it in the same way - ie a lengthy period of sobriety - or via other means, I'm not sure. But it's there, and I don't think it'll be going away anytime soon, and I'm not content to leave it alone.

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Cold comfort collage

I was browsing earlier and was looking at a site containing instructions for making collage.

It's all good, easy-to-comprehend stuff - ideal for using as reference, say, as a basic teaching aid. User-friendly, easy to follow, broken down into logical steps and so on and so forth. It has separate sections - following on from the method - with extra tips, precautions, and other extra bits and bobs.

Things take a surprisingly dark turn when you reach the section giving links to related topics.
The first link is How to make a digital photo collage, and the next three links are along broadly similar lines.

Then we get to the last one:

How to comfort the dying.

Clearly, the art of collage is far more multilayered these days than it ever used to be. Is it a metaphor? The glue being that which binds body and soul as represented by the flat surface juxtaposed against the illusion of depth (just off the top of my head)?

Or has there been a poll or survey, perchance, the result of which states that Dying people find collage more comforting than previously thought?

Or should one cut out a series of shapes and colours to stick down on a piece of board which, when held at a distance of a few feet, is then seen to show a sympathetic message?

I think we should be told.

Sunday, 6 June 2010


The week at work was the most intense and tiring I've had for a while, it was difficult to fully put some things at the back of my mind: they remained, following me around, questioning me.

I went to see my mother this weekend and it felt as though things were a little bit scratchy between us. Conversation at times was not helped by the fact that neither of us has great hearing. I was exhausted, too - it was difficult to follow her line of conversation beyond anything other than the most straightforward topics.

When she asked about work I had to point out that it wasn't something I wanted to dwell on.

I went out for a couple of beers in the evening, and I really enjoyed walking home down the lane at around 11pm. It's a lane with a lot of space either side, and I remember as a kid imagining that each side of it was a different continent. I recalled this with a smile last night, and enjoyed the lightshow: the weather was breaking, and lightning from distant storms illuminated the dome of the sky.

I woke up and heard the thunder more than once in the early hours, somehow it was a kind of comfort, not least after a week when such a concept has been in short supply.

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Without worry (2)

Once down by the pond, I looked around and saw tree-lined paths stretching out in several directions - some straight (one of them a mile long, I'm sure) and, as I was to find, some curving off and into the woods, to open out at some delightful, sheltered location.

One particular path - the longest one - had the prospect of another palace sat dimly and silently in the distance. I opted to take a walk down there, occasionally allowing myself to stray off onto one of the alternative tracks which would present itself along the way.

The whole place felt serene, gentle, soothing..some times radiating solemnity, other times playfulness. Here, for example, tucked away off the main path and occupying a little glade all its own, was an extravagantly ornamental Chinese House.

I wandered around it and looked at all the sumptuous detail, whilst not allowing myself to feel any annoyance at the fact that my camera was starting to lose battery power. This wasn't the kind of place where I could feel annoyed about anything, it was far too nice. After a little while I headed back to the main path.

I love these long, straight walkways. The perception of distance travelled, of the stately building ahead growing almost imperceptibly larger and clearer, and of my starting point being barely visible when I turned round to see my progress.

All was calm, and so was I.

This palace was magnificent, looming silently in its grounds, and sitting facing the long path I had just walked down. I doubted that the place was open to the public at this time of year: I could have been wrong but, in any case, I didn't feel the need to go in.

That, for one thing, might have broken the rather delightful spell that was cast here on the outside amongst the many treasures in the park (the biggest treasure being the sense of peace, of being in an idyll). No, it was enough to be here on the outside.

I strolled the grounds for a while. The winter light was growing weak once again, but without the coldness that had gripped the air that morning. This afternoon light suited the grandeur of the setting well. I lingered for a short time further before heading back in the opposite direction.

Further delights were awaiting. As I strolled back along the path, I took a detour to my left, and happened upon this:

I could go on. On the day itself, I did go on and found many more delightful features around which I could wander, enclosed spaces in which I could feel pleasantly cocooned, porticos and squares which seemed designed for quiet reflection. I stayed until the light faded, reluctant to leave.

I know why I've posted all this now. I've needed to dip back into the serenity of the place: it's provided some welcome respite from some of the challenges I'm experiencing at the moment. Despite the distance both in terms of time and of geography, I don't feel so far away from there, and that's really something to hold on to.