Wednesday, 18 January 2017

One For The Book List

Here are words from someone else today.    For it's sometimes good for a chatterbox like me to stop talking and give the stage to other people when they're talking sense.  It's a page from Reasons to Stay Alive, the bestselling memoir about major depression, by Matt Haig. What a title for a book! There are plenty of things to keep us going even in a world where darkness seems to get the upper hand at times.  Think beauty of nature, manifestations of kindness, music, unleashing creativity, laughing until you cry...........

Given the rave reviews indicating how helpful it's been to others I've added the book near the top of my reading list.  It sounds a helpful addition in the armoury of a mental health practitioner.  And of course, I know as well as most that you never know when you might need a dose of the medicine that you're doling out to others.   In my virtual wandering I've come across Matt Haig's website. Here's a link to it here .  Now here's a man who appreciates the value of a good list!

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Single Horned Runners

My heel has healed!  So I'm back on track with my running albeit confined to three gentle 5K trots around the block a week.  I'm going to start to slowly increase the distance again at the weekend but easy does it has been my mantra for the last few weeks. As well as those comfy running shoes that were my Christmas treat to myself I've bought myself some new kit. There's a wicking top courtesy of those bins in Lidl and a bright, bright jacket, essential garb as part of the regular route that I take does not have a pavement.  Being hit by a passing car or van is not part of the plan.  Then there's the John McEnroe-esque headband that becomes rather necessary as I increase distance and pace.  I'll spare you the details as ladies like myself don't sweat.

What has really touched me is my own progress has inspired at least a couple of friends to try the Couch to 5K plan.  Scary Secretary took her first tentative steps this week and Disco Queen Vikki is well away.  She's definitely got the bug and is spurring me onto greater things, my first running event in over twenty years.  We are entering Age UK's '80's retro run in Exeter in March, a 10K challenge where we'll deck ourselves out like Bananarama and take at a leisurely pace.  We're getting a little team together and already recruited my dear friend Sugar Plumb is on board.

 Of course we have a name.  We are the Unicorn Warriors.   Disco Queen Vikki hasn't been working in Totnes for long but those alternative vibes are definitely rubbing off on her!

Monday, 16 January 2017

A Quiet One

I had a quick Saturday afternoon trip down to my local with Mr Metrosexual and Ruff Stu on Saturday.  They tried to tempt me off my wagon.  'Go on, have a beer. We won't tell anyone.' Naughty lads!  I remained resolute and stuck to the non alcoholic ginger variety.   I've reached the crest of Dry January today and it's all downhill from now.  I'm still surprised how easy it's been but then I've been avoiding the pub, the South Devon mecca of real ales.

Aside from that I've had a very peaceful weekend just with Louis. There's lots happening behind the scenes for him. I'll reveal all at some point down the line.  With all the goings on  I reckoned that some full on mum-son time was called for.  So after allowing  a longer than normal lie in on Saturday, as Lou's growing and needs his beauty sleep,  we brunched at Lemon Jelli, his favourite Newton Abbot cafe and then holed up at home to watch a dreadful teen movie together.    Sunday was an even quieter day.  I cleaned downstairs in the morning and when the boy eventually emerged he decided he wanted to cook.  I'd done things the wrong way around.  Have you seen how much mess the average adolescent can make in a kitchen?

Jelly first!   Now I know that isn't really cooking but Lou insisted on making some.  After all my wine glasses aren't being used for anything else at the moment.  The ingredients on a packet of that stuff are pretty alarming.    There's half a sugar plantation and the waste from an abbatoir in one of those wobbly blocks!  On a healthier note here's Lou preparing tomatoes to roast for an easy soup.   Whilst he did that I rustled up a roast chicken, his favourite.

There's been time for talking, laughing and messing about. We've pretended that we've had no thumbs, tucking them into our palms.  It took two of us to lock the front door and put salt on our roast potatoes.  Lou gave me a back massage that seemed to consist of tickles and karate chops.  And homework had to be a joint effort.   From the depths of my brain I've trawled up the stuff about quadratic equations that was laid down nigh on forty years ago and  was able to conclude that one question in his maths homework was completely unsolvable.

Yes it was a quiet, no rushing around the country like we're prone to do.  But on reflection it was a precious one. It's left us refreshed to tackle whatever the new week throws at us.

Sunday, 15 January 2017

Instead of a Cow

I loved the '90's series Northern_Exposure.    It was so life affirming.   How many TV programmes can you say that about these days?  Try as I might I cannot pick a favourite character.  Each person was so multi-dimensional and complex.  Just like real life!

I'm pleased to see that many episodes are on Youtube.  I'd like to revisit the town of Cicely if I ever have a moment(!)  To be going on with here's a particularly memorable clip. 

Saturday, 14 January 2017


Photo:  Lakeside Pottery
A  lovely friend with the kindest of intentions described me as fragile the other day.   I was bit puzzled by her use of words.  Firstly, under no stretch of the imagination could I be described as waif-like or delicate.  I'm more out of the fairy elephant mould!  More pertinently I'm not a person that crumbles at the first sign of emotional turbulence.  There's been a lot to cause this in both past and recent times but it's built such resilience.  And I'm not afraid to  chance making myself vulnerable to model trust and openess.  For ditching that cloak of fear brings great rewards.

So I'm  thinking again of kintsukuroi, the Japanese art of mending ceramics with gold to create a powerful visual metaphor. I thought that this was a particularly lovely example.

“Glass & peace alike betray proof of fragility under repeated blows.” David Mitchell, Cloud Atlas

Friday, 13 January 2017

Spider Man

Photo: Colossal
I'm working with a lovely person at the moment.  That's not unusual in my job. I can't help having a soft spot for most of my patients/clients/service users or whatever the NHS wants to call  the people that come through its doors at any particular point in time.  This particular individual identified all by themself that, by being busy doing something that they find meaningful,  they can keep depression at bay.  Ah! The life affirming and  health giving properties of occupation. That's what I spent three years studying at college.  For it can be as good as, or often better, than popping a pill.

The wonderful Colossal website was yet again a source of inspiration.  This person wanted to kickstart a textiles project.  So  I shared pictures of the  wonderfully zany work of Adam  Pritchett and we both enthused over its zaniness and the unusual nature of the subject matter.   It did the trick.  They've gone off to plan a design that they're going to show me in this week's therapy session.

I'm not sure why I was so surprised at coming across a embroiderer who's a bloke.  It's not as if stitchery is the exclusive preserve of women.  There are plenty of  male tailors out there and the lovely David who reupholstered my motorhome said that he been sewing for all his working life .  And I'm reminded of a time when I helped out during an activity morning at Louis' school when he was wee.  I was in charge of helping kids make a drawstring purse.  All the kids who chose to work with me were very enthusiastic little boys.

Thursday, 12 January 2017

Random Bath Linen Grumbles

I'm always sniffing around for ideas for blog posts.  Maybe that's why I absent mindedly agreed when Mr Metrosexual suggested that I asked my readers if they too were finding that their face flannels did not last anywhere near as long as they used to in the olden days. Now blow me down he's even reminded me that I haven't done it.  What is he on!  Since retirement it seems that his horizons have narrowed somewhat.  I've suggested that if this is the type of question that now takes up more than a fleeting moment in terms of brain activity then perhaps he should pop out and get himself a little job or do some volunteering.

Whilst we're on bath linen I thought I'd add my own penny's worth.   Am I the only person who is annoyed by those ubiquitous signs in hotel bathrooms urging us to reuse our towels to help the environment?  For  I suspect that there are far different motives for encouraging this guest behaviour. As such I would be happier if those notices were reworded in the following vein.

Towels put in the bath: Please exchange
Towels replaced on the towel rail:  I'll use again

Please help for the sake of our profit margin.