Thursday, 25 November 2021

Stir crazy...

      Well I am fast approaching the end of week three since 'the snap' and to say that things have been a tad up and down is possibly the biggest understatement since the Titanic's captain suggested ' tis but a paintwork scratch'! The physical side is the obvious effect of the snap and I am pleasantly surprised at how fast my body is recovering although it is becoming increasingly rotund. Unfortunately 'the snap' has underlined how fragile the mental side of my health remains with several days just been wasted with not able to arise from my bed until past noon and the feelings that creep into my head forewarning me of the Black dog's ever present shadow looming again. I find myself spending far too long watching screens, mobile, I-pad, PC and television which then leads to myself feeling nauseous inside and not going to bed until the early hours of the morning...catch 22.

     But I am becoming an old hand at seeing the abyss approach these days and so far have managed to avoid plunging into it, for it is bloody hard to crawl out of that hole once trapped inside. So I am now limiting my screen time (says the muppet writing a blog post upon his PC) and I am trying to occupy my mind with future plans and projects to carry out once my collar bone has 'un-snapped'. I have been putting some stuff off forever so now is as good as time as ever to plan out a project list and fill in the details so that once healed I can be as productive as possible.

     There is the list of household tasks/improvements to be undertaken (this list will never actually end, tis just like the DFS sofa sale!), the garage project list to enable the opening of the 'Orc's Workshop' (more on that in future posts, but it is a tad exciting) and of course the saga of my postage stamp sized back garden to be completed list. To help with some of these future projects I have begun to sketch out some rough (very rough) drawings to help me visualise the work, tools and materials required....

Future writing desk (steampunk ish)

                                                Writing desk design, hint of steampunk

Aquarium cabinet design.

Bramble helping....

      There are more sketches though all in various states of scribble. The anticipation of being able to work again is hard to stand without picking up some tool or other. I have to remind myself that I must be careful not to rush the un-snapping of my collar bone as any more time stuck indoors would nia on unbearable m'thinks. Also the fact that I am sure G would have some ear bending comments if I buggered up my recovery! 

     We are off to Londonium over the weekend which is always bitter sweet for moi, yes I get out of the house but both myself and G are the world's worst passengers so only one of us will not mind the journey too much and it is not me, blast the snap. Though I must say I actually hate, and no, hate is not too strong a word in this case, driving in Londonium itself. It is as if the folk down there have no perception of manners, road sense or danger! in fact I will go as far to say that it is like driving in a post zombie apocalypse. At least we get to see G's daughter and hubby and hopefully G's son too, always an absolute pleasure to spend time with these guys. 

     Oh and whilst I am here I must say a massive thank you for the brilliant response from folk since I have taken up my blogging pen once more, it really does mean an awful lot to me and is quite humbling that people actually enjoy my jottings here.

    Footnote...this post has been brought to you by copious mugs of Yorkshire tea, choccy biscuits and my doctors top notch prescription painkillers.

Monday, 22 November 2021

A shameless piece of advertising..

       Tis quite funny how one person's upturn can encourage another person in life. Take this blog for instance, as some of you may know it has been quite a long time since I have shared my thoughts within the blogging community. For whatever the reasons over the years I just did not find the mindset to commit myself to writing  and it became harder and harder to do so as time passed. But suffering from the fever of being stuck in our cabin after 'the great snap', as it shall now be known, I needed to occupy myself or going stark raving mad (and that's after only after a week of being laid up). So I returned to the blogs, first reading others but soon inspired to write the odd piece. Funny I thought that this would be a temporary thing once working again. But no, I know that even after a few short posts that I am here to stay and annoy you all with my musings on a permanent basis (sorry!).

      The thing is that my beloved G has written poetry on and off for far longer than she has known myself and, like me, dips in and out of writing as life's pressures dictate. She has often thought of sharing her work and thoughts but like so many of us lacked the confidence to do so. I suppose it is easier for writers like myself who just write about the day to day thoughts, doings and dreams of their lives as the content is there in front of us every waking moment. Poetry, in my opinion is a different animal, perhaps more open to scrutiny and critic but as I have said before, if people do not like what is written then they are free to look elsewhere for their reading material.

      G has been so supportive of me in my renewed blogging as she is with all my endeavours, but I sensed something else within her at the same time. So I have suggested her writing on her own blog and indeed this week she has started to do so. Of course it is in its infancy and requires refinement (the template not the content), but the bare bones of it are now in the blogosphere for all and sundry to take a peak at. G is of course nervous at this new adventure but I am sure her confidence and for that matter her following will grow in time.

     So if you fancy taking a peak at her poetry and perhaps offer some support then her new blog is to be found here......

Sign of the Rhymes

     She will probably kill me for this helping hand as she is as independent as they come, but if I can only offer a fraction of the support that G shows me it will be worth the lambasting...

Sunday, 21 November 2021

The little things....

      As you may have gleaned from my profile or words I now earn a crust, albeit a thin one, from gardening these days. The change of career from engineering for over thirty years was the culmination of separate events that together led to one of those 'catch your breath moments' and for me to take the plunge into being self employed.

     Listed briefly the events that happened, perhaps not in precise order were; my breakdown and the subsequent turmoil that ensued, my divorce, the take over of the factory where I was working at the time and the idiotic engineering manager who usurped the original team, the realisation that material gains mean nothing if your not happy within yourself (or if your dead for that matter), meeting G and the support she has given me, support that until meeting her I had no idea that I was missing and a raft of other, smaller events that all summed up together to make the change in my life.

     So the plunge was taken, a risk for both of us not just myself, and my gardening career began. That was some five-ish years ago now and to say that it has been wonderful all the time would not really be truthful. For a start financially it has been a killer with me earning far less than fifty per cent than what I could have as an engineer, the work is so weather/seasonally dependant to make it seem at times feel that it truly is not worth it and I have to be nice to people...a lot!

     It is especially, at times like now where I have been rendered basically housebound and unable to work due to snapping my collar bone that I rue the change of career. If I don't work I don't get paid, there is no company sick pay nor any holiday pay for me and when you are as poor as I am at managing money then this becomes a real blow, putting pressure not just on me but onto G and our relationship. 

    But G has been a rock and my bone will heal (as long as I am sensible about giving it enough time that is), so we both know this time of hardship will pass. And if I am being honest a return back to the factory life is never on the cards, mentally it would be the end of me as I still teeter upon the edge of the abyss at times. It is hard at these times to be positive but it is the little things that sometimes do the most to help and remind me that I was born to gardening and working outdoors, just took some decades and a breakdown to realise it. The client base that I have slowly built up are in the main kind, appreciate my work and ethics, and are a pleasure to work for.

    This evening the little thing that reminded me of why I do what I do happened whilst looking for some picture to 'jazz' the blog up a bit and I came across these...

    Last month I was working for a client that had contacted me earlier in the year after her garden had been left in a right bloody mess by one of the so called 'big landscaping companies'. The story of the garden's progress this year may well be worth a post in itself but I shall have to ask her permission to tell that story. She is a dream to work for and bringing her a garden for her to enjoy has being fulfilling to say the least (not to mention she provides copious amounts of tea or coffee). On the last visit she handed me the above book "as a thank you for the work so far". As I turned the pages I realised that this was more than just a book but from the late nineteenth centuary (the hand written gift message is dated 1874 the year of the books publication) it had been somebodies treasured garden companion with dried flowers secreted between many of the pages and almost every page having hand written notation upon some aspect, either observed or learnt, of gardening. I was basically moved to tears and told her that this was a treasure that I could not accept but she insisted saying "it is because you see it for what it is and not as a material thing that I want you to have it".

     So you see working at a career, or for that matter a relationship that saps the soul and strength out of oneself just for material or monetary gain is truly not worth it. But working at a life where one is appreciated and is shown to be appreciated is truly worth it, but sometimes it is the little things that help remind one of this. Yes my ladder acrobatics have made it extremely hard for myself and G at the moment but together we are strong enough to get through this time, I just have to remember to take my safety net when next performing on a ladder.


Tuesday, 16 November 2021

Avoiding the trap...

      And what prey tell is this devious trap you speak of? I hear you ask (yep still getting the voices within the space betwixt my ears). Tis actually a trap many folk have fallen into and it is truly quite a dark side of writing, especially on social media where being 'liked' can become an addiction to the thumbs up. 

     I have only scribed two posts here upon these hallowed pages since the 'great snap' and already I find myself checking for comments, counting page views and looking at how I can encourage people to follow this blog. This is a dangerous road to travel down as it may lead the many feelings that may affect one's mental health. Feelings of worthlessness, not being accepted within society, self doubt etc. and these feelings can build up and affect a person in so many negative ways that may allow the Black dog once more creep into your head and drag you back to the abyss. 

     I am fortunate that I have recognised my 'symptoms'  before I awoke the Bitch Noir, for many do not. I find that writing is a way to relax my mind and bring some order and peace to it, and to lose this by becoming paranoid about the popularity of this blog would be a sad day for me. After all, in the grand scheme of things what does it matter that people may not like my written words, after all I upset enough folk in the 'real world' with my spoken words! Of course it pleases me when people respond favourable to my scribing (in a lovely warm fuzzy internal sort of way), but it should not affect my life or mindset if they do not. And why should I try to change my writing to encourage greater readership and hence a feeling of more acceptance? I think that it far better to have a much smaller appeal writing honestly and by being true to myself than to write a lie, don't you? 

     In the dim and distant path I wrote a blog called 'Musings of Murpyfish' and it was indeed rather successful, but not because I wrote with grand aplomb nor because I chased the 'follower'. No, it was successful because I just wrote about my life, thoughts and dreams, nothing more. Would I like to be a successful blogger once again? hell yes, I love that fuzzy internal glow of acceptance. Would it be the end of the world if I still only had two followers (one of them is G. bless her) in twelve months time? no, it would not because why would I chase a written relationship with people who do not like what I enjoy writing about?

     So take some writing advice from this old fart:- if people do not like what you write about it truly does not matter, honestly there will be some idiots out there who will, it just takes time for them to find your words. Do not change your writing to be popular, you are just being false to yourself and will attract only false readers. Write about what you enjoy writing about, whether it be a hobby, food, wildlife, walking, nuclear physics, car parks of the United Kingdom, how to train your snail or anything else that you are passionate about, I promise you that there will be somebody out there who will love your words. Remember, writing is most definitely not a way to get rich for the vast majority of us, not with money at least but it can be a great way of getting thoughts out into the ether and help clear troubled minds and that's why I write (I just have to remind myself of this from time to time). I hope these scant words help you avoid the trap of chasing popularity, it really does not matter as long as you are happy and true to me for I am a writer.

Footnote....if you like my writing please follow, comment, send me warm fuzzy feelings and tell your friends, oh and a huge bundle of cash...just saying ;-)


Monday, 15 November 2021

Not of this time...

      For some strange reason I have had to ‘re-publish’ as it reverted itself back to ‘draft’?

     For many years I have found myself feeling ‘out of place’ in this world, or rather ‘out of time’ would be a more accurate statement of how the feeling manifested itself. I would find myself looking at historical events and previous time eras and feeling more of a connection with them than I felt with the era I find myself err, well stranded within seems as good as way of describing the sensations felt.

     I tried to sate this feeling some time ago by looking at historical re-enactment groups, such as Roman, Viking and World War groups with the view of joining one. But a couple of things put me off this idea, namely I don’t think that dressing up for a weekend in a muddy field splattered with cow dung is my idea of fun and also I don’t play nice with people in general, actually I don't play well with people full stop. So with re-enactment groups ruled out it seemed to me that was that, but, then again perhaps not. Now that I am over the initial shock and pain of snapping my clavicle I find that time, for once, is something that I have ample amounts of. Now I am still not considering of dressing up for weekends away in a muddy field, bonding with history nerds who would cast scorn upon my Roman fancy dress just because my gladius was one inch too long or that my toga was a shade too revealing (although that would cause some consternation in said muddy field m'thinks). But I have found myself once again considering ways of addressing this feeling of being 'out of time'.

     I think that part of the reason that I have this feeling is down to my upbringing, especially the parts where my father was involved. I have described him as being draconian in some of his perceptions and attitudes to modern day society and I can see now that this has most definitely rubbed off on my own social outlook. Another possible reason is that I am very intolerant of the majority of people and their lack of basic values such as honesty, respect for others, good manners etc. Another thing is that over the last six years or so, I have lived in two houses that were built in the Victorian era (including our present abode) both of which have retained some period features, our previous house had actually been redecorated by its previous owners very sympathetically to its victorian roots and was a joy to live in but it was just located in the wrong place. Living in these houses has given both of us an interest in the victorian era and we would dearly love to take our present abode back to its former glory although with a nod to some modern devices.

     For myself the above reasons have also led me into more than a passing interest in other aspects of the victorians, namely their feats of engineering, gardens and clothing. So whilst I have been passing time awaiting my bones to knit together I have begun exploring a tad more into the world of the victorians. A lot about that era has caught my imagination and I feel that out of all the periods of humankind it is here that I would have felt most at home. 

     But what to do? dressing up as a victorian gentleman for a weekend does not, I feel, quite cut it. Then again the dress styles, whether work clothing or posh stuff, from this era can be extremely smart, practical and damned comfortable. Another subject whilst looking at victorian clothing came up and that is 'steampunk', basically a style  inspired from victorians but with some twists added, covering aspects such as clothing, house decor etc. Examples of steampunk clothing may be found in many sci-fi  films such as Sherlock Holmes, The league of extraordinary gentlemen, Van Helsing, The golden compass, 20,000 leagues under the sea, The time machine etc....

       And yes dressed in this manner does not have to be for the weekend but can apply to all aspects of my life and I am certainly not one to follow the flock nor am I afraid to be different. As for work, I am my own boss (when G allows) and my work ethics can be described as my father's i.e. work hard, don't leave a task half done, complete it to the very best of one's ability, keep learning etc., in fact a tad victorian. I still retain my interest in engineering and love the living engines that are powered by steam, again something inspired and pursued by the victorians. My present career is as a gardener and the victorians also had a massive influence on planting and garden design found on these small isles, indeed when time and broken bones allow I am in the midst of constructing my own take upon a victorian walled garden for our own place of relaxation and peace.

     So I think to myself, why the hell not include some more victoriarner within my life and maybe, just maybe it will help ease the feeling that eats away at me on quite days that I am man out of time? Unfortunately this will take time, planning and money to perhaps fulfill this goal but hey nothing ventured nothing gained as they say (don't ask I still don't know who 'they' are!).  So watch this space and lets see if these small changes that are afoot ease an troubled man's already troubled mind.

Friday, 12 November 2021


      Well I now know how T-Rex must have felt with those bloody stupid arms nature had endowed him with, though I'm not sure that 'endowed' is the correct word for those short and bloody useless fore limbs!

      Let me explain, a week ago today, that would be the 5th of November when we Brits celebrate the last occasion anyone entered our Houses of Parliament with any semblance of honesty, I was happily working away on my tripod ladder trimming a rather nice mixed hedge when the ladder shifted causing moi to fall some five feet, the height where upon my size eights were perched, to a rather unforgiving lawn that the recent rain had failed to soften enough to cushion my landing. The upshot of said landing was the snapping of my collar bone, a piece of anatomy that previously I have not had reason to notice within my decades of life. The Norse Gods also decided to further the test of this latest trial by ensuring that it is my right clavicle that has split asunder knowing damn well that I am right handed, bless their frozen beards! 

     So with the first week of my torment now behind me I am trying to occupy my time as all physical work is out of the question whilst my body sets about repairing the damage, hence the return to the written word. My right arm is now in full T-Rex mode spending most of its time in a sling which means I have to adapt somewhat. Simple tasks now become a minefield of dangers with me trying to avoid the stabs of pain one wrong move entails. Such tasks include using the computer mouse, brushing ones teeth, getting dressed (I still cannot put socks and shoes on with G's assistance) and wiping my backside....the list goes on but you get the idea I hope.

     I find that even typing this short piece is tiring and aggravates the dull ache in my shoulder so I shall end this for now but hopefully there will be more musings to follow.....