Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Cheese and Wine Anyone?

All week that sin of greed has been eating away at me. Ever since I had a spare half hour near the Galleria and spotted a beautiful coat in a shop. The colour of brown sugar, double breasted and looking o so smart I have resisted so far. I do have four coats already although my envious eyes sees them as jaded and in need of supplementary reinforcements. Passing close that way again today I resisted for the time being.

Is this a sign? I spent a lot in Waitrose on my way home, some things I needed, some I didn't. Where is my mood? I feel pretty tired but I'm also feeling impulsive. What is this state? Overwhelmed but mainly paddling on serenely. Such a mix of contradiction. Must get down to my mood diary although I'm not quite sure how I will measure this week.

Enough of that though, it is Wednesday. I'm blogging a little early tonight so opera hasn't started. For the time being Classic FM is my background sound. Later I will have a visitor for an indulgent evening of cheese, wine and Mozart. Been a while since Jo came round. It will be nice to see her and partake of a cultural evening. That partially explains why I spent so much but I don't care. I just want a fun evening.

Tonight I mellow, tomorrow another day of this marathon week. My colleague Lisa told me I looked tired today. Certainly each morning the duvet is more enticing than the cold outer world. But I have not succumbed to my fear and desire for sleep. I think I'm doing quite well.

At this midweek point, I hope you are all thriving. We're on the downhill slope to the weekend so take it easy, do what you need to do and escape any stress to fight another day.

I Heard a Voice.

Sunday, 12 November 2017

Interrupted Sleep, Grouchy Outlook.

Who would have known that on going to bed last night my planned lie in would have been interrupted by the police battering down the door of a flat downstairs? No idea what is going on but that flat seems cursed. In the time I have been here three times it has been occupied and many more than three times it has attracted the attention of the police. I do not know the people who moved in recently but I certainly wish I wasn't disturbed in my precious sleep.

That has led to rather grouchy outlook today. Tiredness is always a downfall for me. I'm not certain what to do with myself. I have listened to Handel and am now whiling away the hours with Classic FM. But I feel uneasy.

Outside there is a cold biting wind so that doesn't seem very attractive. Perhaps I should go out for a pint. Need to get the lamb in to slow roast first. If I remember I will make my own mint sauce.

The flat is gradually warming up although I have sense of doom over the boiler. A friend took a look yesterday and thinks it is the thermostat but also pump sounding dicey. Not what I need with winter beckoning.

But I cannot be too downhearted. There are many good things in my life. My wonderful and varied friends. My music and my books. The priceless gift of cooking well. And dad and Miriam. We will be reunited at Christmas. Not that far off now I suppose. Time goes so quickly.

Let us hope that my mood stays stable in the long upcoming week. Some days I'm so anxious it is a hard to get out of bed. Today has just been a different fear. Yet fear lurks and links so precariously to my mood. The long haul of this week will be the acid test.

I Heard a Voice.

Saturday, 11 November 2017

We Remember.

On this day we remember those who died in war. Having recently completed reading my cousin Karen's book on her grandfather's experiences in the Great War it is once again poignant and humbling. Not often on a Saturday I missed any ceremony. Much of that will take place tomorrow at the annual Remembrance Day parades. With the world as it is the poppy our symbol for those we remember has become a more controversial symbol. Don't let the fascists steal it and recall we remember all those who died not just the jolly white Englishman. I always wonder where those who we fought against fit into all this. They too must be remembered. War is a terrible thing.

Closer to home I've survived another week. Tense and long I think I did okay. But it will grind relentlessly on come Monday. The upcoming week is also likely to be long. I will be triaging all week as my colleague Sammie is off. But it will not end on Friday at 4 pm. I am being required to attend an open day next Saturday. I use that word specifically as I was given no choice. Well I was on disability grounds but how would that be for my colleagues who are not disabled?

Each week that goes by I become more wary of the disableisation of the world. The mental health campaigns have got us on the map in a way never seen before. But are we pathologising the normal? Is it fair or unfair to give the disabled extra time? Or extensions? Or exam adjustments? Where does that leave those not impaired? I have no power to change that but only to follow what I'm told to do.

With the weekend here my kitchen will once again be a focus. My boiler is playing up again so slightly on edge. But although I dreamed anxious dreams of work I'm not in a bad place. A squid stew will be tonight's fare. Tomorrow roast lamb. Will the heating hold up on this cold weekend? I can only cross my fingers.

Wherever you are and whatever you are doing, have a good time and enjoy the break. I will return soon.

I Heard a Voice.

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Dreaming of Far Away Produce.

The vibrant colours, twisted gnarly shapes and intense flavours of Mediterranean vegetables are a long way off what I can get in leafy but not so sunny Hertfordshire. My mind drifts to Provence and Tuscany, to Palma and Greece. They do vegetables so well in those sunnier climes. I have to make do with what I can find in the supermarket. I do tend to buy the more expensive varieties out of gluttony, arrogance, experimentation and general adventure. Most of the time they fall short though.

Tonight I did a rare venture into pasta. And much to my surprise the tomatoes I used and slow cooked with shallot, garlic and basil last night had a wonderful flavour. A fine sweetness that comes of slow cooking tomatoes. I was quite pleased with the outcome.

My food ventures have gone well. My fest of game at the weekend. An accidental rib session with Sarah at Hakalok. A huge pork chop with baby roast potatoes and rosemary and garlic. And tonight's success. This is what keeps me going in the rocky waters I'm negotiating at the moment.

I have fought back from my Sunday despair. My feared outcome did not transpire. I still have heating and hot water. And my anxiety is much more in check. That said it has been an intense, busy and at times difficult week. It is so sad to see tormented young people battling things that make no sense. Such can be the cruelty of mental illness. I have a lot of people struggling at the moment.

Now in my warm flat I have escaped all that. Tonight's opera is Mithradate Re di Ponto. I have not had anything to drink except a glass of milk. No time for tea today. My instinct says pour a glass of white Rioja. Do I or don't I?

I can shut the world out tonight and once again indulge myself. Please do take care to do the same if you can. I will probably see you all again at the weekend.

I Heard a Voice.

Sunday, 5 November 2017

Haunted by What Might Have Happened.

There is a cold wind outside. The sun has been around on a cold autumn day but I felt the chill on my short venture out into the world. That merely meant a drive out to The Rose and Crown at Tewin for a pint then a tough drive back into the sun.

I woke after a rough night of anxiety fuelled dreams. All is not well with me today. My fears from Friday's work are haunting me. What might have been? Did I get things so very wrong? Feels like it is crowding in on my present. Sunday is supposed to be a day of rest not of worry. Added to which I think my boiler is once again faltering. It keeps clicking on and off. The pressure is fluctuating and my fear is growing.

Shakiness has plagued me at times ever since I became unwell all those years ago. Today it is intense. I'm trying to calm down with some opera but it's not really very effective. Tension fills the air. Why oh why is anxiety so crippling?

It has to happen at a weekend when there is nothing I can do. Will the system collapse and leave me with no heating or hot water? Do I dare take a bath?

In the grand scheme of the world it means little. It will pass and will be fixed. Out there in that world politics is once again being engulfed in scandal. This seems to stem on from the Hollywood scandal. I don't think I would like to be in the public eye. Too easy to be shot at. I understand that there are clearly times when powerful men can be threatening to those weaker than themselves. I have no reason to disbelieve what is being said but I cannot see a solution.

What I do know is that casual sexism is not just confined to men. Some of the things that are said in my office in jest would not be utterable by me. I would be up in a disciplinary hearing were I to make comments about women that I regularly hear from some women. I'm not at all bothered by that but it is a strange world. Unequal yes but not always in the obvious way. It is sometimes hard to hear statements of equality that are one sided.

I don't really know what I'm writing about today and feel I'm rambling aimlessly. Not sure even why I decided to post today. It's not my best day but I guess I can write on good and bad. Today feels bad. Let us hope tomorrow is better.

I Heard a Voice.

Saturday, 4 November 2017

The Half Way Point.

As I headed to my car yesterday at the end of the working day I was second guessing myself. I had to make some difficult decisions and I wasn't certain I had got them right. That it was something of an onslaught is a given. The previous day I had had a 2 hour meeting with the Crisis Team as they are loaded up with students. I have yet to find out if the risks I took have paid off. It could be a bumpy Monday if I'm wrong. But I am secure in the knowledge that I have reached the half way point of the term and am still standing.

Last night I went out with Sarah to The Neem Tree. It's a pretty good curry house and we had a lovely evening. I didn't fear for the morrow and was able to cast aside any doubts I had. Sarah was on fine form as ever and enjoying a break from work. It is good to do that at times.

Sadly the night was not so good. I slept sporadically despite feeling very tired when I got in. I was up comparatively early and found myself battling a sore throat and inflamed tonsils. I will be fine but on such a wet day there wasn't too much cheer to be had. I will persist though in making the weekend a good one.

A rabbit stew is in the offing tonight. As the colder wetter days set in I bought my first sprouts of the new season so go along with my stew. I'm very partial to sprouts. And continuing the hearty fare and game theme I have a pheasant to roast tomorrow.

So on this Saturday afternoon I have Haydn playing and a new book to commence. I finished my cousin Karen's book on Wednesday and am now ready to get going with A A Gill's Lines in the Sand. I think a film in the warm would be good later.

Do wrap up on this wet gloomy day, stay in and eat well. That is what the weekend is for.

I Heard a Voice.

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Nearly Full.

A huge yellow moon lit up the sky as I drove home through an unusual amount of traffic having left work late. It was not quite full and I look forward to the splendour and pomp when it reaches its monthly zenith.

Given the intensity of the day the moon may well have been full. Yes some of my brethren are affected by that. What a day. Had everyone turned up I would have seen seven people including an emergency. My manager had to deal with three emergencies. It seems it is all going off.

Yet as I sit here listening to Tosca with a glass of Rioja I feel contented and serene. This week has thus far gone quite well. I believe that come Friday we will have reached the mid point of term.

Given how self critical I can be it surprised me to learn from two people today how much they admire how self aware I am. I call it criticism but as is often the case the mirror we see for ourselves in our self destructive way is not what reflects back to those around us. At my worst I am convinced no one wants to be around me and they just humour me. But that is to do a disservice to my many varied and kind friends.

So for just a few days I will put aside my self doubt and self pity and say I'm doing okay.

Rare steak helped set me up for opera night. The Rioja is a favourite of mine and I always love revisiting Puccini. There is cause to celebrate in my indulgence, my friend James got engaged yesterday on his 35th birthday. I have a horrible feeling he will require me to go on some debauched stag weekend. I'm getting too old for that shit so maybe I will politely decline.

We're hurtling towards the weekend so on this first day of November, keep going and enjoy being in the present. If your present is not good fight for better. Sometimes I struggle to do that but today I won.

I Heard a Voice.