Saturday, 8 December 2018

Passionate Spain.

On this dull, wet afternoon my life has been transported to Spain. My love of southern Spain is well known amongst my friends. I have been to Seville five times. The sheer emotion and passion of this proud people come forth in all. They eat late and they eat well. The sun shines a lot and the greyness of England seems far away. No I'm not heading back to Spain any time soon but on the radio there is a programme dedicated to flamenco. The sounds of guitar, mournful voice and electric dancing never ceases to draw me in.On this grey and tired day it is most welcome.

My long weekend is underway. The car passed the MOT. I picked up supplies. I cooked for Jo and then I overdid it last night. Feel a little bit guilty as had hoped to pop down to King's Cross to see Beth who has a stall in the market this weekend. But waking late and feeling tired I abandoned the plan.

In its stead I wandered in town to buy a few bits. No further on Christmas presents. Then lunch at The White Horse at Burnham Green and home. Motivation is lacking so I will award myself a day off. Okay so I did do some washing and clearing up but that's about it.

The trip to Sussex is planned. I have to contend with three dogs where I'm staying which makes me a little nervous. But I will be okay.

Tomorrow I will cook roast beef for friends. Should I open the good wine? Is it a special enough occasion? Maybe. Keeping going in the kitchen is as much as I can manage.

Whatever you are up to, relax and have fun. Back soon.

I Heard a Voice.

Thursday, 6 December 2018

A Friendly Conversation.

Traffic wardens are some of the most reviled people in this country. Who would want that job? I'm sure they are spat at and abused by some, shouted at by others. I'm not entirely sure I've ever had a conversation with one. Until today. No I didn't get in trouble. But my plan today before my afternoon meeting was to try to check out how the new parking restrictions look in town. Purely by chance I wandered down to look at the sign said traffic warden was there. So I asked her. And much to my surprise she was not only helpful but very friendly. It is not helpful that yet more parking is restricted but at least I won't get caught out.

The difficult time in my life continues. Not really my life, more my working life. And struggle as I do I do need to keep trying to separate the two. Something of relief then that I'm now off for a few days. Tomorrow car MOT and service. A quiet weekend, well if you exclude Jo coming to dinner tomorrow, followed by an overnight trip to Sussex on Monday.

For what may be the last time I will attend the vast chapel of Lancing College for a carol service. Neil my old music teacher is retiring. So with great reverence I will try to pay homage to a man who had big influence on my life.

Closer to home I saw the therapy chap today. Continues to be quite helpful and surprising. I'd never been a fan owing to terrible past experiences. Perhaps I'm in a more meaningful place to change now.

Back at home opera night has shifted to Thursday. I was out with Sarah last night to celebrate her birthday. Despite nightmares with buses when I eventually got there I had a good time. And we had a lovely waitress who really looked after us. Tonight it is Cosi fan Tutte and making a start on Howards End. Had hoped to begin last week but it didn't happen.

Enjoy the coming weekend. And remember the holiday will soon be upon. Take care and good night.

I Heard a Voice.

Saturday, 1 December 2018

A Dreary and Tired Saturday.

On a wet and dreary Saturday afternoon you find me at home listening to Beethoven on the radio. I'm very tired today after a tough week and not much sleep. After weeks of serenely progressing through my working life the wheels didn't quite fall off this week but it was hard going. A week ago the day dawned well. The silly kitchen catastrophe of which I wrote then triggered off a chain reaction. Sunday I felt low and anxious. Monday brought uncertainty. Wednesday sadness and self beating. And Friday was just a get through the day day.

The lack of sleep and the bad dreams of last night have left me weary but still going. I did some shopping both eating, Christmas and birthday for Sarah. Tonight's kitchen offering is rabbit with prunes in red wine. Looking forward to that. Then tomorrow roast pheasant.

I bought some nice wine yesterday and am slowly ramping up my liver for Christmas. Never do much crazy anymore when drinking now. Like to be more controlled. It is good to indulge though in the festive period.

As I write the wider world of the UK is most unsettled. What will be the outcome of the brexit vote in parliament? I vividly recall that summer day a couple of years ago when I walked down to vote uncertain either way as no one knew what either outcome would bring. Now we are just as uncertain. That the government will lose the vote seems a given. But then what? A general election will take us no further forward. These times are so uncertain.

More soon.

I Heard a Voice.

Sunday, 25 November 2018

Slipping Backwards.

I guess it had to happen at some point. I knew I was in trouble when I couldn't get out of bed at what for me is a more sensible time. Turning over I slept another hour so was late getting started. Feeling on the back foot after yesterday's accident in the kitchen my anxiety is up and my mood is down. Not really depressed but after recent positive mood rating I suppose I had to slip back at some point. Let us hope it is only for a day.

Once again I've chosen Handel as my guide for the day. Some opera always goes down well. The paper is mainly read so I need to find something else to occupy my listless mind. Do I go for a drive in the country? Maybe after opera.

At some point I need to put the pork shoulder joint in to slow roast. But I can't summon up any energy to cook. All I managed at lunch time was to heat up a bowl of tinned soup. Not very adventurous is it?

Tomorrow I return to work. A full week lies ahead then a shorter one after that. There are only three weeks to go in this term. Finding it hard to motivate myself even for that short space of time. My diary lays unopened along with my e mail. That can wait.

If like me you are struggling with such thoughts and fears I wish you well. I usually come through such days. Just doesn't feel like it at the time.

I Heard a Voice.

Saturday, 24 November 2018

Weekend of Broken Glass, Pungent Sauce and Clearing Up.

My plan for this weekend was simple, keep it simple. Having indulged both in London and at dad's a quiet time of domesticity and good cooking seemed appropriate. Tedious but need to keep up with these things. Yesterday went smoothly with much of the cleaning done and fine Chinese food, willow chicken with chilli and black beans. Today not quite according to plan.

Knocking over a new and unopened bottle of Worcester sauce set off a chain reaction. Said bottle hit an empty wine glass on the top. Both exploding showering the kitchen and me in glass and pungent dark sauce. Having spent a considerable time cleaning up after that the last thing I wanted to do was more cleaning. But I did and the bathroom is now clean. The smell of sauce lingers though, God knows when that will dissipate. But worse could have happened, I was not injured and can now go on with the afternoon.

Handel's Israel in Egypt is playing. Despite the gloom outside I feel comparatively upbeat. My mood is fine and I can look forward to lamb keftes with Aleppo pepper for supper.

In the main I have avoided mental health this week. I did touch on it a little with my friend Katie over lunch on Wednesday. We met working for CMHT and it was good to catch up. Sadly many we knew then are still so stuck in their illness wracked world of cheap coffee, unhealthy fried food and smoking roll ups. I have a lot to be thankful having got out of that world.

It could be argued that for the last few months I have been back in that world. True I have a consultant once again. A therapist who has put to shame some of those I met in a past life. And of course I take my medication. But today I am well.

I doubt I will make it away again this side of Christmas. That is excepting the carol service at Lancing on the 10th. There will be many there I know. Two former directors of my musical career retiring in the same year. Life marches on.

Enjoy the weekend out there. Soon the holiday will come and we will indulge. After that the battle that is the advent of 2019. When the sun emerges in spring we look for new life. Take care in the cold and darkness.

I Heard a Voice.

Tuesday, 20 November 2018

Under Leaden Skies, a Trip to the Seaside.

Under leaden grey skies I caught the train down to the coast. Wet and gloomy that adage I frequently pose to students that places seem wonderful when the sun is shining but on a wet Thursday in November it is much bleaker. It is only Tuesday but down here by the sea it is pretty bleak.

Finding me here on a Tuesday is unusual. But having had to work on Saturday I had a day and a half owing and four days left over from last year so a week off was a most enticing. Thus for a couple of days only I find myself back home with those I know so well.

It has been an interesting few days. On Friday despite my fear I attended the Old Lancing 1988 reunion drinks in town. Aside from getting horribly lost and rather unnerved recognising almost no one as I walked in it was a pretty good night. God we have aged! Although I seem to have got off more lightly than most.

Working on Saturday I did a pretty good job convincing people I knew all about dyslexia, autism and physical disability and carried it off with aplomb. In fact I know next to nothing. Yesterday I headed for Borough Market. Beautiful lunch in Brindisa followed by a moderately restrained but still expensive trip round the market. I dined on corn fed poussin with organic new potatoes and white Burgundy. I delivered cheese to my friends and then settled down to watch the Rams and Chief slug it out on Monday night. In a game for the ages the Rams emerged victorious and go marching on. Will watch the whole game when I get home.

The next couple of days mean catching up with friends and unwinding. It is good to have a break. Mood remains good, not too over the top and still avoiding pissing people off.

Enjoy the week if you can, don't work too hard and remember the holidays are nearby. My week will be one of leisure. See you at the weekend.

I Heard a Voice.

Wednesday, 14 November 2018

Rising Crescent in a Hazy Sky.

A shade after 4.30 this afternoon I stepped outside my office block to use my puffer for a few minutes. As the sun set in the west a hazy twilight sky revealed a rising crescent moon. Can we really be that close to winter that the moon is out at that time in the afternoon? I wondered at the beauty of nature for those brief few minutes.

The pace of action has reached frenetic now. Had everyone turned up today who I was expecting I would have seen eight students. Each day this week I've had to deal with emergency drop ins. And each day seeming brings another overdose. The world fears that word but for me it is an every day topic of conversations. Most days suicide is mentioned several times. Such is the nature of my work and life.

Yet still I sail serenely on. There have been glimpses of the fear but only fleetingly. I'm working hard but mainly triumphing. I could not have imagined that back in those tentative days when with great pessimism and terror I returned to work after such a long break.

By the end of this week we will have completed three quarters of the term. I'm off next week so the end is in sight. I'll take that.

Back in my flat Verdi is tonight's composer. His opera Oberto has accompanied a busier than normal Wednesday evening. I did the washing, cooked a ferociously hot Thai squid dry curry, tidied up and sorted things out until it was time get on with my book.

I'm nearing the end of Goodbye to Berlin. Whilst I admire it in parts it has been a little disappointing. Next I will go back to E M Forster with Howard's End next on my list. With luck next time it is opera night I will be ready to start that.

The audience for my musings seems rather erratic at the moment. Every other day or two there is an alleged surge of readers in Italy but I'm suspicious as it's always the same and no one says anything. My failures in cyberland do not really run to what might really be going on. So as my figures remain buoyant I hope it is not my delusion that people can and do want to read what I have to offer. Well at least I know my dad and the lovely Ros keep me going by humouring my ego. Until next time.

I Heard a Voice.