Friday, December 30, 2005

Out with the old

Amazing, isn’t it, how Christmas just… comes and goes. The stores put their displays up as early as September these days, and then the weeks (months) are spent thinking about it, planning for it, and shopping before it arrives.

And after the presents are unwrapped, the turkey eaten or put in the fridge for later, it’s like one of those summer holidays that seem like a vague memory as soon as you step off the plane, exchanging the hot sun, soft white sand and sisters from Scotland that take you under their wing, for the grey skies and drizzle that are somehow comforting, like being back in your own bed. For home.

Sometimes, but not often, my entire life seems to feel that way… as if I’m sharing someone else’s experiences but can’t quite feel them as if they were my own. A kind of disconnect somewhere. It doesn’t worry me too much, because I believe in looking forward, but I do wonder, now and again, what the boy who I once was would have thought of the man I am now. Would he have tried to change the course of events that have led to the here and now, or just sat back and enjoyed the ride? I'm so different to that boy now, I really don't think that I know the answer.

This will probably be my last post before the New Year, and I wanted to say how lucky (and grateful) I am to have stumbled across you guys out there. It’s strange but, in less “virtual” circumstances, I suspect many of us would become friends in a very real sense. And it makes the time spent writing, reading and commenting very worthwhile.

Happy New Year to all of you, and may 2006 be a wonderful one… a year that we all remember for the positive things that happen to and around us, and one that we spend looking - and moving - forward. Best to leave the past where it is.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

HNT 13

I was just sitting here, the house quiet, Lola asleep on the sofa next to me. No more emails to answer, the latest episode of Threshold watched, and the plates from dinner in the dishwasher waiting for the morning when they'll be joined by a cereal bowl and a coffee cup or two. Nothing obvious left to do before bed, but something, something, wasn't right.

And then I realised. It was coming up to midnight... to HNT. No new pictures, and my camera battery stubbornly refusing to charge. So I checked out Osbasso’s site, just to make sure we were back to normal this week, and guess what? He wants us to pick out our favourite shot from our own HNT archives, and post it agin, with an explanation as to why we've chosen it. Praise the Lord!

So, here it is then... HNT #1 and possibly my bravest contribution to date. Picked for just those reasons, which both seem pretty good to me, but reproduced with a little less manipulation this time around!

Happy HNT.



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Wednesday, December 28, 2005

A good Christmas

Well, I knew the present situation was going to be a disaster! No tree meant I had to leave them at the bottom of the kid’s beds but I thought I was relatively safe (I’d watched a couple of late movies and so didn’t venture into their rooms until about 3am). As I crept past S’s bed, carefully ensuring that there was no rustling of wrapping paper, he sat bolt upright and looked at me. “Has Father Christmas been yet, Daddy?” I froze to the spot, unable to hide the armful of presents or escape his room in time, but he just lay back down again and was fast asleep before I’d taken another step. Then, in the morning, O disappeared into the office with a handful or wrapping paper, and proceeded to carry out a detailed pen and handwriting analysis. She called me in after about 10 minutes and said “I know it’s you, Dad” and with that one sentence 11 years of fairy tales and mythology went straight down the toilet. Oh well… they went off with their Mum at around 1pm (not so bad… but I miss the old Christmases we used to have, badly), and I drove over to my Mum for a lovely Christmas dinner and an evening of crap TV and the usual banter with my brother, who drove up from Brighton for the day and then drove back down again later that night.

Our little holiday was brilliant… we arrived in Brighton on Boxing Day at around mid-day, checked into our hotel, and then went over to Bro’s house where I cooked dinner for everyone and we watched some TV and just chilled. In the evening we went back over to the hotel and sat in the bar paying Cranium (Cadoo, the kid’s version) and drinking into the early hours. Then, yesterday morning, Bro met us in the restaurant for breakfast and afterwards we went off to Brighton Pier, scene of many a landmark moment in the life of WDKY and one of my favourite places to take the children during the summer holidays each year. Mind you, it was snowing and bloody cold, although it didn’t stop us having a whale of a time.

After the pier we had some time to hang out back at the house and then we went to see King Kong, which starred one of my favourite actresses (Naomi Watts – remember her in Mullholland Drive?) and some guy who I think I saw recently in Jacket and who seems destined to become a bit of a heart-throb. Actually, I thought it was really good, and although it went on for about three hours the kids stayed awake and thoroughly enjoyed it. Bro met up with us afterwards, we went out for some dinner, and I was back home last night by ten, with the children tucked up in their own beds minutes later.

So… a good Christmas. Not perfect, but the kind of Christmas that many, many people with far less than I have would be thankful for. And, in truth that’s what I was. Thankful for what I have.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Bitter sweet

I’m very much aware that, although it might seem that I share some extremely personal aspects of my life with the world at large, a substantial part of that life, and who I am, remains private. Or, at least, has remained private to date.

For now, I think I’ll leave it that way, but I will touch upon something of my past in saying that the last couple of years have been, at times, incredibly difficult for a host of reasons, not least of which has been the need to somehow adapt to having my children with me for only half of each week. The nights I stay in our house alone are often spent trying to sleep in the almost tangible stillness. A stillness that seems to somehow dissipate when I know that those two little bodies, breathing softly and often covered in a little layer of sweat as they snuggle under their duvets, are just a few inches from me on the other side of my bedroom wall.

This life isn’t one that I would have chosen for us. My marriage, whilst not perfect in every way, was one that I believed to be solid, and I’d reached a stage in my life where I loved to be home, to do those simple things that we all have to do just to keep things going day to day. When that ended, it hit me harder than I imagined anything could, and quite a few months living on vodka and tranquilisers are certainly testament to the frailty that’s to be found even in those of us who think we somehow possess superhuman strength.

Well, a lot of things have happened in those two years, and my life now is very different, and for the most part as happy as I could ever have hoped it would be. Saying goodbye to my children on Christmas day, though, and watching them leave knowing that this Christmas – and all the others from now on – is one that I’ll only share a part of with them, still hurts, and always will. So, I’m dedicating this post in the same way as I’ve dedicated my life… to my children, and their happiness, not just over Christmas, but always. They don’t define who I am, but they do represent everything that’s important to me, and the main reason that I’m proud of the person that I've grown to be. Far from perfect, but at least heading in the right direction.

I’ll try to keep track of all the blogs I normally read over the next couple of days, but I know it’ll be difficult, so I’ll take this opportunity to wish everyone out there a really wonderful holiday, and sign off with an extract from The Little Book of Buddhism, written by none other than the Dalai Lama, and given to me as a present by a woman with whom I very nearly had something quite special, and might have done had our lives been a little more aligned than they proved to be…

A blossoming tree becomes bare and stripped in autumn. Beauty changes into ugliness, youth into old age, and fault into virtue. Things do not remain the same and nothing really exists. Thus appearances and emptiness exist simultaneously.


Thanks for the lovely comments, everyone

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Excitement at Chez WDKY

What an exciting day. The guy that’s been doing my printing just turned up with about 15 boxes… letterhead, brochures, report covers, compliment slips, business cards and flyers. The smell of all the paper is just gorgeous, and I now feel that the launch project is… well, complete. All on time, and just slightly over budget.

The news yesterday was that it looks like I have my first job, a kind of interim management role that involves carrying out a management audit and then putting a change strategy together. I need to sit down with the client – who I know, as he was trying to employ me direct earlier this year – but it looks like it may well take me through January and February for three or four days a week, and if that’s the case it’ll give me my revenue target up to the end of March. Anyway, time will tell and I’ll be hoping to get a contract in place before the end of the year. It’s so fucking exciting!!!

I also spoke to my bro today… he was coming up from Brighton for a couple of days over Christmas and I was planning to do some cooking on Boxing Day, but it seems that he can’t get anyone to feed the cats. By some miracle, I managed to get me and the kids booked into a hotel for the night, so we’re going down there instead, to skim pebbles on the beach and play on the pier. I proposed to my ex on Brighton pier, as it happens… mind you, I then pulled a muscle on one of the rides, and in hindsight that might have been something of an omen.

And still no tree – can you believe that? I’ve told the kids that Santa will either leave their presents by the fireplace or – if they’re really good – he may even leave them at the bottom of their beds. They’re completely overcome with excitement at the prospect, and I’ll just have to make sure I don’t trip over anything as I’m doing my Father Christmas impression. Somehow I think it might give the game away.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Weird things

Okay… I’ve been multiple-tagged, so here are 5 weird-ish things about me. I won’t prolong the chain as I think everyone’s had a go by now, and anyway, I don’t know who likes being tagged and who doesn’t.
  1. Although I chose to have a tattoo, I have an almost pathological fear of needles. The last time I went to have an insurance medical, I said to the consultant “Before you start, there are two things I need to tell you. One – there’s no way I’m having a blood test. And two – your finger’s not going anywhere near my arse.” He thought I was a lunatic.
  2. I like eggs, but only if I cover them with tomato ketchup. I would throw up without it, although years ago – after watching Rocky, I think – I went through quite a long spell of eating a raw egg (with pepper and Tabasco) for breakfast.
  3. I can't drink water out of a cup... it seems to taste vile, even if it's straight from a bottle. It has to be in a glass, and the glass has to be spotlessly clean. And I can't drink coffee out of a dark-coloured mug - I have no idea what that's all about, so don't ask me.
  4. I’m a compulsive tidyer. Sometimes it’s quite embarrassing, because people who come round think I’ve done it just for them. In fact, I generally go over the entire house a couple of times a week, including loos I hasten to add. You could eat off them, although I wouldn’t really recommend it.
  5. I get pisseed very quickly on beer, but can happily drink vodka all night without any sign of being inebriated. I can also do tequila quite impressively, and once had 14 slammers whilst remaining sober. Well, standing.
So… there you have it. And I’m in a very, very good mood at the moment, as it happens, because it looks like I’ve had a brilliant piece of news about the new company. I’ll know tomorrow, and don’t want to jinx it just yet…

Monday, December 19, 2005

All I want for Christmas...

Well, I seem to have a bit of a problem with my Christmas tree, in that… well, there aren’t any left. At least, if there are, I can’t seem to find them. It’s my own fault, because I was going to get one on Saturday and then again on Sunday, but life just got in the way. I’m going to have another try tomorrow, because I’m off to hang some pictures for Mum following the redecoration of her flat (that’s “apartment” for you foreigners) and then have a bite to eat with her. I’m not going to panic just yet, but the kids will string me up by the whatsits if I don’t manage to find one.

My cute lawyer (CL) called me today, and it seems that she had a similar view about our date to mine… phew! We’ve made arrangements to see each other again on Friday, and I’m really looking forward to it… there’s a kind of “normality” about it after the weirdo’s I seem to have hooked up with of late, so I’m really going to keep my fingers crossed. And not try to get inside her knickers (ahem) for at least another couple of dates :-)

As for BR, I must admit a bit of a frolic would be fun, but if I’m seeing someone else it’s absolutely out of the question (unfortunately). And I have a suspicion that the general consensus of opinion might be spot on, and that she wants a little more than a frolic. Naughty girl.

So, to what I want for Christmas, then. It’s not a lot to ask of Santa, I wouldn’t have thought… I mean, you’d get a bit of change from £200,000 if you were to actually buy it. I give you, then… the Aston Martin Vanquish.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

A date, an email, and one happy guy

I had a date last night, a lawyer of 40 who lives in north London and works as a Company Secretary for a merchant bank in the West End. She’s Indian (I will admit quite openly that I have a bit of a “thing” about Indian girls), really lovely company, and has a face that I had an urge to kiss all night.

We met in a newly refurbished gastro-pub in Crouch End (one of my favourite areas, kind of bohemian and a bit arty, but not too pretentious) that was recommended to me by one of Zooz’s daughters. I hadn’t been there before, but it was perfect… a really nice ambience, not too bright with lots of soft, moody lighting and full of big, soft leather sofas to sit on. The restaurant was equally good, with a great menu and excellent service.

We arrived at 8.30 and didn’t leave until 1am, hardly realising that all the chairs around us had been stacked on the tables. The conversation was really easy, and it felt like we were just skimming the surface and that it was just going to get better the longer we spent together. After we left I walked her back to her car and asked her if I should call her after the weekend. And then we just kissed and she said “You’d better!” Her lips were full and soft, and I just thought “Mmmmmm”…

I got back home at about 1.30 and saw I had a few emails waiting. Ironically, one of them was from BR, who I’d emailed a day or two ago, just to make sure she was okay with what had happened between us. I would have hated for there to have been any misunderstanding, and I just wanted her to know that I hadn’t taken what happened for granted in any way. Her mail, though, was a surprise, and I went to bed feeling kind of happy with life whilst wondering quite how to respond…

Hi WDKY

Just got in and it was a lovely surprise hearing from you.

I soooo enjoyed last week and thought you were an interesting and very sensuous guy. I feel we have lots in common even though you're not into hip hop!

I certainly felt I wanted to see more of you and you never know where things may lead. Whether we could be boy/girl friend is in the lap of the gods. I never look ahead with romantic encounters but just experience what the moment has to offer.

You are a wondrous lover and a very sensitive man (please note… Ed). I believe we could have lots of fun. Your sense of humour is wicked and I adore your little pussy cat!!

Why not come over to chez BR one evening and just live in the moment -

that's the only reality you know.............

In fact, wish I was with you right now xx


You’ll have to excuse the fact that – other than for our names – I posted that completely unedited, but a little self-promotion is allowed in the run-up to Christmas, isn’t it? Anyway, I’m off for a run now, then I have to sort out Mum’s new TV for her (she’s done something to the colour balance and doesn’t know how to adjust it again) and get our Christmas tree… the kids are going to help decorate it this evening. Busy day, but I feel content with the world, and my place in it.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Freedom

Today, the kids at the school were all performing their carol concert for whichever parents reckoned they could withstand the cacophony of noise that represents the height of the little darling's blossoming musical prowess. Out of tune and out of time, somehow these concerts still manage to be an experience I wouldn’t miss, and today was no exception. Both of mine were near the front, and (whilst I knew I really shouldn't) I had them in hysterics most of the time, although they just about managed to pull it off without upsetting any of the staff or getting one of those looks from the headmaster.

It got me thinking about when S, the younger of the two at eight and a half, was a toddler and first started performing in school plays. He’d always look for me in the audience and wave, but on one occasion he got a little carried away and started blowing me kisses from the stage. He was so involved in what he was doing that he forgot that he was also supposed to be delivering his lines, and instead just carried on, putting his little hand to his mouth and then thrusting it in my direction, completely oblivious to everything going on around him…

Anyway, today he blew me a kiss again as he was filing out, and I realised that he’s still just the same little boy. I know it won’t last forever, but I’m going to enjoy every second of it. And try not to think about his sister blushing when any of the older boys walk past her, or going up to her bedroom before we go out to put on her nail varnish or her body spray (I got her some new ones the other day and you’d think she’d won the lottery) and generally getting… well, older. I remember a quote from Bruce Willis when he was asked by an interviewer how he would cope when his daughter started dating boys. He said “When the first one turns up at the door I’ll just punch him in the mouth and hope that word gets around!” ROFL!!

So, today was also memorable for being my last working day as an employee, and it felt fucking wonderful. I got to the office at around lunchtime, and spent the next couple of hours drinking Guinness in the pub around the corner. I’m not really sure where the afternoon went, but the meetings earlier this week had gone really well, so there was no pressure today at all. And no regrets either… I couldn’t wait to get out of the door this evening.

A good day, then. And now I’m off to catch up on what’s been going on out there, and make up for the few days I’ve been unable to read and comment. Thanks for all your kind words following HNT, and have great weekends.

PS I just noticed that I've been tagged by Annalis, and whilst I don't normally respond I'm going to make an exception this time. It'll have to be tomorrow, though.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

HNT 12

Well, I must say thank you for all those inspirational comments. I got through today, not quite with flying colours but well enough. … Mind you, I had two hours sleep last night, and have just finished work tonight in preparation for my last ever meeting as a ****** ******* employee tomorrow. I hand my laptop and phone back on Friday, and then I’m just going to look forward to the holiday and not even think about anything else for a week or two.

Anyway, a couple of nights ago my daughter, O, asked me if I had a picture for “that Thursday thing” and then asked if she could take another one of my tattoo. Now, I’m not one to disappoint my children, so here’s another example of her excellent photographic technique! And, with that, I’m going to get myself ready for bed and try to get a little more sleep tonight than I managed yesterday. Oh, and have a very happy HNT :-)



Check out what all the fuss is about here...

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Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Apologies

It's not that I've lost interest, or that I can't be bothered, but I'm really struggling to find the time to post or comment on other blogs this week. The truth is, I've got myself in a little bit of trouble.

I'm in my last week proper of salaried employment (then I'm on annual leave for the rest of December) and the chickens seem to have well and truly come home to roost. I've completely neglected the project I should have been working on over the last month as I've been concentrating on setting up the new company (and, admittedly, fast losing interest anyway) and I learnt this afternoon that I have a pretty high-powered meeting to bluff my way through tomorrow, and then a higher-powered still meeting with the prospective client on Thursday. And they're a bit too smart for me to get away with bluffing. I'm going to make an absolute prat of myself.

So, I guess it means a couple of late nights (it's about midnight here at the moment, and I have at least 2 hours work to do before bed) and no doubt some work over the weekend. It'll teach me a lesson, but even as I saw the danger signals I was incapable of doing anything about it. I JUST WANT OUT.

Well, as panicking is unlikely to help I'm just going to accept the deep pile of shit that I've buried myself in and face the consequences. I blame you lot, anyway, for getting me addicted to this blogging business in the first place!

Monday, December 12, 2005

Something of a confession

First of all, thanks for all the kind wishes with regard to the explosion in Hemel Hempstead. We’re not close enough to have been in any danger, but there’s something slightly weird in being pretty adjacent to an event that achieves global news coverage… and the skies were very dark indeed. Anyway, we’re all fine, and the wind seems to have shifted today because the plume is heading off in the other direction.

Right then. Saturday night… all started normally enough, other than the fact that BR parked her car at my house as it was en route to the restaurant that we were eating at. I had a bit of a chuckle at her parking as I stood at the door (so shoot me!) and then she came in and we had a glass of wine and talked for a while. She was… nice, but I knew immediately this wasn’t going to be a romance. But I thought it had potential to be a fun evening, and that was fine.

We left for the restaurant about half an hour later, and had a great meal. She was very tactile (my hands, arms and legs all got a bit of a feel at the table) and she kept making sexy eyes at me over dinner. At one point I burst out laughing and asked what “that look” meant, and she just grinned back at me. She was certainly funny, though, and we had a really good time. I drove us back to mine, asked her if she wanted a quick coffee, and assumed she’d be gone within the hour. Honestly.

The thing is, as we were sitting having a drink on the sofa, albeit slightly more alcoholic than coffee, her hand kept moving between her legs, and all the while her pupils were getting bigger and bigger. The conversation became a little more… personal, and then she just stopped talking and stared at me, her hand resting where it had been wandering moments before. “Looking at me like that isn’t going to get you anywhere…what is it you want from me?” I asked her.

“I just want to live for the moment. Fuck me” she said, without batting an eyelid. And we decided there and then that that’s all it was going to be. Two adults, no ties, and an immediacy about the need we felt. That was around midnight, and she left some time after 4.30 having had what she claimed to be the fuck of her life (I bet she say’s that to all the boys). I must have fallen asleep around 5, slept through three large explosions that woke up entire families 40-50 miles away, and then got up thinking it was just another Sunday.

And here’s the thing. I’m not stupid, and I know what and who I am. I’m no Greek god; I’m just a normal looking guy, a bit shorter than average, who happens to be able to engage with women, on all levels, more easily than most guys seem to do. But every time I take someone out, they just want to drag me into bed for some marathon shagging session, and I genuinely don’t understand what it’s all about. If I did know, I’d try to do something to stop it, because it’s slightly weird and I don’t seem to put up enough resistance.

Oh well. It could be worse, of course. At least it’s women.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Not just another Sunday

"A series of large explosions at a fuel depot which injured 43 people has been described as the 'largest incident of its kind in peacetime Europe'.

The three blasts near Hemel Hempstead were so powerful they rocked houses up to 40 miles away and were heard in Holland.

More than 60 billion gallons of fuel erupted in a ball of flames hundreds of feet in the sky, creating an acrid cloud of smoke which is stretching for miles and moving south-eastwards."


Well, I've got no idea if this has made the news stateside, but Hemel Hempstead is about 12 or 13 miles from me, and from my upstairs window I've been able to make out the plume of smoke rising from the fire at ground level quite clearly. The skies have been a dark grey as far as the eye can see, and the air, whilst not having any discernible smell, has been heavy. Everyone around here has headaches, and many are feeling sick.

And, as you would expect, people have actually been having fights in local petrol stations as they queue to fill up their tanks, even though they've been told categorically that there isn't going to be a petrol shortage. Amazing.

I was fast asleep through all of the blasts, which occurred between 6 and 6.30am, even though they were loud enough to be clearly heard in mainland Europe. I had a bit of a wild time last night, and having finally drifted off at around 5 I awoke at 10 and wandered downstairs to make a coffee. When my ex phoned to ask me what I thought about "the explosion" I had no idea whatsoever as to what she was talking about.

How embarrassing is that?

P.S. I'll reveal a little more (maybe even a lot more) about last night... tomorrow. I'm still in recovery.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Re-engagement

What a strange mood I’ve been in… I can’t quite explain it, but it’s as if the world has been going on around me for the last couple of days, and I haven’t been fully… engaged. Maybe I’ve had a bit of a bug, maybe it’s just the whole GG thing, I don’t really know, to be honest.

I feel like I’m about to reach another watershed in my life. The work situation is a part of it, but really it just symbolises a decision making process that’s been going on for some time. A need to escape the conformity of what I was doing, surrounded by men in grey suits, files stacked up on their desks, thinking nothing of working 18 hour days to further the corporate aim. I have this need to be an individual in a world where too many people want to be anonymous.

More than that, though, I’ve taken the opportunity to re-evaluate my principles, and the things that are important to me. This is nothing new, but the last email I received from GG was a kind of polite character assassination… a knife hidden beneath the folds of a silk scarf, and as she carefully dissected me I hardly felt the blade cut my skin. It was that sharp. Looking back, this is an occasion – unlike some from the depths of my past – when I feel that I acted properly and have absolutely nothing to feel uncomfortable or guilty about. I’m not prepared to take someone else’s problems and make them my own. Life is tough enough without that crap.

Anyway, I think I’m going to enjoy the weekend… the kids are sleeping in my bed, I’ve just had an email from BR confirming our arrangements for tomorrow, and on Sunday I’m going to escape to the fantasy world of Narnia with a bag of popcorn and maybe some cheese nachos. And I’ll catch up on all those blogs I enjoy so much. I’m just going to have a... “normal” weekend.

Wish me luck.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

HNT 11

Okay, I'll be honest with you. I've had a really busy week, and for the last two days, on and off, I've had a blinding headache. Where am I going with this? Well, this week I didn't get around to playing with my camera. Sorry.

So, what you are now bearing witness to is the consequence of a very hot summer in Tenerife. No, I wasn't pointing at anything, and yes, the sandals are a bit naff. But hey, I was on holiday.

Happy HNT

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Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Not quite according to plan

I shouldn’t be here, writing this post, of course. I should be out with the lovely BR, drinking vino collapso and wondering what sagas are heading my way as a consequence of my apparent inability to take the intended dating sabbatical.

Unfortunately, she has a cold and a temperature, and we’ve postponed our date until Saturday. In fact, I was at a restaurant with M (remember M?) amongst other people when she texted me to say she might not be able to come out. The message tone on my mobile appeared to cause some amusement, and I explained that it was my intended date for tonight getting in touch. M said “Oh, the blond” and gave me a knowing look. I forget sometimes that I’m not quite as anonymous as I once was!

At least it’s all quiet on the GG front. Well, not entirely as I got a very, very, very long email last night in which my character was clinically and completely assassinated. Then she finished with “I would like to thank you for all the joy you brought to my life…”. Errmm, yes, GG. You’re welcome.

Anyway, I found this little delight while I was surfing blogs the other day, and now I can’t remember where I found it. Sorry if I haven’t given you credit, but it does make you think twice about organic food, doesn’t it. Oh, you need to click on the image to get some live action.

Right, I’m off to watch some football.

(Edit/PS After hours of playing with this bloody typepad code, I've finally managed to change the way the comments are presented on the page. Hopefully they're a little more legible now.)

Monday, December 05, 2005

Random thoughts 12

Well, my prayers have been answered. Peace has finally descended on Chez WDKY, with only the sound of my latest DCD album to break what would otherwise be almost complete silence (“almost complete” because the dishwasher’s gently whirring in the background). No text messages, no phone calls. I’ve been thinking back over the whole relationship thing with GG, and have realised that, yet again, I should have gone with my intuition. The older I get, the more I understand that what I feel is more important than what I think. Or, at least, more reliable.

Anyway, tomorrow I have a date. I didn’t really intend it to happen, but kind of got caught up in it, and now, I admit, I’m getting quite excited. And I don’t mean haven’t-had-sex-for-nearly-a-month excited, I mean I’m genuinely looking forward to it. Today, she (I’m going to call her BR, for “Blond Recruiter”. Not that she recruits blonds, more that she is blond, and she recruits) sent me an email that just said “You make me feel so good xx”, and I really thought that was sweet. She makes me feel good too, so we’ll see how it goes.

Now, I know that the one thing readers of this blog have been waiting for with a degree of expectation is a photo of my new cupboards actually placed in the office I have at home. Well, wait no longer. Please note, however, the less than subtle variation in colour between cupboards and desk. Grrrr.

The kids are beside themselves with excitement at the fact that we now have a stationery cupboard in the house. Yesterday, I came downstairs and overheard O (daughter, 11) explaining to S (son, 8) what he was allowed to take without having to ask Dad first. The fact that she was talking in a barely audible whisper seemed to suggest that she realised there was something very slightly illicit about it all, and it seemed to me that her list included pretty much anything in there. But they looked so beautiful kneeling by the cupboard with their little heads almost inside it that I really couldn’t care less. They love to draw and to write, and its just a pleasure to make them so happy. God, I do love them…

Sunday, December 04, 2005

GG. Oh, and a footnote about Emma

Well, I know I should probably post something of an update on the ongoing saga of GG, and it started at around 10.00 this morning when I got the first of 11 texts in less than three hours. I’m not even going to bore you by telling you what they said. Suffice it to say that if my mobile phone wasn’t brand new, and if it didn’t have a 2 megapixel camera, and if it didn’t synch with Microsoft Outlook… well, it would have been in the bin by lunch time.

So, after a brief chat with Zooz, I decided that the time had come to send GG "the email"… just to let her know I wasn’t amused, and letting her know that enough was enough. This was what I said, anyway, and no – I couldn’t bring myself to be rude to her, I’m afraid.
GG

I'm really sorry that you're finding things difficult at the moment. Whilst I feel for you, and I'm sad that the situation has become so confused, by the same token I have to focus on the things that I've mentioned to you previously. For that reason, I'm asking you to stop texting and calling me. I really don't want this to spoil my memory of the time we spent together, which it will do if things continue as they are. I'm afraid this contact between us must stop now.

I hope you'll respect what I'm asking you, and I hope you keep well, flourish with your photography and continue to enjoy your life generally.

WDKY

Now, any normal person would no doubt have read it, taken in what was being asked, and accepted that all good things must come to an end. Not GG, of course. Oh no, that would be much too simple. Ten minutes after hitting the send button, she left the following message on my voicemail…
“WDKY, there’s nothing I don’t love about you. I even love your stubbornness.”
Aaaaaaggghhh!!! You have to laugh though, don’t you. So, this evening I received an email, and although it wasn’t exactly black and white (in fact it was a bit too fucking ambiguous for my liking) I have a feeling that – in not replying to it – this sorry mess has reached its conclusion. Looking back, I don’t feel uncomfortable with anything I’ve done, or with any way that I’ve behaved. I guess it just goes to show how hard it is to really know someone, because of all the people I’d never have predicted that GG would induce this particluar end to our relationship. Shame.

Anyway, before I sign off for the night and record a little something for Nukie pre-deadline, Check asked what it was that Emma whispered in my ear on Friday night at the party. Actually, it was this… “I’ve never met a man like you before in my entire life. I want to eat you.” And now I intend to get just a little bit morose about it, because I really wanted her. Really wanted her.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

It's madness

It’s not easy, getting through the day on less than three hours sleep. The party, as it turned out, was excellent… notable for the fact that I told Dick’s wife in a moment of drunken honesty that he “was okay when he was pissed, but I couldn’t bear working with him”. Hmmm… probably not a good idea in retrospect. He actually revealed, believe it or not, that the two of them spend evenings at home watching a DVD of a fake log fire on their plasma TV. They also have another DVD of tropical fish swimming in fish tanks, complete with gurgling noises. Hey, it sounds wild over at Dick’s place, doesn’t it?

There was one blindingly beautiful girl at the party who was with one of the guys in my team. She was small and blond, and was wearing the sexiest little silky dress thing. Her name was Emma, she was from up North, and we talked for most of the night without even realising it. And strangely, most of the conversation was about masturbation, female sexuality, the desire for control in a relationship, male and female attitudes towards homosexuality, and various other subjects equally strange for two people who had literally just met. When I decided enough was enough at about 2.30 in the morning and said I was going to bed, she gave me a kiss and whispered the loveliest thing in my ear, leaving me – not for the first time – rueing the vagaries of timing. Because, in other circumstances… well, I just have a funny feeling about her.

Now, all this would have been fine if I wasn’t yet again besieged by text messages, and last night I actually got 23 in the space of 2 hours. In the end, I had to switch my phone to “silent” but in a way the damage had already been done as it kind of put me on edge. I’ve wanted to give you a glimpse of the telephone hell that I’m going through at the moment, and having thought long and hard about it I don’t feel that I’m being disrespectful in doing so. I mean, I’ve described so much in intimate detail already… well, here they are. All 23, in the order they were sent.

  1. we are the same
  2. you are still making love to me
  3. there are many things you haven’t explored
  4. do you feel my breast in my hand
  5. do you feel my desire
  6. I want to see your smile again
  7. my skin is burning
  8. you are strong
  9. do you like me less now
  10. I like you more
  11. do you realise we have never argued
  12. have you ever been mad at me
  13. I have never been mad at you
  14. four months tomorrow
  15. I’ve put your music away
  16. it was worth meeting you…
  17. worth the pain
  18. no-one so undemanding as me
  19. the first day you picked me up at the station…
  20. did you say you were not afraid of my sexuality
  21. you should…
  22. you might have finished it but I haven’t
  23. I felt like crying all day

It’s fucking madness. Tomorrow, though, it gets sorted once and for all.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Vodka, Dick and a very late night

I’m posting a little bit early today, as I won’t be around this evening. I have my team’s Christmas party to attend at a Hotel near Heathrow, and it’s going to be an overnighter due to the copious amounts of vodka that I’ll no doubt be consuming.

I must admit that I’m not particularly motivated by this one… I only have a couple of weeks left, taking unused leave into account, and frankly I’d be just as happy if they got on with it themselves. The only good thing is that Dick’s also coming. Now Dick and bars don’t tend to mix very well, and he invariably gets himself in a state of such complete drunkenness that he can barely speak. And when he does speak, anyone within earshot tends to cringe at the juvenile drivel that escapes his lips. Bearing in mind that I frankly couldn’t give a flying fuck what I say to him anymore, this looks like a recipe for fun!

Actually, I’ve been trying to remember if there are any babe’s worthy of mention in the team, as I doubt very much that I’ll be on my best behaviour. Unfortunately, unless there have been any new starters lately that I’ve forgotten about, my only chance of a shag will be with the staff. Naturally I’ll keep you advised of any developments in this respect…

Things were looking pretty stable on the GG front – I was going to speak to her over the weekend to make a plan to meet up some time next week – and then last night happened. Thirteen texts in the space of one hour. I’ll say that again… thirteen texts in the space of one hour. Now, I’m trying to deal with this the right way, but the chances are that if it happens again there won’t be any meeting up next week. I’ve had an interesting exchange of emails on this very subject, and will probably post about it over the weekend. In the meantime, don’t panic, Nukie. The 5th isn’t until Monday.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

HNT 10

Well, the last few shots have been becoming ever tamer, so I thought I might just start reverting a little to my earlier style and show a glimpse of flesh below the neck. And just as I was wondering what to do about it, my daughter asked if she could play with my camera while I was in the middle of my morning work-out the other day, and this is her handiwork (she's only 11, bless).

It's ironic that I was asked earlier today for a bit of bicep and forearm, because this photo was already lined up as #10. A healthy mind and a healthy body... it works for me. Happy HNT.

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Wednesday, November 30, 2005

My feng-shui is fucked

I must admit, I'm pissed off this morning. Pissed off, disappointed and annoyed at myself for being a bit of a prat again.

The first of these photos is the desk in the corner of my home office where I spend a lot of my time. The laptop is the one I've been provided with by my employers - my own is one of those beautiful wide-screen Sony Vaio's - and the telephone has since been upgraded with a digital cordless one. I'm a bloke, so it's important to get that information in at the start. The desk is by the window that looks out onto the garden, and it's quite new, in a light beech finish. Behind it, on the facing wall, is a run of light beech shelving supported by matt aluminium upstands. The shelving has lots of books, all my CD's, one of my hi-fi systems (a little TEAC micro system, but quite powerful) and a Sony flat-panel TV. Oh yes, and the children's Playstation 2. I suppose you could say it's a kind of "designer" office, which would be about right as I'm a bit of a design victim.

Now, here's the thing. A few days ago I bought three office cabinets on EBay. They're made by Kinnarps (Swedish, and a top manufacturer of office furniture) and were described as light beech finish (well, they look like beech in the photos) and as-new condition. I paid £150 including delivery, and I reckon, when new, they would have been about £300 each. Not bad, then. Well, they arrived at 7am this morning. Not only are they not light beech - they're more of an oak finish - but they're all really badly marked. They've changed the whole look of my office, and I'm very, very, very cross about it. My feng-shui is fucked, and I'm no longer sitting in designer heaven.

The lesson here, of course, is to use EBay sensibly. I got myself so excited about it that I pushed all my usual questions to one side and just bought the damn things. And they are pretty functional, they just don't look very nice. (Resists temptation to make joke about women at this point.) Oh well... better start doing some work, and prepare myself for a little HNT in my next post. I need another coffee...

Monday, November 28, 2005

The right thing

Sometimes, I wish I was the type of person who could just push other people’s feelings to one side and get on with life like some kind of automaton. So many things would be more… simple, but I’ve never been like that and I never will be. So, some time over the course of yesterday, I realised that I was going to have to speak to GG. The messages she was leaving were upsetting, and I hated to just turn my back on her. I can’t bear it when other people are hurting, and so (not without a degree of trepidation) I made a coffee, lit a cigarette and called her.

There’s not a great deal of point in relaying our conversation verbatim, but she tried desperately to convince me that she, more than I, knew what was best for me. That, if I only realised it, I needed her in my life… that there was an “inevitability” to it. It was like an emotional outpouring, but there was no catharsis. She just wants us to be together, and she can’t really understand why I don’t want that too.

FJL’s comment on my last post was ironic, because I had in fact already done exactly what she suggested. I told GG, gently but firmly, that I was not going to see her in a romantic sense again, but if she really felt it necessary I would meet up with her to talk. It’s not what I want to do, but if it makes it easier to bring this whole episode to a close that GG can in some way accept, it’s what I’ll do. So, we’ll meet some time this week or next, there’ll be tears, and I’ll feel like shit.

Despite what I said earlier, I don’t really want to be “different” in any way to the person that I am. I don’t often choose the easy path, in any area of my life, but I can sleep at night because I like the “me” I’ve become. Not many people really understand what goes on in my head, but I don’t mind that either, because when I stumble across someone who does it just makes it a bit more special. GG never quite got there, but she came closer than most, and for a while it was a rather intense experience.

And, for the record (because this is a record of sorts) I suppose I should admit that I’ve understood this process that we’ve been through from the start. That GG wasn’t really saying that we were finished in that call she made when she returned from Spain; that what she wanted was a response from me that would make it “better” in some way, that would mean I gave a little more of myself to her. But sometimes we just have to face things head on, and admit to ourselves that there’s something else that we want. And usually, if we follow our intuition, it won’t turn out to be a mistake, even with the benefit of hindsight.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Random thoughts 11

Today, I’m very tired. Now, you might think that it’s the stress brought about by changing the URL of this blog (ROFL) but actually it's because I barely got any sleep last night. And I barely got any sleep last night because of a stream of texts and telephone calls that woke me up, every time I was dozing off, with my heart banging. Know that feeling? Anyway, I turned off all my phones (mobile and land line) at about 2am and slept a little before getting up with the intention of getting quite a few things done today. Unfortunately I haven’t been as motivated as I would have liked. Oh well, it’s Sunday, so what the fuck… but I am going to have to put a stop to this nonsense once and for all, which is a shame. I wanted things to end with a degree of dignity, but stalking isn’t a particularly dignified process.

I spoke to Zooz earlier today, and as some of you may know she’s decided to give up on blogging as she doesn’t really feel motivated enough to keep posting regularly. This is something of a shame, because she’s an interesting and intelligent woman. Much more importantly than any of that, though, she has one or two good looking friends, and a particularly cute one was at the fireworks party I went to at her house about three weeks ago. Now, I did speak to this girl briefly that night, but didn’t really try to make any kind of impression… ironically, Zooz asked me tonight if there had been anyone at the party who I found attractive with the specific intention of getting the two of us together, and I must admit I kind of like the idea. I’ve suggested a dinner party, and the matter is now apparently in hand.

This little piece of (good) news is very welcome, because aside from the GG-related stress this whole work situation is beginning to weigh slightly heavily now. The money to set everything up properly is coming out of my settlement and it’s steadily creeping over the budget that I set myself. At the same time, the agreement itself is still unsigned, as my lawyer found a few things he wasn’t happy with and seems to want a fight when all I want is a signature. Sometimes, I wonder if I’m out of my mind, and then I think about all the things about living in the corporate world that I hate… the politics, the meetings, the meetings about meetings, the “uniform”, the missed school plays and football matches, the lack of freedom, the need to conform… and then I think about the alternative. And I know I’m doing the right thing, scary or not.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

A new day, a new URL

Welcome to the new home of "What Doesn't Kill You...


http://www.wdkylondon.blogspot.com


Here's to the next 10,000 hits!

Friday, November 25, 2005

A day for closing doors

Well, this is my last post before the change of URL, so it’s probably fitting that I should be thanking you for the comments on achieving some kind of blog milestone in reaching 10,000 hits. I really can’t quite believe that this thing is still going strong, and that the momentum to post pretty much every day is still there. It’s been quite a strange experience for me, and one that’s seen me reveal some fairly intimate details of my life and loves. The truth is, of course, that like an iceberg most of who I am is still below the surface. No doubt some of it will stay there, but I am thinking about how much of my rather complex life should make its way to the pages of this blog. I guess time will tell.

The situation with regard to GG has pretty much come to a conclusion, and I must admit that I’m carrying a certain sadness with me at the moment. She managed to make a connection with me that few have before, but in other ways I knew from the beginning that it wasn’t quite right. And my response when I realise this is to never quite give enough… maybe that’s the way we all respond. I guess its just human nature.

Today, the postman knocked at my door, and when I opened it I could see that he was carrying a package with my name on it. Inside was a rather strange assortment of things… one sock that had been lost after on overnight stay at GG’s flat in London; one fairly cheap but refillable lighter, acquired in Frankfurt last year and left on her lounge table one time or another; some Chorizo sausages brought back from her trip to Spain a couple of weeks ago; and a rather delicious looking Spanish sweet in a wooden box sealed with wax.

With it was a letter…
My dearest WDKY

I had a couple of things for you from Spain…please accept them in anticipation of Christmas, as it seems that you and I are now not going to meet…

I hope all your wishes come true, whatever they may be, and that your life and dreams will be fulfilled. No matter what, I will only have good feelings towards you and I truly wish you’ll find happiness in all possible ways. Knowing you happy, will make me happy.

All my love,
GGx
The sadness I mentioned earlier is very real, and when I think about her, I realise that I could almost have loved her. And some of the things she’s written have touched my heart. Now, it’s time to put this behind me, but I do so whilst making just a small wish for GG’s happiness too. Well, not such a small wish, actually.

10,000 Hits!!!

Well, I got my stat counter up and running in September some time, and today it told me that I've had 10,000 hits! Thank you, all of you, for taking the time to read this rambling nonsense. It's more than I expected when I started, that's for sure.

The 10,000th hit was a referral fromThe Angel Within (was that you, Scrawler?)

More from me after work today... have a good one, particularly in you're enjoying the holiday across the pond.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

HNT 9... Kiss my *****!

Well, after my slightly uncharacteristic letting-off-of-steam, I feel nice and chilled again. The phone's stopped ringing, the message light's stopped flashing and I haven't had a text for... well, ages. I haven't had sex for ages either, but that's another story. So, in keeping with the return of my inner peace I thought I'd inject a little humour into HNT today, by revisiting the famous - or infamous - HNT 6 bum-shot. Well... I thought it was funny!

HNTbutton

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Bollocks to this

Right, just before I post for the day, a quick glimpse at some of the Google searches that have landed people at my doorstep. As always, if I wasn’t doubting my own sanity before, I certainly am now.

• how to become an emotionally stronger person
• husband doesn't notice me
• help my daughter was in an abusive relationship and it won't go away
• how do i kill myself the easiest way
• great arse
• on the tube had sex
• doesn't like dick
• in 1960 what happened to kill the clean water
• tenerife sex
• barcelona sex photos
• kill you
• apologise for being rude spiritual
• contemplate the unimaginable vastness of the universe
• don't date this person

And, without doubt my favourite…

• sher see my cock (something you want to tell us, Sher?)

So, where was I? Oh yes, GG… well, it’s the strangest thing. Those of you who were reading my early posts about GG will know that – almost from day one – things were far from perfect. The main issues arose as a consequence of her approach to sex, and whilst it provided me with an opportunity to demonstrate staying power of legendary proportions the fact remains that it would probably be accurate to say that we weren’t 100% compatible in a sexual sense.

Now, none of this had “gone away”, even though the sex itself had become more… I don’t know, manageable. (And, to be fair, I’d stopped posting quite as much about it, which I guess must mean that it had be come less of an issue.) But I will admit that, when GG sprung her surprise on me the other day, part of me felt almost relief that it had happened. No, I wouldn’t have chosen to end things myself, but having had the situation forced on me I decided to try to think positively about it. And – frankly – another part of me kind of wanted to be single again. I won’t expand on that right now, but maybe I will another time.

So, at the same time that I was becoming completely comfortable with the notion that I was on my own again, GG seemed to go through some kind of psychotic episode. For the last few days, and despite pleas for it to stop. I’ve received on average the following (remember, this is an average - some days were worse than others!):

• 7 emails
• 3 messages on home telephone answering service
• 8 text messages

Now, I have to tell you that this constant, unrelenting emotional assault is having a very singular effect, and I doubt that I need to explain to you what that is. And – if that wasn’t bad enough –one of the emails I received today was two and a half pages long, and was a copy of an email she had received from her last boyfriend. Actually received today, I might add… as if I want to read the bloody thing. I quote, just to give you a flavour… “I felt things with you I have never felt before and doubt I will ever feel again… My heart breaks when I think of your wisdom and courage in the face of my madness. I am humbled by the memory of you… My heart is undiminished, I still love you…”

Okay… now, I had been asking for just a little leeway whilst I get through a really busy week, and was going to suggest that we get together for a drink and a talk some time over the course of next week. But you know what? Fuck that! I’ve got no room in my life – particularly now – for someone so emotionally unbalanced that she clearly has no idea whatsoever how unacceptable and frankly bizarre her behaviour has become.

Now, I really don’t mean to sound harsh, but consider this… I have two young children to look after and nurture; I have no regular income as of 1st January next year; and I have a new business that I have to build, failing which who I may or may not be going out with will be the least of my problems. Oh, and I forgot - she finished with me!!

So, I think it's fair to assume that it's over. Now… where did I put that ice bucket?

Monday, November 21, 2005

Anyone got the ice bucket?

This is something of a mixed bag, as it’s been as mixed bag kind of day. And I’m going to start with a message for those who leave comments on my blog, or rather for those who I don’t “know” who leave comments. Any regular readers should ignore what comes next, because it’ll probably seem like somethong from Invasion of The Body Snatchers!

1. This blog is clearly in the public domain, but regardless of that it’s mine to do with as I will, and to say on it what I want. I enjoy reading comments, and the truth is that it’s the comments that have prompted me to continue with something that was really just an experiment to begin with. But if you’re visiting for the first time, please at least have the courtesy to catch up on some of the background if you’re responding to what’s clearly a personal issue. Failing that, then as an alternative make reference to the fact that you’re commenting from a position that isn’t informed. Just don’t assume that I’m an idiot, because I’m not.

2. In addition, I should point out completely unambiguously that I have just as little time for misandry as I do for misogyny and, furthermore, I don’t appreciate being labelled by people with preconceived notions of who I am but who know nothing about me. Anyone who tries to do so on the basis that all men are somehow emotionally retarded is going to end up getting a fucking mouthful as a response. Don’t say you haven’t been warned.

Okay. I’ll apologise for posting what was a very rare rant for me, but you can blame my mood almost entirely on GG, who is driving me to complete distraction at the moment… more on that in my next post, when I’ve managed to calm myself down a bit. But, before I go and put my head in an ice bucket, I will mention something rather amusing that happened earlier today.

This afternoon, I got a call from a friend and work associate who I’ll call “M”. M and I know each other pretty well, and aside from a bit of small talk we had one or two things to discuss regarding a meeting that had to be scheduled early in December. That issue out of the way, M said to me that he wanted to talk about something else. “It’s about your blog, ‘What Doesn’t Kill You…’”, he said. Well, it would be hard to describe the mixture of horror and embarrassment that I felt for a second or two… in fact, just for a moment, I understood the expression “the blood froze in my veins”! But – once I got used to the idea - I must admit I started to find the whole notion pretty funny.

M was impeccable about it, letting me know that he’d stumbled across the site by accident (but knew enough about me and what was going on in my life to realise who the author was), and also promising not to read it again if I felt in the slightest bit awkward about it. He was kind enough to say that he thought it was well written, albeit (ahem) slightly... sexual in tone in some instances. But, to be honest, I’m absolutely fine (somewhat surprisingly), and actually feel nothing but respect for the way that the whole thing was dealt with. Now, I imagine M is going to be reading this, and I haven’t really offered an explanation for my escapades under the guise of HNT… then again, maybe we’ll get a chance to talk about it at a meeting we’re both attending later this week!!

Oh. My. God.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Did I dream you?

The house was quiet when I woke up this morning… no sound from either of the children’s rooms as I went downstairs, and just the gently soothing noise of the boiler firing up to heat the radiators. Outside, it was bright and the ground was covered with frost… it was the perfect Saturday morning. I boiled the kettle and made myself a strong coffee. As I was waiting for it to boil, I noticed my mobile, charger still plugged into the socket on the wall, and picked it up – one new message, from GG.
"Did I dream you?"

I thought about it for a while, but really there was no answer that I could give, because anything I said in response would devalue the meaning of what she’d written. But is served to fuel the contemplative mood I was already in, and I took my coffee, with a cigarette, into the garden. The air was freezing, and a sheet of frost covered the grass and the patio. The sun, which had risen brightly, glinted off the top of the children’s trampoline, and steam rose as the surface slowly heated enough to thaw the frost that had settled there too. It was one of those mornings when everything seemed to fall into place.

I thought about GG for a while… so in tune with the way I think, and such an amazing, such a real, intelligence. I was aware that - perhaps in other circumstances - she would be an important person in my life, but at the same time I knew I wasn’t going to call her. Sometimes, it’s like that game that kids play, where only the first answer counts. The instinctive one, before you’ve had time to think about what you’re going to say. And her first answer was the right one for her, whatever she might think now. Timing.

I’ve decided to use the rest of this year, leading up to Christmas, to have a kind of mental clear-out. I want to hit the New Year focused and happy – with myself, my life and everything around me & it. I think that means being single for a while, but I’m not in any fear of that… it’s just that sometimes being on my own doesn’t seem quite enough.

Hopefully you’re all enjoying your Saturdays, whatever you may be up to. I’m going to busy myself with re-arranging one or two things in my office at home, and then just start the “clearing-out” process. There’s no time like the present.

Friday, November 18, 2005

A slightly weird end to the week

It's been a little strange as Fridays go, actually. Not exactly surreal, but strange nevertheless. And it started off so well, with a lovely crsip, clear afternoon when I popped along to the school to watch S, my son, playing football. He won the medal for the best performance this week, which as you can imagine made me really proud, not that I need too much encouragement. And it also made me so pleased for him because I knew just how much it meant to him... he does love his football. And he also gave a mouthful to some kid who fouled him, which I enjoyed immensely, as I like to see that he can stick up for himself when he needs to.

After the three of us got home, I spent a really nice hour or so sandwiched between the two lovely warm children on the sofa, with the cat on my lap, watching That's So Raven with them. Kid’s TV is so escapist. Anyway, I made some dinner, none of it was dropped on the carpet (I let them eat it in the lounge off the little fold up table as they were so nice and quiet!) and then I cleared up. Now, the other day I marinated some crushed garlic and fresh herbs in extra virgin olive oil, to use as a dip for some crusty bread I was having with roast chicken and salad. I’d put the dish with what was left of it – quite a lot, in fact – in the fridge, and whilst I was finishing off clearing the kitchen I decided to throw it away. It had gone kind of semi-solid, so I scooped all of it out of the dish with one of those big serving spoons and then kind if flicked it with quite a violent wrist action into my lovely Brabantia stainless steel bin (I’m a bit of a design victim). Only I forgot to open the bin lid first, so the next 20 minutes was spent wiping up melting marinated olive oil from the bin, the walls and the floor.

Then, I walked past my laptop and saw that a comment had been left on one of my earlier posts. Bearing in mind that one of the things my last post had been about was spam penis-related email I thought it was bizarrely ironic that this was what had been left… so word verification has now been turned on again. I know it’s a pain, but I’m beginning to want to kill a spam emailer. Any spam emailer, I’m not really fussy. It did get me thinking about the use of Viagra and Cialis for recreational purposes though… I bet it would be easy to get to the stage where it became a requirement in order to get an erection. Nasty business.

Which reminds me of the one time I took one. My ex and I were out with some friends, and the guy we were with had been dealing Viagra to make a bit of money on the side. We were in a restaurant, and as we were about to start our deserts he put a little blue pill on my knee, and winked at me. After all of us having a bit of a laugh about it, we both took one and then, about half an hour later, found ourselves in the car on the way home. N, my friend, had a raging hard-on but I didn’t really feel anything… by the time I got into bed, though, I thought I was going to explode. I needed sex, and I needed it badly. Unfortunately, my ex decided that it wasn’t going to happen that weekend (no idea why, it was far too long ago to remember) and I ended up with an erection like an iron bar for 48 hours. I promise you, it wouldn’t go – in the end, I wanted to cut it off. Fortunately, some might say (me, for one) I didn’t.

Okay, I’m going to relax for a while, and then hopefully find a late night movie that's worth watching. Have a good one…

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Random thoughts 10

Well, first of all I want to say thanks for all the kind thoughts/words following my rather abrupt and unexpected return to singledom proper a couple of days ago. It genuinely made me feel a lot better, and I’m so busy at the moment that I don’t really have the time to dwell on what might or might not have been.

My usual response to emotional difficulty is to just brace myself and ride through it, and this will be no different, just a bit more public than I’m used to. But in a sense it’s cathartic, and although I thought for a moment or two that I might just push my blog to one side for a while, here I am, and I suppose here I’ll stay - at least for the foreseeable future.

Just before typing this I came off the phone from speaking to Scottish Sister 2 (SS2, it’s easier) and we had a long conversation about SS1 up in Edinburgh. They have been talking, although I couldn’t help but notice that some things had been left unsaid, and it seems that husband of SS1 might be back in the house but all’s well, at least physically. I have a feeling this is going to be a long-running saga, but we’re all hoping to meet up in London in the first week of December and then get together some time over the Christmas holiday.

It also seems that said husband was under the impression that SS1 and I had been having an affair, based on the fact that we sat round the pool together in Tenerife… well, if he wasn’t such an arsehole he wouldn’t have any reason to worry, but actually we weren’t/didn’t/won’t. Anyway, he’s been shagging some tart in Latvia for god knows how long, so he can go screw himself.

Oh, yes, how could I forget… my friend Zooz now has her own blog, and her first post is a corker – all true, and a very funny read until you realise that it’s actually an episode in the story of her life (she’s a very interesting woman, and a great friend). You can find her here, at A Life More Interesting.

And just before I go… I seem to get a lot of spam email about Viagra, Cialis and some kind of amazing penis growth system (has someone been talking?) but a couple of recent ones really made me laugh. Here... have a look for yourself.


HNT 8

Okay, I said I wasn't to do it today, but I guess it's become a habit. So... Happy HNT, and here's to "the road less travelled" (thanks Anna).

WDKY

PS Oakleys... NASA technology, and the world's finest shades.

HNTbutton

Thanks for all the comments... next week I'm getting dirty again!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

The worst of days

I’m not really a depressive kind of person, but if I were to be completely honest I’d have to say that today was a fucking lousy day. Not that it’s the first, nor will it be the last, I’ve no doubt. But that doesn’t really make it any easier.

GG was in Spain until Monday night (she’d been there for a week) and we’d been in contact through email and text while she was away. We spoke on Monday night, and as always were on the phone for some time, and everything appeared to be like it usually was… she did mention, as she’d done previously in an email, that she wanted to talk to me about something, but she said it could wait until the weekend when we saw each other. Anyway, I came off the phone realising that I’d really missed her, as I always have when she’s been away on one of her trips.

Last night, around 9.30 or so, I got a text – from GG – asking me if I was at home on my own. She said she needed to talk to me. I called her pretty much straight away, and asked her what was wrong, but I must admit what came next was a bit of a bombshell. She said she wasn’t going to see me again. I won’t bore you with the details, or rather I’ll keep that bit just a little more private than this blog allows, but it was even more of a surprise than it might have been considering that the day before she left she told me how frightened she was at the degree of attachment she felt. I’d almost thought she was going to say something else for a moment.

So, essentially it’s beginning to look as if this relationship has followed pretty much the same pattern as all the others since I’ve been single. It goes something like this, although the chronology can sometimes vary a little…

1. I meet someone, and we start to “see” each other.
2. Before long, she expresses, in some way or other, that she’s becoming very “attached” to me.
3. Around that time, I convince myself that there’s something not quite right about it.
4. I begin to back off, either emotionally or physically, or both.
5. I get a call, or maybe an email, telling me that I’m in some way “the most wonderful person” but “it isn’t working”.

Yeah, I must be really wonderful!

Anyone who’s read my blog will know that I’m pretty self aware, and it probably won’t come as a surprise if I tell you that I know this happens, and I know why it happens… or rather, there are a couple of reasons why I think I behave like I do. The first is that I’m not prepared to take chances with something that isn’t right, because I’m not going to risk bringing people (women) into the children’s lives and then stand by whilst they see those women disappear again. I suppose I’m more cautious than I might otherwise be, but it’s a price I’m prepared to pay. The second reason is that I’ve come to value the time I spend on my own, and it needs to be something very special, or someone very special, to break me out of that mould.

So, was GG special? Yes, she was… in a whole load of ways. In fact, sitting here reading through her emails, it’s fair to say that I haven’t really met anyone quite like her before. Was it perfect? No, not really… but is anything perfect? I don’t think it is, and when we pretend we’re looking for perfection what we’re really doing most of the time is looking for excuses. So GG’s sense that I was becoming slightly distant, somehow not allowing her to become close enough to me, rang true. I can’t really say that she’s wrong, but it wasn’t a conscious decision on my part either. Maybe it was just my response to all the things I’ve written about in the past, but more of a subconscious response than anything I was in any kind of control over.

Whatever the answer, today I’ve been feeling like shit. As I said, I’ve been reading over all of our emails (as if it doesn’t hurt enough), and now I feel like shit even more. And I think I’m just going to take a break from the dating game, concentrate on the new business and the children, and just accept that I might just go through life without meeting my soulmate, the woman of my dreams. I’m not sure that I like that scenario, but I also know that it’s realistic. Which brings me back to that eternal question… what is it that we want, and how much of that can we forgo without it meaning that we’ve settled for something that’s… well, less.

I wish I knew the answer to that question today. Maybe I will tomorrow.

Late night edit: Thank you, guys, for all your comments - which I particularly appreciate today. I've never been one to dwell on negatives for too long, but the truth is that I'm not in my usual frame of mind this evening and will be giving HNT a miss this week. I can't be arsed, if you'll excuse the pun. As for what happens next, I can be a bit too hard for my own good at times, and despite a couple of messages received this afteroon from GG I'm just going to put this one down to experience... c'est la vie. I think intuition is usually dependable, and her intuition seems to have given her a pretty strong steer, despite any misgivings she might have as reality hits home.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Just some thoughts, and some more Rumi

It's the strangest thing, but sometimes there almost seems to be a collective consciousness on the blogs that I read on a daily basis. So many people are going through intense, life-changing times or are just taking a long, hard look at themselves and the people around them. Introspection is usually healthy, but it relies upon being able to go through that process in order to seek out the positives, and learn from the negatives. It can be a hard thing to achieve, but that shouldn't mean that we shy away from doing it.

When I look back at my life, I can track the changes in me as a person to the major changes that have occurred around me – either to me directly, or to people I’ve loved or been close to. Sometimes, just occasionally, I wonder what might have happened if circumstances had been different, but it's always only a fleeting thought... what is, is. There are opportunities around every corner, but if we go through life without the necessary awareness it's more than likely that we won't even see them. One of my favourite albums is called Curtains, by a hugely underrated band called Tindersticks, and to steal a line from possibly the best track of all, life's just going to pass us by if we spend all our time with our eyes on the ground, looking for the stars...

My podcast seems to have thrust Rumi deservedly into the blogosphere limelight, and quite a few people have asked for some more. I made a kind of montage in Photoshop for someone a little earlier today, and unsurprisingly it was one of my favourite poems that I used for it. I’ve cut that piece of the finished product out for my post today, and hope you like it as much as I do. If you click on the image it should come up on the screen a little larger.

Monday, November 14, 2005

The head-shaving incident

I’ve been asked about the head-shaving incident whilst on holiday last summer (NYM’s not exactly backward at coming forward), and I guess I may as well explain what happened, and why. It’s a little embarrassing, which is why I‘ve only made passing reference to it to date. It concerns two rather lovely Scottish sisters, who we met in Tenerife the summer before last and hooked up with again this year – I think they took pity on me first time around, as I was the only single Dad in the hotel (that's it in the photo), so they took me under their respective wings and proceeded to get completely pissed with me every night. Oh, and we also sunbathed together, went shopping together, ate together and went out sightseeing together. We didn’t fuck together, although this year we were a hair’s breadth from doing so (well, only one of the sisters was involved) but in the end we both thought better of it. Mind you, the sexual tension spiced things up a bit, and made it fortunate indeed that Speedos are no longer acceptable attire around the pool!

Anyway, after a few days of arriving there this year, I was lying on the bed one hot afternoon, trying desperately to get over a raging hangover from our drunken escapades the night before. My eight year old daughter, “O”, came up to the room to have a nap with me, and started stroking my hair as she likes to do (and as I love her to do). Suddenly she shrieked “Eeuuw, Dad!!” and jumped off the bed, which lead to much flapping around on my part as I thought I had some kind of equatorial insect caught in my hair. However, it transpired that a patch of hair on the side of my head had just… well, disappeared. And it had happened in the space of a week, because I’d had my hair cut quite short the day before I left, and a panic call to Russell (hairdresser) had quickly confirmed that all had been fine at the time.

To cut a long story short (nice pun, eh?) we had many an alcohol-fuelled debate on the subject (me and the sisters, that is) and discussed the merits or otherwise of a complete head-shave. One day/night – they were blurring into one by this time – the lot came off, leaving me with a dark brown face, a completely white head, and a mid-brown patch on one side. Attractive? I don’t fucking think so! And it was worst of all in the restaurant in the evenings... it felt like every single eye was focused on my head every time I got up from the table to go to the buffet, or walked to the door after eating. The sisters, of course, thought it was completely hysterical, and took lots (and lots) of pictures. With and without bandanas, caps, and sunburn.

From that moment on, they called me Patch, and in fact still do (they had been calling me Zippo because I was so protective over my cigarette lighter, but that’s another story). The good news is that all of my hair grew back… apparently it was stress-related although I wasn’t under any stress at the time, so that’s a bit weird. And that’s how I met and befriended the Scottish sisters, the subject of my previous post. I’m seeing them over Christmas, all being well, and the various kids can hook up together again whilst the adults behave like… well, kids.

I feel much better for that. Thanks, NYM… Oh, and I should add that our debauchery was limited to late at night and the early hours of the morning... we all had children with us, so had to maintain a modicum of normality during daylight hours. I think it was just as well, because we'd barely have survived otherwise.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Just another Saturday

Well, it’s been a nice day today. I had a bit of a lie in, although sproglet number 2 decided to come into my room at 7.30 because he fancied doing a wee in my toilet instead of the one in the main bathroom (mind you, he got into bed for a cuddle afterwards, and he was lovely and warm). I drifted back off to sleep for a while, and then got up and made breakfast at about 9 o’clock. The whole house was nice and cosy, and I really didn’t mind tripping over WWE figures and hairbrushes en route to the kitchen.

We couldn’t really work out what to do with the day, but we ended up going to see the latest Tim Burton movie – Corpse Bride. Now, normally I fall asleep at some point when I take the kids to the cinema, but I really enjoyed this one… and although it was animated it had a brilliant cast (Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Christopher Lee, Joanna Lumley, Emily Watson, Albert Finney, Tracey Ullman… and I’m sure I caught Tom Waites singing in there too). Both of the kids had a great time, and too much too eat. They went to their Mum’s not long after we got home, and I’ve been getting “stuff” done since then so I can go wander around markets tomorrow.

One of the things I did was to put a cash-flow forecast together so that I can secure my overdraft facility with the bank before January 1st. It’s actually quite frightening… the first profitable month looks like being July, and it doesn’t show a positive cash balance until… November. Fuck me, that seems like a long way off. Still, the year-end looks okay, and it includes paying myself a bit more than I probably should, so what the hell?

I also have something of a dilemma at the moment. A couple of years ago, on my first holiday alone with the children in Tenerife, we hooked up with a couple of Scottish sisters, one currently living in Edinburgh and the other in Torquay, down on the south coast of England. We met up with them again this summer (I think I mentioned once that they were directly involved in the head-shaving incident), and it was clear that one of their marriages was in dire straights. I recently found out through some emails with her (the sister in Scotland) that she’s had to throw her husband out of the house – he’s an alcoholic and had been increasingly abusive, so I kind of saw it coming. She was completley distraught, worryingly so, and has suddenly disappeared off the face of the earth – no texts, emails or phone calls for a couple of weeks now. The thing is, she was scared to tell her sister – the one person who could really offer some support – what had happened. I’m getting really concerned, and might have to make a decision as to whether I tell her instead. I’m going to have to really think about that one.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Introspection

Well, I think I’ve just about got used to the fact that I actually broadcast my voice. I knew that if I agreed to record a post for Nukie I’d probably end up doing a podcast too, but even as I sat in my kitchen, cigarette in hand and cat at my feet, I couldn’t make up my mind if I was going to post it or not.

Anonymity is something we all seem to want to hide behind on here. Words – text on the screen – don’t seem to threaten that anonymity for some reason. Maybe it’s because it’s less personal, even if it can be our deepest thoughts… a bit like the fact that it feels okay to show parts of your body like pieces of a jigsaw, but its not okay to put the lot together in a single photograph. Anyway, the feeling of vulnerability was… strange. But it’s done, and I’m grateful that the comments were so positive. I’m not sure if I’ll do the poetry thing again, but who knows.

GG’s away again at the moment, visiting her family in Spain. I could have made some plans for the weekend, but I’m feeling quite introspective at the moment and I’m not entirely sure why. Whatever, I’ll have the children until Saturday afternoon, and then I’ll just chill until Sunday evening when they’re back again (they’re with me half of each week, so the time on my own is something I enjoy, and value). It’s when I feel in this kind of mood that I wonder what kind of relationship I really want… it seems to be a question without an answer. Maybe it’s because I really haven’t met the right woman just yet. Or maybe I have… if anyone can work it out, drop me a line. Please.

Have a nice weekend, everyone.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Rumi (my first podcast)

Well... you asked for it. My first podcast, and one for the romantics who read my blog. And, in truth, it might be my last podcast too... we'll see. Anyway, this is either incredibly brave, or incredibly stupid - I guess I'll be forming a view over the next 24 hours. So, having said that, and without further ado...

HNT 7

Well, I suppose I should apologise for anyone who came here thinking I might be turning the other cheek! The thing is, I don't want to be posting too much flesh every week, because sooner or later I'll run out of flesh to post. So this week you can have my mouth and chin... not glistening the way that I like them to (mmmm... followed by a long kiss) and not quite clean-shaven either, but I hope it's not too much of a disappointment.

Oh, and have a very happy HNT!

HNTbutton

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Random thoughts 9

Ever felt so shattered that you just want someone to take your hand, lead you upstairs, undress you and put you to bed? I'm just starting to feel the pressure build a bit, but it's a good pressure, and hopefully it won't last too long.

It's not that often I discover new music (DCD being a very notable exception not long ago), but GG bought me The Essential Philip Glass over the weekend, and I was just knocked out by it. The first two tracks are passable, but after that it’s just outstanding… a kind of contemporary classical extravaganza. I love it, and yet again say “Buy it now”!!!

Having got to the point of preparing myself for a fight with the powers that be at work, I got a call from HR today, saying that they had a revised agreement for me to have a look at. I insisted on going through the detail prior to a meeting they wanted tomorrow, and it was close but not close enough. I said that I wanted to sort out the package on the phone there and then, and – amazingly – we reached an agreement. It’ll pay off my overdraft, cover my set-up costs for the new company, and leave me with the equivalent of about 5 months taxed salary as a buffer for when the fees aren’t coming in regularly. I can’t complain, and I’m expecting everything to be tied up by the end of this week. Fantastic!

I also found today that two really outstanding things have occurred blog-wise. Firstly, Nukie (or is that Billybob) has asked me to record one of my posts for his radio project. I’m sure it’s just because he wants someone who sounds posh, but I very happy to oblige. Then, my friend KOW dedicated an entire post to raisins in my honour. Unheard of.

Sometimes it just feels good to be alive :-)

Monday, November 07, 2005

Relief

Having just (well, on Sunday) sat through the most gut-wrenchingly emotional episode of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition I’ve seen so far, which had me reduced to a quivering wreck for the entire middle part of the day, I thought I’d try to explain what it means, or maybe what it symbolises, to me. I think I’m doing this for me, actually, to clarify in my own mind why this type of show – which on one level is so overtly commercial – can have such a profound effect on me, time after time.

This particular episode centred on a guy called Rodney, a young college student with a talent and a passion for basketball. It was his entire life. He lived in a deprived, mainly black neighbourhood (I think it was called Sutton, but I can’t remember the city) in a house he shared with his parents and brother. His girlfriend hung out a lot, but didn’t live there. They were poor, but they were also good people.

Rodney’s life - and those of everyone around him – changed dramatically as he walked home one day from a game. He was shot four times in the back by a local gang member who mistook him for someone else. The guy that shot him apparently leaned over him as he lay on the ground, almost dead, and said “sorry, man”… then left him lying there. He survived, but he survived as a paraplegic, and he’s now trying to rebuild his life from a wheelchair.

After the shooting, his girlfriend moved in and became his fiancé (god, what a sign of love, and faith) and his Aunt came to help, along with her two children. That's eight people in total. But it gets worse… they got a grant to carry out some adjustments to the house so he could get around in his wheelchair, and used a local contractor. The contractor took down half the outside walls and most of the roof, then ran off with the grant money, leaving a house half the size it was, with an exposed timber frame and plastic sheeting that couldn’t even keep the rain out. Half the people living there were sleeping on the floor, without even the benefit of a mattress. Rodney's Aunt slept two feet from the only toilet in what was left of the house.

The team from the show sent the entire family off to the Bahamas, where they gave Rodney a diamond engagement ring to present to his fiancé – the one he couldn’t afford to buy her himself. And then they built two – yes, two - houses where the shell of the old one had stood. They also arranged, in complete secrecy, for a wedding ceremony to be held when the family got back. While Rodney was in the Bahamas, they sent live video of the college retiring his no. 4 basketball shirt, and rolling it out over the court in his honour. At one point, even the owner of the contracting company helping with the build sobbed as he spoke of the privilege he and his men felt working 20 hour days for over a week, in the pissing rain. None of the designers could talk on camera for the emotion they were feeling.

Okay, maybe you get the picture now. But for me, it isn’t just what I feel for the families on these shows. All of them are facing traumas that most of us will – hopefully – never experience in our lives, but all have the kind of humanity that shines from them like a beacon. As if in adversity the people they really are come to the fore.

But it’s also much more personal than that for me. Sometimes, I sit and think about the stuff I’ve fucked up in my life, and now and again I can even begin to feel sorry for myself. As if somehow I’ve been deprived of something that I deserved, or that my life might have been “better”, if only… But seeing what other people go through in their lives, the pain, the tragedy, that would be unbearable if they stopped believing for even a moment that they were going to make it, that they were going to get through it somehow… that’s when I realise how fucking lucky I am. That my problems are so insignificant and my life so full of things for which I should be grateful. It makes me realise just how little I have to complain about, and it’s partly that knowledge that makes me cry. The relief I feel, despite everything.

Slightly different subject... I opened a new box of Alpen today, and there were so many raisins in it that I’m getting concerned that they’re going to become an endangered fucking species.

"mues·li (myūz'lē) n.

A mixture of usually untoasted rolled oats and dried fruit, often used as a breakfast cereal."

Clear now?