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Musings, Ramblings, Crap From My Brain #5

So, good folks of the internet, it’s been a while. Nigh on five months, in fact.

 

Why has it been so long, you may wonder.

Real life has been hectic. In just over a week I am getting married, so there’s been a lot of preparation for that – ‘is this really happening?’ ‘How have I managed to swing this one?’ – work has also been very hectic, with securing a permanent job the main thrust over the last few months. Thankfully, a permanent job has been secured. A big sigh of relief was breathed on the day I got the letter. Some of you are automatically going to hate me, based purely on my job. I am now a fully fledged, bona fide civil servant. Sometimes I cannot believe it, having to pinch myself at the the sea-change in my personal circumstances over a two year period – from working at Sainsbury’s to being a civil servant and engaged to the woman I love. Life is pretty damn good. I think now that I have accepted that my depression is to be managed, not cured, I have found things a lot easier to deal with.

Last weekend, I had the pleasure of seeing Man Utd win at Old Trafford. It was roughly a decade ago when I last went. Even though it’s been an abysmal season [thus far], I was excited to be able to support my team, being part of a great atmosphere. Well, I thought it was great considering everything that went before it this season, including but not limited to the plane debacle. I was there when Mata scored his first goal for this great club. It was the first time he looked like the Mata we all know from his spell at Chelsea, not that that was in any way his fault. Moyes has gone out of his way to make Rooney feel loved, forcing Mata wide. It also doesn’t help that Moyes simply doesn’t know his best team, other than ‘Rooney must start all games’.

A good performance was put in against the European champions, Bayern Munich. But there’s a little question niggling at me, and others, what if caution wasn’t the default option for Moyes? What if we played instead of allowing Bayern to do so? I know this is arrogant, but Utd should never be underdogs at home. We should be going toe-toe with the great teams in Europe, I just hope that we can do so again. We face Bayern in the Allianz Arena on Wednesday, can we win? Of course we can, but it will take a special performance to do so and there’s been little to show it is possible. It will probably be our last game of Champions League football until at least the 15/16 season, and that makes me sad, and angry. The fall has been sharp and I don’t think it’s wrong to expect better. Do I have faith in Moyes to turn things around? Simply put, no. Results have been woeful, with woefully inadequate performances being more prevalent than decent ones. He’s spent £64m and brought the team plummeting new depths. He should go.

I read a brilliant book recently, The Farm by Tom Rob-Smith. Truly stunning, with sharp, stark bodies of text in each chapter. It’s the first book I’ve read start to finish in quite a while.

Will it be another five months before the next blog? Quite possibly, or it could be five minutes. Swings and roundabouts.

For now, and always, goodbye and good mental health.

 
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Posted by on April 4, 2014 in Football, Homelife

 

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Musings, Ramblings, Crap From My Brain #4

Welcome back, good folk….

I hope you all are well. Yes, you, I’m talking to you!

I am currently poorly and have a few days off work so thought ‘Why not put some words on a virtual page?’, and that is what I am doing – just in case you weren’t aware. You were aware, weren’t you? I have an unidentified chest problem, and I won’t get the x-ray results for a few days yet. I find it is always good to be kept waiting for potential bad news. It’s this kind of thing that drives people to drink during the day on a weekday. Over the weekend doing so is socially accepted so that’s ok, right? RIGHT?

The weekend just gone was quite a rarity for me; I did not watch even one minute of football. We, yes I am part of a we, went away to cosmopolitan Plymouth for a few days. We had a nice weekend away from the big smoke that is London. We bought fish n chips for eight, for £40. I remember stressing as we queued to pay as I had only taken out £50, thinking we’d need nigh on double that. Alas, my stress turned to relief. Which in turn transformed to shock. My thoughts then turned to what it must taste like given the relative cost, despite the fact a pair of lesbians assured me that it was the best you could get in Plymouth. But one was pleasantly surprised by the taste, even more so by the portions – the fish was the length of my forearm. Yes, the length of my forearm is an official unit of measurement before anyone questions me.

All in all what the weekend taught us is that there is life outside of London, and that it’s good to get away from it all now and again.

In other ‘news’, Masterchef; The Professionals is back on our screens. Does anything beat watching a so called professional fail? I defy you to beat that feeling.

I bought a lot of things this weekend; A set of four mini-Port bottles; a set of four mini-bottles of malt whisky; and two books: Bellman & Black, A Ghost Story by Diane Setterfield and Great Britain’s Great War by Jeremy Paxman. I love ghost stories and history books, and having never read anything by either author these books piqued my interest. Feel free to recommend ghost stories to me….. I’ll pen a few words on each once I read them.

That’s all for now.

For now, and always, goodbye and good mental health.

 

 
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Posted by on November 5, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Musings, Ramblings, Crap From My Brain #3

Welcome back, good folk….

It’s quite late, and I’ve had perhaps one glass too many of some variety of vino, but I feel like rambling on and this is one of the reasons I have preserved a non-consequential space on this here interwebz.

It is very difficult to talk about my ‘illness’; the reasons are twofold, the shame/stigma people attach to it and the shame/stigma I attach to it because of what I perceive people think about it. It’s one thing to say ‘I’ll be quite open about it and how it affects me’, it’s quite another to actually put that into practice. The road to hell is paved with good intentions; you intend to tell your current employer, but then you over-think everything regarding doing so, and I mean everything: timing, tone, how, why? Do you want some allowance? Yet paradoxically you may want to be treated the same as the majority, despite being in a minority. It is then that the rock and the proverbial hard place become available to you. YOU should be able to communicate with your manager about health concerns, but speaking honestly, it is hard to tell someone you ARE different than the majority yet do not want different treatment; doing so would be akin to seeking medical help for a grazed knee. I am fully aware that this is perhaps stupid, and means attaching certain processes to certain outcomes before they are relevant: But this is how I think.

Maybe I am over-thinking things; this is not uncommon. Then again, perhaps I am not. Herein lies my conundrum. To divulge or not to divulge, that is the question. Those closest to me know, the lucky select few! But saying that I do injustice to the fact I have told anyone beyond my fiance; I more or less chose who should know this fact.

A common question I get is ‘When are you coming off the pills?’ or something to that effect. These are what I term as ‘Difficult to answer’ questions; this is because it is, and has been and still is, difficult for me to come to terms with, or accept, the fact that this may not ever be a realistic achievement. Saying why this is the case is tremendously difficult; the brave outward face is, perhaps, easier to ‘accept’ than the whole portrayed to those you trust. Because of the breadth of people I know, and engage with, it is difficult to accept cultural differences regarding my issues. Some accept these issues may be lifelong, yet others expect almost an instant cure.

One constant I have noticed, and a particularly hard one to justify, is a tendency to attach certain things to eras of time. I realized this lately due to myself having a different emotional pull to certain things/objects compared to my fiance. I think this is due to me, wrongly, associating certain things with set periods of time and labeling such items/things as ‘bad’ or ‘toxic’.

I have been thinking about depression and the five stages of grief; perhaps I shall cover this in the next blog.

At this point I should perhaps mention football; Man Utd have multiple issues. These are beyond my control, presently. I do hope to amass a fortune worth billions of pounds, but I suspect that most people have this aspiration.

I did complete the latest in Susan Hill’s Simon Serrailler series of novels; I cannot recommend these enough.

For now, and always, goodbye and good mental health.

 
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Posted by on October 23, 2013 in Homelife

 

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Musings, Ramblings, Crap From My Brain #2

Welcome back, good folk.

I’m sat here sipping a good measure of Bowmore, a single malt Scotch whisky. It is rather delicious; sweet with a good, earthy undertone. I highly recommend it. We recently, well not that recently, but recently enough we went to the Outer Hebrides on holiday. On this trip we tried about a dozen different single malt whiskys, with Bowmore coming out on top. Relatively speaking it’s quite expensive, but it’s worth it. Twitchy Redknapp would label it a top top whisky, if he could ever tear himself away from that breakfast wine he’s apparently fond of. Who even knew breakfast wine existed?

Well, anyway, I’ve tried this same title, new number thing in a previous series of pieces; that lasted for a whole three pieces. Will this one last longer? Possibly, but I do not promise anything. You have been warned.

I should probably insert a picture at this point to break up this piece but that involves clicking onto another window; this would probably distract me and lead to reading a massive twitter conversation just because curiosity got the better of me. So, I shan’t be finding a picture to put here and for that I offer no apologies.

In #1 of this series, I alluded to something and I thought I’d expand on it slightly here. I think the done phrase is that I ‘suffer’ from depression, but that phrase just doesn’t fit in my eyes. It’s hard to put into words and difficult to talk about; I do not really know why this is the case. Is it due to social conditioning relating to mental health and the stigma that is attached to most facets of it? Or put another way, is it because there is a shame attached to mental health issues? I am almost certain that when the word depression is uttered that most people automatically think ‘crazy’ and some will think of asylums. To me that is simply wrong, on so many levels.

It’s been a year since I was diagnosed, and honestly I was shocked when it was suggested as even a possibility. Most everyone I know would describe me as a happy scamp. But looking rationally at the situation, it made total sense. The trouble is that rationality hardly figures in to your thinking when you’re feeling lower than low. Depression slowly creeps up on you, and takes hold; it’s due to the incremental way it does this that it is nearly always the case that those affected are oblivious for a very long time. Someone had to point it out to me as a possibility, I denied it for a while. Now I’m glad I was persuaded to go to a doctor and discuss my symptoms, again these were oblivious to me. I have come to accept it. I have to take a pill every day and will probably do so for the rest of my life; I went an extended period without taking it, and I did not like those few days/nights. This crept up on me during a bad period of my life, of that there is no doubt. My life has improved immeasurably since that period, but does not mean that depression does not still affect me or my life; there’s no on/off switch. I do not view depression as curable, I’d venture that it is manageable. And that is exactly what I do, I manage my depression.

In the world of football, it’s international break. Ireland are dead and buried, ergo I have no interest in football this week. I see Twitchy’s book is being serialised somewhere, I’d advise you all to avoid this.

Finally, the word ‘whisky’ is not a word according to the dictionary on wordpress. Whisky is a word, rest assured good people. Google tells me it is so, therefore it is.

Toodles.

 
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Posted by on October 10, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Musings, Ramblings, Crap From My Brain #1

So, I pay £12/year for this site so thought I’d better try and use it.

I started this blog with the best of best intentions, and I like to think that some people liked some of what I wrote previously. Posts ranged from a dispassionate look at Juve’s resurgence, to a blog saying goodbye to a computer game. Some were well reasoned, others were downright crazy.

I also started this blog when I was in the gutter so to speak. I’d just been forced to take some time off from my wonderful, inspirational night-shift work; through no fault of my own. This blog was to keep me sane, as I struggled to get out of bed or go to the shops or feed myself properly. In a way it worked. It distracted me when the proverbial kept hitting the fan. 34 posts in 24 months, most coming in the first year. Its not a lot, but it was the equivalent of a life support machine, at one point.

This got me thinking, what drives people to ‘blog’? Is it for therapeutic purposes? Do you like to think you’re famous or one day you will be famous? Is money a motivating factor; riches in the future? Do you do it for yourself? Do you blog to vent? Do you believe people want to see pictures of everything you eat? [They don't] Do you love what you blog about?

I can’t very well write a piece without talking about football, seeing as how this is what the majority of posts are about. I don’t really have much to say, I just have a question to pose; why isn’t Evans starting for Utd? It’s baffling, as he was our most consistent defender last season. He’s only played one match this season. As I say, it’s baffling.

Well, that’s all from me. You may see another post from me in the near future.

 
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Posted by on October 7, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Thoughts On Paper

This post was written by Claire Whitehead, my fiance. You can follow her on twitter –

Sometimes I imagine the year as a plastic sheet; with a heavy, metal ball on the 21st September, weighing the year down and distorting the plastic as it gets closer. The 21st September 2007 is when my dad died. I forget, every year, how difficult it is. January is ok; there’s the merest wrinkle in the plastic. The slight guilt of having forgotten how old dad would be this year, and having to calculate it back from his birth date (1945: he told us for years that he fought in the second world war). I wouldn’t have had any idea how old he was, were he alive, but it seems more important now he’s not here. It is only last year that I gradually began to emerge from a fog of denial around his death. I still struggle and I think keeping track of his age is part of that. It suggests he is still aging, somewhere, that he might at any moment knock on the door, and there will just have been some terrible misunderstanding, that he is not gone, after all. He is sixty eight, this year.

February is ok. I don’t know how my mum copes with Valentine’s day. I don’t think it appropriate, somehow to ask. We reminisce about dad a lot, about his exaggerations, jokes and legendary refusal to pay full price for anything. But, with the exception of last summers sudden, drunken, raging argument that triggered my acknowledgement of five years of terrifying denial, I don’t talk about grieving. I don’t really know how to.

There’s a bigger wrinkle in March, as my birthday approaches, and any celebration is ever so slightly sad. It’s worse at Christmas, of course, when there is such an obvious gap in family traditions, and my dad is present in everything we say and do.  Then April, a little sadness on my anniversary with my fiancé, as he never met my dad; and May, the guilt again, as I forget my parents anniversary and have to ring my mum days later to see how she is. As with dad’s birthday, I never would have remembered if he was alive, but now he is gone, these things seem to have more significance, to be more essential to be remembered.

And then my analogy falls down, because June and July are easy for me. My brother and sister have their own wrinkles to deal with as their birthdays approach, and sometimes I’m stopped in my tracks by the impulse to call my dad, or text him, to tell him some funny gossip or a bad joke. Come the middle of August and the weight of the metal ball on the sheet is being felt in everything I do. My dad is there as the seasons begin to change, as the days grow darker and as things begin to drift into imbalance. There is a pagan festival on the 21st September that marks the balance of light and dark between seasons, and I feel that everything leading up to that point is muddled and uneasy. The month after dad died, it felt a little silly to have to ring work and tell them I couldn’t come in because I couldn’t physically stop crying. Six years later, it is ludicrous, but sometimes the pain is just as heavy, just as shocking, just as impenetrable as it was then. It becomes ever constant, and so I throw myself into work, into planning weddings, holidays, friends birthdays, nights out. Come the end, I will have planned the day itself, knowing from experience how little I will be able to cope. It’s like the day after a horrendous breakup. I can function – just – as long as everything is fine. And everything triggers a memory, I can’t even go for a drive without breaking down in tears at the memory of my dad teaching me to drive.  As the years have gone on, we, as a family, have got better at dealing with this day. We try not to work, and accept that it will always be a really shit time. We text and call, just to say hi, see how we everyone is. I get quiet but reassuring support from my fiancé and old friends. This, almost, is our Christmas, our time of year when we are together as family, even as we are hundreds of miles apart. And then, suddenly, it is over, and we are into the months that are easiest. We have grieved. The year has begun.

 

 
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Posted by on September 21, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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‘Leather’, Grass and All That Jazz #3

‘Leather’ refers to a football, grass is grass, not weed you rascals and All That Jazz is what happens in between or before or after the leather is put on the grass for the homo-sapiens to kick around of an afternoon or evening.

It has been quite a while since I last put words on a virtual page; almost seven months in fact. There’s been a number of reasons for that, the main one being that I was applying for jobs and started a new job in December. I also got engaged. So, it’s been quite a busy few months.

This week has seen some fireworks on and off the pitch. We had the the first leg of the Champions League semis; both seen the two German teams, Bayern and Dortmund , triumph comprehensively over the giants from Spain. Both results were slight surprises, but I wouldn’t go so far as to say both are safely through to the final. If Wigan can avoid relegation perennially, then Barca and Madrid can come back to triumph.

Now on to this week’s biggest news story; Suarez’s bite and the punishment that followed. I was determined not to discuss this absolute maelstrom, but felt compelled to write a few words about what Rodgers said yesterday regarding the handling of the affair. He said that the FA/the independent panel  “punished the man” rather than the incident. I’m sorry, but what? The man committed the offense, the man gets punished. Its also safe to presume that the panel took into account, rightfully, past misdemeanors that Suarez has committed when coming to their conclusion. Think about a criminal in court, would you expect the judge to take into account past convictions? Of course you would. Liverpool at first handled this episode a lot better than the one involving Patrice Evra. They came out and said the conduct of their player was unacceptable and fined him. All well and good, yes? Suarez came out and tried to garner some good news headlines by saying that the fine was being donated to the Hillsborough Family Support Group. The group has reluctantly accepted the money, but said that they’d prefer if the player didn’t bite another player in the first place. Margaret Aspinall said:

‘I would rather not be accepting the fine from Luis Suarez because I would rather he had not bitten that player,’ Aspinall, who stressed she did not consider turning down the donation, said.

Liverpool then came out, via Ian Ayre and Brendan Rodgers, criticizing the FA’s belief that this incident warranted more than the standard 3-game ban for violent conduct. This I cannot fathom, especially the timing of this critique. Why not do it after the length of ban has been decided, if at all? It has made them look foolish and weak, given that the club/player are not appealing the 10-game ban.

This Sunday evening the PFA awards are decided. Suarez, van Persie, Mata, Carrick, Hazard and Bale are in contention for the senior award. The latter two are also up for the Young Player of the Year award, along with Welbeck, Benteke, Wilshere and Lukaku. Personally, I think the first three listed for Player of the Year would be worthy winners, and all are good choices for the award. I cannot fathom why Welbeck and Wilshere are nominated for the Young Player award; both are good young players, but both have either been below standard or not played a lot of football. It seems to be that reputation is playing a part in the nominations. As for who should win the award, I think Benteke is fully deserving of the award.

One last thing, this weekend could see QPR relegated, despite spending approximately £3.3bn on wages/transfer in an effort to beat the drop. They won’t be missed.

Oh, and the most important event of the past week in the football world; Man Utd won the league title back from those pesky, noisy neighbours.

Until the next time, hopefully not so long!

 
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Posted by on April 26, 2013 in Football

 

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