Tag Archives: Life

Living With Myself

Lonely park bench
blissful mid afternoon sunshine glints
off puddles that ripple
disturbed by a gentle breeze
A man,
lonely as the bench he calls home
is in deep conversation
with someone only he knows.

They converse for hour upon hour
time, a concept neither respect
or fear.

Tuesday, just another day
much like any other
same park bench
same man
conversing with someone
only he knows.

Early morning mist lingers
unburnt by the suns early warmth
promises of
another beautiful day
in the life of
a lonely park bench.

Still is the air, restful
as the man who slept under
starlit skies.

So soon, the chatter of conversation
fills the void
like the dawn chorus
taken for granted
by the 9-5 army
marching on rations
of cholesterol soaked
bran flakes

“Hello mister”
rubbing his still sleepy eyes
is this a dream caught
between the realms of the real
and imagination
“mister, you ok”
ah, those words
music from a long defunct jukebox
of broken promises.

“want some coffee mister”
“does it come with nicotine”
“whats nicotine mister”
“never mind”
“i’ll ask my mammy”
with that, she skips away
a bird chasing its own song
unemcumbered by life

“mammy doesn’t smoke, sorry mister”
“but you can still have some coffee
cant you”
the last veil of mist
to reveal this day
the most glorious yet

“is this yours mister”
“whats it for”
sure this was still a dreamscape
the man yawned, aware
this was surreal, yet
somehow not.

That strange encounter
saved a mans life today
preventing hypothermia
from taking another innocent life
of a man who is not like you,
from a man who could not live like you
but a man who
Can live with himself.

This came about for a host of reasons. If you know Jethro Tull, you will know Aqualung, a song I find so sad, I tend to shed tears when I hear it. Then there was the old [to a child] man in the park I used to talk to as a bairn, unbeknown of the inherent dangers that would brng about today. And lastly, for the time I spent living rough, where the rest of the word passes by, ignoring the fact that you even exist. Hypothermia is the enemy of the homeless, no amount of paper or cardboard can repel it. Last of all, its for the people, who for whatever reason, spurn the life that the majority of us lead. Their bravery is testament to the human spirit.

A quote from Ian Anderson, frontman of Jethro Tull and composer of Aqualung.

“Aqualung wasn’t a concept album, although a lot of people thought so. The idea came about from a photograph my wife at the time took of a tramp in London. I had feelings of guilt about the homeless, as well as fear and insecurity with people like that who seem a little scary. And I suppose all of that was combined with a slightly romanticized picture of the person who is homeless but yet a free spirit, who either won’t or can’t join in society’s prescribed formats”.


Social Chameleon

Internet life started for me a few years ago. My son got his first real PC and immediately got it hooked up to the internet. On days off from work when my partner had to work her stupid rota [includes every other weekend] I would get a shout to go and look/watch something my son had found on the net. I have to admit, I was intimidated by computers and the internet back then, thinking one mistake would send the whole thing into meltdown.

I already had one e-mail address, set up via digital television so I could place bets without having to go to see the bookie. I could also buy lottery tickets that way as well, which was great as our little local shop lost its facility to sell lottery tickets.

My son, being ever the enthusiast, told me to use the net when he wasn’t around. He showed me a few basics, explained security protocols and left me to browse. He set up a user account for me, which I had no idea about and I was away. I joined Friends Reunited straight away and was instantly in touch with a couple of old friends that drifted out of my life. That was the beginnings of my love affair with the internet.

I was sending e mails back and forth with old friends and was having a ball. Someone I loved long ago came on the scene and we talked on messenger whenever possible. I found myself aching to get online to talk to her again. I would spend the free weekends chatting to her whenever possible and I found myself falling in love with her again, after the best part of 20 yrs of having no contact with her at all.

I found the delights of chat rooms and spent a lot of time there, until they did away with them due to all the problems with paedophiles [don’t get me started on that subject]. I found a trivia chat room very addictive. There was a small hardcore of us who spent as much time there as possible. Constantly trying to outdo each other with our general knowledge. It was fun and it was the first time I felt I belonged to something worthwhile.

When they decided to stop chat rooms in the present format, I was homeless, or so it felt. But I came across an adult site called The G Spot. It was a great place and I made myself at home there and was part of a great community. Then that got stopped in the UK as it was an American site and MSN prevented access from outside of the states. That really upset me. Again, I was homeless.

I still enjoyed the net and spent a lot of time using it. My son and I both had betting accounts and then we found online poker and both soon had poker accounts on Coral. We played whenever possible, never winning much, if anything. I had no idea there was strategy involved in a card game and just learnt by playing. I had no idea what a cbet was or a 3bet, when you should shove all in and when not.Bad Beats? Suckouts? uh uh, no siree, not a clue.

I was still using messenger and e-mail and also discovered internet radio. As a lover of music, I really enjoyed the huge options for listening to music. Classic rock, that’s my main genre. So I found Radiostorm 101 [formerly Star 101] and listened everytime I was online. There were some songs never heard before that I got into and of course, plenty of tracks I did know. There was also a chatroom [tagboard] attached to the place and again, I got involved, knew all the regulars and spent a lot of time there when I could. My son upgraded by then to ADSL broadband and everything was lightning fast as we are just around the corner from our local exchange. I met someone there one day who was having a hard time with her life. We got to talking and before long, we were regular on messenger with each other. I was getting in deep with someone and I was helpless to stop it.

My present relationship was going through its own hard time and for 3 months, we separated. A lot of it was caused by my confusion and inability to separate real life from my virtual one. I was secretive and spent every moment I could online, with old flames and new ones. The chat scene was great, a real laugh most of the time and a joy to be around. Then Radiostorm went down and that community fell apart. I still had a couple of folks there I talk to, including my love affair and of course, my old flame in the background. But once again, I felt homeless.

Then I came across 1ClubFM. Another radio station with a real community there. I made some new friends quickly and became very active in the place. Again, there was this hardcore of users that all got along so well. We had private groups set up, private chat from cbox and chatngo and all helped each other whenever the occasion arose. I know people from all over the world and all walks of life. All from chat rooms or radio stations.

Its kind of ironic at this point to point out that my last two downfalls have both been German. Coincidence? Has to be.

A new arrival at 1Club was sixpack. Along with myself and Merc, we became the 3 musketeers of the place. We chased the idiots out of the chat room, helped new users find their way around, ran our respective groups and had a ball. We could send all kinds of messages with flashing images. Every weekend was the same.Sending all our friends [sic] messages to have a great weekend etc etc. Then things started to go wrong. This sixpack was using multiple accounts and using them to chat women up. A real lothario he was. He started to cause trouble, playing people off against each other. No one knew at the start, what was going on, but the divisions appeared, arguments broke out, ill feeling created and trust broken. We were tight, very tight. But this bastard split us right down the middle. It all turned nasty and I, along with others withdrew away from the place. It’s still there, revamped and looking modern, but it’s not what it was and most of our group have blown to the four corners. I was in touch with some of them via Facebook, but I had some little nasties from that network, so closed it down. I did set up a new account there, sometime later, but again, I dropped it because of all the crap going around. Again, I was homeless.

I got myself a little PDA, a sort of handheld mini PC. I could get online just about anywhere with it and spent ages on it talking via messengers. I reached the stage that I was hardly doing any work. I did what had to be done, no more or less. I was still chatting to my online lover from the states and my old flame and a few others. Still spending a lot of time online on my sons pc. He was spending less and less time at home, as young men do, so that left me to play whenever I felt like it really. I tried to get my partner involved. I set her up her own e-mail account, showed her what could be done and I was always around if anything should go wrong, or she needed help. But she just never took to it and still hasn’t. At that time, the pc was shoved away in a walk in cupboard in my sons room. It meant that if I was in there, online, my partner was alone watching tv or reading the paper.

Just over 3 years ago, I went down with chickenpox. Never had em as a kid it turns out. It was bad. It put me in hospital for 12 days, pumped full of drugs to keep me alive. Things went wrong. The virus somehow got into my spinal column, headed north to my brain and has left me with some serious balance issues, sight problems and a few other side effects. I have been off work now for 3 yrs and not driven a car since. Now I have all day every day to waste.

So I treated myself to a new laptop. I could sit with my partner and be online. I found myself playing more and more online poker. I was joining forums and reading about the game, the strategy, the math behind it all. It was interesting and kept me amused for the long hours of days and nights. I found a poker community called Pokerspacer. It had its own tournaments on different networks, you could earn points and exchange them for cash and again, there was this hardcore group who played every game, or near as. The blogs were always fun, some personal, some poker related, some just bitching. Again, I spent a lot of my time there and met some very pleasant people. I was also suffering from depression, mourning the loss of my former life [all in the healing process] and people at Pokerspace helped me through some tough times. I will always be very grateful to those people, they helped me get back some sanity.

Sadly, things there got bad. the main man in admin is German. I got on fine with him most of the time. he is young, full of cum and can be very dumb. He is learning, but he has this attitude, that most Germans seem to have, that he is always right and knows better than everyone else. I shall leave it at that. Anyway, a new member was fitting in well and organised a new tournament. To access the game, you had to pass a poker quiz. It was fairly tough. There were blog posts flying back and forth, messages etc etc, as a few of us were bustin our balls to solve the puzzles. In one exchange with this person, I, mockingly told him I was taking a contract out on him, and if that failed, I would go and sort him out myself. It was banter, that’s all.

So this person, for reasons unbeknown at the time, told me to goggle his name. I thought nothing of it and carried on doing my thing. But it bugged me, why would someone tell you to goggle their name, are they really that vain? The long and the short of it was, his brother was a pro boxer and that’s what he expected me to find. That was his protection against my jocular threat to have him beaten up. That I know now, but didn’t then.

What I turned up horrified me. this person, I use the phrase loosely, was a convicted paedophile. Not accused, convicted. I read a few items and articles and thought, hang on, I have pictures of Tinks on Pokerspace, I don’t want that bastard looking at them or using them in any way. I should point out here, that we were all able to adjust security and privacy settings to prevent this. But why should we all do that because of one pervert?

I sent a message to admin of Pokerspace, telling them of what I had found and asking for his removal. If he had been accused and found not guilty, or had not gone to trial yet, I would not have asked that, but he was convicted, given a jail sentence on appeal and banned from coaching children. [ he was a swimming coach and school teacher].

I had no response to that message. So, I set about warning all the members on my buddy list that this evil bastard was about the place and to watch out for him. I didn’t want to start a riot of a witch hunt or the like. I just didn’t think this person should be a member of our community and a lot of members agreed with that.

Anyhow, I got into a real fight about the subject, ended up suspended from the poker forum and due to those events, lost any respect that I once had for the admin of the site. I thought it cowardly not to ban this person and some of the reasons and excuses for not doing so were, in my opinion, bullshit.

Anyway, I am finding it increasingly hard to continue in that community. I like the place, most of its members and the games, but just have no respect for the arrogant, condescending twat who runs the show.

I am struggling to keep in touch with people I owe a lot to and again, I am finding myself homeless.

My head doc [psychologist] said that starting a blog or diary might help with my battle with depression. I started blogging in may 2010, but found it hard going, so stopped. Early this year [2011] I decided to tray again. My head was in a better place than back in may 2010 and I found I was enjoying the experience. I am learning something new all the time. I have unearthed a creative streak I didn’t know I had. I am writing whenever possible, about this and that. I turn out poetry, some good, some bad, almost daily and have had some encouraging feedback. I still have lots to learn, but its enjoyable, it’s a release and its helped get my head straight. Theres a hardcore again, of poets and writers who always pop up at the same prompts, the same events and sites and they all appear to be good people. I am enjoying myself again.

I am sad that I seem to be losing contact again, with people I know and care about. That is a constant in my online search for a home, something to which I belong and accepts me for who and what I am. I try to be pleasant, try to be honest, polite and kind, but I have a dark side I know only too well.

So maybe I have found a new home with blogging, maybe not. I still play poker, most nights, even met that fucker of a paedophile a couple of times at the tables. I write, listen to music, read and do what I can to help my partner and son out and love looking after Tinks whenever needed. She usually stays over on Monday nights and all day Tuesday. That will stop in about 18 months, or less, when she starts school full-time. I am not looking forward to that, but its inevitable and I just have to accept it.

So that’s my online life, from start to present. I am online almost every day, sometimes all day and night. Its my connection to the outside world. I don’t venture far alone. My partner works as do my son and his partner.I drift along, doing my thing and try to enjoy the good days and survive the bad days. I am off for a week to my spiritual home in 10 days or so and that will be a much-needed and enjoyable break for us both. We love the hills of Northumberland and have a little cottage right on the edge of the national park. Can’t wait to get there now.

Adios, arriva derci, toodle pip, ta-ta, auf weidersein, good-bye.


I came forth,
Forced from my amniotic sac,
Resisting my egress,
From the security of the womb,
The umbilical cord cut,
Setting me adrift,
On life’s journey.

Suckling my mother’s breast,
Sustenance, comfort reside,
The milk of life flows,
Feasting until sated, gorged,
Sleep claims my eyes, safe,
In her warm embrace.

By maternal love.

By maternal instinct.

As I lie,
Upon this field of despair,
Body ruined,
Of tortured mind,
Thinking of you, Mother,
Remember me,
Reminisce with me,
Do not mourn,
For we shall meet again,
In resurrection.

This my submission to One Stop Poetry, for their Mother prompt.


Love You Still [Forbidden]

I have seen a couple of these recently, but have no idea if they have a name or tag or anything. I only know, I liked the two that I read, so thought this morning I’d have a bash at one and see what happens. Its based on an experience of love that to this day lives on, but is off-limits to the people concerned. I have a deep-rooted sense of feeling that this person feels the same way, but we have our lives now, that either would find difficult to change. Change is one thing that becomes harder the older we get. I don’t mind change, but not for the sake of it. Sometimes, we all make mistakes that only become apparent years later. This is about one of those mistakes.

I love you for the sake of loving you,

Love, an art form of intensity unknown,

Only to have you coerce my thoughts,

Vixen of a diverse galaxy, removed,

Evening star of luminescent wonder,

Yearn for you, dream of you,

Only for nightmares to reign my subconscious,

Under blankets of seduction,

Serene of heart, hard as steel,

To the end of days,

Idiotic cravings for you alone

Love my love, only you can sustain,

Love you still.

Tino 1-Life 1

The equaliser was inevitable. The pressure has been building and today, my back four got in a right old mess and gave away a sloppy goal. The hard work we do on the training ground counted for nothing.

OK,OK,OK, I know, whats he on about? Is he totally nuts? Life isn’t a football game [soccer to my American friends].

I am kind of keeping score in my battles with good and bad days and today has been a good, bad day, if you get my drift.

Tuesday is always a busy day here. Tinks arrives about 7.45 and stays until Dad arrives from work and has a meal with us. We have her all day and today was no different. We all stayed in this morning as we had a meeting with the owner of a new nursery scheduled for 2pm. Tinks will be moving soon and we need to find a new nursery for her. I have been spending a lot of time recently researching schools and nurseries in the area they are moving to and found a real gem. The couple who own the place own a couple of other nurseries in the area and the OFSTED reports are outstanding. This nursery is small [27 attending] with a high staff/child ratio. Its run on the Montessori principle which revolves around the findings of an Italian physician and educator after years of research into child behaviour. It’s new to me is this, never heard of it before. I did a little research into the practice and it is highly thought of in some circles, but criticised by others. I think, we think, that it will suit Tinks very well. The smaller numbers are better for her and the high ratio of staff to pupils will definitely help her as she responds well one to one. If you want to know more, click the link,


We arrived just before 2 and I have to admit, the initial impression was not good. The building is a wood and brick construction with a multicoloured sign on the front gable, which looks impressive. But the building just looks like it belongs somewhere else. But once you step inside, you realise what a real jewel this place is. The staff are friendly and helpful, the children use different learning areas in mixed age groups and there was no crying, no screaming, no tantrums. It was all smiles from the kids and staff and the kids looked happy and were obviously absorbed in what they were doing. We spoke to the owner and listened to what she had to say and she sells the place really well. We asked a few questions which were all answered in detail and we left with very positive impressions of the whole set up. We rang our son immediately and told him to phone the owner and have a chat ASAP and he did and by the time we reached home, times and days had been agreed and she is due to start there after the Easter break. So that’s all good.

Got home, had to make us all something to eat. I am chief cook and bottle washer around these parts, the kitchen is my domain, enter at your own risk! This day, I was prepared. I do believe in PPPPPPP [prior preparation and planning, prevents piss poor performance] and I had a large pan of lentil soup just ready to heat and eat. That went down a storm as usual, Tinks loves homemade soup, so do we, better than any crap out of a tin or carton for sure. All pure wholesome vegetables, good roughage, lol. Then I set to and made sea bass in a tomato butter sauce as our son loves sea bass, boiled new potatoes with butter and mixed organic veg. Tinks wasn’t best pleased and only ate a little then wanted more soup, lol. Always eager to please, grandma took her plate and I delivered more soup and she wolfed the lot.

Then once Tinks and our boy had gone, it was tidy up time and get us some food. We couldn’t be arsed to cook anymore, so it was a bowl of fresh profiteroles in chocolate sauce, a hot cuppa followed by toasted tea cakes. That filled the void. The dishes are piled up and they can stay that way until the morning, I will do them then. We are both knackered and I want to play poker at 11pm, if I can stay awake! Thats a big ask, I am finding it hard going now and still 45 mins to go, lol. I think I need the surgical tape again!

Then I set to replying to the removal companies in the hope of finding one that will work over Easter. I eventually had a reply from one of them and they will do it for £250, which is a steal. They start at 9.30am, there’s not a huge amount to move and it will be done in one load, no messing about.

So today has been tough on me, very tiring, but we have achieved something, that’s the important part. Oh, I almost forgot. I also spent some time compiling a list of Doctors and Dentists surgeries in the area they are moving to. Popped into my once favourite poker forum then landed here to write this up. A good day, but they always come at a price, I will have to wait and see what the demands of the ferryman are.

Toodle Pip.

First one over, Tino 1 Life 0

Monday, phew, what a day. But still standing, just, knackered, but worth the effort.

Tinkerbell got here this am at her usual time, but as the other grandma is away, she spent the day with us. I had booked the shopping delivery for 8-10am and Tinkerbell and grandma had the most of it put away before I surfaced. Thanks to them, the kitchen was tidy and just a few bits and bobs left to put into their respected places. That was great of them to do that as I just slept on. I doubt anything would have woken me last light, lol.

A trip to soft play was on for today, so it was time that grandma and Tinkerbell started getting ready for that. I was washing dishes again when I got a call from the bedrooms. Tinkerbell wanted grandad to go to soft play with her and grandma. Its the last thing I wanted [never been before] and said sorry, maybe next time. The look on Tinks face got me all welled up and I thought, ” You heartless bastard, how can you turn such a delightful request down”? I did a hasty rethink and said I would go, soon as I finsihed up the dishes and got dressed.

Its been freezing out there today. We set off and I am glad I put my thermal fleece on. I really should have had hat and gloves on as well, but the fleece was better than nothing. I ambled along, trying to keep up a decent pace, but it was a struggle, but finally made it and we all went in. It cost £3.50 for 2 hours for Tinks. We just sit and watch most of the time. I did have a Hot Chocolate to thaw me out somewhat and Tinks had a sandwich and some snacky thingamyjigs and a drink and off she went. Up and down, round the bend, over the water jump, round the canal turn, over valentines and the chair, down the slide and back to square one, only to be repeated a dozen times. [Anyone notice the ref to the Grand National in there]? Where the hell she gets her energy from I dont know. We stayed the full 2 hours. It did get very noisy at one stage which did make me regret having gone, but it soon quietened down a bit and all in all, I was very glad I went. I made it there and back and only sat whilst there, so it wasn’t too strenuous. We got home and I set to making a chicken stew for dinner. Then dad arrived to take Tinks home and to bed. She will be back with us tomorrow am and is staying over and we have to take her to nursery on Wed am.

So I am winning so far. I am managing to keep going, but I have to be careful I dont overdo things and put myself in a position where I am too tired to do anything.

The icing on the cake was just something I never thought I would see. Pokerspace, my favourite poker forum  has been a bit crazy of  late and a lot has been said and done that needed saying and doing, but its not always been pleasant as any readers of my other blogs will know. Well this evening, the head admin fella, who has been winding a lot of people up of late and making some appalling decisions, actually issued an open appology. My suspension only ended last week and upon sending him a personal message, we got into a preivate war of words again. I told him a few home truths and maybe things have just gotten on top of him of late. Fair enough, happens to us all at some point and issuing an appology goes a long way to putting things right. But until he learns how to deal with people properly, things wont improve and believe me, he has plenty to learn.

So I hope that the earlier part of the day is reflected when I hit the poker tables in about 2 hours time to play my first PS game since the suspension.

Tatty Bye for now.


At last its quiet, feel the peace,
I wondered if the noise would ever cease,
I sit now alone, the sound of silence is all that’s left,
The feeling, numb, now bereft.
Talk to me friend, break this space,
Talk to me, Speak with customary grace,
Words, they are all I have now,
Words, I think, with furrowed brow,
What did you say, the quiet deafens me here,
Speak, speak, whisper to this ear,
So far have I come, so long has it taken,
Oh don’t take this, don’t be mistaken,
No one owns this road, this path I walk,
All we ever did was roam, and talk,
But now words escape me, confuse me,
I still walk, you beside me, both free,
The air is still, calmed before the storm breaks,
Still, my heart, for you it aches,
Have I told you, recently, my memory fades,
Like the sun, hiding cunningly in shade,
Dims my senses, but the beacon burns bright,
It lights this cold and barren night,
Passion is mine now, hear these words,
The thrust is strong, blood stains this sword,
Cuts deep into the flesh of your love and feeling,
What have I done, I am frightened, reeling,
I see only the pains and the sorrows,
Steal, plunder, but be gone tomorrow,
Let them words die now, make it humane,
Words were never mine, yours, or constantly mundane,
Lay them to rest now, let them drift and wane,
Cease oh sorrow, cease oh pain,
Quiet, quiet, quiet so quiet.
I am alone.

How can anyone be so alone in a world of 6.5 billion people? It doesn’t make sense, never has. But some days, I could be the one and only person on the face of this planet.

I used to be more than happy, content with my own company, but these days I tend to get bored with myself. I read a lot, listen to music probably every day. I post blogs, used to be very active on a poker forum until recently and try to keep myself occupied. The more I try to occupy myself though the worse it gets, some days, not every day. I cannot find a reasonable explanation for it at all. I think about things maybe too much, so really I should be able to find somethings out about myself. One day I am ok, feel confident in going forward, then the next day, all the old doubts creep in again and I seem useless to stop it from happening. The doubts are what drove me to see a psychologist, but I dont feel much wiser now than I did then. Its not the world that pisses me off, its myself and the underlying sense of not knowing myself anymore. Its that I can’t figure out, its that I am trying to solve. The solution some days is within my grasp, I am sure of it, then I drop it and can’t find it again. Its a bloody enigma to myself, I have no idea how that is so.

One thing that is wierd though is, I play poker the exact same way. One day, I feel good about my game, I play a decent game and win more than I lose, but then tomorrow, that confidence is gone and I doubt my ability at the tables. When I feel that way, I make some awful decisions and play hands badly.  To me, poker is about finding the “thin” value. Forget AA, KK etc etc. Its hands like TJs or 56s that you can disguise well and profit from. Its the full blown bluff that pays off and semi bluffs. They are where you make your profit or force mistakes. To be profitable, you have to make fewer mistakes than your opponents. But on those days where I am full of doubts again, I am the one making the mistakes ll on my own, my opponents dont need to force me into making them, I do it all by my lonesome. I cannot profit playing like that. I have all the theory up to and including intermediate level poker and quite a bit of advanced theory that I understand as well. Its hard to implement at the micro levels though. Its more or less fit or fold poker down there. Play the cards, your opponents dont care what you are trying to do, some dont even understand it. They think top pair with a crap kicker is a nailed one winner. In some ways it is, in other ways its spewing chips. I have come to think now I am at a real crosroads of my poker journey. I am not a winning player, or a losing one. I do ok, break even most of the time, less the rake, which means I am losing cash, just not at a great rate, but still losing it. That has to stop, or I need to change what I do. My usual TAG style is ok to a point, but I need to develop that into a more LAG style of play sometimes. I have the aggression, theres no doubting that. I am often the most aggressive player at a table [if you look at stats]. I have a solid pre flop game, but am weak post flop. I dont play too many hands, I dont overplay hands very often, but once that flop has come, thats where my game is weak. Theres a whole rainforest of pre flop strategy out there but not much post flop strategy. Post flop is all down to board texture, opponents, image etc etc. There are no set ways to play a hand post flop. Yes, certain ways of playing post flop are +EV, but thats over like 50k hands. I am too result orientated to get past that, although I know I must.

Well thats about it for today methinks. I only meant to write a short poem about how I feel today compared to yesterday, with a little edge to it that some will see and others wont, it depends on how you read it. I would like to think that someone out there in blog land see’s behind what I write instead of just the face value. I dont think I ma obtuse, but others might. I would love some feedback about that sometimes. Its great that some people like what I do, but to improve, I need some more critical feedback? maybe? I should be happy that people read some of my stuff and like it, but me being me, I want more, always want more. I could have the most passionate, loving woman that ever lived and I would still want more. I am not fullfilled, maybe that is the crux of the problem?

Anyway, gonna wrap it up there. More questions than answers as usual. But thats just the way the cookie crumbles.

Toodle Pip.

Creative? It would appear not.

I have been fortunate recently. The last couple of months have picked up considerably and I have written a great deal and done a lot of poems. I enjoy writing and also trying to compose a decent poem. It’s a release of sorts and has been for some time now. Sadly, that creative streak seems to have come to an end. The last few days I have been trying to find some inspiration to try to write another poem, but the lake has gone dry it would seem. I tend to go in cycles like this. It’s akin to being on a rollercoaster, lots of us and downs, peaks and troughs but very little consistency there. To be honest, more with myself than anyone else, I am tired of it now. I have lived a lot of years where there have been so many ups and downs, like poker, but I need to find some consistency somehow to attempt to get some balance in my life. I am a typical Libran [if you believe in that kind of thing, I do, but only to a point, there are obvious traits present, but it ends there] I like balance and harmony and I haven’t had much of it throughout my 46 years. I don’t know how to change things, maybe that will happen by itself when I am good and ready for it to happen? I add a question mark as this is me asking and enquiring of myself in my head and getting it down on paper so to speak, helps me to make some sense of it all. I have applied for a couple of voluntary positions this last few days and really hope I get something from it. I feel that I have been laying a good foundation lately and now its time to begin building on that if possible. Yes, anything is possible, but not with some of the hurdles I face daily.

One thing that I am sure, almost 100% certain of, that has helped me greatly since the turn of the year is that I am spending less and less time in my favourite poker community, Pokerspace. I was there constantly, writing blogs, posting threads and comments and being very active. After a severe disagreement with the admin of that site, I have withdrawn from it slowly and spent less and less time there. That place became my sounding board, now this place has proved to be a sufficient substitute. Theres one person who reads most of my posts, who I am grateful to, more than they know, plus one person who has helped me more than anyone has and helped me haul my fat arse through some dark days. The funny [in a strange way, not laughable] thing is, both these people reside at Pokerspace but don’t like each other. I love them both, for different reasons, they both bring something different to my existence that is palpable, I can almost feel it, its real and its appreciated greatly. I am overall a giver, generous to the point of stupidity at times, but these two people have given more than I could ever hope to receive. They have both supported me, in their own unique way and that has been priceless. Theres also a fella at Pokerspace who I have become good friends with. He has had a tough year, but has still found time to talk to me and listen to me whine and moan about anything and everything. We see life in a similar way most of the time, that helps. We probably talk most days now, have a laugh when we can and bemoan poker suckouts and beats. It’s an unseen support. He is developing into a very very good poker player, but even he has suffered from variance and I guess we both just try to tell each other that we are decent players, most of the time. He has the consistency though, I am too impulsive sometimes and that’s my downfall. But between them, these 3 people have helped me in so many ways and at so many times, its amazing to think about it really. Yet, where the fuck are my “real life” friends when I needed them? Apart from one mate, they all just upped and left me to cope by myself. Do friends do that? I didn’t think they did, but then, as often, I could be wrong. So two people from the USA and one from Wales, who I have never met, have all helped and supported me more than some people I have known for 15 years or more. How sick is that really? But that’s enough about that, they know who they are and hopefully they know what they mean to me. I doubt I will ever be able to thank them enough, but its time to stop polishing their ego’s now, lol, before they run away with themselves.

A good thing that’s all a result of those few who have stood by me, I laugh and smile more now than I have in three years. Some days my face aches from laughing and smiling too much. What a change that is. OK, not all days are great and some days are a bloody nightmare, but, the fact that I can still smile and laugh, is a massive leap forward from where I was. I am not ready to take on the world again just yet, but, if things work out well this year, I might just be wanting to give it a shot at some point. I am still fragile in the old head dept, but not AS fragile as 12 months ago, so we have been doing something right along the way. I say we only because without friends and family, I doubt I would still be on this mortal coil. That’s not dramatic, it’s the damned truth. But that’s enough about that, the tone is changing to morbid here, I see it, and now I can change it. That’s a tool I didn’t have, once I went morbid, I stayed there for days, weeks even. But now I do have what I need to overcome things I and you face in our everyday lives. And that folks, is how it should be and how I want it to be. I just try to cut the negative crap now and try to be hopeful and optimistic, when I can, which is more often, so all is good in the world right now.

Another thing that has helped me through the last 3 years is music. Jeez, I love my music, always have done. I was devastated in 88 when I left all my worldly possessions with a so-called mate while I went to Canada. I was gone for 8 months admittedly, but that was no reason to give the whole lot to a charity shop, stupid bastard! My vinyl record collection, given away, that was almost like cutting my gnads [balls, testicles] off. I had a very good collection of vinyl LPS and tapes. So again, I turned to music to help me through. Music feeds my soul and makes me feel better. If I am down in the dumps, I try to listen to some music and chill out and just go with the beat. I used to be in a band, long ago and love has always stayed with me. I never realised just how important music was to me, until I hit rock bottom. A good tune, something that I know and can sing along to always makes me forget and I just get absorbed in it. I can lose myself in a playlist. Just close my eyes and I could be anyone and anywhere. I just seem to have an out-of-body experience when I get into music like that. At first, it was a bit frightening, but once you get used to it, it’s a helluva buzz. Maybe its like a form of meditation? But once I hear a good song playing, it’s usually a good idea not to bother speaking to me until its finished, lol. Long live music, long live rock n roll and may the music never die.

I am not sure what I was going to write when I started this post today, I guess it just took care of itself and its gone along anyway it chose to really. Theres no real direction to it, just thoughts tumbling out onto the page as usual, one day I might learn to be coherent, until then, I just let my mind wander and see what comes out. I do apologise for that. I frequently digress and shoot off at tangents, much like I do in life I guess. So it might be a good idea to wrap this one up and go and find something worthwhile to do? Like what? I did all my chores earlier [not that I have many, but I like to help where I can] The only thing left for me to do is cook some dinner later on. Anyway, that’s enough for one afternoon, more tomorrow I would imagine.

Tatty Bye for now.

Waiting, Waiting, Waiting.

I am not the most patient of people these days. I used to be, but not any longer. Must be something to do with whatever condition it is that I have.

So here we are, Saturday morning and I am waiting yet again. I did my usual fortnightly grocery shop last night and a two hour delivery slot is £5.50 on a Saturday. For an 8 hour delivery slot, its only £2.50, so yes, I am a cheapskate and go for the cheaper option. We only live 10 minutes from the store, but we always seem to be last on the list, lol. I dont mind during the winter months, but come spring and summer, its good to at least try to get out more.

So we are sitting here reading the daily papers, me writing blogs and reading my book [nearly finished now] and just relaxing. We are dying for a good cup of tea, we ran out of tea on Thursday and have lived on coffee since. I like coffee, especially with Baileys Irish Cream in it and a dash of cream, but like most Brits, I still love my cuppa. That will be the first thing to do when the shopping arrives, make a good, strong cup of tea. That always feels more refreshing than coffee somehow. I am no fan of iced tea or Earl Grey or anyhing like that, I just like a cuppa in the morning, lunchtime and afternoon, coffee is reserved for after the evening meal. So please Mr Delivery Man, hurry up with our tea, we are clamming [really wanting something to eat or drink] here.

Then, later on, we have my favourite sandwich lined up. Ham and Pease Pudding on a tiger bun x2 with cheese and crackers and crisps and a drink of some kind, maybe a Baccardi tonight with heaps of ice and plenty of lemon, thats so refreshing, it goes down a treat. No doubt it wont stop at one either, but it wont go too far, I have lost enough days of my life to the dreaded hangover. I never used to get them. I could drink all day and night and never suffer, we used to do all weekend sessions and drank ourselves sober halve the time [yes it is possible] but now, a couple of pints of beer, a few glasses of wine or a spirit too many and I am useless the following day. So I do try to be responsible and drink in moderation so I dont get that bad head the following day. My old man is odd with drink as well. 2 beers and he is drunk and I mean drunk! but he can down half a bottle of whiskey and remain sober, or thereabouts. Thats just unreal. We have all been good drinkers in our dysfunctional family. I found drink early. I went to live with my old man when I was 12 and he always had bottles in the house. I used to take a small bottle, fill it with bits out of every bottle I could find, throw in something sweet like coke and drink it for the friday night disco at the youth club. There was nothing else worth doing in that place. Drink and drugs became a way of life, very early. My brother found the bottle when he was about 19 and he crawled inside the damned thing for abot 5 years. He was always drining, but seldom drunk. My lil sis [she is older than me, but smalle, hence lil sis] was more into drugs. Going to a party with her was always great, she always got a freebie from someone and we had some rare old nights. My favourite was, a damned good drink 10-15 pints, then a couple of spliffs and then some poppers. Poppers are lie amyl nitrate, blow ya head off, but the effect after a drink and a spliff was amazing. So we all liked a good time, just the good times nearly took over.

My sis went to Liverpool, I ended up north here in Newcastle and my bro is stil down there with the madwomen he calls a wife. She would be enough to drive anyone to drink.

Me and my lil sis had to get away, the drink and drug culture had us in its grip and was not letting go. The only way out was addiction or get away. I still liked a good smoke, I have smoked cannabis since I was about 14 and only kicked it 3 years ago, now I just like the occasional drink and leave it at that. Its so easy to get trapped into that way of life, but so hard to get away from. But we did and thats all that counts really.

So I am stil waiting and still dying for that cup of tea, but I shall just have to wait a bit longer. I think we might sit down and watch a movie or something, they always come halfway through a good movie, lol. Theres a few we haven’t watched in awhile, so I am sure we can find something.

So thats my Saturday pretty much taken care of. Tonight, we will sit down and share a bar of chocolate and watch Casualty, then I will watch the football highlights and that will be day over. Tomorrow I will be doing the Sunday dinner, so probably wont have time to blog, but I would much rather make sunday dinner than bore you with another blog.

So Toodle Pip, until next time boys and girls, this is Uncle Tino signing off.

Travellers Tales and other Stories

I often look back through my life and review the highlights and lowlights. One thing I have very very few of  is regrets. This post pertains to one of the highlights and its continued association some 23 yrs later.

In the summer of 1987 I met a cousin of mine for the first time that I can remember. Maybe I met her once as an infant, but I don’t remember it if I did. Claire lived in Canada in Toronto with her fella David who was not with her on this trip to Europe. Anyhow, we managed to spend a little time together and spent a lovely evening with my uncle and his wife over a meal and a few bottles of wine. I have always been a very practical person and I am good with my hands and can do most jobs that are construction related. I had done a lot of work at my uncle’s house and his office that kept me busy and that was the reason I ended up in Newcastle upon Tyne. Anyway, I digress. The conversation somehow evolved into a talk about holiday homes and the like. My uncle owned an apartment in Tenerife and also a holiday home on my aunt’s side in South France. Her family is French. Sadly she passed away a couple of years ago now, she was a wonderful woman, very beautiful, very elegant and the accent combined with a slightly husky voice all conspired to make her one of the most desirable women I have ever known. Sorry, I digress once again.

So, it transpired my cousin owned a cottage [I use the term loosely as you will discover later] and she needed some work doing. Would I be prepared to go to Canada and do some of the work for them, they would pay me and meet my travel and living costs. Too good to turn down really and I am never one to look a gift horse in the mouth.

So it was agreed I would go out in April of 1988 and make a start. The cottage was in an area called Muskoka, beautiful place, about 200 miles north of Toronto. I arrived in Toronto and was met at the airport by Claire and David, who I got along with from the word go. He was the one taught me Backgammon, which I still play today and also golf, which sadly, I don’t play right now. David is the father I never had, or the father I should of had, depending how you look at it.

They took me to their house in Toronto. Lovely place, crap garden! Neither of them were gardeners. My Grandpa [mothers father] was a keen gardener and I used to spend many a day in the garden with him as a child. So I set to the first day and sorted the rear garden out. It only took me a couple of days, reshaped the lawn and watered it heavily, raked the crap out of it [moss and lichens] forked the ground as it was rock hard and took the weeds out. It looked 100% better than when I arrived. There were a couple of other things needed doing. The handrail and railings at the front needed cleaning and painting. Took me 2 days, the garage door was the same, 1 day, the front lawn was brown and threadbare. Rake it out, fork it over and water and it looked much healthier inside 2 days. I took a couple of days off to do some sightseeing. David is a corporate travel agent. He got me tickets to CN Tower, the zoo and the Science Museum which I loved. I saw my first Koala Bear at the zoo and CN tower just blew me away. I also took in a couple of baseball games, the Blue Jays will always be my team and really had a good time. I was in Toronto for two weeks. Man it was hot there and it took me some time to acclimatize myself.

I then went north to Muskoka. I had a picture in my head of a nice little log cabin in the woods or on the shore of a lake. Ha! I couldn’t have been more wrong if I had tried. The place was huge. Not my idea of a cottage at all. It was bigger than most peoples home. A wonderful building of timber cladding and glass that took my breath away. 4 bedrooms on split level, massive lounge with open fireplace, dining room and kitchen. 2 bathrooms, a deck with steps down to the waterfront deck and bays for the boats and a diving board. Cottage? My arse! On Birch Island in the middle of Lake Muskoka. I had just found Heaven, I was sure. There were about another 10 “cottages” on the island and the people I met were wonderful and I really enjoyed my time there. In the November most places start closing up for winter. I had sponsors and guarantors and a job lined up to stay there. I had just got to know my partner and her son before coming to Canada and it came down to a simple choice. Canada, or my GF and her son. There was no contest really. But, it is one of the few regrets I have. However, things happen for a purpose and I came home in November after Thanksgiving. I had a great time there, met some great people and loved every minute of it.

To the point of this blog now.

While I was in Muskoka, I read a few books that were lying around in the evenings. One book I read was Clan of the Cave Bear by an author I had never heard of, Jean Auel. I loved the book and could hardly put it down. I am not going to go into great detail, but the main story was about a young child, Ayla, and her battle to survive in the Ice Age. Her parents were killed in an earthquake and she was alone and dying when she was picked up by a “Clan” woman named Iza and taken to live with Iza and her people. Ayla was different from the people of the “Clan” and she suffered because of it. But the tale goes on to describe her life in the following years and all the events that took place. It was a joy to read and that was the last I thought of it.

A couple of years later, well maybe more than a few, back in the UK, I was browsing in a bookshop [I can spend all day in a bookshop] and came across The Clan of the Cave Bear again, and a sequel, The Valley of the Horses, which of course I just had to read as well. So I bought it home and set off reading. 36 hours later I had finished the book. It followed on nicely from where The Clan of the Cave Bear left off and was another great read. I don’t want to do book reviews here, suffice to say that if you ever get the chance, read these books. It transpired, that the first two books were the beginning of a 6 book series called Earths Children. So, there were still four volumes to come, happy days I am thinking.

I kept my eyes and ears open, but book #3 never arrived. These were pre internet days and no one had any idea what had happened to the author or if book 3 would ever materialise. Well eventually it did and someone gave it to me as a present, I forget who. It was another cracking read and was called simply, The Mammoth Hunters. Book 3 came and went and I could not wait for #4. Again though, it never came, no one knew anything, although there were rumours that the author was seriously ill, so maybe #4 would never be written. I was really sad about that as I really wanted to read about how Ayla survived and the struggles she had. But I guess it was not to be.

Some years later, I was in my favourite bookshop again and realised that book 4 actually had been written and published. The Plains of Passage was the title and I payed for it there and then, went home, read it from cover to cover and was so absorbed in it, I never realised it was 3.30am and I had work in less than 3 hours! I didn’t mind, it was worth it to follow Ayla and her exploits.

Again, years passed and no sign of book 5. I asked in all the bookshops, no one knew. Rumour had it that the book was ready to be released, then it wasn’t, then it was and this went on for something like 2 yrs. However, finally, book 5 appeared. The Shelters of Stone is about Ayla and her companion Jondalar, who’s live she saved a couple of books earlier. Another compelling story and at long last, the end was in sight. Was it? Errr, no! Again, years went by and nothing. Again I checked the bookshops and rumours were rife about the author and a release date, etc etc etc. Nothing, not a thing, but, we now had the internet! No one was safe and reports were that Jean Auel was seriously ill and book six looked a none starter. Pffft, no way, this can’t be happening, surely. No book 6? C’est la vie. Nothing could be done. There were more rumours and reports that a member of Jeans family would do #6, but that never happened.

Then, astoundingly, book 6 was given a release date of July 2010. Out of nowhere, 10 yrs after book 5, finally, book 6 was here. Errrr, hold on, rewind, no, it wasn’t ready. More waiting. Finally, a new release date was issued and next month, yes, next month, March 2011, the last edition of Earths Children will hit the shops!!! Hoo friggen ray!! About time. I am not 100% sure when The Clan of the Cave Bear was written. Even if it was written in 1985, then it will be 26 years from start to finish, give or take.

The Land of Painted Caves will finally end this epic tale. March 29th, finally, the book hits the shelves and mine is pre ordered. It will arrive at my door on the 3oth March and the phone will be off the hook, the doors and windows locked and internet switched off and if anyone disturbs me until I am finished, theres gonna be hell to pay!

The point of this blog is really about association and what reminds us of our past. The Earths Children series has been a long time in the making. If I hadn’t gone to Canada, maybe I never would have started reading the first book, let alone waiting for the last. So that’s my reminder and association with Canada. Ayla’s story will always remind of good times and good people in a far away place. They will always be happy memories and will go with me always wherever I lay my hat.

Somewhere along the line, not sure which book, a song springs forth, simply The Mothers Song. It’s not a song, more a poem, but can be a song as well and its one of the most beautiful things I have ever read. It tells the story of Earth being the Mother of all and how she provides for her offspring. Now again, association is present. I happen to believe in Mother Nature as a force in itself. I have worked the land, I cleared footpaths in Derbyshire [google it] for 15 months, I have been a landscape gardener amongst other things for a few years. I helped my Grandpa in his garden when I could, so I have a decent enough knowledge, but am no expert. There are stories [unrelated at this point] about Ley lines as the blood vessels of the planet that carry its life force. Many buildings and monuments are built in straight lines, hundreds of miles apart, that date back to I don’t know when. But that’s for another day.

Roll on March 29th, a day that I think I shall also remember for a very long time.