The extra bits...(Under construction).

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Out there with no chafing ....

     Just incase certain fellow bloggers think that I'm slacking in my efforts to improve my physical health just because of my recent encounter with the Black Dog, you know who you are!, I thought that I'd better let you all have an up date and prove that I'm still giving it a go.....

     Crisps have now been successfully banished from the menu and now so has cheese (god that is so hard), smaller plates have been obtained as portion size is reduced, takeaway has been put on hold though I do have to admit to having a very nice garlic n chilli special on last night's shift but only with boiled rice and none of the usual starter bucket of crispy chicken and today instead of the usual mopsing around the abode after said night shift I bit the bullet and headed to Nercwys forest with Bramble in tow. 

     I'm still far to fat to get into my array of outdoor gear and had to resort to jeans once more, although surprisingly I did find my feet still fitted into my walking sandals. Why is it no matter how fat you become shoes always fit? Anyway as well as my sandals I did have a new piece of kit which is a basic fishing shoulder bag made by Leeda, oh I can feel a couple of kit reviews coming on if this outdoor malarky keeps up. What was pleasing on the walk was that the jeans did not chafe my delicates this time around, indeed a belt was almost required, that and the fact that I didn't fall on my arse this made me feel a whole sight better!

      I was mindful of trying to pass through the woods as silent a wisp of smoke as I thought about the 'strength of silence' but still managed to make as much noise as a pissed off bull elephant dismantling a whistling steam engine that was about to blow its rivets due to being dangerously over pressured, hence no photographs of anything that can move faster than a snail that is feeling a tad under the weather. Indeed 'bollocks' was the very term that came to mind as I crept (ok barged through undergrowth) upon a dragonfly sunning itself hoping for that killer picture, I'm sure that I heard him sniggering as he took off whilst I tussled with some unruly Bramble shoots. But for the early part of the walk I managed to take a few pictures of bits and bobs hopefully giving you a feel for where I stomped today ......


Remnants of the moorland before the forest was planted in the 60's
Bear doing what comes naturally




Rosebay willowherb...see I do take notice
Rowan berry...I think

Playing with the light



      After a while though the camera was forgotten as the woods enveloped me and time slowed down. I may not passed through quietly enough to be accepted, I may have been breathing through my arse when we got back to the car and my pictures and words may indeed be a tad shoddy but bloody hell it felt damn fine the feel sun on my face, mud between my toes and the watch Bramble thrashing around the undergrowth.

Till the next time, take care...

John

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

The strength of silence .....

     Whilst I have been away for the past few days I have found myself questioned, under examination (both mentally and physically) and placed under the utmost scrutiny by both those of the medical profession and by myself. I have lied to family about what was being undertaken to prevent further worry for them, and I have lied to my love as to where I have been as I could not face her trying to visit me or even trying to talk to me during this time. Now I'm loathe to even to open any sort of dialogue with her as my lie as to where I was probably has been the last straw for her, but as I said here she is better off without me.

     So where do I go from here? It is obvious to me that my ongoing struggle with the Black Dog is nowhere near as over as I had convinced myself and that there are dark times to be faced in the future. Do I turn ever further inwards, forsaking all others and stopping the potential to cause even further perceived pain to loved ones? Or do I open myself up and face all that comes head on, regardless of consequence? I feel truly lost and cut adrift at this moment and wonder which direction to take. All I do know that for the moment it is easier writing my thoughts here than expressing them in other ways.

     There was one thing that stuck in my mind from the past few days and that is the title of this post... "The strength of silence". Now I've absolutely no idea where this idea came from, something expressed by the shrinks, sorry doctors, something read or just a thought that lodged itself in my storm ridden mind but it is an idea that attracts me like a moth to the flame and one I wish to explore more. The basic premise, I'm thinking, behind this thought is that the more effort one puts into being silent the more one concentrates on a task and the hence the more aware of oneself and one's actions one becomes (to many one's?). For instance, the simple task of putting a brew down on a table..... instead of just completing the action you concentrate on putting it down as quietly as you possibly can so as to avoid the usual 'thud' of a vessel landing upon the table. This could be taken to a simple walk through woodland so that your concentration is firmly focused upon nothing else but trying to travel through without a noise so that the woods would just flow around you. It's not just about noise though, I'm trying to think of this 'silence' as the footprint that I leave in my wake,  from the noise I make, to the detritus I make and to the emotions and pain I leave behind me. I'm not sure that this idea makes sense to to you but it is something I will try to expand upon as I look into it and try to practice it. One thing sitting quietly did provide was a sight of my first urban fox this year so perhaps there is something in it after all. I'm also pondering as to whether or not I should rename my blog after this idea?


     The comments received upon my previous two posts were warming and welcome and although I failed to answer them some faith in human nature was restored and for for this I thank all of you who were kind enough to take the time, both in reading my thoughts and in offering your own.

Till the next time, take care.....

John

Friday, 22 August 2014

Away..



     Thank you for all your kind words, I am traveling for awhile without my phone nor internet. Tis time to collect my thoughts and let some things go and embrace others. I will of course let you know when I return and hopefully then my mind will be healed somewhat.

     For the time being farewell and take care.

John

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Black Dog.....

     


     The overriding thought that smothers any other in my head is that all that know me would be so much better off without me. The thought crashes into every corner of my mind making perfect sense and rendering me incapable of seeing anything else. I just sit there, head down with no other thoughts in my mind. I'm asked time and time again, over and over....."what's wrong John?", "Come on, just talk about it", "Why are you doing this John?", "John, snap out of it", "Why the hell can't you see the pain you're causing you selfish shit?" and so it goes on and on, different voices all saying the same things, all pleading with me to explain what's wrong, all washing over me not making any difference to me....I sit there, head down with no other thoughts in my mind.

     Everyone I know would be better off without me, the thought still there in every recess of my mind. The voices fade, friends drift away not understanding why, tears on my fathers face as his eyes plead with me to answer, to make him understand, he'd be better off without me. The voices fade, my soulmate hurt so many times now herself falling....she'd be better off without me. The voices fade, my brother, angry, raises his fist but backs away as my head rises and my eyes speak only of uncaring pain to be given, he'd be better off without me.

     They'd all be better off without me, I drift away from home to room to caravan to car, nowhere else to go except down. I function, just, I turn up for work an unfeeling, uncaring and unclean robot, it goes on. My head stays down, eyes unseeing just the one thought still there urging me to take that last step....better off without me. 

     These words may seem strange to people who have read my previous posts. Where is the humour, the joy of life? Why have I written such words when people come here to smile, to feel good? To be honest I don't know the answer but the words are the first I've managed to write in trying to understand and picture my darkness when it descended upon me. It's still with me and there are days still, when I know the pain I've inflicted upon others and the guilt overwhelms my mind, days when the thought that the world would be better off without me gnaws at my mind, as it does on this day. 

     I write this blog hoping that one day it'll help just one person see the joy in the world, that just one person will not feel that the world would be better off without them. If I can do that perhaps on that day I'll find peace at last. 

Take care,

John

Re - Quest for knowledge.....

     Well knock me down with a feather and call me Mr. Fluffy Bunnykins! My previous post, asking for my readers (yes there is more than one) aid in identifying the flora n fauna that I encounter whilst clumping around the trail, has indeed been positive to say the very least and this here caveman has three pieces of the wildlife jigsaw that he can now identify. I am a tad worried though, that if I put more beasties and plants up to be identified my three functional brain cells my not be able to store more knowledge so as a new wee beastie or plant name is revealed earlier information gleaned may well just fall out of my head, me thinks I need to take notes!

     But your kind comments were also a catalyst for me to chase up the names given and look them up myself upon the tinternet, being bereft of field books as I am. So I found myself learning far more than names and instead found myself discovering some facts about range, habits, and even where some of the names originate from. I can now confidently, ish, stride forth and name three (ok I'm not too bad on mammals and fish, you know cow, sheep, unicorn......) pieces of the wildlife jigsaw. I feel that as I once more become at one with nature that, with your help, I'll be looking at it with eyes more open... so thank you for that and I think that I'm going to make 'Quest for knowledge' a regular feature here.

     Speaking of fellow bloggers help you may have noticed, via the comments, that there is a small group of us that are trying to improve our physical and mental health and there is developing quite a rapport between as we offer support to each other, some tongue in cheek admittedly. I guess we all have our reasons for doing this, mine is to help fight the Black Dog, but I'm thinking of extending mine and perhaps others efforts and progress onto a separate page (not that I've done much with my other pages). If you would perhaps like to help, join in, contribute to this page or just laugh at this rotund caveman's stumbling efforts then perhaps it may be worth doing.... thoughts? 

     And just to check to see if my poor shrivelled brain can retain more than three items of natural knowledge here's a picture I took some time ago, 12 months ago actually, for your appraisal and to test your knowledge....


Me thinks tis one for Casey...


Till the next time, take care,

John.


Stop the press.... One of the aforementioned "small group" has gazumped me idea and already got such a page up and running here, curse you GW I thought I was being original an all that! 

Monday, 18 August 2014

Quest for knowledge.....

     Well I finally managed to push myself out onto a walk today without causing myself any permanent damage! Unfortunately it was not a walk upon the distant hills but one upon the lanes around the village. I must admit though to being pleasantly surprised by how enjoyable the walk was, something that I didn't expect with it just been on roadsides, and well trodden public paths. But our route did lead alongside a small river for a time and although my clumping steps and Bear's mad thrashing through every available copse made wildlife scarce, non the less it was nice to be out there at long last.

      Now to the rub, so to speak. I have a love of the outdoors yet my knowledge of flora and fauna would make the third smallest book in the world, behind the Irish book of knowledge and the Scottish book of free gifts! Due to events past I have no field books and this is where you, oh happy reader, come in. No I'm not asking you for field books, money or scantly glad maidens ...er well.. to help on my quest to actually know something's name and a tad about it when I see it, oh no no and thrice no, I would like you to identify and perhaps part some knowledge about some of the flora and fauna that I photograph. So to this end every week I shall take me camera with me as I thud along the trails and ask for some help in identifying at least three items of wildlife.... Please.

     Now because I'm writing this on me crappy phone I've made the mistake of loading the pictures first in no particular order and am now adding my fumbling words, well I am skiving in work on the dreaded night shift. So you have to bear with me and check for the three pictures numbered, imaginatively, one to three and then impart your worldly wisdom to this outdoor dunce if you would be so kind.

Picture one.

Picture ttwo





Picture three


     It will be also interesting to see if there is any differences in local names and how widespread each piece of wildlife is. Oh the other pics are from the same walk today and is it me or does the air and the colors already seem a tad autumnal?


Till the next time, take good care,

John.




Monday, 11 August 2014

Viking funeral.....

 
  
     My fellow shift engineers and I will be finishing our nightshift tonight at 2am instead of the compulsory 6am. But it is not something that we are looking forward too for tomorrow we say farewell to the forth member of our team, Mike.

    Mike passed away suddenly whilst riding his cycle of a massive heart attack. The report that came back told of blocked arteries and heart disease that Mike was totally unaware of. The only blessing, I suppose, is the doctor said it would be as fast as a balloon bursting and Mike would be unaware of very little if anything at all.

     Mike was more than just a workmate, he was a damn good friend and we have had many days out away from the grind. His sense of humour was a wonder to listen too yet he had such life wisdom. Mike never shouted nor lost his rag, and was quietly spoken...but such was his presence when he spoke those around him listened. Some people are described as full of life but few were as overflowing with it as Mike. I could never do the man justice with my paltry words but I will miss him and the hole he leaves behind will never quite be filled.

       So tomorrow we travel to the city of Deva to bear witniss to the burning of Mike's earthly vessel and I pray that his essence finds peace. Later in the day Tim, Shaune and myself will quaff stupid amounts of ale, gorge ourselves on eastern cuisine and laugh out loudly as we swap tales, both tall and true, of the gentleman we were honoured to know called Mike.

Till the next time take care,

John

Common sense? .....

     So following on from yesterday's post and the encouragement given by your comments...... Curse you all....ahem, I rose with the larks this morn refreshed and ready to start on the road to mind and body redemption, though it may well prove to be long and wearisome, no doubt fraught with many a danger! Actually, truth be told, I woke myself up at about half six with my racking coughing and could I bugger get back to sleep. So, thoroughly grumpy, I stomped downstairs to make a suger laden brew with intent on snatching a few more hours sleep being as the dreaded night shift was to descend upon me this evening. Oh and there were no bleedin'  larks up at that time either.

     I digress, sitting there clamping my steaming mug and reading your comments on yesterday's post....damn n blast you all.... I thought to myself perhaps the now is the time to start, no excuses, no grumbling, just get off my arse and go for a walk. After all a few easy miles in the fresh air ambled over a couple of hours should be fine, I'll even be able to get me head down before nights and regain some much needed rest.

     So half an hour later I find myself stepping onto once familiar trails accompanied by the Bear....



     Leaving the phone in the car seemed sensible as the dark sky and steadily building wind held the promise of rain upon it's whispered breath. It felt good to be 'out there' once more, though my gasping breath, laboured footfall and the Bears excited charging into the undergrowth negated any chance of seeing wildlife let alone being accepted by it, but in time that will come. A couple of miles of tortured walking and being soaked to the sink....side note, none of my old outdoor gear comes close to fitting my expanded frame anymore.....it was time to trudge wearily back to the car. But then it happened, clambering over a wet, moss covered fallen tree, I lost my footing and went down like the proverbial sack of spuds.....bugger! Leaving the phone in the car did not seem so sensible now! Gingerly dragging myself up I found myself quickly on my arse again, my right knee which has been twinging for some months now had decided to give up the ghost and refused to support my weight any longer, can't say that I blame it though! 

      With no other soul around apart from Bear, I was beginning to understand my foolishly unprepared rashness and regretted forgetting the lessons of trail walking I used to follow religiously even on the shortest of walks. With no option but to make my way back I had to calm myself and just focus. Casting around I was fortunate enough to find a stout branch to support myself on and gritting my teeth I began the return journey. Mind you better gritting my teeth than have them chewing all the junk food they've been forced to mash lately. Considering the brief time it took on the outward stretch the nearly five hours on the return was an eternity of pain but also relearning some harsh lessons of the trail. Fair play, Bear stayed with me all the way, never thinking of once using my predicament to run riot. There is not much else to tell cept the upshot was a rushed meal of leftovers and a quick wash was all the time I had once I got back to my abode before I had to limp out again and go to work. Which is where I sit on my brews writing this for you to shake your heads at as I force my way through the shift dosed up on painkilling pills and energy drinks.....not a good start to the campaign eh Julee?

     Has this put a stop to my rebuilding myself? Well its put it on pause but it has in fact made me more determined to succeed. Taking the sensible move of getting myself checked out at the Docs will happen this week, I need to refrain from trying to replicate what I used to able to do and instead build myself up slowly taking my knackered bodies age and condition into consideration. Yes I need to relearn many lessons and take smaller steps...but I'll get there and if you can be bothered reading I'll be telling you about it here. 

Till the next time, take care.

John

   

     

Saturday, 9 August 2014

Enough said....

     So here I am scoffing a bacon and egg bap and drinking heavily sugared tea contemplating my decline, both mentally and physically, into the derelict rusting hulk known to you as John. I find myself drifting back to a time, not many years ago, when a ten mile hike along mountain tops was considered a good start to the day. Now if I can get down the stairs without feeling some twinge, ache or heavy breathing I consider that a very good start to the day.  I could give you a list as long as my arm of reasons, nay excuses, for my decline into this round lazy hulk but it all boils down to fact that it's my own doing, bugger!

     The theme of one or two blog posts that I've read lately seem to have touched on the issue of health, becoming older and the cost of staying healthy. I have to admit that the cost of being unhealthy, as I am......did I mention the racking coughing fits?, far outways any monitory considerations. I've lost myself, my contact and feeling of being as one with nature and basically my life. But it's very difficult to break this downwards spiral..... pass the salt please....and far easier to allow myself to continue downwards, moaning about how ill and old I am till I slam into the deck of the good ship permanent decrepitude.  I like moaning about it though, goes with the image I guess.

     I miss my face burning after being blasted on windswept hillsides, I miss the sense of well being sitting in the depths of ancient woodlands whilst nature surrounds and accepts my presence, I miss sitting alone on a dark deserted beach with mackerel cooking over a driftwood fire, l miss swimming in lakes that drop away so deep as to be inky black beneath me, I miss the pleasure of seeing a kingfisher flashing past me not aware of me as I stealthily hunt wild fish, I miss my soulmate's smile in the mornings after making love through the night.. . .I miss who I was.


     What to do? I'm not sure if I have the strength to even attempt to stop my decay but I have to try. To much has been lost and I'm tired of giving up on my life. It's time to try and regain some pride, self respect and maybe a life.....time to live and stop the self pity and moaning.


Till the next time take care,


John