Thursday, 19 February 2015

Gardening...digging away depression

I am not exactly sure of the reason why but gardening, I find, is therapeutic to battle depression and anxiety. It maybe the fact of payment or could could be just the  overcoming joy of having achieved something, or it maybe the actual activity of   physical work itself...I think it is the latter or so a doctor might say!

Before I embarked on this adventure of self-employment I was in a "different" place without doubt. I was in a comfort zone, a dangerous comfort zone, dependant on my pleasures of life that 15 years of being employed created, yet an employment that eventually took its toll on my mental health, whereas I had to change course for better or for had to be done and that meant stepping outside my comfort zone.

You see, probably over the years, I have never been a champion of change...hate it, loathe it, fear it! Yep, FEAR...worry...a sign, a clear sign of mental distortion, makes you anxious and eventually makes you ill with something that only a blind man can see.

And if change means spilling the apple cart or rocking the boat and you have fear of doing so then you cannot make that change, or of there is resistance then you will never implement that change and if there is objectivity, politically, and your trait is to be empathic then you will never force that needs to be of stronger character to make change.

I have no doubt that I could step back into management within the industry I left but would such a move fester more mental stress...well I don't know, I just don't know. Because, you see, I embarked on becoming self-employed, not by desire but out of need...which in turn has its pressures and uncertainty and, with that, due worry.

I n my first year,  by luck I found clients whom I had a great pleasure to work for and in them I saw problems and welfare which at times were more compound than mine. And in working for them I learnt many things, tried in essence to solve problems either by doing or giving the best practical advice.

The most important thing, though the return was low, I was actually happy and it aided my mental well-being. I stopped, had no need to take medication for my suffering, and lost weight, shedding two stone.

But, and this is big but, I did not plan for winter...I mean there are jobs one can still do in the garden during winter, but my clients have gardens that they only wish to have maintained during the growing season. Only one from my knowing had more fallen leaves than that I could cram into my small hatchback. 

I remained, obstinately hopeful that my clients might see that a fruitful and well kept garden, desired work throughout winter as implied in many books and websites...but it were not to be. By chance we had a mild winter and the growing season was very much extended, yet the work would soon come to a grinding, slowing, winding down. 

With my readily, low returns now a drip, drip, drip of a few earnings here and there our income was tight and we had no choice to make some budget cutbacks, difficult when one is already on a DMP and Christmas was fast approaching. 

We put our mortgage on the line, reduced our payments to our DMP...and by chance, put onto a national charity whom surprised us to the fore and sponsored us with a financial grant...a small life-line, a huge sigh of relief, and a bloody big thank-you to a charity I had never even heard of despite  their size and importance.

Still, I had worries creeping back, promoted my services hard almost everyday on social media, self made adverts, picking out advice on gardening websites...and it worked gained some work for new clientele whom had found me via Internet searching. So I must be good at something...getting a good name for myself, I trust, I do so hope otherwise I might fall to calling myself a failure...sadly I do just that!

The biggest fear is getting back in touch with the clients I had last year and in getting new in others and gaining their trust in you is a massive hurdle to overcome. With all my new clients I have held immense worry and an indescribable fear of failure along with uncertainty. That in turn has manifested also where I have started back with some of my present clients.

Each job, each task, presents a new challenge but I see it as change that I say that I cannot cope with and I do not know why. I should be happy not sad, I should be full of life not down in the dumps, I should be positive not negative...for I have people who are believing and trusting in me and at present I do not seem to be able to return it in anyway.

Maybe, it is the weather, or the dark mornings, or knowing that some of the tasks I do not have the tools to do a sufficiently good job to hand and maybe that displeases me most. Or is it just me, me, me...

This time last year I nearly walked away from everything I had knowing or believing that there was no future. With my gardening business growing, slow though it might be, I have a future, I have a destiny, I have built up goodwill, yet I feel worse than a year ago, deep down, so deep down and it hurts.

I know what I need but don't know how to get there, I know what I must do but don't know how to do it... So crying is what I do! 

I need a hobby and I need a big plan..I need help. I know I have support and there is much love around me to help me cope...I just need a plan of change so I can as a gardener dig away my depression for good.

Amen and God bless.

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Ten minute blog....not quite!

Well here I sit with my iPad writing a quick blog just for the sake of writing a quick blog because I haven't wrote a blog, a good blog for sometime. You know, the one that gets you noticed, instant fame, a column in a national rag, one that goes viral in 24hours...yes that type of blog.

But, to write that sort of blog in ten minutes I would have to be a bloody genius of some sort and have blogged about something that has captured the nation's heart strings more or less. Can I do it...well with four minutes gone probably not so...!

So here is what I ought to have done...wife is at bingo and due back soon. Dinner for her is two small jacket spuds, chopped salad and egg mayo. Now with only two minutes left please wish me luck...

Well the leaf is ready done in a bag from the local shop, spuds have been in for last 20 mins so should be blackened by now and crisp and soft inside, egg mayo was contrived earlier in day and I am about now to slice the tomatoes and cucumber and so present all on a plate.

I sort of, well...what can I say...but...effing hate see I am the sort who can but won't or can't do...and when you suffer mental illness cooking is one of the least things to worry about and certainly one of the most stressful household tasks.  So in having to take five minutes out from writing just now, have I achieved the ultimate expectant salad for my love...well the proof is in the pudding so to say!

le salad...

Success...I so think! She loves me!

God bless and amen.

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Worry of their teenaged years...

Worrying of that teenage life...

Should I be worried for my children now both are teenagers? Should I worry that when things go wrong for them they want your compassion yet they tend to perceive beforehand they know more of life than yourself?
Yep, difficult questions and natural worry! But, be blessed about this...were we parents not the same?

Take my son, just turned 13 and at five foot ten he is taller by slight margin than me..."Coming to the rugby lunch?". Er, no he doesn't...! 

" I'm going to St Margaret's".  Obviously by bus because that is the only sensible way of getting there. " By train Dad!" WHAT???? Now do realise my son...and consciously I can sense myself shouting, raising my voice, putting my very serious dad head on as all those risks speed through my mind as what possible scenarios might unfold as he and his friends embark on this mini adventure.

Alarm bells ringing...the nearest station to where they are going is a three mile hike, along roads that resemble a roller coaster ride in places. Then there is the busy A road to cross, where more have been killed than I have fingers and toes...only last month a young person lost their life hitch-hiking that road! Then, there are those blind bends and hills en route...and at this time of year, well they are going to be walking back in the bloody dark at rush hour time...why oh why are you not getting the bus?!?

That is the perilous worrying done, now the financial bit...pocket money is a must. Money for train ticket, refreshments of some kind and if necessity arises change for the bus home rather than train. Oh no, they have it all suss'd...they can bunk the train! You cannot bunk the bus because as strapping teenagers you cannot exactly slip by the driver at the stop without causing a public scene. The train, four to eight times larger than the bus, a four minute journey ride and so much easier to get get caught that's a £20 fine...ten times more than the fare!

And then there is the environmental bit? In this day and age you get fined for dropping litter...leaving it on the train or bus is okay...they have cleaners of course. But getting refreshments to eat on a teenaged hike is a bit like a licence to bins, just hedgerow in which to dispose of their junk. You can put it in your way Dad! Yep, they will leave a trail of wrappers and plastic bottles no doubt?

And then there is the thought and concern of having a dinner ready for them on their return home...well my son will be tired out and surely we gave him enough to get something filling to eat? Me I am off to a rather cheap and fantastic rugby lunch while my lad will be feasting on Haribos and preparing dinner could be a wasteful affair...and gladly I was right. He went straight to his room and fell asleep...which means I will have to wait till morning to find out of his adventure...I mean the truth and nothing but the truth!

And now to my teenaged daughter, a bit more sensible with age, after all she is sweet sixteen next week, growing up fast, into make up, fashion and desire for riches to spend and boys....BOYFRIEND!?! "You be bloody careful...?!!" do I know him? What's he like? Who's his parents? Has he a job? You do not make a pass at my lass unless you are earning forty grand, I can let you know that now. 

" It's no more or less of a worry than we did for K..." assures my wife to me. It won't be long before she is off down the pub and rolling home drunk...that's the worry. She almost does as she pleases, secretly in her bedroom in full practice for X Factor. And where are you going? Not only do I ask of this once but several times, and yes it has to be several because at her age then their life is top secret. Shrouded in mystery!

Then with her, my delightful daughter has the lacking of advance planning. For herself, having a grammar education, for which she has strived on her own good effort, her friends are spread around a wide catchment area of up to 20 miles from our house...bloody annoying when at the drop of a hat she expects a lift to some remote part of our Kentish countryside...Yep a mere taxi service I am!

And with her is the staying out late and dinner with with my son. So that is another worry of what to cook and ask if it will be wasted when she arrives home because she has eaten out...oh the joys! And to prepare dinner for all, the wife is on a diet for purpose, is not what they will have because of their fussiness. And me well I am a kind of can cook, won't cook type. 

I expect this worry is just natural...where they go, who with, what they will be up to, dinner, pocket money, lack of advance communication or warning, awaiting the expectant phone call, " Dad can you pick us up?"' a call that always comes at inconvenient times, like sitting on the toilet, and not do they ring your mobile, they ring the house a game or sorts, because as you reach one it rings off and the other then sounds, which cannot be found because it is stuffed away deep down the sofa or something.

Well, in essence, must be thankfully for mobile technology, for at least we have some reign on them...that's when they answer and for them they will have the notion to use a friend's phone  if theirs has died of battery.

And when they are home you have no more need of worry but when they don't wish to talk of what they have done today. " It don't matter Dad!" . It does, I won't to know and engage you both in conversation to see if you enjoyed your days. No, they don't wish to talk, just banish themselves away in their rooms...hope you didn't do anything wrong I at least wonder, as they never seem to wish to talk, or do I just sit and relax and wonder as to something that is not concerning enough...should I be worried of a knock at my door?

Oh well, live for another day!

God bless and amen.

Saturday, 20 December 2014

A card for good cheer....

A card for good cheer

Does delivering a card bring good cheer,
Why have you not bothered any other year.
What are you after to shove a card through my door,
And you turn and run when it falls on the floor.
Have you no gumption to knock and see,
If at this time of year how is me.
Well I stare out the window at passers-by,
It's been that way for a long old time.
No ever calls at any other time of year,
Except at Christmas to bring good cheer.
My neighbours of old have all passed on,
Replaced with new faces and families their names to me are so anon.
Yet now  I watch and listen from above,
I was once the neighbour that everyone loved.
And just to say why I don't answer the door,
It is because I am not here anymore.
Because no people they called into see,
I died in my sleep in my chair lonely.
So thank you so much for the card to bestow good cheer,
I will open it in Heaven with my Lord this year.

God bless and amen.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

A lyrical interview with Santa...

Well, apparently Santa is back and I was lucky enough to interview the great man.

"Why do you do this Santa and in our world of austerity can you bring good cheer to everyone in 2014?"

It's not about the money, money, money
We don't need your money, money, money
We just wanna make the world dance
Forget about the price tag

"Yes I know it's not about the money but you have a naughty and nice list, is that fair in this world today, is everyone not equal?"

You say I'm crazy
'Cause you don't think I know what you've done
But when you call me baby
I know I'm not the only one

"Ah, what with extended families, terrorism, our world is full of extremes, you really still provide good cheer at Xmas, should we not strive for that everyday?"

Tonight, tonight, we gotta live for
We gotta live for these days
Tonight, tonight, we'll remember
We'll remember these days

"Thats nice Santa but if you were my present what would I get?"

You got me wrapped up

"Sadly many think Xmas is too commercialised and tradition now is to substitute Xmas with 'holiday' do feel about that?"

When my hair's all but gone and my memory fades
And the crowds don't remember my name
When my hands don't play the strings the same way, mm
I know you will still love me the same

"Yeah, sounds good you will never be forgotten Santa but what about Xmas everyday or are you too busy for that?"

Another day of living, yeah 
I just want to celebrate another day of living 
I just want to celebrate another day of life 

Don't let it all get you down, 
Don't let it turn you around and around 

"Well its getting on and time is of the essence if you are going to deliver all those presents maybe I could help you?"

Don't stop me now...

"Santa?....and why do you look like Arnold Schwarz......?"

It's Christmas....

I could pay you...just tonite...please???"

It's not about the money, money, money
We don't need your money, money, money
We just wanna make the world dance
Forget about the price tag

"Bye Santa...will we see you next year?"

I'll be back!....Merry Xmas!

Saturday, 13 December 2014

What a classic...!

Ford Corsair 2000E, Dinky no: 169

12 days of Xmas laundry

12 days of Xmas laundry

On the 1st day of Xmas my washing machine gave to me,
A white wash on number 3.
On the 2nd day of Xmas my washing machine gave to me,
Two missing socks and a white wash on number 3.
On the 3rd day of Xmas my washing machine gave to me,
Three safety pins, two missing socks and a white wash on number 3.
On the 4th day of Xmas my washing machine gave to me,
Four bra bones, three safety pins, two missing socks and a white wash on number 3.
On the the 5th day of Xmas my washing machine gave to me,
Five cur__tain rings.
Four bra bones, three safety pins, two missing socks and a white wash on number 3.
On the 6th day of Xmas my washing machine gave to me,
Six shirts a spinning, five cur__tain rings.
Four bra bones, three safety pins, two missing socks and a white wash on number 3.
On the 7th day of Xmas my washing machine gave to me,
Oh my God we're swimming, six shirts a spinning, five cur__tain rings.
Four bra bones, three safety pins, two missing socks and white wash on number 3.
On the 8th day of Xmas my washing machine gave to me,
My feet are bloody dancing, oh my God we're swimming , six shirts a spinning, five cur__tain rings.
Four bra bones, three safety pins, two missing socks and a white wash on number 3.
On the 9th day of Xmas my washing machine gave to me,
The phone emergency, my feet are bloody dancing, oh my God we're swimming, six shirts a spinning, five cur__tain rings.
Four bra bones, three safety pins, two missing socks and a white washing on number 3.
On the 10th day of Xmas my washing machine gave to me,
Ten engineers, the phone emergency, my feet are bloody dancing, oh my God we're swimming, six shirts a spinning, five cur__tain rings.
Four bra bones, three safety pins, two missing socks and a white wash on number 3.
On the 11th day of Xmas my washing machine gave to me,
All the pipes pumping water, blood__y every__where....
And on the 12th day of Xmas with my shrunken underwear,
The sledge hammer came in handy; cos my partner said where' s my socks; so I hit him square in the rocks;
Four bra bones, three safety pins, two missing socks and sod you all insurance emergency.