Thinking over Christmas

I find it difficult in this massively connected world not to feel involved in these events that have occurred. There are (sometimes live) pictures of everything, videos, people who are actually there telling you what is happening as it happens – so it is expected that people feel involved when things like this happen.

The lesson that I am starting to learn, especially with the perpetual driving of life pushing us along, is to protect an area of your life where these things can’t effect you. For me it’s my home. We have just decorated for Christmas and it easy to think – as you’re putting up baubles, “what does this matter when bombs are being dropped? Or people are fleeing for their lives?” but this is a situation that you can’t allow yourself to be drawn into. All the problems of the world are too big for a single person to worry about and when it comes down to it, sometimes the small problems in your life mean more than the worries of the world.

With this in mind, I am really looking forward to our first Christmas together. The house has new floor down and the Christmas shopping is done! We have our plan of attack set out for Christmas day too – so this will be my first time going to Laura’s family meal on Christmas day! We also have the Christmas meal with our friends coming up, so there will undoubtedly be many picture of that with last years being an absolute storm.

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Christmas Meal (with friends) 2014

I’m back on decorating duties again this year. Which, as you can see were top notch when we were at Carl’s.

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Enjoying our Costco bounty whilst watching the final of I’m a Celeb. It didn’t make it past the first ad break.

I have a great load of time off over Christmas too, so I am looking forward to spending it at our home and with family over the Christmas weeks, especially after such a busy year. Then, once New Year comes the real count down to the wedding will begin, plans for the stag do and a trip to Newcastle with work for filming.

It’ll be go, go, go!

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Finding Time

Dear Reader,

 

I have been struggling to find time lately to write anything on this. In fact, I have a whole pile of pictures to share with you from my trip to Wales which  I haven’t even edited yet! But I thought I’d drop by and let you know how things are going.

Recently I have been scouting out small production companies around the UK and watching their short films. There sure are some talented people out there! And, I have been reading the tweets of people who work for themselves – filmmakers, authors etc.

In doing so I have given life to the embers of wanting to create.

It is my dream to work as an editor on feature films or television dramas. That is where my passion lies. But – as all industry individuals will know, you can’t get there by sitting on your hands and whistling Dixie. My new years resolution, which I aim to prepare well for, is to take that small tentative step forward into inspiration. I’d like to write a script for a short film and then actually produce it.

Nothing crazy.

Just something simple.

Something to help stoke the flames and breathe life into my ambitions. I’ll update you along the way with the process of this endeavor, starting with getting over the fear of actually making anything in the first place.

Until next time.

 

The Point of Remembering

Soldiers during the Battle of the Somme
Soldiers during the Battle of the Somme

On the eleventh hour, of the eleventh day, of the eleventh month 1918. A call went out to lay down arms and ceasefire because the war was over and a peace had been agreed upon. It marked the end of the conflict of the second world war and is a day that is continued to be marked as a day of remembrance for all of those who lost their lives during the first world war.

Sunday just gone was Remembrance Sunday, a pointed reminder that remembering Armistice day did not work.

The other day I saw a poem that I had never seen before. We had studied Siegfried Sassoon in school, but had never come across this one in our studies. Interestingly enough – it could have been because of the message that it portrayed.

I saw the Prince of Darkness, with his Staff,
Standing bare-headed by the Cenotaph:

Unostentatious and respectful, there
He stood, and offered up the following prayer.
‘Make them forget, O Lord, what this Memorial
Means; their discredited ideas revive;
Breed new belief that War is purgatorial
Proof of the pride and power of being alive;
Men’s biologic urge to readjust
The Map of Europe, Lord of Hosts, increase;
Lift up their hearts in large destructive lust;
And crown their heads with blind vindictive Peace.’
The Prince of Darkness to the Cenotaph
Bowed. As he walked away I heard him laugh.

This poem reflects all that has been obscured when it comes to Remembrance Sunday and Armistice Day. The day was to be stapled onto our historical banner as a grim and deathly reminder of what war does to nations. The systematic deaths of hundreds of thousands of people, driven by the politics of another and the loss and pain and grief that their deaths left behind.

I like to remember the soldiers who have lost their lives in wars since the original armistice in 1918. I think about who they have left behind and I thank them for their service. But I also grieve them, I pity them for having to fight a war that is the result of a lesson not learned. There is no more obvious a reminder than the cenotaph in London, yet the politicians still lay their wreaths knowing of the pain they have caused so many families. Remembrance day should not just be about remembering British lives lost in conflict – but all lives. All of the innocent children and men and women caught as collateral damage in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan. All of the Iraqi forces who are still being slaughtered by ISIS. Everyone, we should remember everyone.

It sickens me to know that certain political groups like to use Remembrance Day as a day to justify war. To say “our ancestors fought for our freedom and so should we!” They are wrong. Our ancestors fought for our freedom so that we shouldn’t have to. They gave their lives so that we could see the depravity of war and could turn away, find alternate solutions. Become peaceful.

But still the cogs of war turn and we learn nothing.

Home Alone: Send Help

So, I’ve spent the last four days home alone as the other half is away on an all action trip with her school. Whilst she is flying through trees and paddle boarding on vast lakes, I am left to fend for myself in the wilderness of our own house. Initially, the naive freedom of having our abode all to myself was almost unfathomable. The possibility of doing house chores, or not doing house chores, eating properly, or not eating properly. Wearing clothes, or basking in natures glorious liberty!  However, reality is a harsh foe to contend with and although admitting this may get me beaten up and locked in my locker by the school bully, I do kind of miss her.

It’s a strange sort of missing though. Unlike the old type where I would write long forlorn letters to my love who is away traveling, hoping that my letter would reach her and I would receive a reply in the following weeks, we are now comforted by the warm arms of social media and instant messaging apps which can put us in touch with anyone we want within a coupe of seconds, so I was never more than a few button clicks away. But, the whole routine that we had built up over the last few months in our house was completely demolished.

No longer would I try to avoid watching soaps (which I secretly enjoy) and go and do house chores like laundry or cooking dinner. Instead I came home and suddenly had an extra 2 hours to do what I like! Blissful free time. So blissful that is compounded a new problem in that I didn’t know what to do to fill it. I had no motivation to do the house work as I knew, in reality, there was now only one of me and I could breeze through the mess I made within half an hour. I would usually complain, internally, about not having enough hours after work to get everything done and to relax, but in reality I need to be doing something to keep my mind working. Something to keep me from sitting on the sofa in my pants staring blankly at an off television wondering what has happened to my life.

Just to push the point.

The only thing I have eaten this week is chunky chips and turkey dinosaurs.

Why? Because there was no one there to tell me otherwise and I figured that I didn’t need to go food shopping as I am by myself.

I guess this has culminated in me writing this post, reaching out the tendrils of my mind to try to find something to do and make sense of what I have felt this week. But look on the bright side, she’s back tomorrow and I can go back to being happy doing the dishes and complaining about having no free time.

Weekend Update: Blackpool, Breakout, Derby

Getting chilly at Blackpool 3.10.15

Winter is most definitely coming.

This weekend we visited Blackpool with the kids and Laura’s family. It’s a place that I vowed to never return to the first time I went and upon a second visit, cemented my original views. I have no qualms about the city, its buildings, its streets or even the illuminations. But there is just far too many people for me. It’s too over crowded in tourist season and I get the general feeling of being unwelcome. Is that strange?

Walzers make me puke.

The kids had a great time on the rides, though we managed to avoid most of the arcades and after well deserved (and long-awaited) meal in a pub we headed home. Opting (mistakenly) to walk back. With Laura feeling under the weather we should have gotten the tram, but hindsight is a blessing after all.

Blackpool family pier , 3.10.15

Sunday was derby day, a big day in Liverpool where the two local football teams come head to head in the league. They play it twice a year, and this years primary fixture was at Goodison. We witnessed a hearty 1-1 draw in the raucous atmosphere of the Camp and Furnace where there was more beards than beer and the hipsters reigned supreme.

Break out rooms have become one of our favourite past times as a group of mates, and Sunday night we took part in a new(ish) one in Manchester. After taking way longer than expected to arrive, due to an anti-austerity march in Manchester.  We tackled the room, and although by the time the 60 minutes were up, we hadn’t got out. We were annoyed because we felt like we had solved virtually none of the room, only to find out we were one clue away from breaking out. Foiled again.

This week entails another lone sitting – with business as usual a week today.

Wedding Update: Hotel is booked!

Short Story: Collection Day

Beep beep beep beep.

What is that noise?

Beep beep beep beep.

There it goes again. Repeating. Reverberating around the blackness. A mosquito in the night.

I swat at it. Nothing happens.

Beep beep beep, VRROOOM.

My eyes flicker open as an engine roars outside my bedroom window. Collection day. How could have forgotten?

I tear the duvet from the bed and swing my legs off the side, my feet greeting the rough carpet with that early morning hyper-sensitivity that I always seem to get. The bed next to me is empty – cold, undisturbed. She never came home last night. I grimace as I stand, a pain in my side bursting through my nerves. I reach down to touch it, it’s tender – bruised.

How did that happen?

Beep beep beep, CLANG.

It’s collection day. Right.

I pull on my shorts and grab at a t-shirt but it’s wet. Soaked in fact, though I don’t remember washing it? It also never rains during a Californian summer. The room is dark, early morning, but I pick my way across debris and discarded clothing none the less. I must have been drunk last night. As I round the bed a lamp is lying on the floor, broken, sad. I liked that lamp. The height of the dresser it stood on matches where my bruise on my side is and I sigh, another drunken injury.

Fourth one this week.

The raucous lorry outside is getting closer, I can hear the bin guys voices now. They laugh, jeering, mocking. Crash. A bin is emptied. I make my way downstairs, the house is empty and the wooden rail on the stairs is cold to touch. Everything is quiet. As I make my way past the short runner with family pictures on and the oak bookcase – which was a little too large for the hall – I spot something odd. A pair of shoes. Her shoes. Lying, despondent in the middle of the hallway. They seem lost, abandoned – owner less. My head aches as I rack my brains trying to remember last night, but only a faint whisper of memory returns. Perfume. Her perfume? Maybe she was here last night.

Why can’t I remember more?

The empty bottles of vodka on the kitchen units offer an unwelcome explanation. Provided with the reason, my head begins to ache. Hangover. Ouch. The kitchen is a mess, bottles strewn across the side, vodka spilt and still dripping by the sink. There is all sorts on the floor. I follow the trail. Home phone, car keys, broken bottle, lip stick.. Lipstick? Hers. She definitely was here last night.

I slip. Floors wet. Grabbing out and steadying myself against the work top. My head spinning, as I reach up to cradle my pulsing temple I scuff my lip. Clumsy, but also sore. The skin is swollen, split on the left side. Did we fight? It would explain her absence and the state I am in right now. I’ll ring her. I’ll find out and we can sort it out once and for all.

But, it’s collection day. Can’t miss collection day.

Against my initial instincts, I continue outside and drag my bin around to the front for the laughing, mocking bin guys to collect.

As I enter the front yard one of them approaches. Just in time. 

“Morning”

I give a friendly little wave, feeling myself swaying from the lasting effects of last nights bingeOh. That’s right, I remember now.

The bin man approaches.

I remember coming in and her being here. Ready to talk, still in her work outfit. I had been in the bar since two am. Or was it pm? I have no idea.

The bin man raises his hand to wave back, but his polite greeting fades in his throat.

I was drunk, obviously. So she got angry. She hit me. My split lip.

The bin man stops where he is. Lazy, I think, as I begin to trundle my bin towards him.

She went into the kitchen. Then things get hazy. Fighting, arguing. Anger, so much anger.

The bin catches on something on the floor and falls side ways, it’s lid opens and it’s contents are cast out onto my lawn.

The bottle. It breaks when it hits her head.

I remember. 

Her body lies half in, half out of the bin. I look at the bin man, he looks at me. I then looks down at my hands. Covered in blood from my t-shirt. Soaked from cleaning her up, not from the wash. My feet as well, crimson ink splashed and smeared up my leg from where I slipped in the kitchen. I must have missed a spot.

I look back at the bin man – frozen to the spot. The others are approaching, wondering what is going on.

Well, this is awkward.

I kneel down and force the body back into the bin, righting it. The bin man still stands there – aghast.

I smile politely and nod my head to him and his colleagues.

“I apologise. Just recycling today, right?”

Just when you thought it was safe

Invasion of the body snatchers

My fiancée just tackled this beast with a glass and a wedding magazine. The only casualty being that magazine as the spider moved too quick to save it once they were outside. Thank you for your sacrifice!