Happiest time of the year

 

 

 

summertime

 

Ah, Summer! As the sultry July days count down to August splendour, naturally I was overjoyed to receive my first charity Christmas catalogue in the post yesterday.

 

Bad enough there were cards in the shops even before the children had broken up from school. Bad enough that the restaurants are already advertising their special menus and group bookings for the December festivities. Bad enough one the shops I regularly buy clothing from sent me an Autumn/Winter clothing catalogue. I could just walk away, averting my gaze and muttering a Hail Mary under my breath like a lost monk in Soho.

 

This one mugged me though. This one was in an envelope promising other goodies. Sigoth and I recently signed up to be members of a particular charity and here was our shiny handbook, detailing places of interest to visit. Our dreams of weekends spent traipsing along cliff tops were rudely interrupted by the advent of, well, Advent. In July. In a heatwave. I do not live in the Southern hemisphere, so it was just wrong on every level.

 

Still, I don’t want to be all Scrooge about it. Who doesn’t like a jolly winter festival with feasting and frivolity and fat men stuck in chimneys? If I’m going to have repetitive tunez inflicted upon my eardrums in shops I would prefer Noddy Holder over some Lounge Lizard any day of the week, or indeed, week of the year.

 

So bring it on. After all, I make the cake in September so it can soak up the brandy goodness for a few months. Not long until September really.

 

With that in mind I’m starting my Christmas list, and I’m going to share it with you so you know what to get for my stocking.

 

  1. A chocolate orange. No stocking is complete without one of these in the toe end. The option of a genuine satsuma or clementine may be laudable, but let’s get real here. Chocolate is the way to go during the holiday season.
  2. A pair of black socks. Not those stupid socks with cartoon characters and dodgy slogans which you can’t wear to the office for fear of offending the receptionist. A decent pair of black socks which will actually be useful for the rest of the year. Otherwise I would feel bad for the slave labour that created them.
  3. A notepad and pen. Just in case I want to write down a phone message from someone who can’t work out how to use text or email. Because there are still lots of those people left in the world.
  4. Soap. Apparently there’s a rule at Christmas that says we all have to use our own soap instead of the perfectly serviceable soap in the bathroom.
  5. Chocolate liqueurs. See (1) above, but with added alcohol for the real meaning of Christmas.
  6. A magazine. This is a tricky item because I have to forswear magazines during November and December just in case someone gets me one I have already read. Alternatively you could get one of those rip-off Best of the Year style volumes, which just include all the stuff they already printed in a new issue. Because recycling is good, don’cha know?
  7. A small toy or novelty item, ideally as repulsive as possible. Christmas is about meaningless tat, so let’s start the day as we mean to go on. A sparkly vampire keyring, a furry dice or anything from a Pound Shop is ideal.
  8. A small gift the giver and the receiver both actually care about. This is the apology for most, if not all, of the above and says “I love you really.” Which I suppose is the essence of Christmas.

 

Have a marvellous summer.

 

Namaste.

Mash up

Yesterday’s post was bleak, so today I thought I would share a local news story with you for fun.

The A64 is the main road from York to Scarborough, passing near Malton on its way. Yesterday a lorry shed a load of instant mash all over the carriageway and chaos ensued. For reasons I do not fully understand I find this very funny.

http://m.yorkpress.co.uk/news/11293176.UPDATED_9_35pm__Instant_mash_spill_blocks_A64_in_both_directions/

You can also get a blow by blow account via the North Yorkshire Police twitter feed (@NYorksPolice) including many potato related puns

Happy Sunday

Namaste

Into Darkness

solar-eclipse

There has been a fair share of darkness around just lately: Rara’s troubles, endless parades of suffering in the news, and seemingly difficulties for many many people at every turn. For EBL there are also a few hard decisions to be made and actions to be taken, and generally the gloom of a British spring matches my internal mood like a carefully chosen designer accessory.

I try to see past it. I try not to allow anger, sadness, pettiness, cynicism and depression get their collective hooves in my door and take their toll. I try to let it go, and then berate myself for my heartlessness.

“What good,” I admonish the demon on my shoulder, “will my crying about it do?”

I act where I can, hold dear ones in my heart, accept that at this time and in this place even I, EBL, have limitations. Obviously once I am Ruler of the World then things will change. Uppances will arrive with vigour. Hens will indeed roost once more in their hereditary establishments. Desserts of a legally balanced variety will be served with gusto. Indeed, everyone will be equipped with a sickle and sent out to reap whatever they have sown. Sadly, until then we wait.

It also occurred to me, either as febrile self-justification or perhaps a sliver of wisdom, that there cannot be light without darkness.

While I mused thus over an early morning beverage, Sigoth read me a joke. I decided then and there that, along with wishing all people peace and joy, I would also wish them a GSOH (good sense of humour). When we can laugh at our petty foibles and pointless posturings, then we can focus on what is important and how we can make practical and achievable changes. And then, my dears, we triumph. The light returns.

So to help me in my new resolve, I want to share with you the joke Sigoth read to me. It’s a Golden Oldie, but I commend it to you as a starter for ten. Brace yourselves.

An optimist thinks the glass is half full.

A pessimist thinks it is half empty.

But an engineer knows that the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.

Whether you are in light or darkness, I wish you joy and peace and laughter.

Namaste.

 

B4Peace: A Tiger And His Boy Teach Empathy

This month’s Bloggers for Peace challenge is to work on empathy.

For this month’s challenge, I would like to work on empathy. Empathy is being able to step into the shoes of another and see things from their point of view. I challenge you to empathize with other bloggers this month

Are you kidding me? EBL is hardly the Empathy Bag Lady. How much do I have to suffer here? EBL and Empathy are rarely associated within the same continent, let alone blog. It’s like matter and anti-matter.

With that in mind I want to write about comics.

Say what now?

Well, it just so happens that I recently acquired a couple of treasures in a local charity shop. I love charity shops. I browse them whenever and wherever I can. There’s the little frisson of excitement when you go in, wondering what indescribable find you are about to make, the sense of being on the hunt, prowling like a mighty predator along the (slightly musty) shelves and bookcases. If I don’t find anything I learn patience, like the lioness. If I do find something I pounce like the cheetah, clutching my prize at the till where the kindly volunteer tries to work out how to count my change. Often I take back items bought a few months before and obtain a vicarious sense of achievement by de-cluttering and donating to a good cause. There simply is no down-side.

The treasures in question were a couple of collections of Calvin and Hobbes comic strips, detailing the escapades of an imaginative but somewhat lonely boy and his stuffed tiger. Eldest Offspring has pretty much the complete set of books ever published but the wee scamp took them with him when he moved out and I really miss reading them. Admittedly this was about 10 years ago, Eldest Offspring being almost at retirement age already, but the pain has never entirely faded. Then I saw a couple of tattered copies casually chucked onto a shelf in the local Hospital League of Friends shop, and was transported, my dears, simply transported, back to a wonderful world.

Alright, EBL, you like comic strips. So what? How does this contribute meaningfully to a Bloggers for Peace post?

I am assuming anyone asking that question at this point has simply never read one of these jewels. In which case you need to be very ashamed and rectify your lack by going to the relevant website immediately.

http://www.gocomics.com/calvinandhobbes

See what I mean?

There are so many reasons I love these comics, but for the theme of empathy I suppose I would pick especially those wordless cartoons expressing a small child’s sense of wonder and excitement at being alive.

 

 

 

If we could all recapture that feeling of being in the moment, which characterises those long, sunny days of summer spent outside, doing crazy stuff just because, then the world would in fact be a better place.

While I was away recently, and after I drafted this post, I found out that Bad Things happened to Rarasaur. The bad things involve her being sent to prison unjustly, which you can read about in this post and the ones following it. It turns out I may have some empathy after all because I am still somewhat in shock having just caught up with events.

So I want to spread some #rawrlove through this month’s post about peace, being as Rara is one the best bloggers for peace (or of any kind of blogger in fact), being as she loves comics too, and being as her family need what support we can all give. A good way of doing that is taking a look at Dave’s Redbubble storefront, for example, and perhaps make a purchase.

Love knows no boundaries, it is all around us. Some days it may be harder to discern it, but have faith it is there.

Namaste.

 

Excuses

Did you miss me? I know, but I’m back now.

I’ll try and put up some posts soon-ish, but here’s a list of excuses for not posting recently:

  • Too. Many. Birthdays.
  • dealing with demented parent stuff
  • moving an Offspring to new house
  • working away from home
  • holiday in Amsterdam (with some Brussels on the side)!
  • knitting
  • not being able to think of anything to write
  • thinking of too many things to write
  • reading
  • watching too much Netflix
  • watching Eurovision
  • visiting friends in London

As you can see, much of it involved having a good time.

That about covers it for now.

What favourite excuses do you have?

Namaste.

 

Random Acts of Strangers

The news last night ran a story about a blogger who is performing random acts of kindness each day for a year. Apparently he is an Internet Sensation. Apparently he is pretty well off too, because it all seemed to be about giving away luxury goods or paying for other people’s dinner. I admit I sighed a bit, although I am sure he intends well, and I am glad he is doing it, if weary that such activity is seen as newsworthy (a bit like the recent naked selfies craze – honestly, is it so brave for women not to wear make-up? Mutter, mumble, snarl…)

Meanwhile, casting abut for a topic to inflict upon my loyal but battered readers, I came across the following in WordPress’s 365 Days of Writing Prompts:

Have you ever had a random encounter or fleeting moment with a stranger that stuck with you?

Well, I have certainly had lots of weird and wonderful encounters, usually on long train journeys or waiting for trains or sitting in hotel lobbies. It occurs to me that much of my job is taken up with waiting.

Most of them have been reasonably pleasant, some a bit creepy and some very profound. The most profound were not really fleeting if you call an entire morning substantial. When I was commuting weekly from London to Yorkshire and back I had several interesting and useful conversations on the train with various other people doing the same thing. It usually started with me trying to read a book about configuring Exchange Servers or how to do sub-net masking or the intricacies of Project Management (in summary, use wax crayons and post-it notes. I see now that Agile is flavour of the month we back to that again, except now it has some “cool” jargon to go with it; and yes, that does deserve quotation marks. Plus ça change…)

Anyway, the train people: they often told me things. Many of the commuters were senior manager types who were happy to share their wisdom to someone who showed an interest, so I had long conversations about Deming and Open Source and Servant Leadership and all kinds of groovy things. It made the railway coffee drinkable at least.

That’s a handy tip for you, gratis. If you want to have an interesting conversation on a long journey carry a prop, such as an inconveniently heavy textbook to signal your credentials as a person worth engaging. It’s amazing how often this works, but then train journeys are mind-numbingly boring and being able to talk to someone who doesn’t have their eyes on video games and their ears leaking bass lines is a real treat. Try and make it one that can lead to an introductory question and then you are away. Do not, however, try the trick I came across last week.

I usually book a seat for my journeys so that I don’t have to scuffle for one and can relax getting on the train. I am more than happy to move anyone on who has sat in my place, either in error, or hope, or stupidity. Last week I found a young female in my seat and asked her to move, but she claimed to have a reservation. She was clearly wrong, but as the seat next to her was free anyway, I sat in it. I don’t need to sit in the exact seat; any will do.

A besuited gentleman sat down opposite. She had put her suitcase on his seat, and he was going to move it but then realised he could sit opposite me as that was free as well. We all settled down and the inconvenient miss burbled on about how crowded the trains were and how she had just been to a wedding and it was totes amazeballs (well, she actually said “amazing,” but she said it quite a lot and she meant totes amazeballs; you could tell) and she had held a 6 day old baby and he was totes amazeballs too and now she was going home and that was, well, you get the picture.

The suited man and I nodded and agreed that things were, in general, totes amazeballs, and wasn’t it nice to see the sun after such a dull winter. If we were being a little condescending, forgive us. Speaking for myself at least, I was envious of her joy in small things and wide-eyed optimism about life. That’s because I am a curmudgeonly old Baglady, and if I mock her idiom it’s at least with some affection. Every generation has its new formula for speaking the English as they feel she should be spoke. For myself, I am intrigued: I was fascinated to meet a woman once who had left England for the heady excitement of Switzerland in her twenties and not lived here since the 1950s. As a result she did not know what some basic words meant in her alleged mother tongue, including “roundabout” as an example. How amazeballls is that?

She kept on prattling gaily like a butterfly on acid, but once she learned I worked in IT (which is apparently like, not at all amazeballs, duh) she turned her attention to the gent. They always do, in my experience. It’s probably hard-coded in the DNA or something: here is a successful provider who could ensure she and potential future children were kept fed and warm.

Then she blew it.

“That’s a totes amazeballs pen,” she chirruped as he made some notes in his important manager’s leather-bound diary.

“Thank you.”

“Can I take a photo?” and she whipped out her mobile and snapped the instrument before he could blink.

“Wait, what? You’re not putting that on-line are you?” he gurgled, a bit panicky. Maybe he thought she was conducting industrial espionage on his calendar. Maybe she was. Damn good disguise Amazeballs in fact, like totally.

“I just want a picture so I can find it in a shop and get one.”

Pull the other one, love, it’s got bells on. How much writing do you actually do? Even I hardly use a pen and I write all the time.

The damage was done. He huffed a bit and stopped talking to her. I snorted a bit and sent coffee through my nose, in an attractive and ladylike way I’m sure. She realised she had gone too far and staggered off the train at York apologising for existing. I could have told her: watch your boundaries, especially in the nebulous confines of a public space. Try not to come across all paparazzi.

That is why a passive book is a good prop for conversation and a mobile phone-camera is not. Unless you are a secret agent, in which case, either is a good choice.

Weird travellers, I’ve seen a few. What are your brief encounters like?

Namaste.

 

Journeys

Regular readers will be aware that I spend a distressing proportion of my life lumbering about the country by rail, bus and taxi. I know it’s hard to believe but I don’t actually have a driving licence, nor do I really need one. Where would be the fun if I couldn’t moan about public transport?

journey-destination

So when I was confronted with this little piece of wisdom today I curled my upper lip into a practised sneer and muttered under my breath “oh, really?”. That was because the destination in my experience is of some significance and bears on the nature of the journey in no small part.

Still, I was game for a laugh so I gave it a little more thought, and that was because another thing I have come to notice in my experience is that clichés evolve for a reason. The reason being that a cliché is usually based on a wider truth recognised by the population as a whole. That is how and why it becomes a cliché in the first place.

I sat and gave it some cursory attention. “Why this cliché?” I asked myself. “What truth is hidden within?”

Waiting for an answer, I got my metaphorical head on and thought a bit more. “Life,” I pondered, as is my wont, “it’s a funny old thing and a kind of Journey.” This was no doubt the point the said meme was hoping I would reach.

To be obliging, I thought about the weekend I had just spent with the Offspringses home for the Chocolate Festival. We had a good time, playing games, eating treats, drinking wine and watching films. We visited other family members. We talked about stuff. What more can you ask for, and in what better company? I am so grateful my family is a friendly one that can spend a weekend together without screaming and shouting and slamming doors. Occasionally we even share the washing up.

That little leg of the Journey was spent well. We shared love.

I thought about all the actual journeys I take, and how I enjoy chatting aimlessly to complete strangers about this and that, playing games with their toddlers, hearing about a wedding or a break-up, learning about a new author or music, sharing tales of disaster and inconvenience, gently one-upping each other with calamities of the non-serious kind. I am especially fond of the bus ride from York to Whitby on the Goth weekend when most of my fellow travellers are of the pale and interesting variety. It’s amazing what conversations you can have with strangers. We seem to meet the essential part of each other when trapped together in a moving carriage for a couple of hours. Then we go our separate ways, possibly wiser, and frequently mutually amused.

Of course I also have had journeys where my companions have been pretty hard work. There was the young man who thought I was an angel sent from God to save him, which was quite disconcerting as all I did was nod briefly at him when he sat down. Then there was the cactus enthusiast who spent a long bus journey telling me about his cacti and succulents.

Those legs of the Journey are spent well whatever the case. We share our humanity, sometimes easily and sometimes painfully. But we share it.

I might have started to think about the journey from then to now as well, but I was getting fed up with all the metaphysical nonsense and my brain was starting to fizz. Time for a cup of the brew that refreshes.

“And what is the destination anyway?” I mused as I filled the kettle. “What is it all about, really, when you get right down to it?”

Because that’s what clichés are good for, reminding you of the eternal questions, right there.

I thought briefly of the sparrow flying from the wintry tempest through the warm hall and back out into the dark.  That was the Journey. And, as with National Rail, the final destination remained out of sight and ultimately was cold, bleak and mysterious. Take that, you metaphor. (I blame it all on the film we watched this weekend, which was two solid hours of trope layered on top of metaphor and served up with a refreshing side salad of imagery. It means I will be having trouble processing reality for the next day or so.)

My destination, I concluded as the water boiled, was just that: the place I end up. I suspect it will be defined by rather than define my journey. I look at my mother and see she has ended up in her current situation as a result of her choices and decisions years ago. I worry that I will regret mine, but all I can do is make the best of the current service station facilities and hope that the next fork in the road (or points on the line) will let me veer in the right direction. I would quite like to avoid Crewe if at all possible and preferably Birmingham New Street as well. Certainly ending up at Warrington Quays would not be welcome. I have nothing against the places in particular but those stations are abominations.

Meanwhile, for the next few days I will be away in London for work, and hopefully fitting in a trip to the British Library. That’s a destination worth reaching. In the meantime, enjoy your journeys and send me a post card so I can read about where you are at the moment. Is it a motorway café, a main line or a siding? Perhaps it’s a cul-de-sac or a traffic jam or a picturesque bridle path? Feel free to engage the metaphorical muscles, but please remember I am not an angel, nor a cactus expert.

Namaste.

The mind as an open book

Time to analyse the contorted brain that drives EBL. The Daily Post has suggested (and I am infinitely suggestible when I choose to be) that it might make an interesting post if a person is suffering from Bloggers’ Block to perform some pop-psycho-analysis based on the last five books I read. To be fair, Bloggers’ Block sounds like something fairly serious and I doubt even antibiotics would suffice, so I hope to make it to the end of this post and see you on the other side.

Most of my reading these days is based around your lovely blogs and the occasional foray into Facebook World to catch up on the memes, and occasionally some humans to whom I have linked. Otherwise I read knitting patterns, because they tell me what to do and make me feel better, or look at pictures. The pictures may be moving on a screen, or static in a magazine, and in either case, they transport me to other worlds far more absorbing than my own daily grind.

You are not about to get a series of book reviews. I have included Amazon links so you can look them up if you want to.

I would like to think I read an eclectic mix of material, and looking at my last five books was certainly a reasonably typical selection. My reading of choice tends to be science-fiction. It is a love affair that never grows old, in part thanks to the invention of time travel and a very special theory of relativity. In reverse order then….

1.Neil Gaiman’s “The Ocean at the End of the Lane”

I always say I like science fiction and not fantasy, but the first item on the list gives that the lie. Anything by Neil Gaiman is OK with me. I love his style, in pretty much every sense of the word.

What does this book tell you about me? It’s a fable. It involves demons and mythology and the human condition.

Conclusion: Likes fairy stories because she never grew up.

Defence: I would say grown ups need to read more fairy stories. We might remember that courage and kindness matter more than riches and fame, that you can’t judge someone by how they look, that dreams and promises are important, and that life is full of wonderful mystery,

Moving on.

2. “The Fifth Science Fiction Megapack”.

I keep this one on my Kindle for train journeys. It’s a collection, and I can start and stop easily which suits train journeys. Currently I am re-reading H Beam Piper’s “The Fuzzy Papers” in it. I loved H Beam Piper when I discovered him as a teenager. He was an antidote to the Cold War mentality and expressed joy in the possibilities of alien life and compassion in dealing with it.

Conclusion: Does too many train journeys, and likes to be prepared. Overly logical and structured at the expense of spontaneity.

Defence: reading something half way decent on a train journey is what keeps us civilised and prevents mass murder.

3. “The King in the North” by Max Adams

Those of you who have been reading this blog for a while will be aware that I like my Old English prose and verse, and I am interested in the period historically. Oswald was the real life king upon whom Tolkien based Aragorn and he is fascinating. The cult of St Oswald was a huge influence in early medieval Europe. The links to pagan mythology (the Silver Hand etc) are really intriguing, and he is an interesting blend of pagan and early Christian. Given that his conversion appears to have been genuinely based on his own belief and not a politically expedient move as in the case of many other rules of the period.

Conclusion: Likes to appear intellectual / lives in an ivory tower and is unfit for normal human interaction. Avoids intimacy.

Defence: Yes, indulge me. It makes me happy and hurts no one (except the tree which produced the paper). Intimacy is over-rated. As Linus (I think) says “I love mankind, it’s people I can’t stand.”

4. “Rant” by Alfie Crow

Do I enjoy well-crafted sarcasm and a bit of murderous mayhem? Why, yes I do, thank you for asking. And this fits the bill. I came across it because Sigoth has very very clever friends, one of whom recently published her first novel. We were invited to the book launch and met some other first-time authors there, including Alfie Crow. He did a reading from his book and it was love at first hearing.

Conclusion: Not afraid of a bit of gore and indulges in dark humour, probably as a way of deflecting personal insecurities.

Defence: it’s a fair cop, guv. Does it surprise you that one of my favourite films (after “The Princess Bride”, which is the Best Film Ever, obviously) is “Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels”?  Vinnie Jones makes me laugh out loud. “Don’t effing swear in front of the effing kid!”

And finally, I am currently indulging myself at the end of the day with a bedtime story.

5. “The Inimitable Jeeves” by P G Wodehouse

When I was little I listened to Radio 4 every night after tea with my dad. At 6.30 after the boring news bit they have a comedy or quiz show for half an hour before The Archers. I grew up listening to Hancock’s Half Hour, ITMA, I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue, The Navy Lark, The Goon Show, Round the Horne and What Ho! Jeeves. I adored them all, even the ones I didn’t understand (honestly, I was quite shocked when I learned some actual Polari!). I thought Jeeves and Wooster were hilarious. I particularly liked the aunts. It was all very silly.

Conclusion: Both nostalgic and escapist while satirical and elitist. The perfect summary of all of the above.

Defence: Indeed.

Well, there you have it. A brief tour of the EBL bookshelves and mental apparatus. What have you learned? Do you read books? What were the last five?

Namaste

 

B4Peace: Ideal self

It just so happens, my dears, that EBL’s birthday is in April. Some years ago I received a gift of a necklace with a rune on it for “hawthorn”, which is supposedly the April plant (despite being called “May” or “Mayflower” in modern English). I have no idea what the source of this claim might be and I don’t really care. I was dead chuffed, as we old folks say, with the hawthorn connection because I had also in my youth read Robert Graves and learned that the hawthorn is the symbol of the Goddess representing at various times of the year her different faces of maiden (pure white flowers), mother (luscious red berries) and crone (gnarled black branches during winter).

triple_goddess_symbol

We have a hawthorn in our garden and it is a joy to live with. The flowers are gorgeous, the berries attract hordes of greedy birds and the branches clutch the winter skies with thorny fingers demanding that Spring return and refusing to take No for an answer, refusing to give in to winter’s icy brutality.

What if my inner goddess was like that, pure, nourishing and unyielding? What if I was able to be like the hawthorn?

In this month’s Bloggers for Peace post Kozo asked that we imagine our ideal self and how we could make peace happen in the world.

This is the point where I should do a polite thing and mention triggers because this post is not about to be joyful. The more I thought about this prompt the more I struggled to find my ideal self. The more I thought, the more I realised that no matter what I do or how hard I try to be the positive me, the goddess, it will not work and underneath I am still the old, twisted, damaged and depressed self, and there is no end to it. So if reading about someone’s struggle with depression is difficult for you, please take this opportunity to find something more nourishing for your soul and shake the dust of this post from your virtual feet.

I’m not sure how moaning on about my depression will promote world peace except that through understanding someone’s experience, one among far too many, we might all learn to live together more healthily.

I’m not sure it will work, but I promised I would post for peace each month so here we go.

To meet this month’s challenge I tried to find ways in which there was some kind of inner goddess inside this rather pointless person. To retain the vestiges of convention I started with maiden. What kind of a girl was I and how could I bring her best qualities into my life? As a child I wanted to be good, and make my family happy. I suppose children do usually want that, at least initially. I was loved, there is no doubt, by my father and grandmother and various relations, although I was a huge disappointment to my mother and we never were really close. Yes, this is the mother who lives with me now, brain eaten by dementia. I have been caring for her and disappointing her for as long as I can remember and nothing changes. I no longer expect it to, of course, but sometimes I think it would have been nice to have had a good relationship. However, we did not connect for whatever reason. Overall, it leaves me painfully aware that I failed as a child.

Well, perhaps there is more luck to be had as Mother. After all I have four Offspring, so perhaps I did something right. I always wanted a large family and a country home with chickens, home-baked bread and possibly a vegetable plot. That was based on Enid Blyton stories and daydreams of roses over the door and being able to climb the Magic Faraway Tree during holidays.

Except I was a terrible mother. I had no role model to use except the unrealistic ones in books, magazines and films. I had post-natal depression very severely for several years and I went out to work while Sigoth stayed home and parented. He is great with children. It turns out I am not. We lived in an Edwardian terrace near London so I could get work. I worked ridiculous hours to earn enough to support the family, at one point holding down three jobs at once. I was exhausted and depressed and terrible with the children, and never had the time or energy to pay them attention. It’s a miracle they stlll talk to me, but then I expect they want to be good children too.

OK, EBL, some of us are late developers. Perhaps you will make a wonderful Crone. You are enjoying getting older after all.

It is true, this is the most positive period in my life, and I want to celebrate the accumulated wisdom and experience of my first half century. But when I look at what I can contribute I honestly see nothing. The best thing I can do is to go away and die so I am no longer harming anyone. That way I can decompose and give back some useful nutrients to the soil. Sorry if it sounds melodramatic; it is, of course. That does not make it invalid.

This is the sum of my wisdom. The ideal me is a dead me. The best I can do is no hurt. The best I can give my children are no demands.

To be clear, I don’t hate my life. I have a job I enjoy, a partner who is practically perfect, children I adore, friends, a social life, a supportive community, enough income for my needs, a home I love. I am very fortunate. There is the odd event which causes distress, as in everyone’s life, but nothing unusual. I don’t want to change anything. I just don’t want to live. I feel no serious connection with the world and so no attachment to it (not in a good Buddhist sense though). I simply don’t have anything to live for. I have felt this way since childhood.

People think depression is caused by a thing, an event or a circumstance. It may be so for some people. Not for me. This is simply the way I am and there is no discernible reason. I am just a defective human.

I believe in good things like love and peace and happiness, but they are not for me. I cannot describe the best thing that happened to me today or this week or in my life, because none did. Or rather, they did happen but I don’t remember, like a dream that fades as your eyelids creak open in the morning.

I thought I was getting past this, but apparently not quite. I am not so distressed or perturbed as I used to be, but nothing has filled the gap left by those destructive feelings. There is just a big hollow. It’s not actually unpleasant but it isn’t as if it has been replaced by unicorns and rainbows. Looks like I missed the boat on those. It is an improvement I suppose. I won’t be distressing Sigoth or frightening the children by sitting in my chair crying and rocking for hours on end any more. That’s good. Perhaps that is the best I can be, and if so, then I shall hope it continues until I attain perfection in the way that is inevitable, a consummation devoutly to be wished.

Elsewhere shining lights burn more brightly than mine. Other bloggers for peace include:

http://everydaygurus.com/2014/03/31/monthly-peace-challenge-woman-in-the-mirror/

http://sarahneeve.wordpress.com/2014/04/06/april-b4peace-post-my-portrait/

http://klamiot.wordpress.com/2014/04/03/woman-in-the-mirror-i-wish/

This post also contributes to the Mental Health Awareness Blogging Project.

Namaste.