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Things I no longer like #1

21 Apr

If being positive is all about making yourself happy, I’ve come to the realisation that moaning often makes me very happy indeed. I very much like the idea of things not being as good as they used to be as it’s something we can nearly all relate to in one way or another. We all get older after all. However, I’m going to spin that on its head and list a number of things that I used to like but don’t any more. To be fair, that’s not really spinning anything on its head but I wanted to use that phrase so I did.

Sweets

Sweets are really just poison in chewy form. I cannot imagine how I derived any pleasure from sticking a luminous rubbery hose in my mouth and masticating! Hang around groups of school kids after school and you’ll see what I mean. They stink of sweets and all have multi-coloured mouths. On second thoughts, DON’T hang around groups of school kids after school, it’s entirely inappropriate. Chocolate is not included in this category.

Shaving

When I was young, I wanted to have a five O’clock shadow more than anything else in the world, that is with the exception of a good grope with C***** P******. You’ll understand I can’t reveal details. Having stubble would be a passport into adulthood. With stubble I could buy cigarettes more easily, buy beer in the pub and more importantly finally get off with someone! I would go into the bathroom when everyone was out and try and shave the bum fluff off my face in order to stimulate more growth. Fast forward and shaving is the most boring part of the day. Even when I’m going through a positivity stage, shaving is an ordeal and expensive too! If I had a tad less self-respect and didn’t really want to maintain relationship with a woman, I might just have grown a beard by now.

Dairy Lea Cheese

Time was when I used to whoop for joy upon opening my school lunchbox and finding a silver triangle sitting there. When I used to peel apart two thin slices of bread and see the plasticky creamy stodge there, it made me feel like I’d arrived. All the other kids used to have it all the time. Mostly, I used to get this horrible, strong, ‘proper’ cheese that only grown ups liked. It used to burn my mouth!

Skin-tight Jeans

And in particular, skin-tight faded light blue jeans (don’t worry I never liked snow-washed jeans!). Everyone had them. The pleasure of squeezing your ever-growing plums into these little tubes of material and snatching yourself in the zip was one of the coolest things a growing boy could do. These days I would most likely be cautioned by the local constabulary were I to wear them.

Music Videos

Music videos were a passport into another world. A story drawing you in. Just getting a 30-second glimpse of a music video on TV was exciting back in the day. Nowadays, when I land on a music channel on the TV, the videos are all the same. Lots of people do stupid dances and make shapes with their arms behind a lead singer. The background may change but the format does not. And whatever happened to ugly pop stars, pretty people just don’t do it for me any more…… well..

Only Fools and Horses

Controversial I know, but this died a sorry death for me once Grandad left. He carried that series. Well, OK, it did have a bit more life left in it than that, but you can’t really replace a character whose middle name was Kitchener, can you? I can’t stomach watching later episodes with Cassandra and Raquel in them and as for that piss-poor Christmas special in Miami, it was like watching some you love suffering from Alzheimer’s, only not quite as bad!

Grandad AKA Edward Kitchener Rossiter

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Jackie Wilson said…..

14 Apr

……………. I’m in heaven when you smile!

A few things which made me smile today:

Apple Blossom

Looking forward to mine!

Underwood typewriter

Pic of a pic of Nag's Head Inn William Blunt

Wisteria Buds

 

And then it was time for an ale……

Hail the All Conquering Hero!

18 Mar

Today, I dusted down my trainers, donned my shorts and went for a run for the first time in at least three months. It was a nice day, sunny and cloudy at the same time with all the subtle changes in light and shade that that entails. I had harboured concerns for my general level of fitness after such a long lay off but as it happened I needn’t have. I floated off down the road as if I hadn’t been away.

I ran outside under the blossoming cherry trees, past the last of the winter berries, alongside thick rows of daffodils until I arrived at the park. The park was waving its new spring lushness at my ankles as I ghosted along, a half-smile, a half panting grimace on my face. The hedgerows smelt good, the grass smelt good, the trees smelt good, even I smelt good, although I can’t actually corroborate the latter. Everything was seemingly good. My newly acute sense of smell was revelling in the release of natural scents and aromas from everything around me. Everything, that is, apart from ‘her’. Parks have people in them and the ‘her’ in question was an unknown thirty-something in a longish coat with coiffured hair.

She was a 100 yards in front of me as I coursed along, and as the gap closed, the effort needed to keep up my pace seemed to increase. I noticed something was afoot. I became disorientated. I was being attacked. First, with what felt like little pins being blowpiped at my face and then daggers being blunderbussed into all my senses. I was within yards of ‘her’ now and visions of my great-grandfather desperately trying to escape mustard gas on a Flanders field bossed their way into my mind. It was in my eyes, my saliva, trapped on my nasal hair. I had to get past. I dug in. I clenched my fists. I pushed and pushed. Through an invisible cloud of Lancome or Chanel  or was it Britney Spears Fantasy? Either or it was a weapon of mass destruction and I had to get away. Just as I thought I could hold out no more, I punctured the toxic balloon in front of ‘her’, back into a world of spring replete with budding branches and singing birds. My lungs begged for  air and were given so accordingly.

Renewed, my pace picked up. I passed the old bomb shelter, passed the enormous poplar tree, passed the allotments, passed my nonagenarian neighbour and his dog, entered my hall,  went through my kitchen, out the back door and collapsed into a chair. Nice deep breaths.

I looked at the blue sky ahead and smiled happily to myself. Then I looked at the black cloud right above my head, which smiled back at me briefly before spitting a brief volley of hailstones on my head. I like life.

Making Commuting a Positive Experience

28 Feb

If you get a seat on the bus, train or tube to work, commuting doesn’t have to be dull because you can read your book, Kindle or magazine and lose yourself in it, blocking out the fact that someone’s backside is in your face. You can also listen to podcasts or music on some earphoned device or other, which can be diverting or mildly relaxing.  Lucky are those that manage to nab a seat in the morning, usually reserved as they are for those boarding at the very end of the line or the canny few who prey mercilessly on freshly vacated seats. Most of us have to settle for standing and balancing in some very compromising positions, being barged one way then the other and shoved into ever more confined spaces which don’t theoretically exist. All the while our anxiety rises and rises and rises.

A while ago, I was pondering all this and how much longer I could put up with it all. Why did I stand at my front door every morning dreading the journey into work, hating it before I’d even done it? And why did the only solution appear to be trying to block out what was going on around me through music or literature? Do I really want to shut myself off for such long periods? Well, sometimes the answer is yes, being engrossed in a fantastic book is marvellous. However, I decided I didn’t want to just be reading as a means of creating a barrier between myself and the evils of commuting, which, for better or worse, is part of my life. In any case, as I mentioned before, it’s not always possible to do.

About 6 days into 2012, a time when these kind of things are a bit further towards the top of your mind, it occurred to me that I could try to ‘enjoy’ my commute to work. I left my house on a cold, crisp morning and immediately noticed how nice the cold air felt on my exposed cheeks. Aloud, I said to myself  something like “Ooh! That feels nice.” I hadn’t planned to say this at all. It was a spontaneous response to something nice. I then did something I remembered doing when I was in the school playground on such days, I started blowing pretend smoke in the air. I noticed how much I enjoyed such a small pleasure.  Walking to the station I continued to notice things I liked and by the time I reached the station, I had racked up quite a few of these ‘pleasures’. I decided to recount them from the most recent to the first and I noticed that it took me back through my walk to the station quite clearly and enjoyably. A journey that I would have otherwise completely forgotten about. Not many of us, remember such things.

I decided to continue to do this for the next day or so. Anything that I liked in any way, I made a mental note of and recounted them backwards at various points along my commute. Initially, I set myself a target of 10 things to ‘like’ on my journey. These things could be very trivial indeed but were always new things to ‘like’, or the same things in a different way. They included things such as I like the reflection of the sky in that window, he has a cool trouser/shoe combination, that man gave up his seat to the old lady, someone smiled nicely at me when I let them on the train before me, they’re having a fun chat, that’s a cute puppy, wow! she’s pretty, I like the smoke coming out of the chimney pot. Some days I noticed way more than 10 and sometimes I only reached 7. I always got more than 6.

After a week or perhaps a little longer, I found that, in the morning, I was no longer thinking ‘God! I’ve got to get the train to work.’ Instead, I was in the shower wondering what I was going to ‘like’ on the way to work.  Quite a change in outlook. The part that left me feeling the most positive was the recounting of my journey in my head just before arriving at work and feeling pretty good about it all, ready to start work.

I’m no positive thinking guru by a long stretch and I’m sure there are hundreds of better techniques along these lines out there. I just never really thought about it that way before. Nevertheless, I can’t stress the difference it’s made to my morning commute. A couple of months down the line and I confess that I don’t do this everyday (I’m engrossed in a good book at the moment!) but I certainly do do it 2-3 mornings a week and most definitely plan to continue doing it.