life is either a daring adventure, or nothing at all
look towards the far horizons
Might I suggest that you take some time out to be with yourself, find a time and space where you can be alone with your thoughts, an hour and a place where you will be certain of just a little privacy, and ask yourself some simple questions.
- What do I need?
- What makes me happy?
- What is it in my life that’s making me unhappy?
- What and who am I afraid of, and why is that?
- Where and when do I feel safe and comfortable?
- What is happening to my health, why am I tired all the time?
- When and how can I make some time for myself?
- Who are my friends, and who can I really trust?
- How can I spend more time with my real friends?
- How can I express myself, how do I show the real me to the world?
- How can I connect with the people I love and care about?
- How can I pay all the bills this month, what about the mortgage?
- How do I find the time to do the shopping, and how do I pay for it?
- If I leave, who is going to do everything that needs doing around here?
- How can I ever show my face in that bar, ever again?
Some of these are big important questions, and some may seem more trivial, but if you ask yourself any of these questions, then the answers are very important to you. If you try to look at the big and very important questions first, then you may become discouraged because they are just too difficult to answer. So maybe don’t look for any answers at all just now. Just for now concentrate on the questions, write them down in your journal, or notebook, but for Gods sakes don’t leave your jottings anywhere where anyone else has the slightest chance in Hades of finding them.
If all that seems to difficult, then make the questions simpler, like;
- How do I feel today?
- What excites me?
- Who has captured my heart?
- What I want is…..
- My heart longs for…..
Or perhaps write all this stuff down, and then burn it, and flush the ashes down the toilet to join your failed marriage / relationship / friendship / love / partnership / shitty job.
Only by knowing what it is that we really want, need, and desire ~ and what we don’t want in our life under any circumstances can we move on in any constructive and positive way.
Some say that we have to understand what our needs are, first and foremost. And that if you don’t know what your needs are how can you ever satisfy them. All I know is that the more you are forced to give to others, the more you need to give to yourself.
give yourself a wonderful sunrise,
enjoy the peace of the natural world
you can start with nothing,
and out of nothing and nowhere, you will find a way
if you sink low enough you could live in a building like this
Although I have been putting them on this blog for ages, I never understood quotations like the one at the top of this page, probably because I didn’t read them properly, and never took the time to think about them carefully enough. The little bit I thought I understood about self-help, self-development, self-denial, and spirituality I found to be rather twee, overly religious, and happy clappy churchy. How pretentious of me.
The modern church is producing passionate people with empty heads who love the Jesus they don’t know very well. ~ Voddie Baucham.
The same dismissive attitude applied if ever I attended a self-help group, but in all honesty I put that down to the fact that I dislike intensely all clubs, groups, associations….. In fact I don’t much like being any place with a bunch of weirdos who have a committee and a ‘chair’ because I very quickly get totally unimpressed.
And yet, I always felt that I was drifting through my dysfunctional life, with just the occasional passage of being; a very cool guy, living a really great life to keep me sane and interested. I was a mess, and the worst part was that I knew I had it in me to be a far, far better man than I had ever been before. Some things I had already accomplished, I still have a cool roof over my head living in the garret, I have money in the bank, and generally speaking I’m pretty fit, strong and healthy. (Admittedly I only just got of hospital, where they said I looked like a bad advertisement for death.) But, generally, as my school reports and annual reviews at work usually read; He could do better if he tried.
As you’ve sought out my blog, then maybe you think there are some parts of your life that aren’t looking so good either. And, that you could do a whole lot better if you tried.
The place to start is to stop doing all those things that completely fuck up your life.
- stop lurching from one disastrous relationship after another
- stop all that promiscuous casual sex that makes everyone with even an ounce of morality think you’re a cheap slut
- stop the drunkeness, drug taking, smoking, smoking pot
- give up the gambling, the impulsive buying of things you don’t need or want, spending and wasting a shit load of money you don’t have
- stop driving that junker of a car that gets you a ticket every time a cop can be bothered to pull you over
- stop getting yourself fired, or walking out on jobs you can’t afford to lose
- stop alienating your family and true friends, just because they might tell you the brutal truth about yourself
- stop being a total fucked-up jerk
Some say that there is a little good in all of us. And, that if you dig deep enough you will always find a treasure. All I know is that when I stopped being a total fucked-up jerk my life suddenly got much better.
selling yourself and your self-respect isn’t a good way to escape your fucked-up life
Life is a pigsty, and if you don’t know this, then what do you know?
I was just 18 when I first left home. I bought myself a slightly neglected bungalow. (In England a bungalow is a single-story dwelling, (it helps when your first job is being a banker)). Hallway, reception room, 2 bedrooms, bathroom, kitchen ~ and every room needed redecorating. The kitchen especially looked like something from the WWII era. In fact the kitchen looked like WWII had been fought in there.
There was central heating that didn’t work, and an Edison-vintage electrical system that did, although technically the lights were so dim they were darks. I had my clothes, two pieces of furniture that I stole from my folk’s place, (a beach chair and a mattress), my music, a tin plate and some cutlery.
The bungalow was close enough to the bank that I could walk in about 45 minutes. I sold my sports car, an Austin-Healey Sprite, bought a Reliant Robin three-wheeler van, and tried to work out what else I needed to buy with my sudden small stash of cash.
With cash burning a hole in your pocket there is always the temptation to buy things that will give you instant gratification, more records for example….. Well I gave in to a little of that and got myself a TV. The rest of the stuff I bought was more practical; a washer / dryer, some tools, an oven, bed linen, brushes and paint, cleaning cloths….. stuff like that.
Ripping out the entire kitchen was messy but satisfying ~ and the little van was useful for taking all the wreckage to the city dump. That thing did hundreds of miles on a teaspoon of petrol, (gas), and all the time I had it I never even opened the hood ~ of course eventually the poor thing fell apart. Later I learned about car mechanics, regular maintenance, giving love, care, and attention to everyone and everything in my life.
My life was pretty good until I had almost finished my professional examinations ~ then I experimented with dating. My first girl was older, curvy, blonde, great legs, and before I knew where I was she was leaving her stuff at my place and taking over. That first time living alone taught me three great lessons;
- Don’t spend money you haven’t got.
- Nobody is allowed into my place.
- Do everything for yourself.
As well as building a new kitchen I made all the furniture for that place. I still have some of it; decades later.
Some say you should never wrestle with an amoral woman. And, that if you do, you will get dirty. All I know is that she will like it.
one of the worst cars in the world
we realise we are all alone when we need others the most
Gary Cooper in High Noon
Discharged from hospital and back at the garret much earlier than I expected. At first it was very quiet and very strange in here, after the organised hustle and bustle at the hospital. It was also cold, the heating was off, maybe I turned it off before I left. The thing is, if you live alone you are completely responsible for what happens in your place.
The first time you try living alone can be both strange and exhilarating. In theory you can do whatever you want whenever you want. You can stay up late watching TV, or you might work through the night on your latest creative project with no threat of interruption. You can decorate your place however you like. If you want to be sexually promiscuous you can bring whomsoever you want back to your place, and if you want to smoke pot and drink all night you can do that too. You don’t have to clean the place except when it suits you, and if you want to you can stay in bed all weekend.
The astute among you may have noticed a worrying trend in what I’ve just said. If you live alone it’s very easy to lose control and start living the life of a lazy hedonist, and many who live alone adopt that lifestyle for the whole of the rest of their short, sad, dangerous, reprehensible lives. There is another issue with living alone, you will have a higher probability of developing a mental illness than those who live with someone else, as long as the someone else is congenial.
For most of the time I have lived alone I have stayed sane and safe, displaying self-control and a sense of self-worth, but….. every now and again I lost that control and became something of a hedonist alcoholic fool. The thing is, I have enough money to afford to be a hedonist alcoholic from time to time without worrying about my finances ~ and that’s a dangerous place to be.
Things will be different now, I have put some secure checks and balances in place, I’m in the process of building myself a much stronger support network, and most importantly I don’t really want to suffer that much pain, or be at Death’s door again. It’s all very well being able to do whatever I want, whenever I want, but it’s going to be much better if the things I do are worthwhile and benefit myself and others. Most of all, I need to look after myself; physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. I don’t want to find myself back in hospital, not knowing how I got there.
Some say they like to be alone, but hate to be lonely. And that it’s OK to live a life others don’t understand. All I know is that if you live alone you have nobody else to blame when things go wrong.
for some, living alone is very like being in solitary confinement.
I don’t let women into my apartment; the garret is too private for that
A little while ago I posted a picture of Marmaduke in the apartment I call ‘the garret’ ~ it’s about 100 yards from the sea, and it’s where I call home. Some people were kind enough to say that my place looks nice, so I thought I’d show you some more of where Marmaduke and I hang out. We have a rule; Rule #2 nobody is allowed in the garret ~ I would never bring a woman back here.
Quite often we turn off everything electronic, switch off the TV, turn out the lights, and relax in the silence of flickering candlelight. There may be little silence within me right now, but I have discovered a calmness and quiet peace in the garret, a safe haven from both the outside world and mine own demons. All I need to do is sit in my favourite chair, light a few scented candles, and turn everything off. I turn out the lights, switch off the TV, turn off my computers, and shut down my raging thoughts and extreme emotions ~ and what I have left is silence. Almost darkness relieved by the flickering candlelight. And then there is some measure of quiet in my mind. For that time I can feel calm, happy, warm, friendly and loving towards others, and at peace with myself.
In those moments of inner silence there is no stress, no lust, anger, jealousy, paranoia, resentment, no anxieties or depression. I can allow myself, my being, my heart and my soul to drift whither it will.
When I bought the garret, the kitchen was dark and dingy, with black marble counter-tops and dark wood cupboards. So, I ripped that out and installed / built what you see here. I never use plumbers, electricians, or any other kind of contractor. I think that 99.9% of contractors are crap, they do a shoddy job and charge a fortune for doing it. I do everything myself, I even built a lot of the furniture in here.
computer and record player
Marmaduke and I listen to some cool music
out with the old, and in with the new
There is something satisfying and real about people, places, and things that properly belong in a bygone era. Somehow the old and familiar can give one a lot of pleasure just by being there.
I like classic cars, classic motorcycles, old Hollywood movies, ancient buildings, and old towns. I also prefer the classical style of dress, good manners that many think outdated and pointless, and more mature women.
In some ways this Turkish Holiday destination belongs in a bygone era; the people, the junk cars and busses, the antedeluvian attitude of the men towards women, the snail slow wi-Fi connection in this hotel, seem more 20th rather than 21st century.
Some older, classical things are worth preserving ~ misogynistic men and painfully slow internet connections should be consigned to the junk pile where they belong.
steam trains are alive,
electric locomotives are just technology
Difficulties are meant to rouse, not discourage.
I need a new plan. The one I’ve been using this past week doesn’t work.
On the other hand, I’ve been driven by events, rather than choosing my own path.
Having your home broken into kind of does that to you. In some ways it’s not the invasion, nor the fact that my stuff was taken, it’s all the
fucking damned paperwork and admin that follows a burglary that has really been depressing me. And, I’ll give you one very important piece of advice, never throw away any bill, or receipt, or piece of correspondence. Keep every fucking piece of paper in organised files for at least 6 years. If you don’t then you’ll spend forever sorting out the paperwork when some unforeseen event or disaster happens.
I just have, and mine was only a little robbery, not some huge fucking disaster.
Hopefully, things will be better for me in the next few days.
Lying, cheating, and stealing are next door neighbours.
Sometime earlier this week someone got into the garret and stole some of my stuff.
There was no damage to my door, so at first I thought I’d just lost my wallet and cash. That prompted me to spend a whole day searching for wallet / cash…..
But, I’d been robbed of my wallet with a couple of credit cards, my drivers licence, some other identity cards, and about £100 in cash. I also lost my cell phone, a couple of hundred US Dollars, about 5,000 Turkish Lire, a watch, and some other bits and pieces
I’ve spent all morning on the ‘phone sorting out my banks and reporting the theft to the police.
Even then I’m not finished restoring my life ~ for example I need a new cell phone.
I feel sorry for Marmaduke, who was alone in the garret at the time of the robbery
The glory of gardening is having your hands in the dirt and your head in the sun.
I built a planter for my friend in California.
I hope that it gives her many years of pleasure.
there’s a handful of dirt from Red Rock country in there
I hope it gives her many years of pleasure
There are no gardening mistakes, only experiments. ~ Janet K. Phillips
For me, building a patio planter, or raised bed, out of any materials you like, is a fairly straightforward project. However, I know that isn’t so for everyone.
Therefore, in a spirit of helpfulness, here are a trio of videos showing how to make a few examples of planters you could use a prototypes for whatever you would like in your yard. As you can see, it’s a pretty straightforward project.
this easy wall planter
is one of my favourite ideas