Archive for the ‘Random Daily Musings’ Category

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Posted: October 20, 2015 in Random Daily Musings
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She stood by the front door, wrapped in an oversized dressing gown, listening. The only familiar sound to reach her ears was the general pandemonium which accompanied the daily school-run operation taking place in the driveway of Number 5. She glanced anxiously into the kitchen. The oven clock read 08:35. Where was he? He was rarely late. Perhaps he wasn’t coming anymore. Maybe he’d had enough; she wouldn’t blame him. But what if it was someone new? A complete stranger?

The thought lurched into her stomach and heaved into her chest. She shrank into the darkness of the living room as the walls closed in and clawed at the edge of her mind. Through the fog of panic she pressed her cheek against the cold concrete and desperately tried to focus; breathe in, 1-2-3-4, breathe out, 5-6-7-8.

Suddenly the letterbox rapped three times. She shrieked into a handful of dressing gown.

“Janet?” said a familiar voice through the flap.

Sinking to the floor with relief, she crawled on her hands and knees toward the front door.

“Hi,” she said breathlessly at the warm green eyes twinkling through the slat. “Sorry, I was having a funny turn, perfectly fine now.” Lifting her mouth, she bared her teeth and grinned forcefully.

The voice on the other side chuckled. “Well, wait ’til you see what I’ve got for you t’day.”

Janet leant back on her heels and watched two envelopes flop onto the carpet.

“Bills?! Thanks, Jim! You certainly know the way to a girl’s heart, don’t you?” As soon as those words left her lips, she grimaced. Subtlety had always been an unfamiliar social trait.

“Patience, young lady. You in a rush? Somewhere to be?” came the voice from the other side.

Cheeky git, she thought.

The flap opened and the eyes reappeared.

“Don’t know if you’ll like ’em but you mentioned ’em before. Thought they might help pass the time ’til you get to see me again.” This time it was Jim’s grinning teeth which appeared through the flap. She laughed and realised how rare the sound was.

Two small booklets slid through the gap. She took them with both hands.

“Crosswords!” she whispered excitedly. Real crosswords, on real paper, not just virtual ones!

“One’s arty-farty questions and the other one’s general knowledge. I had a go but I ain’t no clever clogs like you are. Got stumped on the first question. What is a ‘game bird’ with 7 letters?” he said playfully.

“A partridge!” she laughed.

“Course it is! Well, that’s why I’m a postman and you’re a hot-shot lawyer.”

She could feel the regret seeping through the wood as soon as he’d said it.

“Were. Sorry.” His eyebrows furrowed.

“Don’t be sorry,’ she said. ‘I may not be a hot-shot lawyer anymore but I am, without question, the best crossword solver that ever lived.’ She smiled weakly. ‘Perhaps, when you’re on a break, or it’s your day off or you’ve got a spare moment, or…”

Get to the point Janet, she thought.

“…we could, um, do one together? There must be a way to prop this blasted letterbox open. I’ve got a little stool to sit on; maybe you could get one too?”

“I’d like that, Janet.”

Her heart almost burst from her chest. She couldn’t even remember the last worthy interaction with another human being. Even the phone cord had been pulled from the socket in case it should puncture the all too comfortable silence. Yet there was an unusual comfort which Jim always seemed to bring. His presence on the other side of the door calmed her almost instantly.

The rest of the day passed in a frustrating loop of boredom. He’d promised to return late the following afternoon and time stretched before her in an endless stream of nothingness. One book of crosswords was devoured by lunchtime and the house certainly didn’t require any further scrubbing. Perhaps she could bake something special for tomorrow; a past-time she had never been particularly good at but one she enjoyed on the rare occasion that inspiration struck. She flew into the kitchen with renewed vigour and begun rummaging through the cupboards, hurling dusty old packets of varying ingredients from decades past toward the direction of the bin. Eventually, from the depths of the dark cupboard, a small shriek of satisfaction could be heard.

As the time of his arrival drew near, Janet sat on a small stool opposite the letterbox, desperately trying not to pick at her newly painted nails. She’d even applied some make-up, something she hadn’t done for years. She felt fresh and new, even a little attractive, almost like her old self. Although, normal Janet wouldn’t have been a nervous wreck at the thought of seeing the postman through a slat in the door. Old Janet would have been sitting behind piles of files and papers in her plush London office, billing by the minute, late into the night. She felt a pang for her previous life, for the bustle and frenzy that each day brought. Tears pricked her eyes.

Crap, she thought, and stared at the ceiling, willing them to go away. This was not the time to get all wobbly.

The front gate squeaked open and his heavy footsteps crunched over the gravel driveway. She leapt into the living room. The letterbox rapped three times.

“Coming!” she yelled in a voice that she hoped sounded far away. “Breathe in, 1-2-3-4,” she murmured quietly whilst straightening her blouse with shaking hands.

The green eyes shone warmly through the opening.

“You’ve brought a seat?” she said.

“Yup,” came the response, “I found a kid’s stool in B&Q, just the right size n’all. Only bugger is, it’s bright pink so I look even more of a twit than normal. The curtain at Number 4 is already twitchin’. They’ll be talking about this f’weeks.” He laughed gruffly.

“Oh Jim, I’m so sorry,” she said sadly, “I wish it didn’t have to be like this.”

“Don’t be daft; I couldn’t give a flying monkey what anyone thinks. N’anyway, I’ve got bubbles.”

He lifted a bottle of expensive Champagne from his bag and dangled it in front of the letterbox. “First things first,” he said and disappeared from view. She could see the collar of an ironed white shirt. Moments later he pulled out a long piece of string, fed it through the gap and around the letterbox flap several times, looped the other end through the door knocker above and knotted it tight.

“Not just a pretty face,” he grinned, plonking himself down onto the stool again. She gazed through the open slat. He’d sat far enough back that she could almost see his entire head and shoulders whilst still being close enough to smell the masculine scent of his aftershave.

“I hope you like Ol’ Blue Eyes,” he said, flicking on his iPod. The velvety sounds of Frank Sinatra floated up into the summer air.

“I do,” she whispered, mesmerised by his happy bustling.

The cork popped and he slid a straw into the open bottle.

“Get some of that down ya,” he said gleefully, poking the straw through the letterbox. She drew the cold liquid into her mouth; it tasted wonderful. She couldn’t remember the last time anything so delectable had passed her lips. There had never been anything to celebrate.

“Got some fancy crisps n’all,” he said, waving a bag of Kettle Chips with his free hand. “I’ll feed ’em to ya. Bet you didn’t get all this in those posh French restaurants, eh? I like to provide a very personal service, m’lady.” He winked.

Janet snorted. The bubbles flew up her nose, throwing her into a spluttering fit of laughter.

Three loops of Frank Sinatra’s Greatest Hits, several crossword puzzles and numerous giggling fits later, the sun settled on the front door. Janet was giddy with Champagne and excitement. She hadn’t enjoyed herself so much in years. This delightfully gruff man with his kind eyes and dry humour had somehow managed to perform a miracle. She was, at this very moment, happy.

“Oo,” she said suddenly, “I’ve made brownies! Well, I hope I have. I found some old ingredients in the cupboard and chucked it all together. Haven’t got a clue what they taste like. Want one?”

“Well, you’ve sold ’em to me now, Janet,” came Jim’s response as she rose slowly and wobbled toward the kitchen.

“If you poison me to death, I’ll be lyin’ out ‘ere for days, won’t I? I’ll have t’call me own ambulance!” he called after her.

“I’ll throw them at you in a minute,” she said returning with the tray of treats.

“Well, how about you at least open the door to chuck ’em at me?”

She froze, brownie in hand. Her stomach lurched and the panic started to rise.

“Um, I, uh……..” The air suddenly felt very thin.

“S’alright, Janet, I won’t bite. On a scale of 1-10, how scared are ya of openin’ that door?” His eyes were warm, kind, and without a hint of judgement.

“About 7,” she said breathlessly.

“Well how’s about we get it down to a 5, you open the door a crack n’ if you don’t like it, you can shut it again. I’ll still come back; you ain’t gettin’ rid of me that quick!”

She smiled weakly.

“Ok.”

“Good, drink some more of this first, that’ll help,” he said, passing her the straw again.

As he spoke softly, encouraging her to breathe deeply, the panic started to subside and the crippling fear slowly released its grip. Like a small pebble dropped in a still lake, the darkness rippled away and there in the centre was a droplet of light, some sliver of hope that even for the briefest of moments, her shackles had fallen away.

Setting the tray down on the stool, she smoothed down her blouse, and under the smiling gaze which peeped through the letterbox, Janet reached out a trembling hand and grasped the door handle.

THE END

Image courtesy of google images.

Image courtesy of google images.

Raise your hand if you’ve seen Peaky Blinders. Good. Those of you who haven’t, raise a hand, slap yourself really hard around the chops and read on.

If ambitious gangsters in vintage get-up (oh come on, how many beards still cling for dear life to the sweaty faces of London commuters) is not enough to tickle your fancies then let me put it like this;

Through the smoke and grime of cobbled Birmingham 1919, a young man strides confidently toward a better life. A better life in most of our books wouldn’t entail broken bones, stolen guns, hidden cargo, paying off the coppers and falling in love with an agent of the crown but then we’re not Thomas Shelby. Fuelled by dangerous ambition and unwavering loyalty, the entire Shelby family bash, beat, bribe and burn their way into history as the formidable Peaky Blinders. Set to the tune of Nick Cave, The White Stripes and the Arctic Monkeys, they stomp onto the scene bare-knuckled, waistcoated and ready to fookin ‘av ya! What ensues is a gangster misadventure of such stonking proportions that ‘The Sopranos’ is rocking in the corner, weeping into a red and white tablecloth.

Image courtesy of Google images.

Image courtesy of Google images.

Cillian Murphy (Thomas Shelby) brings a quiet ferocity from underneath his peaked cap whilst single-handedly commanding his ever-growing empire. Although he may look like a cherub, a darkness lurks beneath the piercing blue eyes and chiselled jaw which could make the devil himself look like a children’s party entertainer. Continuously torn between empathy and horror, it is often difficult to decide whether one is with him or against him. Im going with the former just to be on the safe side. Suffice to say he is utterly magnificent.

Image courtesy of Google images.

Image courtesy of Google images.

I never thought I would describe dear sweet Sam Neill as a malicious psychopath who makes one simultaneously itch and shiver with heebie-jeebies but by jove he’s done it and with a resplendent moustache to boot. Inspector Campbell might be the smoothest barbarian that ever lived but underneath his lilting Oirish accent and perfectly tailored suits oozes a slimy narcissist who would sell his own Mother for a seat at the table.

Image courtesy of Google images.

Image courtesy of Google images.

Aunt Polly played by Helen McCrory matches Tommy Shelby in savvy and calculating ambition and almost out-ranks him on occasion.  A powerhouse of determination, Aunt Polly marches through the streets like a General commanding an army crushing those who dare to fall beneath her boots. ‘Dont fook with the Peaky Blinders,’ she commands through swirls of cigarette smoke. Without a doubt she is one of the most formidable women on television.

Image courtesy of Google images.

Image courtesy of Google images.

I cant even begin to describe Tom Hardy.

Image courtesy of Google images.

Image courtesy of Google images.

We may only be bystanders to this extraordinary tale but nevertheless we lose ourselves in the carnage of every ferocious battle, in each moment of victory or loss and in every struggle that The Peaky Blinders face with the enemy, each other and themselves. Its dark, its sensuous and its very, very funny. Watch it, watch the fook out of it. And then go completely bonkers because Series 3 isn’t out until October. Grr.

Image courtesy of Google images.

Image courtesy of Google images.

Image Courtesy of Google

Coming soon.

My name is Pia Jackson and I am a happy member of the Bonkers Brigade. There, I’ve said it. In fact, I’m probably the Leader of the Loony party, the Queen of Fruit-loops, the Empress of Madness. (Admittedly, I quite like that last one.) In truth, I am a sufferer of anxiety and depression. And it’s taken me a bloody long time to admit it.

anxietygirl

For the past ten years, I have descended further and further into the dreaded abyss of the mental madness affliction accompanied by a healthy serving of self-loathing. I am wholly aware of its trigger; the death of my father at the age of 21 during my first year of studying Law at University hit me head-on like a steam train. Did I deal with it? Did I grieve? No. I deemed this a weakness, was far too embarrassed to be considered thus so instead I heroically donned the shiny armour of a strong person,  locked my grief, despair and sadness into a small box, threw away the key, put the box in a cupboard, sealed the cupboard firmly and threw it off a cliff. I shut down. I refused to feel anything for several years and was enormously proud of this. I had somehow managed to evade capture by the emotion police. Well done me.

Or not.

Slowly but surely the cupboard crept its way, battered and broken, back up the cliff-face, the grief seeping from its cracks like a black mist and crawled its way into my subconscious. It commenced its torture in super-sneaky fashion with the occasional sleepless night then slowly but surely evolved into full blown insomnia. As these devious tendrils of angst wound  their way into to my very soul they churned and twisted until I was in a constant state of anxiety and panic, sick with worry and wholly convinced the world was going to end at any moment. Not, of course, that I was aware of any of this happening. Me? A confident, bubbly, presenter-type person? Suffering from anxiety? Never. Yet my daily thought process would begin with a (seemingly) harmless contemplation on a rather nasty work colleague. This would descend into complete conviction that this person was behaving in such a manner with the soul purpose of irritating me and me alone. These notions turned into panic at the prospect of seeing him and I would begin every day fearful of what exchanges may develop. I would rehearse possible arguments which may occur (they never did) and ready myself for all conceivable outcomes.   Eventually I became so lost in my hatred for this person that I would daydream of ways in which I could murder them in the most heinous way possible. I finally decided that the most wicked and satisfying method would be to stab him with a blue biro, chop him into small pieces (not with the biro, that would be far too messy and time consuming) and send each bit in a little brown jiffy envelope to his mother.  But of course then I would lose my job and have to go on the run and leave my home, my other half and my family, disappear without a trace leaving nothing behind. I wouldn’t have enough money or contacts in the underworld to do that. I didn’t even have a false passport. Besides, my TV career would really suffer.

See? Mad as a box of frogs.

This is just a small snapshot of my brain patterns. The murderous rampage story is fairly trivial. I haven’t even begun to divulge the internal arguments I have with my mother, my other half and my friends (none of which have ever, or will ever happen) my worries about finances, my future, my past, my queries about the meaning of life, why we exist, the point of it all and my plan of action should the zombie apocalypse suddenly occur tomorrow without any warning. Is it any wonder I never slept? I was just so BUSY.

During this turmoil of total exhaustion I would shuffle in a zombie-like state to and from work, pausing to ball my eyes out at various junctures for no apparent reason. My fuse would grow shorter by the second, triggering a mammoth attack of the rage when confronted by someone walking too slowly in front of me or a fellow passenger elbowing me in the head (both of whom were obviously doing this simply to annoy me) and I would swiftly dive headlong into a hot fury ready to commit bloody murder, arson and grievous bodily harm to anyone who would even DARE look in my direction. This frenzy of indignation and general hatred of everybody and everything would eventually explode leaving me collapsed in the corner, a dribbling, depressed heap and wailing like a toddler. Such fun.

These numerous cycles of delight continued on a loop until I experienced what can only be described of as a breakdown. I didn’t want to see anyone (least of all myself) I didn’t want to do anything, I cried solidly until my eyeballs nearly fell out, I wanted to run away and escape everything whilst simultaneously feeling guilty for not seeing everyone at once. Pathetic isn’t it? Well, actually no it isn’t.

This, as I discovered, is what’s known as a ‘mental health problem.’ Yet for a very long time, I refused to admit I was suffering and in pain. I refused to admit that I needed help. And that, my friends, is due to the stigma built around mental health problems. We are considered the ‘weaker’ ones, the ‘pathetic’ ones, the wobblers rocking in the corner. Unfortunately, a sufferer isn’t covered in warts or excessive facial hair, there is nothing to suggest that they are ‘ill’ and therefore the majority of the world’s response to anxiety or depression is; ‘cheer up.’ Really? REALLY? Well thank GOD you’re here, I hadn’t thought of that.

If any of this persistent and punishing drumbeat of input sounds even vaguely familiar, you may also need help (and there aint nothin’ wrong with that.) If you are already aware of your bonkersness, in whatever guise that may take, firstly ‘well done you’ but secondly and most importantly, please note: YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

Understanding that I needed help was the biggest step. ‘I’m FINE,’ I would shriek at anyone who asked whilst envisaging the slow insertion of cocktail sticks underneath their fingernails. The last thing I was, was ‘fine.’ Once you’ve jumped that difficult hurdle, you’re already on the road to getting better.

The next step would probably be to visit your doctor. However, and this is just my personal experience so feel free to completely ignore it, doctors a) don’t know what is best for you and cant accurately predict what method will be successful and  b) have one answer for everything which  is; ‘Here, take this shiny pill, isn’t it pretty? Swallow this lovely sugar-coated chemical everyday for the rest of your life and you’ll be just fine.’ (For some reason I picture this doctor wearing a spinning bow tie with eyeballs on stalks, waving a packet of pills in front of me like a watch on a chain. Anyway, I digress.) Suffice to say, if pills work for you and allow you to get up in the morning then that is wonderful and I am offering you a sweaty palm for a high-five. Ok, ok, Ive wiped it dry….

However, pills aren’t the only answer. They only mask the symptoms, they don’t actually fix the problem.  If you are caught in a desperate cycle of self-hatred, depression and anxiety with no apparent way out, there are other options and I can offer you the light to show you the way. You don’t have to try any of them or you can try them all at once. Regardless, it requires time, investment and persistence. It is not an overnight miracle cure. This is from someone who is by no means an expert or even cured, but at last I can say, ‘I’m getting there, I’m a little bit closer to finding peace.’ And if I can do it, well….!

My tips to nourish the mind are, in no particular order, as follows:

1) Watch Ruby Wax’s ‘What’s so funny about mental illness?’

http://www.ted.com/talks/ruby_wax_what_s_so_funny_about_mental_illness?language=en

2) Read these books:

The Art Of Happiness;  The Dalai Lama

Well it’s the Dalai Lama, probably the most peaceful and happy human being on the planet. Inevitably, he talks a lot of sense.

Sane New World: Taming the Mind; Ruby Wax

Her hilarious and acute observations are supremely brilliant. She wields her Bonkers Badge with pride whilst simultaneously providing comfort and guidance. Plus she’s got a Masters from Oxford in Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy. Bet ya didn’t know that!

Mindfulness: A Practical Guide To Finding Peace in A Frantic World; Prof Mark Williams and Dr Danny Penman

This outstanding book provides a technique to calm your chattering mind and allows you to step away from the self-loathing and into a spot of self-loving. The accompanying meditation CD is where the hard work comes in but I guarantee its worth it. Plus, it’s one of those books you can dip in and out of as necessary.

3) Meditate:

Yes I know, you’re probably thinking of a collection of robe-clad individuals with shaved heads chanting ‘ohhhhmmmmmmmmmmmm’ to the sounds of tinkling music in a cloud of incense. Which is fine, if you’re in Tibet. However, if you live in Hackney, that could be a problem. Mediation can be done anywhere, anytime but its best to start when there are no distractions (see the book above or try the downloadable ‘Headspace’ App.) It revolves around the breath (which you may have noticed seems to stop completely or go into hysterical overdrive during times of stress or panic) and allows you to ground yourself into the present moment. How many of us live in the past, arguing with ourselves over what we should have done or said? How many of us live in the future worrying about what could happen? (I see you nodding, I do.) Do we live in the present; are we alive, aware and living in this moment? In this breath which you just inhaled or exhaled? Probably not.  Meditation gives you the power to unlock that wonderful skill and guess what, you carry the key with you at all times.

Breathing is the beginning of meditation but it doesn’t end there. Meditation allows you to notice when the madness in your head starts gearing up for a good shrieking and the strength to simply let it pass you by, or ‘change the channel,’ so to speak. Seems almost impossible right now, doesn’t it? Trust me, it isn’t.

There are numerous mediation workshops across London (which are free, but please donate.) This is just one of them http://www.londoninsight.org/

Regardless, give it a try, there’s a reason with the Dalai Lama is such a cool dude.

4) Try Yoga and/or Pilates

The ‘experts’ do like to waffle on about ‘exercise’ don’t they? Yes, that’s all well and good but I have enough stress, rush, frenzy and general nonsense in my daily life that although pumping, sweating, heaving and hopping about in the gym to Ibiza dance tracks may be good for my body, it’s not particularly beneficial  to my mind. Plus those bicycle saddles are NOT made for ladies.

I have been practising yoga on and off for years but it’s only recently that I’ve woken up and realised that it’s more than just exercise. It’s a calming, soothing practise which focuses on the breath (see meditation above) and takes my mind away from the crashing and thrashing which Ibiza Dance Classics only seems to exacerbate. Pilates is the same but is a little more active if that’s more your cuppa tea. And boys, yoga is for you too. Provided you wear very tight leggings, of course. I jest, lycra is fine.

If you don’t want to sign up to a class just yet, try these home videos from ‘Yoga With Adriene,’ they are short, sweet and cover every ailment possible , mental and physical; https://www.youtube.com/user/yogawithadriene

5) Fill your mind with good things

Watch ‘Happy,’ a documentary/film which puts everything into perspective and makes you feel, well, happy. http://www.thehappymovie.com/ It can also be found on Netflix.

Read books you love, take a walk with your wellies on to kick up some autumn leaves, listen to classical music, turn the TV off, cook your favourite meal, try something new, draw a sketch, go to a short film event (see www.shortsontap.com ) or an art gallery.

6) Take yourself out of routine

If you sit on a particular seat on the bus to work, chose a different one tomorrow. What can you see from the window on this side? If you try and do six chores simultaneously at the speed of light, do one slowly and leave the rest for later. If you look at Facebook/Twitter first thing in the morning as soon as your eyes open, don’t do it for at least an hour when you wake tomorrow. We don’t realise the effect technology has on our minds.

7) Check your diet

Eating too much sugar, drinking too much booze? Feeling groggy most mornings? Constantly swerving between the mad coffeecoffeecoffee fix in the morning and a bottle of wine to send you to sleep? Cut it out from your diet, go cold turkey for two weeks (no, you wont die) and replace it with a fresh veggie juice in the morning. (Buy a Nutribullet https://www.nutribullet.com/  rather than a juicer, much easier/quicker/tastier/) I can not stress the importance of green vegetables enough, especially kale and spinach, they got some good shit in it, innit.

8) Try Therapy

Counselling works for some but for others it’s like talking to a brick wall. However, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy isn’t just a chat about ‘how am I feeling,’  it’s a pro-active discussion about why you behave in a certain way and your therapist will give you homework (yes, take a pen and paper) to break the normal behavioural patterns. For example, one of my tasks was to buy a single apple from a busy cafe during the midday lunch rush using only pennies which I had to count out one by one…slowly. You can imagine my heart rate by the time I managed to escape the huffing and heaving queue behind me with apple clutched in sweaty paw. It may sound silly but it made me look inward at the physical sensations which accompanied my feelings of self induced stress.

If you think it may help, ask your local doctor for advice and they will point you in the right direction.

9) Keep a diary

Sometimes writing your first thoughts in the morning and your last feelings at night can have an enormous relieving effect. Try it. You needn’t share them with anyone, its just for you.

10) Don’t hate yourself

A father and son sat beside a campfire discussing life. As the flames crackled, the father told his son a story of two wolves; one embodied love, peace, happiness, joy and mindfulness. The other represented hatred, anger, self-loathing, violence and all the other nasty traits that spring to mind. Forever locked in an eternal battle, the wolves fought and wrestled one another. The son looked up at his father  in awe and asked which of the two would win . The father replied, ‘son, the only wolf who will ever be victorious is the one I feed.’

Continued thoughts of how pathetic/stupid/idiotic/weak you are do nothing to help. You are none of these things. Filling your mind with hatred and dislike for your being turns your soul sour and will not open the doorway to repairing your mind. Stop it, stop it at once.

Finally, I leave you with the notion that there is nothing to be ashamed of. I have now fully accepted my inner lunacy and no longer perceive it is a weakness. It has also come to my attention that there are many of us in the Bonkers Brigade who hide behind masks of supposed strength and confidence. Talk to someone, you may be surprised to learn that they too are completely bonkers. Whatever avenue you take, however you decide to continue your path, please do not allow it to fester and grow. There is always a way out, there is always another option, there is always help to be found.

Nourish the mind with goodness. Expect to stumble but always remember the words of Lewis Carroll:

‘we’re all mad here……the best people usually are.’

 

In Loving Memory of Vito Neo Reargo:

The Maddest Hatter That Ever Lived.

Greetings Christian Cretins,

Thank you for such a riveting and sensitive insight into the sins of the late Robin Williams. Your blog, brilliantly entitled ‘Robin Williams in Hell!’ has filled me with such passion that I felt compelled to respond. Here it is in all its glory:

http://creationsciencestudy.wordpress.com/2014/08/12/robin-williams-in-hell/

I must admit that my initial thoughts were one of complete bemusement. This side-splitting piece, which took two of you to compose, must have been some sort of brilliant joke, surely! Sadly, on further inspection, I realised the joke was on me.

It is therefore with this in mind that I felt the strong desire to respond, call it a ‘sign’ if you will, and I shall do so in the same format which you employed so as to make it easy for your tiny little minds to follow without too much strain.

So it would seem, according to your astute observations, that Robin Williams is burning in Hell. I assume that such a bold and outlandish statement would be firmly grounded in some form of irrefutable evidence; CCTV footage of this apparent burning in action, an anonymous tip-off from a disgruntled former Hell employee, perhaps an email from Satan himself to clarify the matter. Yet as with all ‘religious evidence’ it’s that age old notion of ‘it is because it is, because I say it is and because someone else told me it is, so ner.’

Your indisputable slice of evidence on the matter is thus: ‘all those who commit suicide go straight to hell.‘ Mm-hmm. Would you mind pointing me in the direction of the Bible text which states precisely that? Thought not.

Your next little sliver of verification lies in the fact that Robin Williams was a wealthy man, which inevitably made him a devil worshipping Satanist in your eyes because the Bible states in Matthew 19:24; “And again I say unto you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.

I thought it worth pointing out at this juncture that the Catholic Church (those faithful lovelies who believe most strongly in the suicide/hell concept and therefore, one must assume, your allies on this matter) remain one of the wealthiest organisations on the planet. I presume you are aware of what the Vatican looks like? No, no, that’s not the White House, silly billies. So by your definition, all Catholics are going to hell too? Good-o.

The next facet to your winning argument follows with a list of Mr Williams’ film and television appearances, all of which you describe as ‘ungodly‘ and ‘evil.’ Obviously I’m rather strapped for time due to all the wonderful sinning I’ve still got to do today, so I shall keep it brief.

‘Mrs Doubtfire’

Robin Williams plays a cross-dressing homosexual’ which, as you say, promotes gay families and the concept of a cross-dresser raising a child; ‘an ungodly abomination and should be kept away from your children and families.’ It is absolutely incredible how you have both managed to miss the obvious point of the film in such staggering fashion. You must be the only two individuals on this earth who could argue themselves into a paperbag. However, on further consideration, I suppose it’s not so surprising considering you have misinterpreted the teachings of The Bible so dramatically in favour of dribbling lunacy and uneducated ramblings.

Robin Williams did not play a ‘cross-dressing homosexual’ but a heterosexual man fighting to win back the love of his wife and children. Placed in a hopeless situation, he used the only weapon he had in his arsenal (his extraordinary acting abilities) in an attempt to spend more time with his kids. This meant delving into the depths of a dressing up box and transforming into a delightful, lovable old Granny who most of us wish we were related to. How jolly sinful, eh? I suspect that the majority of Fathers pushed to their limits would perform far worse ‘sins’ for a chance to see their children. Is such a motive cause for hatred and animosity? ‘Not only that but he tries to emulate Freddy Mercury…an ungodly heathen scum who is in Hell today.’ Ah, but Freddy has such great legs though doesn’t he, I mean just LOOK at that picture you posted.

Freddie M

‘Aladdin’

Robin Williams was a known Muslim sympathizer….Harems, Muslims and genies, an ungodly sequence of themes if ever I’ve heard one.’ This Muslim friendly cartoon, as you so cleverly maintain, was the driving force behind a more Muslim tolerant America and, as a consequence, the horrendous events of 9/11. Ah, clever, very clever. I see your logical train of thought and raise you this….

Walt Disney, creator of ‘Disney’ and such films as ‘Aladdin’, was an American citizen, born in Ontario in 1901. Therefore, if we are to follow your reasoning, Walt Disney himself is the culprit behind the making of this Muslim propaganda and consequently the true mastermind behind the atrocities of 9/11. Such a shame he has been dead since 1966, we could all go and knock on his door together and expose the fact that 9/11 was an inside job. In fact, it’s astonishing that no one else has drawn this conclusion, it’s so good that I’ll reward you with a little slow-clap.

It should also be worth noting that you forgot to mention The Sultan, a character of extreme wealth and gluttony (almost certainly burning in Hell), Iago the talking parrot (what IS this wickedness?!), the Magic Carpet (‘witchcraft, voodoo black magic and sorcery, burn it at the stake,’ I hear you cry) and of course Jafar (he was most CERTAINLY a radical, he has that sort of sneaky ‘terroristy’ look about him, doesn’t he?’) Movie night must be an absolute riot in your house.

‘Flubber’

An ungodly green slime that has magical powers…..some type of voodoo or black magic…keep it away from your kids.’ Oh the green slime, aaaaaarrrrrghhhh, everybody run for the hills!!

May I present to you a notion known in the entertainment world as ‘suspending your disbelief?’ I hope you’re sitting down for this…..Flubber isn’t real. GASP, I know. I didn’t believe them when they told me either. It’s called the ‘magic of television’, akin to what the general public may think should a bearded man suddenly appear out of nowhere and turn my bottle of Evian into a nice Campo Rioja or start skipping across the Thames. Mr Blaine, is that you? You wicked sorcerer.

‘Jumanji’

Another ‘ungodly’ (yawn) film which ‘makes our children want to play with Ouiji boards and practise ungodly (at this point I would consider investing in a thesaurus) acts of channeling and séances.’ Not to mention the ‘Darwinism element of favourably portraying a child as half man, half monkey.’

I’m slowly losing the will to live as I type this and cant even begin to delve into Darwin for fear of passing out from slamming my head into this brick wall so I’ll just point out that you failed to acknowledge the cardinal sin of reckless debauchery known as gambling (there was a lot of dice throwing if I remember correctly) the fact that the parents of our protagonists lived in a beautiful large house (there must be some wealthy/satanic/hell-burning propaganda in there somewhere) not to mention the massive fucking spiders, the evil knife-throwing monkey army (seriously, have you READ Revelations?!) and those wicked tribal drum beats which must have been played by some evil imp-fiend in a grass skirt (cross-dressing homosexual.) For goodness sake, if you’re going to give us proof, at least give us all the facts.

‘Happy Feet’

It’s an animated drawing about cute, cuddly, happy penguins, you fucking miserable bastards.

To cap off this exquisite display of intellect and reasoning, you draw attention to the fact that ‘Robin Williams sacrificed goats to SATAN (there’s no need to shout, I’m sure he can hear you) at the Bohemian Grove with Alastair Crowley…I saw that in an article on the internet.’ Ah-ha-haaaaa, someone please pass me a tissue, I must wipe these tears which appear to be running down my legs. Oh you guysssss!!

Suffice to say that the only conclusion one can draw from your dazzling penmanship is that you two are a hilarious bunch of chaps who probably like to play tickle-tag with each other after dark. Either that or you are a pair of miserable, bigoted fanatics who have been let out on day release from the KKK. Sadly, I think it’s the latter and for that I pity you because I very much doubt your God would welcome such repugnant and malicious creatures into the Kingdom of Heaven. See proof below:

Ephesians 4:32

‘Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.’

Ephesians 4:29-32

‘Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasions, that it may grace to those who hear,’

Luke 6:31

‘And as you wish to others would do to you, do so to them.’

Proverbs 24:17

‘Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and let not your heart be glad when he stumbles.’

I will leave you with my genuine desire that none of your friends or acquaintances suffer the misfortune of being crippled with depression or mental illness. I dread to think how you would treat their sinful, devil-possessed souls. Still, we all know that those who have taken Jesus into their hearts are immune to any form of illness and disease, aren’t they….thank God for that.

From your evil, depraved and magnificently wicked friend,

Pia Jackson

P.S. I’d take a quick singe in Hell with Robin Williams over an eternity next to you two rays of sunshine any day of the week.

Insomnia(2)

Being able to sleep through the night has always been my greatest goal in life. Screw getting the perfect job, the nice house or winning the lottery. Nope, sleep is what I want and lots of it. As ridiculous as it may sound, I am enormously envious of those who manage it each and every night with no idea of quite how lucky they are. I hate them, the rested bastards.

Insomnia has now been a constant, unwanted companion for 8 years. It’s not the ‘falling asleep’ part that I have difficulty with, it’s the ‘waking up’ and then ‘going back to sleep’ bit. Each and every night, after going to bed earlier than a toddler and reading solidly for a good hour (thank God for kindles) I fall into a blissful, deep sleep only to be woken up several hours later by the insides of my brain thrashing about loud enough to wake Sleeping Beauty. It is as though some bastard has planted a radio inside my head, flicked the ‘on’ switch and then run off cackling into the darkness without leaving instructions of how to turn the blasted thing off.

You may wonder what precisely is taking place inside my bonce but sadly I am totally in the dark. There is no rhyme, reason, theme or logical pattern to my thoughts, its just nonsense. I have arguments with myself, my better half, my family, my work colleagues, sometimes people I’ve never even met. ‘About what?’, I hear you ask. ‘Oh anything,’ I reply; work tasks, sleeping arrangements, family duties, general worries, events that will never take place, the weather, the future, religion, the meaning of life. Anything really, anything that can squeeze itself into my tiny brain and kick up a monumental fuss.

Song lyrics whirl around my head whilst I’m busy having a good shouting match with myself. Annoyingly, it will only ever be one verse of a song I absolutely loath and which doesn’t even fit the current slanging match enough to be considered an appropriate soundtrack. What’s most infuriating is that it’ll be a song I’ll have heard once, several weeks ago and then forgotten about completely but of course naughty ‘Mr Brain’ likes to store this detestable excuse for music somewhere in my memory boxes and pluck it free to play on a loop at precisely the wrong moment. Any attempts to fall back asleep will be interrupted by further episodes of mindless crap resulting in moments of sheer fury which inevitably promote more awake-ness and bring us back full circle.

I’ve re-written classical literature, re-shot epic film sequences, played Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody in front of a captivated audience in the Albert Hall and saved James Bond from sure death several times. All of which are super fun but terribly bad for a restful night. I often wonder whether some clever person would design a machine which, if wired up to my brain, could channel the useless energy which is produced and supply the electricity to a small village. At the very least, I’d be doing my bit for the environment. If, by some miracle, I actually manage to sleep, my dreams are the sort one wouldn’t even share with a shrink for fear that he’ll whip out the straight jacket and cart me off to the loony-bin immediately.

The effects of a severe lack of sleep can be described as follows;

Exhaustion
Lethargy
Fatigue
Inability to concentrate
Nausea
Fainting/dizziness
Shakes
Overly emotional
Heart palpitations
Inability to breathe properly
Anxiety
Depression
Irritability
Memory loss
Headaches/migraines
Loss of focus
Weight gain/loss
Stress
Inability to cope with daily life
Loss/Increased appetite
Change in body temperature
Low Frustration tolerance
Anger
Bad skin
Muscular aches

Suffice to say, after a good bout of insomnia, my days will consist of continually bawling my eyes out at nothing in particular (which results in a really attractive, puffy face) feeling extremely weak and dizzy (on a really good day I may even faint, sometimes in public, that’s always fun) overly emotional and prone to flying into a rage at the slightest thing (woe betide anyone who cuts me up or queue jumps) headache-y with blue spots or blurred vision, wobbly enough to fall over, losing balance or suddenly collapsing (which for a clumsy person is sheer hell; I have already thrown a cup of coffee over my front and a bottle of water into my lap; its not even 9.30, sigh) continually expecting to throw up (on an empty stomach) shaking so much it can be difficult to dress, complete lack of concentration and focus making it impossible to perform even the simplest of tasks, enough memory loss to make me forget my own name (who am I again?) either shivering enough to consider donning my entire wardrobe or so hot I’m sweating like a nun in a cucumber field, being so thoroughly angry and simultaneously depressed at the whole wretched situation that I could either kill someone or lock myself in a dark room and never come out. Even writing this feels utterly pathetic but I now understand why sleep deprivation is such an excellent form of torture, it’s enough to make one lose one’s mind.

What is most infuriating is the magnificently stupid, albeit well-meaning, advice offered by those who have never suffered from such a plight. On discovering that you are an insomniac their responses go a little something like this:

1) Oh that’s awful. Why don’t you just try and go back to sleep?

Gee, WOW! That’s an excellent piece of advice, how on earth did I not come up with that one myself? Thank GOD you’re here.

2) You just need to learn to stop thinking.

Yes, brilliant, have you ever tried that? Try it now, think of nothing, go on, do it. Nope? Didn’t think so.

3) Why don’t you just take some pills?

Oh my, you’re a clever one aren’t you?! I’m so pleased you’re here to state the absolute bleedin’ obvious. Here’s a list of just some of the pills I’ve sampled: Night Aid, Sleep Nite, Kalms, Nytol (herbal and chemical) St John’s Wort, Zopiclone, Valerium, melatonin, 5 HTP, Night Nurse. I’ve asked for Valium and Morphine from the doctor, he actually laughed at me. I’ve even begged the Boyfriend to drug my food and/or knock me out; annoyingly he refused. Trust me, if there is something to take, I’ve taken it yet somehow my brain manages to fight through the drugs, keep me awake and leave me with the hangover of death. It’s clever like that.

4) What about a bath or warm milk?

Hot bath, warm milk, sleepy-time tea, camomile tea, long walks, wearing socks, not wearing socks, wearing pyjama’s, sleeping naked, spinach soup, magnesium tablets, calcium tablets, massages, lavender oil, cold compresses, electric blankets, clutching a small chunk of amethyst in a sweaty palm…..oh, I’ve tried it.

5) What about meditation or deep breathing?

Meditation, whale music, songs of the jungle, hypnosis tapes, mindfulness CD’s, Buddhism, Christianity, Kabbalah. Short of applying to the Church of Scientology, believe me, I’ve tried it. Deep breathing? I’ve done enough of that to eventually hear my own heart-beat and sound like a woman in labour.

6) What about sleeping in a dark room?

I’ve practically taped the windows shut. There are three sets of curtains, I also wear ear plugs and eye masks. If there is a single chink of light, my beady little eyes will find it. How people sleep in broad daylight I will never know.

7) Why don’t you just have a nap during the day, perhaps in your lunch hour?

Deary, if I cant sleep in my nice super-king size bed with a memory foam mattress, behind three sets of curtains, in a room of optimum temperature, wearing ear plugs and eye masks, after having lulled myself into a coma by reading for an hour, I’m not going to have a quick ‘power nap’ with my head on the office desk under the frightful glare of fluorescent light bulbs, now am I?

8) God, I know exactly how you feel; I couldn’t sleep for an hour last night.

An HOUR!??? I would sell my own mother to be awake for only an hour. Try being awake for 3 weeks!

9) What about yoga?

Done it; I’ve contorted myself into such an array of positions that I can now complete the Karma Sutra all by myself. I’ve also tried Boxing, Kickboxing, Karate, Krav Maga, Hula-hooping, running, skipping, Zumba, pilates, suspension training, weight lifting. In theory, I should be an Olympic athlete. I’m not.

10) Therapy?

In it. It did work, for a bit, then I relapsed. Yes, I know I sound like a heroin addict. I rather feel like one too.

11) Have you tried counting sheep?

Yep, it goes a little something like this: ‘one sheep, two sheep, three sheep, ooo a duck, Old MacDonald had a farm, Haaaaaaaaaaaaaay Macarenaaaaa, ahhhh-AY.’

So, for those of you who have ever experienced insomnia, don’t feel you are alone in your madness, I am with you. For those who have never experienced it, (you lucky sods) you may never be able to understand the physical and mental effect it has on your everyday life, how it totally drains your every existence, is so wholly debilitating, frustrating and soul destroying that I can, in all seriousness, completely understand why some people feel there is no other option but to end it all.

Therefore, I would beg of you, if anyone in your life is currently experiencing such suffering, please bear with them. Until a cure is found, there is no advice you can offer, no remedy that will relieve the misery, it is something we must struggle with alone. However, a good cuddle, strong cups of tea, a reminder of what day it is and a little reassurance that we are not totally bonkers goes someway to alleviate the pain.

Does what it says in the tin. Who ever wanted to be a superhero?!

JO FRENCH

You’ve got the cape, you’ve got the mask, you’ve got your nemesis booked. All you need now is tips on how to be a superhero. I know someone who may be able to help…

Whoosh!

Frenchie

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Once upon a time, many many moons ago, there existed such things as market places. Veritable bazaars of rambunctious merchants bartering and bellowing their wares amidst the hazy, murky smog and assortment of odours.  Each vendor would  bargain and haggle, concocting intriguing and novel deals for their cash-strapped punters. Once the sun had set, their weary limbs and hoarse voices would head home knowing they had laboured and slogged for each and every penny. Thereafter came the Green Grocers shop, an Aladdin’s Cave of wonder which stocked, alongside the ordinary fruit and veg, exotic and curious articles like mangos and lard. One would arrive in such establishments to the tinkle of an excitable bell and a cheerful greeting from the moustached, apron clad proprietor and his delightful, eager daughter. This warm and welcoming bubble of trade would attempt, at any length, to cater for your every culinary requirement with a smile and an opening of the door as you exited the premises laden with goodies.

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Then came the ‘Supermarket,’ the ‘Superstore,’ the gargantuan arena of commerce, the monstrous carnival for the greedy, the spectacle of gluttony for the retail gannets. Gone were the market stalls and eccentric pedlars, gone were the corner shops and their happy owners, gone were the contented customers. Instead what we have been left with is anything but bloody ‘Super!’ Yes, agreed, these mammoth enclosures can cater for my every sordid whim from buffalo cheese to frilly knickers and decaffeinated latte powder to lawnmower engine oil. Yet what we have gained in choice and selection we appear to have lost, misplaced and vanished in the enjoyment of the purchase or indeed customer service.

The only possible amusement one can gain from the dreaded weekly shop is the simple pleasure of hanging onto the back of one’s trolley (provided you had the correct coinage to detach it from its fellow prisoners) launching oneself at high speed down each aisle and skidding on suitably slippery shoes (preparation, preparation, preparation) until one comes to a leisurely halt or crashes headlong into the baked bean shelves. Thereafter, once the gathering of your items is complete, the fun ends, the gloom settles and the reality of The Checkout Games begin.

It begins with selection of an appropriate checkout, one which is not currently populated by a bedraggled, despairing woman who is attempting to unload three months worth of shopping whilst the screaming toddler seated in the trolley endeavours to beat her to death with a grubby plastic doll. Once this first mission is complete, one then draws a ticket from the Wretched Hat of Miserable Service Employee as to whether one will be presented with a pleasant cashier or something which appears to have crawled to Sainsbury’s directly from the crypt of doom. More often than not, my ticket from the Wretched Hat of Miserable Service Employee has been laughed at, shredded and spat upon until I am served by something which can only be described as being one molecule away from an amoeba.

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T’were not so long ago that checkout ladies (as they were once so-called) would be friendly persons who would greet one with a smile and the formal pleasantries which accompany the serving of a customer. Perhaps it is simply my experience but I continue to be lumbered with some form of living organism who appears to have a variety of personal hygiene issues, hair and puss leaking from a collection of bizarre orifices and the personality of a dead gnat.

Game number one begins with the attempted exchange of civilities, which if one has been unlucky, is rather a one-sided and difficult game which normally ends rather swiftly in an uncomfortable silence with the checkout creature glaring at me with one twitching eyeball whilst the other watches the till. Game two consists of Draculas Grandmother glancing at the overflowing conveyor belt and enquiring through a mouthful of chewing gum and brown teeth whether I would ‘like a bag wiv that?’ Oh no dear, I thought I’d carry each of these 42 items bit by bit. Give me strength. Or at least two bags.

Game number three is a little more energetic and revolves around attempting to catch ones groceries into the waiting carrier bags as they are hurled at lightning speed across the scanner by gnarled fingers and scummy nails. I swear the ghastly woman is trying to catch me out. Game four is quite possibly the most infuriating and seems to require acrobatic balancing skills and sleight of hand of which I possess neither; once the transaction is complete the cretin behind the till will WITHOUT FAIL place the receipt and notes in ones hand and any remaining coinage on TOP. Thereafter begins the performance of grasping the paper in ones palm whilst simultaneously sliding said coinage into ones purse, a movement which I am yet master and which inevitably results in the clanging of coins to the floor, the frantic scrabble to locate them and the desperate avoidance of the death glare from the beastly cashier who is now winding gum round her scabby finger.

Should you have decided against this ritual, one can opt for the self service checkout, a decision which I’m never quite sure is better or worse. Agreed, I no longer have to converse with the frightful checkout entity yet I seem to be faced with another set of problems. These tribulations arrive in the form of a Fembot who, like most women, are very nice to begin with; ‘Hello and welcome to Sainsbury’s, please press the Start key to begin…’ yet her pleasant nature quickly passes and with every slight inaccuracy she morphs into some menopausal witch, ‘place your ITEMS in the BAGGING AREA,’ who becomes more irate with every passing second until she gives up entirely, shrieks ‘ PLEASE WAIT FOR ASSISTANCE’ and stomps off in a huff until she can be coaxed back with a gentle stroking by a passing cashier. Not only am I now completely mortified to have received a telling off from a machine for being completely incapable of passing an item over a piece of glass but I now have to hop up and down in the vicinity of my shopping whilst trying to catch the eye of a teenage cashier who seems intent on loitering near the doorway and ignoring my cries for help. And all this in front of an assortment of impatient shoppers who have now come to the conclusion that I’m a blithering idiot. Until it’s their turn.

From someone who has worked these jobs, ghastly though they may be, ‘tis not so hard to be pleasant and agreeable to a customer. Yet sadly, the majority of these workers take no pride in their jobs or even try to pretend. Rarely do we enjoy our daily tasks but surely it doesn’t hurt to smile. Or wash.

Oh, give me cheery greengrocer chaps, give me lovely checkout ladies, give me boisterous market traders where everything is ‘four for a paaaaand’ and my bananas are served with a cheeky wink. Sigh.

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So, it has been decided that I am, in fact, a mutant. This, dear reader, is the only possible and logical explanation for my inherent ability to trip over absolutely nothing, break everything within a six mile radius of my grubby paws, perform the most average daily tasks entirely  backwards (and with the most astonishing outcomes) and thereby put the lives of my nearest and dearest in frightful, perilous danger.

The word ‘clutz,’ as defined by the urban dictionary, describes an individual ‘who is extremely careless, stupid and a hazard to be around.’ Never a truer word. However, I have come to the conclusion that this term is a little too glamorous for the likes of me; ‘clumsy oaf,’ it seems, would be far more appropriate.

It would appear that I am entirely incapable of walking from A to B (never mind in a straight line) without falling over my own feet, a chip in the pavement which only a microscope would detect or staggering into the direct path of a lone lamppost. One would presume that clutching for dear life to the arm of another human would steady my gait; apparently not, it just seems to push these poor, kindly Samaritans into the path of oncoming danger. The scars on my poor kneecaps and numerous other body parts are proof of my sheer ineptitude. You would have thought these war wounds would at least teach me to be a tad more careful; not a bit of it.

This preposterous incompetence does not stop here dear reader, oh no. It is I who you may have seen wandering around the cheese aisle of a supermarket still wearing their carpet slippers and muttering incoherently to no one in particular. I have an uncanny knack for wandering out of my abode in some frightful get-up, having forgotten who I am, where it is I am going and what would be suitable attire for my destination. I also seem to lose everything; things that would be seemingly unfeasible to lose in impossible circumstances to a normal human being. On one occasion I bought a cucumber (as one does when the sudden and peculiar craving for ‘salad’ hits.) I paid for this vegetable, I placed this vegetable in a carrier bag, I even managed to transport this vegetable safely through the front door of my home whereupon I suddenly, and without warning, lost this vegetable in its entirety. I searched high and low, in a variety of spots and corners, where such vegetables may hide, and yet this cucumber, my dear sweet cucumber had disappeared from my life entirely. I never found it. In fact, its whereabouts are still a mystery. How, dear reader, is this even possible?

I’m sure I am not alone in putting my keys in the bathroom cupboard and discovering the remote control in the fridge, but it would appear my other comrades in this war against inanimate objects all have children and are therefore vindicated by the sheer desperation which some parents find themselves in. I, however, have no such excuse. It is probably a wise move that I have not procreated as I would no doubt misplace my poor off-spring and discover them at a later date in the laundry basket.

At least once an hour I will drop and therefore smash a fragile item, burn a part of my person on something which common sense tells one is blistering hot, slam a limb or piece of clothing betwixt door and doorframe, accidentally force the heel of my shoe into a teeny-tiny drain hole (which no man, woman or beast has ever previously encountered) until I can do nothing but cry for help from passing strangers. It is positively tedious.

Fine dining is a strictly prohibited as, despite my excellent table manners and best efforts, the majority of my feast will end up down my front, smeared across my face, thrown up the walls and over the brave person who is sitting opposite me. Other diners on separate tables and waiters within spitting distance also won’t remain unscathed. Should I manage to make it home with at least some dignity intact, I will of course then lose the remainder of it when trying to a) find my keys (a task which normally results in the total contents of my handbag being thrown across my front steps and my entire person thereafter falling directly into it) and b) on finding my colossal key-ring, slip the correct key into the lock (a mission which continues to bamboozle my brain regardless of whether I am tiddley on gin or just tea.)

All forms of technology are rigorously verboten for the simple reason that they will constantly break if placed in my vicinity. I can predict with inconceivable accuracy, the response from those poor whizz kids on the end of telephone helplines (some of whom I have now made great friends with) when attempting to repair my computer, coffee machine, phone etc for the hundredth time that hour which is, and always will be, ‘Well, we’ve never seen this before!’ I could scream, I really could. I should, I have therefore decided, be employed by Apple as their Technology Tester (such a position must exist.) The world, as a whole, would never have techno problems again.   

Sadly, I have yet to encounter another human being who is as cursed as I. No other person (as far as I am aware) has ever managed to padlock themselves, their clothing, their gym bag and indeed their bike to a pipe in one fell swoop or attempt to plug their phone charger into a brazil nut one afternoon. These ridiculous complications and continual dramas only seem to occur to me. I also seem to attract the nutters, the lunatics, the weird, the peculiar and the bizarre. Should you observe a dribbling, twitching madman stumbling along hurling abuse at himself, you can be sure he’s on his way to talk to me. If there are vacant seats aplenty on the bus, you could bet your life savings that the only village loony in a ten mile radius will hone in directly on the adjacent seat to me, plonk himself down and prepare to blast me with stories about his dog named ‘Sir Lancelot of Sheem’ and how he likes to draw nudes in his spare time. True story.

However hard I try, I can not prevent this maladroitness. Should I endeavour to perform my morning rituals with the utmost quiet in order not to wake my sleeping housemates, this will of course be the morning that I clatter the loudest, dropping tea-making instruments which have suddenly acquired the booming reverberation of a full orchestra and swooping the heavy metal grate atop the hob into the sleeve of my dressing gown. I often wonder whether I should offer myself to the local community as free entertainment. One wouldn’t need to wait until the circus came to town, one could receive the equivalent amusement on simply witnessing my daily struggle for survival.

According to the Harvard Gazette, scientists have discovered a gene associated with severe clumsiness. Mutations of this gene cause ‘Joubert Syndrome’ and therefore brain malfunction. I have consequently offered myself as a test subject to Harvard University in the hope that this blundering genetic factor is hiding some tremendous, and as yet unidentified,  mutation within my stringy DNA which perhaps allows me to be an expert Mongolian throat singer or specialist Batman-figurine carver. One can but hope.