Monthly Archives: October 2017

That golden hour.

So,we had an extra hour to wile away,or sleep away.We had it ,it came and went without much of a fanfare.Its presence and affect didn’t register with us that much at the time,but now it’s Monday,I’m beginning to think that Summer is now completely behind us.Yes,it’s been sunny today true,but the light is destined to to fade that much sooner each day.For commuters,they face the prospect of a dark morning commute and a dark return journey,a tough time all told.For those who suffer with SAD,or seasonally adjusted depression,it can be a real challenge of the highest order.

So,like all states in life,there is a good side and often a negative one to factor in.Yes,when the clocks go back,we might relish that extra hour of slumber,that is,if we have luxuriated in bed and slept,but if,like me,you struggle with sleep,then the thought of not actually getting your needed shut eye tends to negate any remedial benefits.

When we are younger,oh how time drags on,we seem to dream more ,to wish our life away.That sorrowful state is often repudiated as we grow,causing us to suffer from the :”I’m pushed for time type sentiments”.So,this hour that we’ve all had over the weekend,these 60 minutes,these one revolution of the minute hand,tempis frugit,That metronomic 360 degrees cycle has happened for all of us in term,but maybe we each find our own passage of time.We were all aware of the extra hour ,but what we did with it largely comes down differing experiences.

As I think of the symphonies that I have listened to that have lasted an hour,the paintings in galleries that I have looked at for an hour,the conversations that I have had for an hour ,it imprints on my mind just what is done in an hour.We often equate our worth to an employer by our hourly rate,and this is a standard measurement.

My blog post conclusion centres on “The listening hour”:By that,I mean,that emotional gift that we can bestow of ourself by just giving of ourselves  to another for  one hour.It is,on the surface ,a small thing ,but if we were to call it that golden hour ,that might well make a different to the recipient of our time.

Thank you for your attention.


The Sun has come up!

The Sun has come up,and we live,

We live because we must,but we don’t forget,

Forgetting would be wrong,it would be a betrayal,

Forging the future with some of her angle dust,

That voice,the Cornish,the Australian,That dialect of life,

Gone so quick,67 years of action,packed into a velvet curtain bag,

Never to be forgotten,never to be replaced,live on Donna,

Live on through your Children,your grandchildren ,your essence will live on,

Rest in peace Donna,rest in peace.

“If my sister!”

If my sister had a star named after her it would be bright,

If my sister had a word to describe them it would be ebullient,

If my sister had a plant named after her it would be:”Sunrise crocus”

If my sister were an animal it would be a Spaniel puppy,

If my sister were a book,it would be :” Watership down”

If my sister were a car,it would be her Mazda,

If my sister made a wedding dress,it would be done in a couple of days,

If my sister went on holiday,it would be some place different each time,

If my sister thought that a young person needed help,then she would do it ,

If my sister believed in YOU,then no -one would change her mind,

If my sister came in a room,then that room lit up,

My sister was “one off”,”. A force of nature”

If you asked my sister her opinion :Then be prepared to get it with both barrels.

My sister,Donna Bird,”accept no imitations “,

My sister,”What you saw is what you got”
Rest in peace ,Donna!

Sandcastles in the sky!

As the mist came down on a mild Cornish dawn,I reflected that it was of that kind in the annals of my childhood,it was that I chose to ignore those dank weather signals.These mists descend like the downwards glissando along the keys of the ivories.Feeling the emotional texture of this mist around Boscastle and Tintagel,I felt it’s silent conversations,like hidden voices in a Dickensian alley way in Mile End.People there yesterday,holidaying ,getting away ,the city folk down from the North and the midlands to sample the sea air in the last half term before the Winter gets in.

From along the coasts,the detritus of recent high tides have left their mark,their calling cards a plenty.Their flood boards in place ,because it’s a way of life down here,and the mist hides the sheer breathe of the tidal surges that penetrate the landscape ,talking to us ,telling it how it is.This is the landscape of the North Cornish coast,it’s spl it personality as such,and it takes no prisoners..Just a few weeks ago,the hinterland hosted the families on their summer holidays,with their memories of warm sunning days as they retreated the soles of their feet into the rock pools of their future.At Trebarwith strand,Bossiney bay and Crackington haven it was fun for all the family.Now,those families reside elsewhereon this septered Isle,dreaming maybe of their summer holiday in Cornwall.

As I visited my dear sister in hospital yesterday ,up against it now,I remembered Sunday afternoons on the beach ,sandcastles in the skies of our imagination ,with our dreams and aspirations .My,that was decades ago,and now,a different set of children make sandcastles in the skies ,and the best of luck to them.

It’s dark tonight.

It’s dark tonight,not a light in sight,

It’s dark tonight,it is you know,

It’s dark tonight not a street light in sight,

It’s dark tonight ,it is you know,

My footprints,like invisible shadows,cast their spells ,

My soft breathe gets taken up into the Cornish atmosphere,

It’s dark tonight with not a light in sight,

With mobile phones to instigate its bulb glow,

It’s dark tonight and I await the light of tomorrow,

It’s dark tonight in this ,the seat of Arthur,Pendragon ,and Bolitho,

Long live their shouts of Excalibur,and long live their partner,Merlin,

This place casts its darkness about me,bringing back echoes of childhood visits.

What’s in a name!

So,what the seeming escalation of Atlantic storms coming to visit us Brits with their unique calling card,would you like one named after you.?If the current one has any bearing on the names available,all our names are up for grabs.When yu call a storm “Brian”,you realise that it’s open Cesame of any Christian name to be wheeled out and mulled over as to the sigficiance of the designation.Personally,I doubt wether a storm called “Adrian “would quite fit the bit,even though it has ,at its roots,the Adriatic.

Far from dwelling to much ,I’ve often looked back on storms and realised that their effects have reaped havoc when,in real life,all the Katrina and Andrews that I have taught over the years have all been docile and harmless to say the least.Those wits on my twitter feed have with their :”Its not a storm,it’s a breeze,” reparte caputed the Pyhon sense of humour that so many of us have grown up in.

As the rain descends outside,it doesn’t appear to rain like a Brian ,or maybe ,it does.So,would it rain like an Adrian?Blow like Beryl ,howl like a Henry,make banging noises like a Barry?

My mind ,with it’s weird synopsis should be at my Parkrun,but a certain Brian -not the naughty boy Brian,but the one who is named after a storm has,!

My morning!

After a morning of teaching that saw my energy levels augment and sparked my desire to think about the greatness of the classical greats.These two hours,yes,compared to the remaining ones in a full week,might not appear to compete at all with that large number.However,I’m thinking more of the dynamic nature of time in this respect.Music has that in the moment power,it’s very abstract nature propels itself to push us forward ,to exist in these supreme moments as such,but the residue of these works of art enables us to relive those sounds long after the process of performing.What I mean by this is that after music has been played,it still leaves an affect on our minds,and we listen again in our heads ,all be it ,in a different way,but we surely do.

For example,theMozart Piano sonata that I Heard today ,althoughthe last phrase was played an hour ago,is still in my head now,and resides there .So then,this thing we call music,although in the context of our life,may not have the salience Of other things,but it will have its affect,and those will be felt long after the actual sounds into our ears and thus to our minds are heard.Dont get me wrong,silence has its pluses and it’s advocates,but complete lack of sound in our atmosphere would cause ,at best,and unease,but at worse,it would signal quite a depression .My impression of enforced silences is that they have as their roots, some sort of control.Yes,the very word “Silence” can often alert us to another human wanting our attention via their sound words,so I’m cynical about the need for absolute silence.

Actually,the definition of rhythm is The interplay between sound and silence and I rather like that state to be in.So,today,my memory replays the Mozart sonata not just as the sound of Mozart’s music,but the interplay of the sounds and the rests-silences-too.Mozarts music has,at its roots,these wonderful classical themes where the music breaths ,where we can hang our minds on these musician figures and phrases. 

So,What enables us to recall a musical performance isn’t just the sounds in our minds,it’s the silences ,the gaps,the pauses too which,like language and the inflections are vital to our appreciation .So,if your finding yourself with that tune in your head ,chances are you are recalling the interplay,the fullness of the moment,the emotion of the moment as it were.

This is my muse for today and it comes about from two hours to Of life this week.Yes,it might not float your boat and your morning,evening ,or night.In these times when smart thinking-whatever that means-is one of those catch all phrases for the business,academic and social world,I make no pretence that this is smart thinking,it’s just my thinking.

The unavoidable!

We’ve all done it at one stage in our life .Some say it’s inevitable,others unavoidable:Doublebooked ourself.Yes,That blissful feeling in many ways of being popular,of a diary entry put in the wrong place,or the old brain letting us down when we thought that we had our own unique filing system able to cope with any amount of information.

That description ,brief but salient is the quandary that Frank found himself in Today.It affected him more than most because when he was working,he was a “time and motion officer for EMI “ in their Hayes plant in London.He knew exactly the time it should take to press copies of 45 rpms,and 33and a third rpms.People said that you could rely on Frank and if the production fell by just a few u it’s,then Frank was in it.He worked for EMI for over 35 years,that is,until the advent of digital technology with the redundancy of the cassette,the single and the LP as a production line entity.Now,Of course,Frank had many a story of doom and gloom for the music companies following the march of Apple and the plethora of on line music platforms where ,at best,their activities were regulated but never entirely controlled.

As Frank mulled over what he should do,the two people who had phoned to check about their lunch club partner represented two different characters.They had one thing in common though:They were both life long friends ,the salt of the Earth as was often said.It might seem easy for the more socially mobile to just book another place at the lunch club,after all,they were a charity,and his contributions were always gratefully received,but that would mean Frank confronting his mistake ,having to admit to one of his friends that he had got it wrong.Having prided himself on absolute precision in his oversight of the EMI plant,it had carried over way into retirement.Frank ,on his own since tHe death of his wife 5years ago,relied on the lunch club and lately ,the meals on wheels provision.He would be ready with his knife and fork ready on the dot of 12:30 when his lunch would arrive.Frank worked to the time and to him precision was the name of the game.

He always struggled to the artists whom he would press for,as they were often free spirits,long haired,with beards,all things that Frank thought didn’t belong to order and precision.He remembered one day pressing “Dark side of the moon” and the affect of a visit to the line had on those working there.He just couldn’t get why these people were so important and they were late.Now,I might think that Frank was totally over the top,and he should have been honoured that Dave Gilmour,Roger Walters and co deigned to visit his precious pressing plant at all but we are all different.

As a company,EMI knew that Frank would get the job done and although new technology might now repudiate such men ,considered going them to the dinosaur fossil pile,back then Frank was indespensible to them.

As he picked up the phone ,his planned written out explanation neatly written on an A4  sheet in front of him,he rang the number.After a few rings,Gillian picked up.Her soft voice in that brief mixture of syllable and timbre alarmed him.”Oh,….its….a…Frank “

“Oh Frank,I’m so glad that you rang me because I was just going to ring you:You see,I’ve realised that I promised Madge that I would cat sit for her as her riddles has had an operation and she is at the hospital this morning,and I’m so terribly sorry but I’m going to have to cancel our date at the lunch club,I really am sorry”

Frank stunned by this fortuitous conincidence paused,then thought.He knew what he should say ,but somehow he couldn’t ,he just couldn’t .

“Oh let’s alright Gillian,perhaps another time,and I hope that you find Madge as well as possible”

“Shall we make it next Tuesday Frank”.

As Frank put the phone down,he should have felt releiF,but ,even for a man such as Frank,this deception wasn’t his proudest moment!

As this cautionary tale might be put down to sheer good luck on Franks part,but it also alerts us all to the pressures we often find ourselves in ,and that is the forces of ego and personality.

Frank would live to fight another day,but maybe,just maybe,he would understand that we are all,including him,human,prone to making mistakes sometimes,and in need of u derstanding when we do.

Emotional Intelligence:Two people at a crossroads.

Cutting through the brambles at the edge of the mound,I realised that the bindweed had choked many of the shoots around the main plant and drastic action would have to be required to allow growth to start again.This Autumn period is especially troublesome for a writer who looks at the metaphysical in order to make sense of the thrust of his story.You see,his imagination,fuelled as such by all sorts of life patterns and sounds,also needs the visual foregroundand images that his eyes are apt to focus on.So ,the cluster of leaves,bracken and the like of my front garden that isn’t mine,or my responsibility as it’s a space where our shared tenants occupy.

If the sight of a choked plant ,akin to the bearded Darnel from the parable of the sower in the bible book of Matthew is another link to this story,then the plant represents the mind of the protagonist in my story.He is about 30, living in the semi rural setting but his heart is in Madagascar,where his passion for rare plants and other living species is a very fertile breeding ground for his mental Conglomerations.He loves the people there,their simple way of life.He feels at peace there,he is real there.Now that country ,the shared space of plant ,animal,and humankind seem to have reached ,in his eyes,that perfect balance,and that respect ,its  unspoken attachment to peace is a real draw.He visits there as often as he can,but his partner works in finance,and while he doesn’t discourage him from his love of all things Madagascar,he thinks upon it as a fad,not real,not sensible,not something that he could ever see as a permanent life move.

So,he looks at the garden that is his mind,it’s parts all work after a fashion,he gets by,he exists,but,As has often been said,he doesn’t really live in the truest sense of the word.As the fantasies ,or so his partner calls it,live inside his mind  he is arranging the bricks and the mortar and lintils and roofing tiles that are his stock in trade as a builder,he wonders if his partner secretly thinks that he is a little deranged.No,not a full blown shchosis,but just that quaint old huckleberry Finn type dreamers disease that might have existed as a child,and carries on through adulthood.

Really,if his partner would just only try Madagascar,just for a week,then he reckons that he might just see what it is about the place ,but he prefers St Lucia,True,he works hard in finance,investment bonds and the like,the stock in trade are his mathematical algorithms,the fruits of a first at Imperial,in the days when the Physics freaks could walk down The Square mile into any investment bank and be snapped up.That was before the financial crash,before Gordon Brown ,the penny pinching labour prime minister stood on the steps of Downing Street and announced that there had been a run on the bank,Northern bank,that is.He remembered that day,he remembered his partner,and he remembered that all the 12 and 13hour days stood for nothing. When ,as a young graduate,he was booted out.Then,he was the main breadwinner,getting up early of a morning ,collecting sand and gravel from the pit at Blashford while his partner ,Rob,vegetated  in bed because of  the sheer shock of the crash had hit home,and he was one of the first casualties.Back then,Rob was earning big money and with it ,all the stuff that came with it,but good old Dave paid the mortgage because that was what good old Dave did.Now,As  these years went  on from the crash,Rob had got back into finance ,but the days of the casino deals were long gone,and people hated bankers still.Granted,they liked their high street bank,contactless payment cards and the like,but deep down,these guys who had gambled “Their money” away were looked upon with suspicion.

Dave,although not stupid,wasn’t clever like Rob,and he saw money in rather simplistic terms,but ,in many ways,Rob saw money and the markets almost as a game ,but people change when money is involved,and he never got that they rarely forgive those who spend their money in profligate ways.Rob missed the hustle and bustle of the golden mile,and somehow a grotty office at Goldman Sachs in Bournemouth wasn’t what he worked his backside off at Imperial to achieve.

Dave,on the other hand,never ever went to uni,his time in the Children s  home ,his love of the outdoors,and his need to leave school at 16 put paid to that.Dave wasn’t stupid ,in fact,he was extremely resourceful,but he wasn’t like Rob ,and he knew it.As the context of the lives of our characters become apparent,you might ask,how did they meet.?How did two seemingly totally different young men come together ?Simple,or so it seemed at the time,they met in a bar in Bournemouth and they fell for each other.Rob was younger ,sharp ,dressed well,knew how to deport himself,Dave was an Adonis.Dave kept himself fit,he was fit.Dave was much older,and had always been quiet about his sexually orientation.

Rob,whose parents had had him at a time when they never thought they could,worshiped the ground he walked on.They worked as a couple and they had built a life together,but if they had a fundamental difference it was in how they saw the world.It wasn’t discussed much, up when it was,it always ended in arguments and the words that Rob used were brutle and fierce,but Dave kept quiet and slept in the spare room,not allowing any contact between them.Rob thought that Dave did it because he had failed in the city,and the fact that he had had to keep paying the mortgage all through this time of his being at home was too much.

Their fragile peace as a couple is probably echoed among many ,and the mound with the weeds that Dave looked at too,that represented him being trapped needed tending.Like all emotional issues we have with one another,it is never the case that we can fully know another person,or ,we would be them,wouldn’t we ?Dave wasn’t in anguish because of the mortgage,he was like this because Rob didn’t fall in love with his dreams,in fact,Rob didn’t even find out what Daves dreams were.

Yes,growing up in the care system ,being gay is never going to be an easy gig,and Dave for all his bulging muscles and biceps,was extremely sensitive,but he was a decent man ,a good man ,but he just loved nature,he loved animals,he loved Madagascar.Rob had been the apple of his parents eye and although they had inwardly struggled when he came out to them,he was one of the lucky ones that didn’t suffer their rejection .With that security,Rob had the emotional security to meet people to be proactive as such.Banking had suited him and deep down,he still blamed the politics of the day rather than people like him and his cohort for the crash.

So Rob and Dave had their brambles,and today Dave had his,but as he pulled away from the weighbridge ,a ton of sand,and his 10 mill and 20 mill gravel in his trailer,he resolved to do something about his dreams .His mind ,awash with thoughts of the Island still fresh from those 3  visits over  ten years  ,he would book a flight ,work his butt off to get this extension done ,get the money ,raid his savings,book his flight,job done!w. As Rob would say.

Rob was still in bed ,it had been a long night and his online Poker habit was getting out of hand and he knew it really .He had transferred money from their joint savings  account in the night to pay these people,but he had to find away to stop.He missed Dave in their room ,and had tried to be up when he left for work ,but had overslept.He missed his morning cup of tea from his mum,he couldn’t look his dad in the eye because of what he was doing,but he couldn’t admit to needing help,he just couldn’t.

As Daves day unfolded,he thought of Rob,sent him a text to see if he was up,and got a curt reply .He didn’t think too much of it as it was what Rob could be like first thing in the morning.Dave ploughed on with the first fix in the extension,and the whole job had gone well enough.It was at Avon Castle and his reputation as a job it  builder since he had left Laings was so much better for him.His customers liked him,and his demeanour and hard work,impressed them,so,he knew that a month away wouldn’t affect the steady stream of work coming in. He had good relations with the guys in the construction industry too and besides,he didn’t need to earn so much money now that Rob was working.

Working through the morning,Rob ,flushed with the success of leading a new investment project at Goldman Sachs,was called into his bosses office.Following that meeting,his boss had offered him the chance of a promotion to head office at Canary Wharf.This was a plum job,and his first reaction was to tell Dave and then his Dad.He texted Dave to see if he was free to pick up.As usual,Dave obliged,but Dave was also excited about his holiday too.He told Rob about it.As the reality sunk in ,Rob didn’t Phone his dad,he asked for an hour out of the office.He knew that he owed Dave so much,so much as a partner,and so much as a human.Why,Dave was honest and true.Yes,to Rob,he had the dreamers disease,but ,deep down,he loved him.So,he thought and he just knew that he wanted to talk to Dave.When he spoke to Dave he was,as usual,so supportive of Rob,and he said that if that is what he wants then he would do all he could to support him.As Dave then said that he had to go to Madagascar soon,in fact,very soon,Rob realised that he had to start to grow up,to take responsibility for his actions.

That level of maturity took Rob a while,and in reality,the 2 grand that he had taken from their savings account without permission was borrowed by Rob and paid back.However,Dave got his money out the next day and booked his flight ,but imagine his surprise when a taxi arrived at the  house to take them both to the airport.Rob knew that he would have to work around the clock to pay for this,but he also knew that Dave was worth it,and he knew that Dave was a top man.

Each of us carries around with us stuff ,baggage if you like ,and we all suffer from a lack of communication at times.Sometimes those who have been abused as children are over desperate to please others,sometimes,at the expense of themselves.While Dave had so many wonderful traits,he carried the insecurities of a difficult childhood.Rob,on the surface,had the ideal life,but he also had his demons too and they would affect him throughout life.That said,respect ,communication,and an ability to heal rifts can be a wonderful life peace within itself,so that we don’t always have to escape to a far flung place to find peace as it is often within ourselves to find it.