The living room and bathroom makeover took 10 weeks to complete, and during that time we had to live in the bedroom. I tell you what, after living in the bedroom for 10 weeks I can understand why those who live in a bedsit permanently go stir crazy and hit the pub on a regular basis. I (We) were going insane. Horrible experience!!

Anyway, 2 days before I completed everything, I was laid on my bed, relaxing before work with the help of some crap on the tv when I experienced a very strange event.

I had my windows open because it was very humid and from nowhere, a starling flew in through the window and perched itself on the bed beside me! I was startled, but the bird just looked at me. I stared back for a few seconds and stupidly asked it “What the bloody hell do you want “? Half expecting it to chirp out an answer!

I considered my options, which was actually just one option. To slowly get off the bed on the other side and try to creep up behind it. Of course I was concerned that any movement would force him/her to fly around and shit all over the bedroom!

I had no choice, so I slid across the bed, never taking my eyes off him/her/it!!! Unbelievably, the bird very calmly watched me move without moving as much as a feather. I was waiting for a frenzied flapping of wings but it never came!

I slid past the bird like a slow motion mime artist to get in behind him/her, and the birds head swivelled to keep those beady eyes on me. I wasn’t sure how to approach the capture, so I moved as fast as I could and closed my hand around its body as gently as I could. Then all bird hell broke loose. The squawking started. One of the wings broke free and flapped like a Tottenham fan in the West Ham home end. I spun around quickly and guided him towards the window and let the poor bird go. The bird flew through the window and away to freedom, but not without leaving a personal message on the windowsill.

It was a surreal experience but at the same time, an enjoyable one. Anyway, I thought I’d share it and ask, has anybody else had a similar experience?


Decorating To Freshen Up Life

So, when I was going through my anti social, depressive, nervous episode (Not sure what to call it) I decided to dismantle the living room until it was a shell, not through frustration or temper, but because it needed a change, and so did I !!

The old plaster came off, down to the brick and I started from scratch.

I had this idea that changing the decor of the living room would somehow change and improve my mood for the better.

The living room gutted with fresh walls plastered.

I couldn’t remove the settee!

Feature wall papered.

Now for the finished article!

I finished everything yesterday and I feel so much better. I also gutted the bathroom. New shower and toilet installed and working well.

I’m not sure if I believe in Feng Shui but I definitely feel calmer and happier.

McGregors Fishing Lake

Let me begin by explaining I’ve never been fishing. I’ve never held a fishing rod, it’s not that I don’t like fishing or have no interest, it’s just the simple fact that I’ve never had the inclination to try and fish.

That being said, McGregors is a local beauty/fishing spot, hidden by dense trees and thick, multi coloured foliage. There was a time when I would walk the 15 minute distance to the lake and just sit, breathing in every last drop of serenity. It’s such a peaceful, beautiful little place to hide from the hustle and bustle of life.

It isn’t very big, I can walk the circumference in 15 or 20 minutes easily. Every 50 yards or so, there’s a small jetty that juts out slightly over the water for the fishermen to sit and commence their silent battle with the many species of fish that populate the lake.

Over the years I’ve seen fishermen pull lots of different types of fish out of the murky water, obviously happy that the hours they have spent there had not been wasted. I’m sure some of them wouldn’t consider fishing a waste of time anyway, I guess sitting alone for a few hours peace and quiet is more important than catching fish.

I remember one time, whilst I was walking around the lake on a Sunday morning, accidentally seeing a young couple emerging from the trees and bracken rearranging their clothes, with not a fishing rod in sight, so I guess it’s not all about peace and quiet!!

In 2009, a few years after I had been forced to leave AutoWindscreens on the grounds of ill health, the factory closed its doors for the last time. A few good friends lost their jobs that day, one of them being my best friend Stu.

We had previously arranged for him to walk the short distance to McGregors, where I was waiting with a case of cold beer to help Stu ‘Celebrate’ finally leaving a job he had grown weary of.

He came strutting to the bench I was sat on and punched the air, shouting “Yesssss”. We sat there for about 3 hours, reminiscing about our good and bad times in the factory whilst making 12 cans slowly disappear. He rushed home after the beer had gone so he could shower and change before meeting some of his ‘Former’ workmates as a final farewell.

Another time when I walked around the lake was with my son and grandson. Matt, my son, pointed out the different types of fish that were dangling on various fishing lines whilst I walked behind, watching my grandsons bored expression 😂 We (All 3 of us) ran through the trees, playing ‘Tiggy’, breathlessly laughing, disturbing a couple of the fishermen who insisted on ‘Quiet’.

I haven’t been to McGregors for quite a long time, I don’t know why because it’s so close to home. Maybe I will one day.

Phallic Symbol

I have decided to identify as a walking, talking comically quirky large penis. I see so many people appearing on tv identifying as the opposite gender or something not remotely human that I have decided to jump with both feet onto the bandwagon. Please don’t get me wrong, if a person wants to identify with something other than themselves then good for them. I’m all for the liberation of expression. So, as I have said, I identify as a rather large, comically quirky, walking talking penis. Or if I want to be politically correct about things, a comically quirky phallic symbol, simply because I can.

Yes, that’s right, my breakdown Is nearing completion.

Donald In The House Next-door

I moved into a newer house with my parents and siblings when I was 4 in 1970. Our old house was a 4 storey Victorian build, with a permanently flooded cellar and an attic that was to dangerous to go into because of rotten floorboards that crumbled when the front door was slammed shut. We were relocated because the local council wanted to demolish the row of Victorians to build a bypass.

So we moved into the new house, settled in fairly quickly and lived a life that I’ve already mentioned in previous posts. The neighbors were lovely people, but eventually they either died or moved away.

When I was 15, a single man came to live next door because our previous neighbour had passed away. His name was Donald and he looked about 40ish, clean shaven, seemed extremely nervous and smoked like a chimney.

As time passed, we realised he was gay, which was something my father didn’t approve of but it didn’t matter to mum, me or my siblings. Donald was a lovely, very genuine chap. He would often pop around to my house to give mum a few cigarettes when dad had disappeared on one of his many wanderings without leaving her any money to feed us or pay bills.

There was a waist high wall separating out gardens, which I would very often sit on to read one of the old magazines my mother left laying around. I swear, as soon as I sat on the wall, Donald would appear, gliding through his back door, with a packet of cigarettes in one hand and a lighter in the other.

I didn’t mind his company because he was very interesting and engaging. He had lived in New York for several years, working in some sort of financial institution. He had been married, but his wife had left him. He often mentioned a mugging he had been the victim of and had lost his job because the assault he had been the victim of had affected his mentality, rendering him a nervous wreck.

When he had saved enough money he flew back to England to live with his parents. Donald used words I didn’t understand, and I think it was his use of the English language that helped to make him such a fascinating character. However, what I found most fascinating was the way he smoked cigarettes. He would place it very delicacy in the centre of his mouth, suck it so hard that his cheeks would collapse into his jaw and hold that position for what seemed like an eternity. Then he would look to the heavens and exhale a cloud of smoke that would have alarmed every member of the Green Party. When he held the extreme inhaling pose, he resembled an emancipated version of Nosferatu. Donald was the first person I accepted a cigarette off. (I don’t smoke much these days but sometimes I buy a packet when I feel my stress levels rising)

Donald had a boyfriend, who would call to Donald’s house at unusual times of the day and night. We could often hear them arguing through the walls, immediately followed by a door slamming shut. I lost count of how many times I was woken at 4 in the morning by Donald’s boyfriend shouting from the roadside for Donald to let him in, which he never did.

Donald moved away after living next door for about a year. We saw his photograph in the obituary column not long after. We discovered that he had been fighting against AIDS for a number of years and had died because of it. Every now and then I still catch a glimpse of his boyfriend shuffling his feet through the town centre. He’s pretty old now so he doesn’t recognise me. I watch him pass by and briefly remember our old neighbour Donald, sucking on his cigarette as if life depended on it. Wherever he is, I hope he’s still enjoying his cigarettes.