Why did you start blogging?
It was a cold depressing day in north Wales. This was back in 1998, the days of the dialup, Napster and all the good stuff before society got in the way. I discovered this thing called blogging and started reading multiple blogs. Most were using something called BlogSpot, which was perfect. You could edit HTML on the fly and it just worked.
So I thought I would get on the bandwagon and start my own. Twisted Reality it was called. I and all my college friends had one. I would upload photos from the LAN nights we used to have, I’d rant about various things and every Friday I tried designing new layouts.
It started out of a sense of wanting to keep a diary, but making it public was my way of sharing with the world, I still love blogging but since they monetized everything it all comes at a price now.
I’ll have to go on the ‘way back when’ site to drag some example content out.
I will answer however my views might not count as D is about the graduate with her PGCE which lets her teach in primary, high school, and beyond.
To me, what makes a great teacher:
A sense of humor
So there to teach but have a bit of humor at the same time. To want to help kids but not focus solely on them. Someone who gets everyone’s attention and is unique but at the same time firm. So you know you can joke but you have to do the work to be able to,
The last time I had a teacher like that was in Primary school. She’s dead now but the memory lives on Mrs Short.
This is me. I got introduced to rock climbing on a skills exchange day with Slag (brother). Turns out I really enjoy it so we stuck to it for a while. It was an hour’s drive to get to the climbing center at the bottom of Snowden but it really was worth it.
It makes me happy when I look at this picture. Not because of my exceptional amount of hair and weight loss. But the quality time I had with slagather as well. We would talk about random stuff. He’d play music in his car to listen to and I’d do the same when we went in my car.
Did some crazy overtaking shit to cut down on time. All are still alive. Mostly!
It’s hard. You know it’s hard but I’m not trying to undermine your thoughts. It should be simple and in the minds of most people who have never had an addiction, it is a simple thing. I’m craving vast amounts of alcohol again. I find myself on different websites adding things to the basket but never actually going through with it. Just one last drink I tell myself, pure and utter lies, if I let myself have one then I will want three after that. I guess I just needed a moan. I stopped myself so I do have control over it. Smoking for over 30 years and somehow have switched 100% over to vaping. The addiction doesn’t come close to how hard it was to do that.
I know it’s not a great switch from cig to pipe but it was and is the start of starting a new chapter, Where I am well enough to take the kids out, that the panic attacks will down. Wel. I keep telling myself that, eventually, there will be a day with no reliance on anything. I’ll make a list and do a poll on there to see which direction to which to try first,
A very young me, my Uncle Henk, Oma, and Oma (dutch grandparents) before a fishing session in the lape and canal behind Henks; house. This photo brings back memories especially now that they are both long dead. We would have genuine calls saying hello, hope you are well, and things, It was always brief as Oma doesn’t know any English.
Anyways be awesome to each other.
I’ve managed to open the curtains downstairs as well as the windows. Small steps. Had they closed all week due to wanting to hide? Nice having some fresh air blowing into the house. Well, as fresh as Manchester air gets. Not quite the same as when we were living in the middle of nowhere in Wales. Which I miss. It was great living there. Like 20 people in the village, big house, a nice garden that we worked really hard at so we could have chickens, vegetable plot and yeah, it was great. No fear of anyone knocking on the door. I’m also sure we were amazons worst nightmare as we ordered stuff with same-day delivery knowing they would drive a single trip from an hour away. Good value for money!
It wasn’t real life. I warned D of that so many times. You go to Wales and you live there, and nothing really happens. Everyone is always happy, polite and it’s clean and looked after. You go to primary school, high school, and college with the same people. You have one or two nightclubs to go to. Actually don’t think there are any in Llandudno now. But yeah life breezes happily by and you just live. Probably why it resembles gods waiting room.
We needed to get out of there for the kid’s sake. Education in Wales is very different, we found it more “As long as the child is happy” than “You should learn this”. We saw the difference when we moved here straight away. They were way off the knowledge level of kids in England. They’ve caught up really well, it took time but they managed it. S did well in her tests for high school so she’s in decent sets. B will follow suit as he faces his SATS exams next week.
I still think the whole primary school education system needs an overhaul. They have spent every day teaching from September preparing for these tests. Just tests. Test papers. Constantly so they all get good grades. They are being taught just by answering old questions. The problem is, in my head anyway, kids should actually learn about the world, history, English lit, all of that stuff not just being trained on how to get maximum points.
“Sir said if I don’t know it just writes some working out as you’ll get points”, “You can skip questions with lower points” And it’s great, great for exams and the advice fine but I for some reason cannot support it. Oh well. After a couple of months left, B got accepted to a STEM university high school. Everything is computer-based by the looks of it and he’s excited to get that bus every day. He knows math but has an apathy-like feeling toward things. “I already know how to do that so let’s just move on”. Need to train him to focus more. But that’s where their mental health team comes in and gets support in place.
I did see Dr. Well. They phoned me. They think I might have narcolepsy or catalepsy. They took a full history of things, I explained that I don’t have to be stressed when it happens. I’ll just be in the dreaming world for a few moments. I also explained that my 12-year-old son had to sit next to me on the sofa and jab me in the ribs when I randomly passed out. It’s been happening all day again. I keep catching it and forced myself to keep my eyes open.
I have a killer headache, double vision, and dizziness from doing that. Really hope the doctor calls back with some kind of solution. I asked if I should just take a fist full of caffeine but that would be bad, I think I already rambled about this,
Plus I hallucinated a bird in the corner of my eye. I started shouting at it after a while as was in a half-sleep state. Stupid bird. Soon as I got some fresh air I was okay again.
One of my biggest hobbies, when I get the chance, is fishing. Someone thing nice about sitting by a lake or river waiting for that next tight line and seeing what you’ve hooked. I wanted to talk about it because I think it’s important for me to remember that I like doing things. Like I am allowed to have something that I enjoy and as an escape from the day-to-day.
It all started back when I was 6-7 with Opa over in Holland fishing one of the rivers/canals in his back garden. A bamboo cane, with a line, barbless hook, and some wet bread. It worked wonders on catching them. I always release my catches and always use barbless hooks. Not only does it stop the jaw of the fish from being ripped out but makes for a challenge as they could slip off the hook. The wet bread bait is genius as you don’t need to drive around looking for maggots or casters. He showed me the basics and whenever I went over, I would take my bamboo rod and fish with him or my Uncle Henk.
I used to heavily fish in the lakes near the farm. £3 permit for the day with a take-home two and release the rest. On these lakes, it was strictly rainbow trout. So sometimes I would take one back to sell to one of the workers on the farm for £3 to pay the fishing fee for the day. Some days I would catch loads, others not so much. It was always very quiet, it being in a remote location. The weather would often be awful and buckets of rain would fall. I still loved it. I invested my wages from the farm on a rod and reel. Training myself from books and practicing knots.
One time Opa came over from Holland to spend time with us. We went down to the lakes where I fish and spent a few hours. He insisted I use the bamboo rod. Just as we were leaving I said “Just one last go” and no sooner did I put the line in, than a rainbow trout got the bait and I landed him. It was an amazing end to the day. Opa took it home, filleted it and we had it for dinner.
The dinner was horrible but still was amazing to see a man prepare food that fresh, deboned, and everything else you do with a fish.
Even through university, I would fish with a few of my housemates. I had a telescopic rod so it would save space in my room. Whenever we could we would go down to the river, which isn’t far from where I live now. Always catching small different kinds of fish but it was more practice for when we went to the lakes near here, those lakes, amazing places. I caught my first carp there.
Nowadays I play online. I did a previous post about the game Russian Fishing, which albeit it isn’t quite the same but is advanced enough for me to enjoy it. So every few days I’ll get some time in. Whenever we go camping we tend to choose somewhere with a small lake or river nearby and I’ll teach B, R, and S the ropes. D even gets involved!
“Some people never go crazy. What truly horrible lives they must lead.”
― Charles Bukowski
I wanted to write a blog post about addiction but given my last few posts, I think I’ll switch it up a little bit. I’ve always had a strange relationship with my parents while they were alive. I find it interesting because hearing other people’s thoughts about parents showed that everyone had differing relationships as well. Hopefully, writing about them will give me a release and finally have something to look at later and say “Oh yeah, they were arseholes”.
So I was brought up here, there, and everywhere. We moved around a lot till 1990 when we settled in North Wales. I was 8 at the time so I remember this location better than the others. The others were just a blur really. I do remember the playroom of the house in Peterborough being haunted though. My mum said there was a little girl there who liked to play with the toys when me and my brother (dickhead herein). Dickhead never mentioned seeing her, but I would. And it freaked me out. But that’s a topic for another conversation. Back to my parents. My mum was Dutch and my dad was Scottish. This made for an interesting dynamic in the house. My mum was very liberal with things. An example of this is one day in high school, I would regularly skip school. I’d sneak out the front gate and walk along the beach and into town. I would buy cigarettes as I looked older and then sell them to the kids in school. So anyway one day I decided to go and get a haircut. Did that and then came back to school and slipped into the lesson. I think it was Welsh. Mrs Evans pulled me out of the class and questioned the haircut. I did explain that maybe she was getting old because how could I get a haircut if I was in school all day. She wouldn’t drop it. So I got sent to the head of year, and they asked, I said I had a doctor’s appointment and decided to smarten myself up on the way back to school. He then phones home. My mum answered, “Did your son have a GP appointment today”, “Yes”, “Oh erm okay sorry to have bothered you”. Sent back to class. I spoke to Mum after school and she never mentioned it. It must have happened a few times and she always had my back. I’ll never forget in primary school how my dad told the teacher off about Welsh. “It’s not a real language, no one uses it and I won’t have my son learn it”. Not embarrassing at all. Then there was the time mum bought me and dickhead fireworks. For fun. I was 10. SO naturally we started lighting them and throwing them on the street. The police officer comes running telling us it’s illegal etc. Mum pretends she can’t speak English and speaks Dutch to the police officer. We run out of fireworks. The police said not to do it again. Madness.
See I have a conflict because of all the fun we had as kids having crazy parents it did ruin things a bit. You wanted to have a stable household or be told off once in a while about something that all other kids would be told off for. Let’s see. Drinking was acceptable at age 12+, and smoking weed was fine so long as you didn’t stink the farmhouse out, hell, you could grow it like dickhead did. So long as Dad didnt find out about the grow then all was good. Smoking 14+. Never an issue given they both had 40-a-day addiction. Forced labor aged 12 (with a work permit) at the factory packing bottles for £3hr. So technically not forced labor as we were paid but EVERY half term, summer vacation we were worked. Hard work. Very manual work. They did instill a work ethic in us. It motivated me to get away from Wales ultimately. It took one worker saying “You’ll just end up here like everyone else”. Sod that I thought. High School -> College and then Uni. I did work there during the holidays to generate extra cash for uni.’
My mum would drink every day. She would dilute the wine with water but then drink twice as much. She would pop pills like candy and give me valium from age 10 when I couldn’t sleep or if I was moaning about something. Sore body part? codeine. There was a pill for everything. I was raised thinking it was totally acceptable to take copious amounts of meds and to “help myself if I need it” attitude has caused lasting damage. The same with drinking. Because wine isn’t drinking. It’s just wine. Aged 12 and drinking almost every day. Really set me up for when the sexual abuse started.
And now I’ve lost the point and plot of this post. Both parents are dead. My mum died in 2014 due to lung cancer and my dad died in 2018 due to dementia. After my mum died I got into her email account to check for bills. She manipulated the f8ck out of everyone, playing them off and generally lying about things that happened. I read some heartbreaking emails. “I wish he would kill himself so the suffering stops”. Things like that. My dad’s dementia was intense. I tried to be there as much as I could, through all the disbelief and paranoia that he had from it. Having to constantly explain that mum died as he’d forget. When he was in the hospital I would be weak and give in a few times “Mum is on her way from the farm now”. He would smile and fall asleep. I was holding he is hand when he died. I felt him squeeze and shuffle backward in his hospital bed. “Do what you need to do Dad”. Then he died. It still upsets me to this day. I can deal with accusations, paranoia, and things but that was the first time someone died in front of me. I phoned dickhead to come to meet me at the hospital. I cried in the stairway for 10 minutes straight before he pinged me that he was there. I cried not because I miss him but because of all the shit he caused in the four years after Mum died. I did pretty much everything for him for 4 years. Being called a thief when he couldn’t find his wallet, or that I was giving him the wrong pills, that he never washed for over a year and would just soil his nappies instead of getting up and walking to the toilet.
I could go on forever. If I was to be asked if I miss them? sadly my answer would be no. Not really. I used to miss phone calls with my mum but that stopped after seeing the emails. As for Dad, well, whatever happens to you when you die will hopefully be better than living in your own filth. Parents are great because they teach us a lesson. The lesson of what not to teach your own kids.
What recharges me the most?
Okay so I just spent the past ten minutes trying to find an image of the place that recharges me the most. Long story short, when I lived in the mountains we had some land, on that land was a hill. There is specific spot I used to walk up and sit down on, which was the top of the valley looking down over the occasional house below. This is in Wales, so away from all the towns and things, just in the middle of no where.
I sat staring into the distance, the sun raining down on me; warming up my whole body from the chilly breeze that was gently passing by. I can see the mountains, Snowdon, the denbigh plains. Its all green and unspoilt. I can hear the cows in one of the fields next door. A red kite (the bird not the kite) flys above searching the fields below for signs of life it can end. I would sit there for hours, with a book, sometimes music but always at the same spot. I think it started in high school. I sort of wandered up the track to the right of the farm house, up over and up again and just became my happy place. No one around, just the sheep and cows for company. The grass was always such a lovely shade of green, especially when the local farmer came and cut the grass for hay. Sometimes I would go up on the quad bike, others walking. Mostly walking. Oh god at night time it was fantastic. No light pollution and you could see everything. I used to lay there staring at the stars and destroying my brain thinking about how far things are away from us.
I do have a photo. I can’t get to it to show you but the thing that recharges me most is, even if its a glimpse, a photo or memory of that special place. I grew up there for the best part of 15 years. The farm belongs to someone else now so I can’t get there. Not to mention its 100 miles away and no doubt I’d get done for trepass at this time of night. But, yes, I can sit here and close my eyes and instantly feel lifted if I find that place in my minds eye.