Life On Three Wheels

I was ten when my best friend Steven Baxter Taught me to ride a two-wheeler. Baxter had a twenty inch Malvern Star he’d gotten for Christmas and I thought he was the luckiest bugger alive. I used to watch in awe as he sped up and down the street where we lived. Steven convinced me that like him I could be a star on the Malvern. So my lessons on two wheels began. Good old Baxter would run along behind me holding the seat and barking instructions and encouragement while I sat there shitting myself. And then one day in an act of pure faith my mentor let go of the seat and screamed, ‘ Keep peddling Garner.’ I had the peddling part ok, it was the stopping and turning that was going to be the problem. As the bottom of street came into view I knew I was in trouble. I hit the foot brakes, said a quick prayer and hit the unforgiving asphalt way to hard. Baxter carried me and the bike back up to my place. he left me on the doorstep, told me I could try again tomorrow and left me to face the wrath of my mother.

For years after two wheelers and me were a recipe for disaster. It wasn’t till I was about thirteen that I learnt to stop without falling off. My new best mate Brownie was also a whiz on two wheels. And it was my burning desire to ride like my friend that led to mum and I spending two consecutive Sundays in the casualty department. On the first visit mum was sympathetic. I told her how I’d tried to emulate my friends cornering technique and ended up head first in the roller door of the factory on the corner. On the second visit her motherly concern was gone when I told her the same corner and the same roller door had conspired against me. Rather than words of solace she threatened to,’ Box my ears’ if I got on that bike again. The lump on my head was nowhere near as big as the lump in my ego. I guess my old mum just didn’t realise that somewhere inside me the was a potential road racer, trying to find his way.

I hardly rode a bike again until the Christmas before last when my stepchildren but me a bike. I’d been dropping hints for months and I figured being older and wiser I’d be safe. That Christmas I fell in love again with the notion of being a cyclist. Early in the mornings I’d pedal off down town to my favourite café, grab a coffee, write in my journal and ride home before the morning traffic. I loved those rides but unlike the thirteen year old me, I knew my balance and tremor, meant I had to be really careful on my new machine. I had a few moments when I’d wished I had old Baxter holding onto my seat. And whenever I saw a roller door a chill went done my spine. Each time I went out for a ride I’d feel a bit more nervous and so at Christmas last year I bought myself an adult trike.

My new baby is fire engine red. It has three speed gears a big seat for my big bum. And a basket on the back for my shopping. After all these years of being haunted yet enchanted by wanting to be a bike rider, I’ve finally found the answer. I’m now able to ride down the shops without having flash-backs of Kay street Carlton or unforgiving steel doors. I’m not trying to be fast or flashy. I’m just enjoying the stability of being on three wheels. I often ride from my place in Wodonga to the bank of the Murray in Albury. Where I sit with my journal a coffee and marvel at my big red trike.

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River Dreaming

I’m not writing this blog from the verandah. I’m actually in a park on the bank of the Murray river just outside of Albury. This is my new favourite spot. It’s green and shady and the bank of the river is watched over by huge old gums. There’s something about the trees up here on the border. Something about their size, that makes me sure they’ve been here for ever. I’m staring at one between writing in my notebook. The tree I’m looking out is growing out of the bank of the river  at a 60 degree angle. For all I know that tree could be a hundred years old. I love the notion that my enormous gum was putting down roots long before I was even born.

On a morning like this I like to think That tree has somehow been waiting for me to show up and take shade beneath its branches, and to be moved by its steadiness. A while back a mate of mine gave me a Leunig cartoon about the art of appreciating trees. The cartoon said to position yourself with your back against one tree and gaze up at another and breath. I read the cartoon and liked it so much I stuck it on the wall in my writing room. I’d glance at it from time to time and vowed to follow it’s instructions, but it wasn’t till I found myself on the border that I found myself falling in love with trees. It’s only now I understand with my heart  what I thought I knew with my head.

I was talking to one of my neighbors recently about the park by the river and he said that the trees there give him energy. He asked me if I felt the same and I said I didn’t. Getting energy from a tree struck me as being a bit out there. I’m not much of a new age guy, spirits and  energy and all that stuff leave me a bit sceptical. But despite my denials today I do feel like these old gums are changing the way I feel. There’s just something about that old tree that’s giving me a sense of peace, and maybe when I think about I suppose peace is  a form of energy. As I sit here the writing is coming a bit easier, and the promise of life on the border becoming more meaningful.

The park here at Albury has been in the local news lately for reasons both positive and negative.  On Australia day it will be filled with people celebrating our big day. There’ll be music and ceremonies and citizenship and new beginnings. But when I think about how the place will be buzzing I can’t help thinking about the tragedy that took place here just after the new year. On a scorching hot day an afghan immigrant came down to the river to cool off after a hard days work. The news of that poor mans death shook me up. Firstly because it happened in a place I’m growing to love  and secondly I was sadden to hear that the man had no family here.

I wonder what it’s like to trek alone to a new country. I wonder what it’s like to learn a new language, to find work, to make a new start all on your own. It was a stinking hot day when the man drowned. But authorities said the combination of chilling cold water and a strong current had been to much for him. I can never imagine the fear the man felt when he realised  the water was pulling him from his new found home. 

I’ll be back here on Australia day to watch the celebrations. I’ll be back here soaking up the energy from the trees. But part of my heart will be sad cause I’ll be thinking about the poor man, so close to a new life and so very far away from home.

When I was a young school boy I was fascinated by nib pens, ink wells and blotting paper. I loved the smooth rubber grip of a nib pen, and imagined myself using one to create beautiful cursive script. I associated the implements of writing with a world of scholars and business types. I imagined myself being part of that world. Artistic, important, intelligent.  and saw myself wearing a corduroy jacket with leather patches on the elbows. For me pens and learning and writing was something I loved the notion of. But for me the dream of creating perfectly formed letters ended as soon as dipped the nib pen into the ink well.

While in my mind the pen flowed effortlessly across the page, the reality was that my shaking hands and the dark blue ink  were natural enemies. As soon as I dipped my pen into the ink well I would start to shake. Without fail I’d leave at least one splotch of dark blue ink on the page before I even started. My teacher Mr Finnegan had no patience for my messy offerings and would make me feel like a mustard stain on one of his  ties. I reckon that teacher and I both gave up. From memory we had about 45 kids in our class in grade 5 and I guess  my needs were unimportant in the scheme of Finnegan’s day.

It wasn’t long before I started to view myself as a bit of a hopeless case. I imagined my classmates and their swift moving nib pens, becoming doctors or teachers, while I’d be in grade five for years wrestling with the nib pen that I so wished I could master. Often at night as I’d lay in bed I’d worry about what would become of me. Secretly I resolved to become a garbage collector . I’d work behind one of those council trucks where a nib pen and blotting paper  were next to useless. I began to hate writing. To hate school. To hate being different to my classmates. It seemed the harder I tried the messier my handwriting got and the more I dreaded trying to put words on a page.

Looking back now its hard to imagine that I put such importance on good handwriting. If only I’d known then That just over 40 years later they would invent this machine that’d make cursive script as easy as ticking a box. That a mistaken letter could be fixed by just pushing a button.  It’s funny to think how I worried. How at eleven I thought everything was hopeless just because I couldn’t get those words down onto a page.

All these years later I guess it’s a bit ironic that I spend most of my spare time mucking around with words and writing. When I look back I couldn’t wait for the day when I’d pack away books and pens and make my way in the world. I never dreamt that writing my grade five nemeses would become my salvation. That it would be bashing out stories of my past   that would help me find my way into the present. And just of late I’ve had a bash at teaching. And I think I’m better at it than old man Finnegan.

Mind The Coffee.

I’m sitting outside my favourite cafe in Sunbury. I’ve got a mug of cappuccino, a fag, a notebook and I’m trying to write myself into the moment. I was reading a bit about mindfulness yesterday which talked about getting lost in the act of writing. I like the notion. Like the idea of being caught up in the act of something and forgetting about everything else. It made me think though, that when I write I’m surrounded by voices. Too often as I lay down each sentence I’m worrying about what this or that person will make of my ramblings. It’s not a good way to operate when writing and I’m starting to see it’s not a good way to live.

My readings about mindfulness has made me realise I don’t spend a lot of time in the present. I’m usually regretting the past, worrying about the future or flicking aimlessly from one to the other. Just lately all this internal stuff is wearing me out. Perhaps as I get older I’m realising how precious time is and I’m trying to break my old way of thinking. Over the years I guess I’ve just let my worries, my fears and my daydreams just run loose in the paddock of my mind. But maybe this mindfulness stuff has something in it. What if now and then I could just be in the now. What if I could wash the car and instead of thinking about ten different things at the same time. What if I could just feel the sponge sliding over each panel and marvel as the shine appeared. What if sometimes I took their advice, closed my eyes, take a few deep breaths and appreciated the moment.

I know logically that there is no one listening when I write. When I sit and scribble it’s just me the pen and the paper. It’s just my thoughts, my truths, my ideas of what the world is like. It may not be the way others see the world but it’s the way I see it, and that’s ok. Maybe in part I’m still a skinny young kid in the commission flats who wants to please everyone and be liked by everyone. But like I said before I’ve walked too many miles on that treadmill and I need a new pair of Reeboks. They reckon you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but then again they also say your never too old to learn.

I read a book recently called the Art Of happiness. It was written by an american psychiatrist who had spent a lot of time interviewing the Dalai Lama. I loved the book. Loved the simple Buddhist philosophies and as usual thought, ” I know, I’ll become a buddhist and then I’ll find peace.’ But in the cold light of morning, outside the old coffee shop I’ve decided against it. I was a christian a while back, thinking talking to God would complete me. But all it did was make me feel guilty about everything I did or much worse, everything I enjoyed. So the concept of signing up for another religion leaves me a bit wary.

At 56, I’ve come to the realisation that my answers can’t be found in other mens quotes, however comforting and profound they might sound. Likewise my happiness can’t be based on shopping sprees. Cause I’m finding that the comfort of shopping is a bit like a cigarette, twenty minutes after I have one, I’m craving another. Where is contentment then? Where can I find my peace? Where am I in this crazy game of finding myself?  How can one man, however good, hold all the answers for another? After all a priest is just a bloke. The local vicar is no brighter than most. Both feel hunger, pain, love, anger, warmth and disdain, just like us mere mortals. How then can they instruct me on how to live my life. Maybe by looking for answers in religion, I’m really lookin for a quick fix and trying to escape the fact that after all these years, I’ve just got to be happy with me.

So anyway, I’m gonna give this mindfulness stuff a go. I’m going to try to seek out those verandah moments, and lose myself in the writing. And try rather than listening to the echo of others, to trust my voice even when it’s faint.

Keep The Faith People!

Flying Too High?

Well, here I am. It’s 6.00 am Sunday morning and I still Haven’t written the blog I’d intended to write on Friday. I’ve been procrastinating, spring cleaning, smoking, doing anything except writing. I feel like a bit of a fake. Over the past few weeks I’ve been teaching a writing class and urging new writers just to jump in and splash words around. But here I stand on the writing shore to scared to dip my feet in. When I started this blog I intended to post once a week regardless of how I felt. It was a personal challenge I’d set for myself. I wasnt’ thinking about an audience, because at the outset I didn’t imagine having one. Writing this blog was going to be pure therapy. It was going to be a way of ordering my racing thoughts and something that would exercise my writing muscles.

Much to my surprise along the way I’ve been blessed with a group of readers who cheer me on. You’ve stuck with me during the weeks when I was to crook to write. You’ve rode on trams and trains with me. Listened with your hearts when I’ve written about the black dog. And trudged around Sunbury at my side as I’ve stuffed Coles catalogues into letter boxes. The blog that was going to be a solitary activity has become a shared journey. So as I sit here this morning scratching around for something to write I feel the only way to go is to be honest.

Today I don’t have a neat little homily. Over the past week my energy levels have been through the roof. I’ve been rushing around jumping from one job to another. I’ve been feeling invincible. Feeling like life, talking, teaching were the easiest things in the world to do and that I’m doing them with panash. I’ve got to admit to you my friends that maybe I’m a bit manic.

I’ve never admitted that before. I’ve always been prepared to share when I’ve been depressed, but the highs that come with being bi polar I’ve always been reticent to talk about. I’ve always wanted people to think that the guy with the quick one liner is the real me. Fact is when I’m being my funniest I’m not being me at all. When I get manic I find it hard to focus on anything. My mind races like an out of control movie projector. Images flick across the screen of my mind and each dream each leap seems possible.

There I said it. It’s been a good week.It’s been too good a week and it’s time for me at 56 to be mature enough and honest enough to say It’s time to slow down. When I was unwell at christmas my doctor put my antidepressant up. I’m going to see her tomorrow and tell  her it’s time to put it back down. In the past I wouldn’t have done that. I would have ridden the high for as long as it lasted. I would have told myself that I am invincible, cool, articulate, sexy. I would have ridden the wave for all it was worth and ignored the fact that eventually it would have spat me out on the beach.

Maybe I’m getting a bit wiser. Maybe I’m just getting a bit more honest with myself. In some ways I’ve seduced myself into believing that I want to be that over-confident bloke, who always knows what to say and how to say it. I’ve wanted to be the guy with endless stamina who fancies himself as a bit of a rock star. But the truth is being that guy wears me out and is always followed to closely by a fall.

But this time I’m not going to tumble up onto the beach. This time I’m just going to be honest. I’m going to take action, ignore the lure of the high and save myself before I fall off the wave.

I Can See The Sun.

I don’t know if I’ll be able to focus on writing today. I’m perched on the verandah of a holiday cottage in Daylesford. My bride and I are having a few days away to celebrate our anniversary. Right now, the love of my life is having a nap. This morning we trekked around the Botanical Gardens, had a coffee at a cafe in the main drag and perused the offerings of the local shops. We held hands, walked a lot, laughed, and savoured the fact that we had  all the time in the world. I bought a new belt  and a cake of hand made soap. Caz bought a woven tote bag and some purple paint for her next painting. They weren’t big purchases. They were just a small way of spoiling ourselves.

After our shopping trip we drove back to our little cottage, had lunch and pondered our good fortune. While I dozed behind the cover of a book, Caz got her craft thing happening. Outside our little hideaway a thunderstorm was brewing.  I was with a mate yesterday and we were bemoaning the fact that Sunbury never seems to get decent storms any more.  We remembered the storms of summers gone when after a few days of sweltering heat it’d get humid and thunder and lightning would break the sky open and down it came – heaps of rain.  Gutters became streams, washing got soaked and kids in thongs and shorts would be told to “get in out of it”.

Well here I am a day later, as I said, perched on a different verandah, watching and listening to a good old fashioned storm.  I’ve heard more thunder in the last half hour than I have for ages.  And the mass of grey clouds that rolled in after a hot morning are sending down the real thing.  The rain is tapping out a sweet tune on the tin roof.  The trees that surround the cottage are dripping with relief.  Yep, it’s a cool change – a bit like this holiday my bride and I are having.

Over the last ten years we’ve had our share of dry spells.  we’ve had times when worries of family life have built up like humidity in summer.  We’ve had our share of thunderstorms, where our opposing views clash like angry clouds.  And we’ve had tears fall like rain upon our parched souls.  But always after the anger, there’s a sense the air is cleared and things are starting afresh.  Ten years of marriage, ten years of life giving rain.  I’m going now cause my bride’s awake and I’m sure I can see the sun.

Let’s Go Out The Back

It’s funny how sometimes I scramble around looking for something to write about. I cast my mind back over the week and think of things that have stopped me in my tracks, made me smile, or perhaps made me sad. I’m at the tail end of what has been a hectic but productive week. There’s been heaps going on, all of it positive but still the subject of todays blog eluded me. And then! in a flash of inspiration, or maybe desperation I thought , why not actually write about our verandah and of course the dreaming there on.

The first thing I’ll tell you about verandah is that it’s a big bugger. It’s about ten meters long and nearly five meters wide. Impressive hey! But I’m old enough to appreciate that size isn’t everything and it’s what you do with your verandah that counts, not how big it is! We’ve been renting this place for nearly four years. I still remember doing a walk through with the agent, stepping out the back door  and getting my first glimpse of the outdoor area. My bride and I scooted home to our old place hastily filled in the application form said a quick prayer and talked non stop about the verandah.

We had to wait a couple of weeks to move in and during that time I’d pretty much forgotten the inside layout of the house, all I keep seeing was the verandah. In my imagination I saw the four of us whiling away the hours under the shelter of treated pine and colourbond. I pictured alfresco dining, coffee sipping, story writing and of course a comfy spot to have a smoke. When the agent rang to tell us we’d got the verandah, ‘I mean house,’ our packing took on a manic pace. Our old house had a nice spot out the back , but this new joint had the Taj Mahil hanging off of it, and it was all ours.

Looking back over the nearly four years that we’ve been living here I realise that nearly every plan, most arguments and all of the wonderful bits in between have taken place under the corrugated big top. Out on that verandah, my bride and I have laughed and loved. We’ve worried about the kids, thanked god for the kids. We’ve planned the budget, and adjusted the budget when my overspending has got us into bother. The night of my stepdaughter’s deb, me and the bride sat out there till six in the morning savouring every moment of our girls coming out. The old verandah has probably lost count of all the, ‘I love you’s and all the I’m sorry’s. The verandah is where we’ve had our fights, made our peace, planned our future and listened to 100′s of hours of radio ads.

It seems whenever life gets a bit much Caz or myself utters that comfortable line, Let’s go out the back. Those five words are an unspoken code for lets talk. Lets start again away from the business that is the kitchen. Lets go over it with a coffee in one hand and our hearts in the other and find our way forward. There’s something about sitting out there and having a smoke that makes all the hard stuff seem doable. Something about looking out at the sky, looking into my brides eyes that makes me think we can handle anything.

I reckon they should make our politicians move out of that big building in Canberra and stick them all on a shady lean-to. Occasionally I’ll see a snippet of parliament on the telly and I’m always struck be the closeness of the chamber. I’d defy anyone to try to solve problems in a place like that. The honourable members need to get out in the air, here the roof creaking from the sun and listen to the rain playing a tune above there heads. We should have a national verandah, with comfy chairs, mugs of coffee and maybe then we’d see politicians talk like real people and act like they care.

I’d be lost without our good old verandah. It’s where I do most of my thinking. It’s my place to take stock. My spot to think about the day that was. To think about what I achieved and to rethink things I may have buggered up. Sometimes out there I catch a glimpse of a world where everyone gets an even break. It’s a nice picture, you should drop by some time. See ya, I’m goin out the back.

Our Verndah

Our Verndah

My Sun Through The Clouds

This weeks blog is about my bride Carolyn , who is my greatest supporter, my best friend and my confidence . Carolyn  and I met twelve years ago in a creative writing class in Sunbury. I was lost when we met . I’d given up on the notion of ever falling in love again. I felt depressed, trapped. I thought that my life was mapped  out. That the way I was living was just the way it was. My days were full of work and my nights were long and empty.  I reckoned love was something that happened to handsome young men , and I didn’t feel handsome and I sure  didn’t feel  young.

After we’d met we started writing to each other. Little letters weaved their way through the posties hands and with each delivery we discovered more about each other. She told me she liked my writing. Told me about her life and I wrote back and told her about mine.  I couldn’t believe that this beautiful creature was writing to me. When each letter arrived I’d read it like my life depended on it, and looking back now I reckon it did.

We fell in love swapping letters. She wrote. I wrote . I’d never been any good at courting. First dates, making conversation, stealing a first kiss and ordering wine at a restaurant weren’t my strong suit. But with a pen and paper I felt I could just be me. I told her about my world. My kids. My fears. My failings. Caz signed each letter, ‘ God bless you,’ and as the letter writing continued I knew he had.

Like call good romantic comedies our path took a few turns to the left and right before we became a couple. Caz had two young children and I thought I was too set in my ways to become a step-parent. I moved away thinking I needed a fresh start.  But through it all we kept writing to each other.

The day before valentine’s day 10 years ago, we got married. I’ll never forget how beautiful she looked that day, because she looks just as beautiful  today. In our journey since  we’ve been through a lot. The young stepchildren are now young adults. We’ve supported each other through mental illness, family hassles, my midlife crisis . And through it all my Bride has been there helping me find myself. And teaching me how to like myself.

Carolyn  is a gentle encourager  . She loves me and the kids in a way that no one else could. She feeds me not just with stuff that goes into a bowl, but with stuff that goes into my heart. She balances the budget. Paints, draws and writes with  passion.  She loves cats and old people and Abba and Wham. She  gives so much of herself that at times I think she’ll break. But she never does.

For 44 years I felt ugly.  But thanks to her I now feel handsome. My Bride makes the impossible seem attainable. She’s the sun breaking through the clouds. She was the one that tells me to keep on trying . She’s the one that keeps on loving me no matter how many times I stuff up.

We share our days, our lives and  our dreams. We surprise each other. Sometimes annoy each other but through it all find a way to love each other. The weekend after next we’re off for a holiday to celebrate our anniversary. My bride has booked a little cottage so it will just be the two of us on a different verandah , talking, dreaming and laughing . Dont bother calling the mobile, Cause I won’t be answering.

TRAIN THERAPY

I’m a couple of days late with the old blog because I’ve been having therapy. Don’t panic. It’s not therapy where you lie on a couch and talk. No my treatment, my therapy was a visit from my grandson Jake. The course of medicine I had involved, two train trips to the city. A long session at the Sunbury pool. A visit to the laser tag thingy at water gardens and a strict regime of silly jokes, most of which my dear grandson didn’t laugh at.

I drove up to Euroa on Wednesday to pick up the prescribed 10-year-old. The drive out-of-town helped to blow some of the cobwebs away, but it was the drive home with my little house guest that  started to shift the fog. We talked about some of the stuff we might do during our time together. We planned a trek into the city on the train.  Talked about school and holidays and a movie Jake had seen recently. And when I thought back on our conversation that night I realised that for the first time in weeks, I’d been truly in the ‘ Moment.’ For two hours my mind hadn’t been racing from one worry to the next. My mind had been focused on my boy, the road and the promise of adventure.

Thursday was hot so logical place to head was our local pool. I did my dog paddle, kick board noodle thing, while Jake and my stepdaughter gave me cheek from the lap lane. I might not be a master in the aquatic scene but I can splash with the best of them and I reckon I gave as good as I got. I’ve been going to the pool a couple of times a week lately to try to unwind. Sometimes it works but at other times it’s felt like I’m just soaking my thoughts rather than washing them away. But thursday was different. Thursday it was fun. Thursday was about the three of us just mucking around. Thursday was a Good day.

On Friday we left my wife at our friend Rose’s  house in Richmond and gave Jake’s new myki a workout. We went into to city on the train to visit the film and television thing at Fed Square. Caught a tram to the museum. Prowled the shops in Swanston Street. Went through the loop just for the hell of it. And for lunch we had sandwiches and a giggle at Flinders Street station.  Through it all I was in the moment. As I  watched my grandson watching the world I glimpsed a bit of a younger me and my heart felt lighter. During my last trip to the city I’d been pondering Australia’s immigration policy, but on this trip all I focussed on was the unfolding adventure of being with my travelling buddy.

We went back into the city on Saturday morning. Jake fancied another train ride and I fancied his ten-year old sense of doing something just for fun. Jake bought a wallet he’d seen in a shop the day before. We listened to a brass band pumping its way down Swanston Street as part of the Australia day celebrations. I sipped on a take away coffee while the boy put his myki into his new ‘ Real leather wallet,’ On the trip home Jake took photo’s through the carriage window. He talked about the laser tag and how he ,’ Couldn’t wait to get there.’ Jake’s eyes were full of excitement. And my tired old mind was having a rest.

Trains, laser tag and wallets made in China, aren’t traditional medicine. But I tell you what my grandson jake sure is!

P.S Thanks to everyone for all the comments and well wishes over the last week. Much love, Baz.

Here I Am.

Hi, It’s me. If you’re a regular reader you may have been wondering  what happened to those weekly blogs I’d vowed to publish. Well the thing is I’ve been a bit crook. My urge to write disappeared. Over the last month or so I’ve been finding hard to focus my attention on anything. My minds been racing. Thoughts, old ghosts, self-doubt have been surging through my head like a train through a tunnel. The thing that’s really knocked me on my bum is the fact that I’d convinced myself I was cured. I told myself that I was working more, riding my bike more, keeping the kitchen cleaner because I had a new zest for life. But the truth is I was trying to get my body to keep pace with my mind and in doing so I ran out of steam. I remember posting during mental health week and  feeling so confident about my capacity to cope with the black dog, but just at the minute he’s out of the yard and chasing me up and down the street.

I  was talking to a friend the other day and he commented that my little blogs always seem to end on a positive note. When I thought about it I realised that maybe there were a couple of reasons why I feel the need to  tie up the loose ends. Firstly, perhaps in the past I went to one to many sermons where the vicar would sum up the meaning of life in a fifteen minute spiel. And secondly and more importantly life and all its half-finished stories, it’s twists and turns still frighten the shit out of me. I struggle a lot to find myself and when I’m a bit crook, I loose the struggle. At 56 I feel almost ashamed to admit I don’t know myself. For years I’ve looked for a sense of wholeness in lots of places. I’ve knelt down in churches and tried to pray . Gone on and still go on manic shopping sprees convincing myself that if I just buy that new phone I’ll feel better. I’ve looked for me in the past. Looked for me in other people’s versions of life. I’ve imagined, daydream, fantasized about how one of these days I’ll do something worthwhile. And in all those bullshit mind trips have come to realise if I don’t learn to like me as I am, I risk being lost forever.

My wife Caz, has been trying to get me to slow down for a couple of months. Ever so gently she’s been trying to tell me, ‘ I think you’re you’re getting unwell love.’ To my shame now each time I’ve responded with anger and denial. ‘ I  know what I’m doing.. I don’t need you to tell me what’s happening to me.. I’m not sick I’m just angry and busy. ‘ But the other night when things  caught up with me it was Caz that held me while I pleaded for my mind  to just let me rest for a while. I’m lucky to have her . Lucky to be loved.

So now I’m waiting for an appointment at the clinic in Sunshine.  There gonna review my medication and hopefully get the old chemicals back into balance. For my part I’m doing my best to slow down. We’ve cut back on the junk mail runs. I’m reading a book on building self-esteem and . I’ve signed up for a mindfulness class. And I’m hoping to make peace with myself.

Thanks for listening. Much Love, Baz.