My friend Jacquie

Tomorrow I go to a funeral of my friend Jacquie. It’s not something I was thinking would happen for a very long time.

I first met Jacquie around about 1982/3 we were both part of a school club. I had joined it basically because you could get your lunch before everyone else then spend the rest of the dinner time inside a classroom.

It was run as a Christian club by a biology teacher called Dorothy Appleby and I didn’t mind all the bible stuff in fact after a while I eventually made a commitment and became a Christian.

Jacquie too was all part of this and eventually we joined a church youth group at the age of 14. It was one of the best things I ever did as I met all my friends who now have been in my life for the best part of nearly 40 years.

Weekends away summer camps going to parties where we would be drunk and having a good laugh. Jacquie had a wicked sense of humour and I remember laughing a lot with her. Sometimes in the most inappropriate times and places.

Eventually the years passed friends moved away and got married. Others went off to university and settled in those places. We all had jobs and various careers. In late twenties earlier thirties Jacquie myself with other friends would rent a cottage and spend a week creating some lovely memories.

Each year despite ourselves having lived in different towns we would still keep each other update via social media and never miss sending a Christmas card to each other. Until 2021.

Jacquie was an ardent critic of those who wouldn’t follow covid guidelines and ignore medical advice. It was something I admired greatly in her as it was her passion to help those in need in times when they needed medical professionals to diagnose accidents or health issues via her training and extensive knowledge of Radiography.

To hear she had been hospitalised and eventually moved to ICU because of complications of the covid virus came as a great shock and we were all hoping and some praying that she would pull through and eventually regained her health.

Jacquie eventually lost this fight on January 10th 2022.

I will miss Jacquie so much. Happy to know I have called her a friend and laughed so much it hurt. Rest in Peace.

Another neglected year – 2021

Sorry is word I am going to be using a lot. I am sorry I have neglected you blog. You have been there for me over the last 16 years and I have been increasingly distant over the last few years. I apologise.

Not only has my blog been neglected also my diary. It’s been 10 years since I have kept a diary and for the those who get to read it after I pass 2021 is very lean year. Other years do have nearly every page filled. 18 pages front and back.

So 2021 it’s been pretty shit for a lot of people. A good friend’s father who I also considered a friend passed away from cancer at the beginning of the year. A funeral with restrictions wasn’t fun.

It’s been good and shit for me. Actually most of its been shit. Maybe I should change the word I am using a lot from sorry to shit.

Being unemployed for a number of years caused it’s own problems that you can imagine when someone owns a house and genuinely needs to live. But the psaltery £73 quid the government gives evaporates in seconds when you have bills to pay and generally want to eat food.

The month of May provided me finally with employment working in a service department and two months later I was running said service department as a colleague walked out (to another job).

The following 3 months were just abysmal which ended me up and A&E getting my heart checked as it was going a tad too fast.

Covid vaccines done. Flu jabs done. Some streptococcal vaccine pneumonia type vaccine done and another in the series of testosterone injections done. I would make a joke about the ability to handle a numerous amount of pricks but that would be immature wouldn’t it?

Things started to quieten down and a new member of staff join my department so I wasn’t doing all the work. Some relief at least.

Piling on the months and weeks I eventually did my best not to catch covid but this plan finally defeated as November 15th 6am I tested positive various after realising I didn’t feel too well when I got up for work.

The car went to the big scrap heap in the sky in December. It’s going to be interesting getting to work on the bus each day. But I am sure I will get used to it.

Still single (mainly by choice) but always open to applications. Looking for – Male tall dark handsome and owns most of his own teeth.

Christmas is upon us again.Covid and it’s minions or should I say children still has its grip on most the world. Let’s hope 2022 is a better year for all of us apart from the anti-vaxxers.

So as Paul McCartney once sang “I light a candle to our love In love our problems disappear” I will light a candle to all the people who I love and blow out a one for those I am not so keen on.

Have you ever?

Have you ever wanted to take your own life? I have. I am not afraid or ashamed to say it. There shouldn’t be stigma attached to someone who is struggling with their mental health. But too often people are ready to judge rather than listen.

“What have you got to be depressed about?” When I told my mother in the 1990s that I got diagnosed with depression by a psychiatrist. It’s not the best or response of your own mother. I even had a member of my family make fun of me about a time when I was in utter pain.

I was reading about a local lad in Chester-le-Street that took his own life because he had witnessed a horrible trauma of his own mother being murdered by his father. Medicating himself to stop the anger is a way a lot of people do to mask the pain.

But who can we really turn to in that moment of crisis? Here’s my advice …

1. Always have a friend you can trust and go to even if it’s telling them your not feeling too good and they will check on you later

2. Keep phone numbers in your phone of contacts who are professionals. Even though I am doing really well at the moment I still keep them in my phone. People like Mind or Samaritans.

3. Be aware of the times when you feel low. For me it was always when I was tired, had a drink or late at night. Sometimes it was none of those and it just appeared out of nowhere.

4. Realise you aren’t your feelings. In other words how you feel now doesn’t define you as a person. You are loved. Even though you don’t feel it. Someone does care even though you think no one does.

5. Talk to people. Women do it well men are shit at it. Fuck that comment someone said to you about talking about your “feelings” it wasn’t being “a man”. Fuck them! It’s your life not theirs. It’s your health not theirs.

6. Go to things that help. Medicating yourself with booze fags or drugs is easy and a temporary fix. Talk to your doctor. Talk to someone about what they think you should do and own your health. You’re in charge. I love music, films, friends, photography on social media. I find pleasure in stuff I like.

7. Be yourself not your past – If you are struggling with past trauma, your sexuality, or something someone said or did. There’s help out there. Bottling it up might help it in short term but these things always come back to us. I have spoken to hundreds of guys over the years who are terrified of their own sexuality. I was like that when I was a teenager. Afraid of being who I was and thinking people will reject me. I had nasty comments before I came out by my mother and when I did come out she didn’t speak to me for 3 days. But after talking to her about it she realised I was the same person as I was before nothing had changed. If they don’t accept you it’s their problem not yours.

Anyway. I hope this is helpful. Share it with someone who you might be concerned about. Message me if you need to chat. I might not have all the answers. But I can point you in the right direction of someone who can.

Lockdown

We are in the the middle of another full lockdown. If you are like me was a little bemused by the tier system and think the government is in charge of a very sensitive seesaw. One slight movement sees the whole country moving one direction only for it to be tipped the opposite way a few moments later.

The first major lockdown came back in March 2020 I was at first a little nervous to leave the house to do some shopping after the first week as I had seen how brazen some people had been and seemed to be walking around my town like nothing had happened.

Throughout the lockdown and moving into regional tiers I have heard that advice from central Government had been, somewhat confusing. I will try and stay at home as much as possible, not mix with other households unless it’s with a support bubble and slather my hands with tonnes of hand sanitiser.

Of course in all time whether it is normal or not there will always be a contingency of stupid people.

I don’t know anyone who has had covid some I’m not bothered

It’s only fatal in 2% of cases

It’s all a plandemic

There has to be some responsibility taken not only by the people who make the decisions to contain the virus but those who flout laws governed to keep us from spreading Covid-19.

I have seen many instances of people not wearing masks in shops. Clearly they don’t have any visible reason not to wear them. Even if it was just one group of people to be broken up by the police because they decided to have a party with 30-40 other people this is one too many.

We also have heard stories of people of groups of people who have gathered for parties whether it be on boats or in small confided spaces underneath railway arches. It’s people’s sense of entitlement that annoys me “No one can tell me what to do” like a petulant child reprimanded by a step-parent.

Reports now coming in of other strains of Covid-19 which are more transmissible so much that they government in some areas are literally knocking on people’s front doors asking them to be tested.

One of the news items that concerned me that an organisation has been set to up help those men who regularly attend football matches and have contact with their friends in the stand. Sometimes it has been said that this is their own social contact they have each week. Men are feeling the strain of not being able to socialise as you can imagine the buzz of the football ground gives people a sense of belonging and being part of the community.

Being the most connected, in terms of technology more than at any other time as a human race a large percentage of people are feeling isolated and trapped.

I wonder if it’s time to look at our lives and how we communicate with each other. When I hear about vile abuse that some footballers or other personality has received on social media. Isn’t it time these companies tightened their rules?

What ever your story has been throughout this pandemic have we thought about how others might feel? Given time to listen to our friends or made sure of that someone who you know might be vulnerable has been spoken to to make sure they are okay.

2020 review – it’s been a bit shit

Despite having more time then ever I have neglected my diary at home but also this blog. This is the least amount of posts I have ever written on this site in a year a grand total of two.

January and February were two of the craziest months I have had in a long time. Last year I ditched dating but came crawling back to some apps with a vengeance. I thought to myself I will never actually meet anyone. No one thinks that I am sexy, smart, funny and witty.

I decide to turn up the “whore-bag” level to ten and see what life could throw at me. And boy it did. I met some nice people to have lunch with some were kind, some were okay and some decided after the second meeting to completely ghost me they disappeared out of my life without a single word; no apology or the pathetic excuse “it’s not you – it’s me”.

This happened not once, not twice, but thrice in ten months. If you want to start a conversion you damn well should be grown up enough to end one as well. That’s the one thing I certainly have learned this year men are pathetic at communicating feelings end emotions.

My favourite band, Pet Shop Boys, released a new album “Hotspot” and in my biased opinion is one of their best albums in the last 20 years. The opening song on the album ‘Will-o-the-Wisp’ takes the crown as my favourite song of the year second comes ‘Blinding Lights – The Weeknd’ a cracking tune.

Pet Shop Boys – Hotspot

The looming pandemic arrived and we were placed into lockdown. It amazed me how many elderly people weren’t taking it seriously at all and I saw a large number going about their business in Chester-le-Street like it was just an ordinary day. Like a lot of people I was worried about how it would affect my mental health and apart from being a little bit lonely now again I saw the bigger picture.

This symbol of hope this year. The rainbow stolen by the gays from the Christians only to be stolen by those clapping for the NHS.

My small supply of hand sanitiser soon ran out and I was left one day with hands that looked like had been run up and down on a cheese grater.

One of the benefits of being made to stay at home this year was having a stab at proper cooking. You know branching out from the microwave and creating something different using a recipe. Thanks to the 79 million cook books I inherited I turned to the internet and eventually mastered Yorkshire puddings. From a recipe by someone I follow on twitter.

I also had a bash at making my own soup as I was appalled at how tasteless some tinned soup I had consumed. Managed to cook a combination of onion and leek; ended cooking chicken soup.

This year around my birthday I turned 50. I kept saying to myself I can’t be 50 I was 18 two seconds ago and now I am 50? My body was telling my otherwise. Experiencing a heart attack a couple of years ago I am aware that I am not a teenager anymore and if I want to see another decade I need to do less of the booze more exercise. But I got it mixed up and did less exercise and did more booze. Even the warnings from County Durham’s twitter feed about the harm too much alcohol can do did nothing to dent the gin-soaked evenings.

Driving into Scotland on my 50th birthday.

Now I have started to have not just days but weeks abstinence. I joke that I am not 22 anymore and my body when getting out of bed reminds me each day.

I fixed the oven this year. Having zero confidence in my DIY skills as I decided that it wasn’t worth calling out a company at 80-100 quid just to come and look at it, kick it and to be told “It’s fucked.” I bought an element that needed replacing from eBay and struggled for two hours wrestling an oven and the most fucking fiddly connections But I won and the oven is now operational again.’

With all the crap that’s happened this year December proved to be an even shitter month. With my fridge freezer going to the big council landfill in the sky and the car throwing error codes left right and centre it’s been a time when things have not got been good. Friends family being ill with serious conditions just made 2020 a crap year.

So whatever you’re doing. Fat, thin, tall or small. Black, white, gay or bi. I hope this next year is decent for you. A happy and blessed 2021 !

COVID19

I haven’t thought about this blog for months. I only really write stuff when I feel like it or … well that’s it I couldn’t think of another reason. I don’t like to write because I have to, it’s not a job but a hobby I pick up and put down whenever I want then it becomes a pleasure and not a chore.

What can I say? We are already hurtling towards the end of April in the year 2020 and what a year it’s been so far. I am sitting here thinking shout the world and the situation we all find ourselves in now. It’s supposed to be that weekend of the year where we all emerge from the winter a bit bleary-eyed and bloated from the hibernation of the winter months. Fat chance.

Life is on hold while the Government scrambles desperately to find a vaccination to COVID19. I am trying to not watch too much news. I get despondent when hearing the grim daily death toll being announced seeing the numbers creep higher with each passing day.

It is usually when you have heard someone you know who has lost a relative to the virus does it become real. I said at the beginning of this pandemic that people will only take seriously when it starts to directly affect them or they know someone who has been affected. 

It is at this time when I looked to countries who have the ways and means to cope with the pandemic and take privilege, arrogance, selfishness, and superiority to a whole new level. Parts of the US have seen protests down to being ‘told what to do’. I can understand the need and want to work and provide for your family but when it comes to the expense of a nation’s health it is downright reckless and stupid. 

Even when you complain that the measures taken are too draconian and you end up losing your own life do some still believe it is some political ploy to remove ‘civil liberties’. 

My question would be to these protesters is if they could see the enemy and know it’s dangerous to leave their homes due to being taken out by a sniper or bomb and the government told them to stay indoors would they still complain about diminishing civil liberties?

The UK response to COVID-19 has been extraordinary where people have been organizing social events and looking out for each other in ways we haven’t seen for decades. The tremendous outpouring of heart-felt thanks for NHS has been amazing to hear. We are a nation who should be proud that we can rely on a service where at the end of the treatment we don’t have to worry about how we are able to pay for such life-saving remedies. 

 

 

 

My grindr experience

I thought I would give it a go, meet someone, who knows it could turn out to be something good. I was wrong. 

I don’t date. I said in my last post that its not for me and I am sticking to that because dating (in my opinion) is such a silly thing to do. I had a great day in Newcastle and thought it was nice to be able to walk around the city and have a few around people watching and maybe get some food and a drink.

The day was good – I like that Newcastle has changed so much (for the better) it has become a cosmopolitan and vibrant city. It has embraced a modern approach to life, where everyone is accepted and it has been hosting the World Transplant Games this week and it was great to see so many people from all around the world decend to the north east in competing in various sports.

So I trundled back to my home in Chester-le-Street ready to settle in for a evening in front of the television. I know that my life isn’t exciting. Not going parties every weekend plus I don’t mind having a dull social life. Not interested in clubs and busy bars; just aint my scene.

Previously, I was talking to a guy on grindr and was asked to go out in my town to meet  him. I thought to myself ‘why not?’, there can be no harm. Right? It could be a start of something good if I give it a chance. This positively, Philip.

Grindr_logo

I am a big lad, I have tattoos and usually when I walk into bars these days I get a quiet nod and an “alreet”. It’s a northern thing men do when they want to acknowledge your masculinity and presence. They don’t know I am a raging homo.

So I met up with this guy and we got chatting in a rather crowded bar. The music that was being played wasn’t great and I thought we were connecting pretty well, he seemed engaged enough to think I wasn’t too hideous and ugly to look at. I jokingly made a comment about how the music was shit and he didn’t respond much.

I had offered to buy him a drink but he declined. Thinking that this was a sign that he didn’t realise the protocols of meeting someone for the first time and how to conduct yourself when you first meet. Never the less I got myself one and about two minutes later he walks to the bar to get a drink. Very odd.

I saw him talking to the DJ and he had gone outside to have a smoke but then didn’t come back to where we were sitting. He eventually returned to the bar and sat with some friends he had met. I didn’t want to make scene or think anything of it but I bumped into him later on and told him he was rude. He shrugged his shoulders and walked away.

Now this is one of the reasons I don’t do dates. Even if something goes wrong you are polite and decline and say it probably isn’t going work out. Not stomp off like a petulant child and act like a baby.

I really think some have lost the art of conversation of allowing yourself to get to know one another. It’s instant world of hookups, one night stands and now disposable people. You don’t like what you have so let’s just get another one.

It will be a long time and maybe even never, until I next decide, to meet anyone from dating apps.

Social media – Amberlynn Reid

Social media is a great place it can lead us to find out about so much. Whether it’s local events happening near or a breaking news item, it has revolutionised the world. But there are the exceptions to this …

This post isn’t to bully or be nasty to a person who is super-morbidly obese. But the Youtuber known as Amberlynn Reid is an American 28-year-old woman who started her channel marketing her “weight loss journey” and invited the whole world along on this adventure.

I have only been following this journey (not subscribed to her channel) for a few months now and she started her venture in 2011 and since then hasn’t lost any weight that she has already gained back. In fact, she has gained a further two hundred pounds so now in fact in near to 600lb although she has continuously denied she had reached it.

What people find toxic about is that she continually lies and manipulates the audience into feeling sorry her. She starts a new programme to try to lose weight and gives up on them after a very short time. People believe that she is only continuing her channel and uploading because of the money she is making. She doesn’t have a job outside youtube and physically not even able to stand for a few minutes which doesn’t allow her to apply for many jobs, not that she is willing or wanting to get into any viable employment.

No sponsors have appeared on her channel as of the date and I really believe none will. Her brand is too toxic for any product or company to be associated with her. Unlike other YouTubers who have courted numerous controversies and continued to grow in revenue and views, Amberlynn continues without any endorsement.

Sadly, I believe, she will go down in notoriety for being the first to live and slowly die on the platform as her size is now dangerously high. Despite numerous people offering to help her from everyday viewers to weightloss channels dedicated to losing weight, she has declined help.

It is only a matter of time before her gluttony finally catches up with her.

I’m coming out

I have decided after many years I hate going on dates. I despise them. Bear with me I have a reason for this and I will explain. 

You don’t have to look very far when people talk about finding love. People immediately talk about speed-dating or meeting up with someone going on a ‘first date’. When I was young the idea of finding a significant other didn’t interest me at all. It was all part of the expectations my parents had and automatically assumed I would follow.

A few years ago I thought it was the right way to go to finding love and I was wrong. The person turned out to be utterly wrong for me. I think it put me off completely. The inability to have a conversation to understand someones sense of humour and the art of actually listening to what the other person is saying rather than getting to have your turn to complain about something not relevant to what is being said.

gay-dating-men-seeking-men

Maybe I am being a little harsh or too judgemental – too quick to give up on the idea of finding the right one is this way. It’s not because I am ‘asocial’, far from it. I love the idea of meeting up with someone going for a drink or food, maybe a walk or to the cinema (which is the suckiest of places to go on a date) and spending time with the person you really like.

People all over the world want to find the right person, but they have high expectations, it’s never approached as what can I add to a relationship but what can I find to get out of another person.

I want them to talk in a certain way have a certain sense of humour and have their lives sorted too. I want them to be dressed smartly, have perfect teeth, be tanned and have a six-pack. I want them to be good in bed, to be attentive when I am down, talkative when I am up and have the power of telepathy. I want want want …

dating-apps-love-hearts-valentines-1

Isn’t it a wonder that a huge percentages of marriages end in divorce. Bad behaviour, inability to communicate, expectations that don’t match reality and wanting different things out of life. How many people walk away from just a friendship alone when things get slightly tough. Relate that to any close relationship and you can understand marriage isn’t for everyone.

So I am coming out as a ‘Non-dater’. I am a person who doesn’t go on dates. Not that I am closed to the idea of a relationship it’s just I would rather get to know someone else in a less formal structured manner. Let’s be friends and see how it goes.

Tommy Robinson – tics

This video was taken from a person who works for a right-wing Rebel media company. I was going through videos trying to find some reactions to how Tommy Robinson lost his campaign to become an MEP. 

I thought long and hard before posting this video I don’t want to mock or make fun off people who have tics or any form of Tourettes, as it isn’t what I am about, even when it comes to someone as abhorrent as Stephen Yaxley-Lennon.

Watching a number of his videos prior to this I have never been able to capture any moments where Tommy has exhibited his tics. This is really apparent in this video and became very noticeable in the three minute clip. I hope even on my worst enemy his isn’t ill or a sign of something more serious.

 

the barefoot tree

Still grumpy

Gari Wellingham

UK-based musical theatre geek previously living with a brain tumour!