An enlightening conversation

Funny the things strangers say to each other to avoid an awkward silence. I kind of like it as sometimes with people we know our choice of subject or certain words need to be carefully chosen.

Yet with a stranger we have the freedom to say anything. Now and then that freedom does lead to unusual conversations.

I was leaving a pet shop in neath and in a rush found access to my car was blocked by an open door of the car next to mine. Someones rear was greeting me which i politely ignored.

The rears owner was attempting a pilates type stretch across the passenger seat to open the door for a nice older lady holding a fluorescent tube. We smiled politely at each other.

The rear was having some difficulty with the door, I considered offering help but the only thing I could talk to was the rear and thats not something I felt comfortable to do.

So the lady, her fluorescent tube and I remained quiet, we smiled again.

She, and for the sake of sense i’ll call the fluorescent holding lady flora and the faceless rear, rhian.

Flora appeared quite proud of her fluorescent tube, she was holding it like a jedi holds their lightsabre.

We smiled again.

With time getting on I considered what conversation to start. Classic one would be the weather, for us Brits theres no better back pocket silence saver as the topic of the weather.

I did wonder on something funny to say about rhians failing pilates.

Flora beat me to it.

Do you know where I can recycle this tube, says flora, we tried the pet store but they wouldnt take it

Ok i thought we have crazy on a saturday morning. Without a morning coffee to sharpen my mind I was feeling off guard. I should have jumped in with the weather.

Talking of which it started to rain, but thats a different blog.

Rhian was not giving up with her car pilates. Oh sorry, flora was still staring at me. It seemed a genuine question.

You could try the recycling centre, they wouldn’t recycle that at the pet store.

Yes thats what they said.

Best to recycle properly if they smash they explode.

I know dangerous.

Theres a recycling centre in briton ferry, do you know where that is. Do you want me to show rhian.

Whos rhian?

Sorry the lady in the car, the driver?

No its ok I’m from up the valleys.

Finally rhian completed her pilates move. The door was open and the seat was ready to be sat on by flora and her flipping fluorescent tube.

Flora continued

My friend is meeting me here he’s local so he can take me.

While rhian finally sat in the front seat, door closed I had access to my car and to my freedom.

One thing puzzled me after I said good byes and was driving away. Why was rhian taking ages to clear the front seat if floras friend was picking her up.

I hope the fluorescent tube finds a good home, and flora gets back to the valleys ok, she seemed very nice

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Leave a gap, maybe indicate an intention too

It’s that time of season, nights are drawing in, coolness from the threats of autumn over the last few weeks are now reality.

I cycled home tonight and heard the crispy crunch of the leaves as my tyres ran over them.  I saw a carpet of dying leaves on the cycle track ahead of me.

Luckily most of my journey to work and home is on a cycle track, but not all.

There’s always a bit of poignancy to see these dead leaves, as from our bedroom window we’d wake every morning in early spring to see buds forming, to eventually watch each individual Leaf forming, eventually those leaves were lost amongst the masses of a fully covered tree in the hight of summer.

Then eventually autumn would rob the tree of its beautiful leaves.

Tonight I had flashbacks to this time last year when I felt and noticed a change in the behaviours of road users.

More aggressive short tempered attitudes and displays of sheer stupidity.

There was one near death instance where a car flew out from a roundabout, luckily I sensed their intention and started to slow.

He was too busy in his world to have properly looked.  Yet what really scared me was, as he pulled out, he eventually saw me and instead of realising what he could have done he was instead non perplexed, still in his own world.  I’m in a rush state of mind

I promised in the about me page of my site that I’d have a moan now and then.  This is that time.

You may not still be reading this, but if you are then I’d beg any motorised drivers (like me when I’m not cycling myself) to take care and watch out for cyclists and pedestrians.

Its so easy to get wrapped up in our own world but what world would a person have serving a manslaughter sentence, lost their job, their self respect, their friends, their future and for what?

Mowing down another as easy as my tyres did to those fallen leaves just to send that text, just because they had a bad day, just because it’s getting dark, just, just, just..

Don’t forget the responsibility of what driving a vehicle brings.  Please share if you think this message is important.

Tentatively tangible

I’m certainly uncertain of this blog being a success, I thought of an idea but that went on hold, due to vagueness and sort of lacking a commitment to a plan.

At work I get infuriated with the tentative response to meetings, surely a yes or no is straightforward.  What’s so difficult, accept or decline!

It’s a simple thing.

Then, it struck.  It’s all relative, inviting someone to a meeting, to dinner, to conversation, to reading a blog is all down to time and their inclination to want.

I’m Tentative…a hold backer, a thought thinker.

I guess there’s a multitude of reasons for remaining tentative, but I guess it boils down to

What’s in it for me

For me, I’m the guy who hesitates at the deal, decides against the trip to the sale, over thinks the thought.  Yet like all thinkers at some point, we need to put the thinking into action otherwise thoughts are..thoughts..

I’m a dreamer, I have been since a child, but as I grow I realise dreaming can be disruptive to achieving something tangible.

So for this blog, I’ve achieved the challenge of creating something tangible with the word tentative, yet my dreams to do something more is intangible unlikely.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mmm, chips from lilywhites

Those were thoughts that got my saliva going and my tummy grumbling with a desire for chips from lillywhites.

As a kid those were the best most amazing bag of chips.  Crunchy golden chip wonderness.

The bag of beautifulness was, well, epic.

Chips from lillywhites made an evening, the best take away treat surely anyone within walking distance of lillywhites chip shop.

Which happened to be located, thankfully where I grew up in sunny Briton Ferry, Wales.

It’s an odd, dangerous experience to revisit such an amazing memory from our youth, whether it’s food, a film, a place.

Those halcyon memories, should they be preserved or risked with ruin to find our adult taste buds, our adult minds or adult eyes have simply moved on, from halcyon to horror or humour at the thought of..

Why did I love that!!!

I passed the lillywhites today and it was sad to see it closed, it’s been closed for a few years, which I knew but sad all the same.

It was a house at the end of a terrace which they made into a chip shop. Proper cute and none of the modern fancy setups.  Just pure love of the deep fried chip!

Thankfully for my risk of ruin, before they closed I did revisit when I first came home and those chips changed a 36 year old man to a child of 8, crunching on the best chips in the world.

So whilst the halcyon memory of my youth remained intact, it was my adult memory that felt the bitter sweet memory of knowing the chips were still amazing but the place is now closed, more so as I walked past today to see the quietness of the house where once queues of people were ready to pleasure their stomachs with flavorful taste of your offerings.

Whatever happened to the owners, thank you for making a boy and man happy, as I’m sure you did to the thousands of people who crossed your doorstep.

Botanically speaking..

​Thorns are hard, rigid extensions of leaves, roots, stems, etc and their soul aim is to serve physically protect animals from eating the plant material.

I’ve met plenty of thorny people through my life, what gives, why do people need to be akin to a game of twister!

A slightly awkward positioning of body through movement to stay clear of those sharp thorns!

In nature’s world, the thorn is a positive, it protects the plant from harm.  

Maybe there’s a lesson to us, in how some people protect their inner self from harm.

Thankfully not everyone I’ve met has had a thorny protective barrier, but for those we will meet, then the natural reaction to those thorns is the wrong course. 

For me I switch of to the thorny people, can’t bear to deal with them and would prefer the warm and welcoming people.

Yet..

Taking a leaf from nature, spending time to part those thorns, to see the being of what those thorns are protecting should be the right course.

Maybe that’s a must consideration of how we deal with thorny people.

While not everything revealed is worth protecting, isn’t it a still worth a try.

Just a thought. 

A word we all dread to utter

Sympathy, not a word I used much in my younger years.  Unfortunately a word I’m starting to get accustomed to.

It’s a horrible simple word that gestures the knowledge and offering that someone or something has come to an end.

So much pain and loss this word has caused.  It’s a dreaded word.

Thankfully there are also words that bring light to darkness.

Joy, happiness, togetherness, family, friends, love.

Long may these words and the memories they bring distance that word we dread to utter.

It’s a cliche to say time is short, for me this weighs heavy when I’m giving my sympathy at a wake or learning of a terrible catastrophy or horrible terrorist atrocity.

Yet when back in work, faced with problems or the everyday hum drum of life, the realisation of how special and important life has to offer distances itself.

Still, it’s all life, time is inevitable but I hope the word sympathy stays a stranger for as long as possible.

The cat who would not give up

A couple of months back my beautiful bride to be asked if we could rehome an older cat.

Tina had visited Ty Nant cat sanctuary to hand over provisions for the animals.

Tee is a huge animal lover and part of the reason why she is so special to me.

Tee was asked if she wanted to look at the cats currently looking for a home.  She was taken into the kitten room.  It was a beautifully sad scene of all these kittens needing to be rehomed. Miaows aplenty.

She resisted knowing that our own Bonnie at 16 wasn’t ready for an energetic kitten messing her retirement pleasures of eating and sleeping!

Aha thought the owner, let me show you the older cats who need a good home.

Tee described walking into the room and her heart sank.  No one really wants to take on an older cat, people naturally go for the kittens.

There was one cat hitting 20, could barely move but would try and come over for a cuddle.  Who said cats are cold.

One cat though jumped down and ran over leaping onto tees lap.

This was the cat that tee asked me for us to have.  Her name was Gypsy and named for good reasons.

Gypsy knew tee was the one she wanted to go home with, instant connection.

I like to think she sensed the goodness in tee and thought yep, you’ll do for me.

Gypsy loves food and a fuss, whenever she is stroked she let’s out a crackly miaow.

She was named Gypsy as she was found roaming.  She was found with no fur, her skin was sunburnt.  She’s got just one tooth that means her tongue pokes out.

We don’t know how she survived but Ty Nant took her in, cared for her.  Her fur grew back, her appetite returned, the attention and love they gave her is immense.

We’ve continued that love for her, she’s not afraid of people or other animals so we don’t believe she became a stray because of animal cruelty, so it’s a mystery.  Maybe her owners moved away but left her behind accidentally, who knows.

Yet I know one thing, we’re giving her as much love as a cat could want.

Even Bonnie who is doesn’t really like other cats has been accepting of Gypsy.

Maybe Bonnie senses the rough time that gypsy has had.  We estimate she’s 12, god knows how long she was a stray for.

To overcome what she had experienced, cold dark nights, no food, no home or shelter, alone.  It’s no wonder she’s not fussed by other animals, it’s as if she’s thinking that, I’ve been through hell so nothing can scare me now.

Whilst her tongue pokes out for only having one tooth, it feels like she is poking fun at the world.  I’m still here!

I love giving her a fuss, but stroking her even though her fur is back it doesn’t hide the bumps and blisters of where her skin was bare to the elements.

Here’s a picture, we only wish she could use the toilet, as she often leaves messages, warm brown ones around the house!

This is a cat who’s overcome unimaginable horrors and for that we’ll love and care for her.

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What comes, then goes

An almost silent and distant hum of a car approaching.

I was in my bed, at age 10, counting sheep was not helping.  Don’t get me wrong I can count, but my sleep wasn’t  coming by counting those little cute fence jumping sheep.

The sound got a bit louder, closer.

I lived on a hill, my bedroom was at the front of the house overlooking a reasonably quiet road.

We used to have the melyn manor up the road.

Interesting place is possibly the best way to sum the manor up.  Especially on a weekend where the sossled staggered past our house early in the morning.

Harmless men singing songs of things that a ten year old shouldn’t probably hear.

The cars engine got louder.

Who’s in that car, where have they come from.  Do they have a passenger, are they alone.  Listening to music or with window open enjoying a cool breeze of a surprising warm and dry Welsh 80’s evening.

The car is getting closer, I stared at the gap between the top of the curtain and the wall ready for it.

My bedroom was in darkness, nearly for the slight moonlight reaching through that gap.  My parents room was behind me and the slow rhythmic snore of my father was the only other sound.

The car was really close, the rev of the engine I could hear as it started to climb our hill.

I liked my little bedroom, it was mine, my secure place.  So extending my thoughts from the safety of my bedroom out into the moonlit darkness gave an odd feeling of curiousness and danger

Who was this mysterious driver.

Then quickly the room lit with his headlights, my ears were filled with the sound of his engine.  It was a crescendo to my senses.

And then as quick as it came, the car, it’s driver their thoughts and feelings were gone, gradually fading into eventual silence, leaving just the soft rhymetic snoring of my father.

Where are the going to, are they going home, have they left home are they happy or sad.

To many questions for a ten year old, whos slowly drifting into sleep to answer

Nos da

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After loss comes recluse, or does it?

I met the mother of my future bride in 2008, a lovely warm and generous person.

The only person she wasn’t generous to, was herself.  Tony was her husband, I liked him he was likeable, he loved Denise in his own way, he wasn’t one to shout his love from the rooftop.

Unfortunately he fell to dementia.

Before I knew him I was told of the sharpness of his mind, he memorised detail, enjoyed a good debate.

Certainly he had that when I met him, he still had that for a couple of years after but slowly quickly he went downhill.  I can’t imagine the terribleness that Tony suffered but also the dreadfullness that Denise had to cope with, and she coped with it long after others gave up.

She refused until the last, to give what she knew in his lucid moments he wanted, to be with her in their home.

In the end she was at physical breaking point and he went to a care home.  She was there every day.

The horribleness of dementia finally took him.

She retreated into herself, retiring any romantic notions of ever feeling for another again.  Denise had her children yes, but in her mind that was all.

After a few years a friend introduced her to Richard, a kind hearted true gentleman.

She was ready to run, believing well, in a way she had already retired any romantic notion so this was folly.

Could her heart be saved, could a light long blown cold be relit.

We all wanted it, her family, her friends and if there is one person deserving of happiness it is Denise.

I experienced a special day last Saturday, in fact the whole weekend was a moment in time that will stretch long into the future of my memories.

So thankfully, after a few ups and downs that he asked the question and she accepted.

My beautiful Tina, whos mother got married will be a special moment for both myself and all those close enough who know what Denise has suffered through the last number of years.
After a beautiful, intimate wedding they’re  sailing north to Norway, to see the lights.

I’m elevated to feel there can be a happy ending to what has been a terrible number of years for a woman who’s done no harm to the world.

I wish them all the happiness.

First day back

What feels like a lifetime ago, it was on this day that I and most of my classmates, and those who came before and after us dreaded..the first day back at school, after a long lazy summer.

In a time when age was important, by confirming our age in quarters.

“No I’m not 12, I’m 12 and 1/4

Six weeks of rope swings and roaming, of hide and seek, and kids tv, it was all good.  And it was long.

It used to be a long hot lazy summer, a time when seasonal weather was guaranteed, then global warming stuck, and now gives us unpredictably barmy monsoon summers..but that’s for another blog.

New term, new uniform, new pencil case, new topics and new experiences.

We were ready, in our newness of everything (especially pencil case) to be educated.

Even if being partly distracted by the incoming neath fair that arrived two weeks after term started, we were ready to be educated.