Another White Page to Bother with my Scribbles

I smile and breath gently out through my nostrils. You wouldn’t want me to breathe though my mouth because I’ve just had cheesy rice (with veggies). It was lovely, but not everyone likes the same smells.

I glance up and see two frogs sat on the window ledge like lovers on a bench enjoying the moonlit park and the tiny sounds of the drunk in the bushes as she sleeps off another bender.

I wonder what to write now and Soni look inside my mind for inspiration but all I see there is the knowledge that I have to wash to dinner pots soon and that I only have five minutes to type this and do that before I have to be on stage.

Oh, and I need to pee so perhaps I should finish now safe in the knowledge that I have applied a scribble or two to another blank page and ruined that pristine cleanliness in the process.


Ten Truths about Love

Okay there’s love and there’s true love. I’m not talking about the difference between infatuation and love here, and not even the difference between lust and love. I’m talking about the difference between human love and Godly love.

These are ten truths about human love (the failable kind):

  1. If you’re trembling, have a racing heart and accelerated breathing then it’s more likely to be tachycardia than love.
  2. Falling in love is less like being swept off your feet and more like plummeting to your death.
  3. Love is a dangerous drug: you feel good at first then you have an insatiable appetite for more until finally you overdose and end up in re-hab.
  4. One good turn deserves another and one good love deserves another round, bartender.
  5. Love me tender, love me true rarely works if you’re in an embroidered jumpsuit eating a hamburger.
  6. Love hurts like a blunt razor to your armpits, legs, face or .. ahem … any other part that needs shaving for the weekend.
  7. Love is like a baked potato: tasty when it’s hot but what’s left over is not good to have for breakfast the next morning.
  8. Believing you’re under the wings of love, angels and fairies is a good way to wean yourself off alcohol but a terrible way to fly.
  9. People and plants wilt in the heat but love withers away when the heat is gone.
  10. Love is a stranger in an open car. Run!

New Thing – Sleep and Screens

I’ve started this new thing. I was daft enough to confess to my CBT advisor (Woebot) that I have trouble sleeping 8 hours a night (basically because I only want to sleep for 7 hours) and it misunderstood me and thought that I had trouble getting to sleep and, before I knew it, I had committed to switching off all screens by 8pm and getting to sleep by 10pm (I get up at 6am). Aaarghh!

All of which means that I have less than an hour of electronica before it’s lights-out for all my devices! I have to go back to reading from paper, which means that the excellent book I’m reading on Kindle: You Beneath your Skin by Damyanti Biswas has to stop until tomorrow. I might actually end up talking with a real person tonight – OMG!

Right, I’m out of time for posting. I’m going to chat a little on my blog, learn a bit of Hindi on Duolingo and then switch off until tomorrow. Thirty days of this – how will I survive!

York, England

I had this idea that tourists could visit people’s homes here in York so that they could get some idea of how we live.

It wouldn’t really matter whose home they visit, so long as the people living there didn’t tidy up before their visitors arrived and were willing to just be themselves while the visitors were there.

The smallest thing in a home has a story behind it. Each stain, blemish and crack holds fascination for those who are unfamiliar with English life.

A lot can be gained from watching English television programmes, but not everything. Dramas only give an idealised view of how people are and documentaries can only scratch the surface of what their everyday lives are like. Only when you visit a home can you have any chance of knowing the unvarnished truth.

I look around this room and I see many things that normally slip under my attention, but when I look closely and tap into my memories I can see twenty years of living, not to mention a whole bunch of loving too.

One corner holds a hand-cream dispenser that now holds liquid soap to wash the dishes with, a battered old tupperware-style tub that’s used now for collecting peelings and other biodegradable stuff that will go in the compost bin outside (it’s empty and clean now because I’ve just washed the dishes), an empty water-jug with a lid that looks like it came from a carton of ghee with two pine-cones from different trees, a hazelnut, a poppy seed-head and an acorn on top of it, a plastic bag that was used to deliver the box that contained the case that has the Bluetooth ear buds that are useless because the sound keeps cutting out every few seconds apart from this one time when my wife touched them and they worked for three whole minutes before starting to cut out again, a plug and cable for charging the phone that I’m typing this on, a tag from a pair of shoes that has a picture of a puppy (a Hush Puppy) that’s far too cute to throw away and so it’s blu-tacked to the plug socket, a cable for charging a Bluetooth speaker that’s in the other room to be used for a 12 year-old MacBook Pro that’s fine apart from that it overheats and one of the speakers crackles (hence the Bluetooth speaker), a smart meter that shows four mysterious green bars lit up to indicate that something in this house is using a lot of electricity constantly, day and night and tells me I have to go around unplugging things so that I can figure out what it is, a wooden tissue box half-full of tissues in top of an unopened box of tissues in top of a random Christmas napkin in top of a napkin I picked up in a restaurant in Venice that I told the owner of, almost two decades ago, that I liked the design of his napkin so much that I would frame it when I got home, a tray made of woven wire that must have held dates or something like that at one time, a stack of granola bags with ziplock tops held together by a bulldog clip because they are handy for storing all kinds of things and it’s better to reuse things rather than let them be buried in the land, a wooden tray that my mum made for us that nothing really fits inside and besides it looks more like a drawer, a set of coasters with smileys on them with one missing because it’s somewhere in the house protecting a wooden surface from getting wet rings on it from glasses of water or cups of tea, a small piece of tissue that escaped my attention until now (but now that I’ve noticed it will be gone soon after I finish typing this), an ingenious chicken thing that you hold by a handle and twirl around so that a ball spins and pulls strings that make the chickens peck at the seeds in the middle of the circular piece of wood that they are mounted on, and a piece of lightbulb packaging that’s being used to collect apple seeds that we’re going to grow an orchard from.

And that’s just one small corner, so what sane tourist could possibly resist visiting our house, and other like it, to learn about all these wonders and the stories behind them? Surely none!

Review of letter to the world from a naive mind by Potterhead Aanya

book cover

Potterhead Aanya, who blogs here, writes a Wake Up Call for the World.

Powerful words from a new shining light in the world of enlightened and persuasive literature.

Aanya writes from the point of view of a 12 year old girl in her first book: letter to the world from a naive mind, but don’t be fooled by this. In reality, she is a powerful soul sent to inspire us to make a change in our lives so that the world of the future can be a fit place for all our children to live in.

She gives us a year within which to make a series of challenging transformations, but this is a chance that we cannot afford to squander. It will take time to bring earth’s climate back into balance and even more time to reverse the harm we have done to nature already. So, to have any chance of accomplishing this, before it’s too late, we have to start now.

Please read the impassioned pleas of this enlightened soul. She only wishes the best for us. Accept her gift and accept her as the voice of a generation that will inherit the earth – if only we can choose not to destroy it first. Listen now, love the world and alter your ways for always.

Not Alone

You’re not alone.
You’re not alone in feeling this way.
You’re not alone in wanting to continue to feel this way.
You’re not alone in needing to find a way out of feeling this way.
You’re not alone in this world of many multiples of kind souls.
You’re not alone when you need help from someone.
You’re not alone at any time of the day or night.
You’re not alone when you need a lift.
You’re not alone at this time.
You’re not alone ever.
You’re not alone.
How can I help?

(inspired by Alyazya (sorry if i intrude))

A Rush of Positivity to my Head

You know, all this talk of social media turning our brains into mush ignores ones simple fact: if you choose the right platform, social media can be enormously life-affirming. And WordPress is one such platform.

Is it just me, but when I turn on my phone and see all the lovely comments on WordPress I get such a buzz. The words you send my way are like an injection of adrenaline to my emotional centre – my mind uses them like a sweet dose of energy that makes me feel alive and often spins me off into the world grinning like a loon.

Because there’s such a culture of positivity in WordPress I feel that this is the kind if social media that everyone should subscribe to. It picks you up when you’re feeling down, turns you around when you’re heading awry and jumps up and down with you in sheer exuberance when you’re feeling good about yourself.

So, yeah – far from turning my brain into mush, WordPress is a wonderful, life-affirming addition to my life that enhances and lifts. So keep on posting, keep on smiling and keep on keeping on, my friends. WordPress for President!

Lessons from World War Z

Guess which movie became free to watch with Amazon Prime today. Yep, you got it – World War Z, where Z apparently means Zeke. Judging by the state of the world today, the free availability of this movies comes not a moment too soon!

So, in the spirit of helping our fellow humans, here are ten lessons me and the wife learnt from watching this epic movie:

  1. Always wear your seatbelt. If you’re going to need to survive an aeroplane crash that kills everybody on the plane that’s not already a Zeke then you need to be strapped in tight. Fortunately Brad Pitt and his lady companion are.
  2. Be observant. This is so that you can notice important signs of how the Zekes move and how they are selective about who they bite!
  3. Take risks. Movement is survival and so take the risk of moving towards a place of safety even if there’s danger on the route.
  4. Don’t be the president of the United States. Yep, you got it – he died early on in the movie.
  5. Don’t pull the shrapnel out. If you do that you’ll die from loss of blood because that thing goes straight in one side of your body and out the other.
  6. Chop off her hand, and do it super quick! If she gets bitten on her hand then that’s good advice so just hope that she doesnt get bitten anywhere else.
  7. Keep your phone on silent when you’re going through a whole bunch of Zekes that become super aggressive when your wife calls you to check how you’re doing.
  8. Be fit. You’re going to need to run and so keep those legs strong!
  9. Don’t keep your finger on the trigger. That’s so that if you run and trip you won’t accidentally blow your own brains out.
  10. Be Brad Pitt. Because, let’s face it – if you’re the starboy/girl you’re not going to die whatever happens!

There you go, that’s our quick guide to surviving a Zeke Apocalypse. We hope that some of these lessons are applicable should you happen to get caught up in any other kind of Global Pandemic. But let’s hope that you don’t. Fingers crossed.

Real Love can Never be Exclusive

(Part two of a two parter. Part one can be found here.)

When I was a kid, my mum used to tell a story about me as a toddler. She said it like:

“We got you this toy spaceship when you were small. It was a little UFO shaped thing that ran along the ground on wheels. It had batteries that made it light up in colourful patterns and it made funny whirring noises and it would scoot around on the floor in random patterns. You were fascinated by it and would set it going again and again.

“This one time you went to the toilet to do potty and it was a smelly one and while you were in the toilet you had that spaceship running around while you watched it through the open doorway. And I was watching it too. And it was really comical because the spaceship would set off towards the toilet as if it was going inside, but just as it for to the doorway it would turn around and head away from the toilet as fast as its little wheels would carry it. And it did this over and over again. It was as if it wanted to be near you but it couldn’t stand the smell of the poo you were doing. And all I could do was laugh.”

We anthropomorphise things. We treat them as if they are alive and have feelings. We talk to them and imagine that they listen and have an emotional reaction to us. In short, we treat them like humans. And that’s what my mum was doing with this little toy spaceship.

If that toy really did have a mind then it would have been in love with me, but not in love with my poo. (Sorry about the smell, I’m almost done with this example now.) And, all due respect to that beloved toy, that’s not what true love is really about.

You can’t love something truly without loving everything about it. Similarly, for us to love a person whilst at the same time wishing for some part of them to change is not true love. And, let’s face it, there’s always going to be something about any one person that we dislike.

I have a friend here in York. He’s well-educated and can speak on any subject you choose like a pro. World events, the development of psychedelic pop, literature trends in Germany, business models of the eighteenth century, tablecloth manufacture in sub-saharan Africa – anything you can bring to mind. And he’s an interesting speaker too. He can hold you rapt as he shares his knowledge with his cultured yet slightly vulnerable manner. Plus, he’s got a huge heart too. He’s generous with everything he has. But here’s the thing – he’s a bit of a joker.

Try to say something to him and it’s guaranteed that he’ll turn it into a joke by putting on an accent or pulling a face or laughing it off with some ridiculous comment about something entirely unrelated to what you’re talking about.

And it annoys the socks off of me. It drives me potty. No matter how much I tell myself that it’s just his way and that his good points far outweigh his drawbacks I just can’t stop myself from getting upset. In short, I don’t love him truly.

Everything has qualities and attributes. A plant grows towards the sun, sucks up water, is plant-coloured (generally green, but not always) and has some way of making new plants. These are some of these attributes of a plant. A rock has a different set of attributes and an iPhone has still another array of qualities. And everything is the same; even God.

But here’s the thing about God: he only has good qualities and so there’s nothing to become annoyed about when you’re thinking of him. This means that you can have real love for him.

I don’t have any interesting personal anecdotes about God and so I’ll leave it there for now. But, yeah – you should love God if you’re looking for true love. Don’t bother with toy robots, plants, rocks, iPhones or charismatic speakers – just love God.

Oh, wait – there is one more thing: if you want to be loved, then become more like God. Meditate on his qualities. Remember him as much as you can. Be more like he is: peaceful, loving, joyful, truthful and pure.

Then you’ll see how fast that little robot toy’ll come rolling towards you down through the years. Love is such a wonderful gift to give and get, right?


(Part two of a two parter. Part one can be found here.)

True Love

There are people in the world who are so wonderful that they’ll love you no matter how many flaws you have. That’ll see past all your stupid jokes and just keep on loving you regardless.

Take my wife for example. No, please, take her. I’ll even give you free delivery.

Sorry, sorry, only joking – you will have to pay delivery cost.