Once again…we lose. Or do we? England’s 2018 World Cup? We could of, and in reality, should have reached the final. Does it matter? It does and doesn’t. Why? Because football is a matter of excitement, disappointment, analysis, reflective insights and future hoped for’s. When I was playing football in my teens, I was pretty decent. I enjoyed the sport. It was a collective of emotional turmoil. All dependant on the moment. We won and lost. But reflection was on my improvement and how the team supported each other. One or two players were weak. But support from the surrounding players gave those players belief. A few more were consistent. And the standouts were simply that. Standouts. Where did I play? School team, over on the local fields with local street teams and the Cub Scout tournament. I was a cub. It became a Life changer? Why the cubs or, in fact, hopeful future scouts?

To explain…….I was a cub, in the 90th pack, awaiting to go up to the scouts. We played the 80th pack in the tournaments final. We won. The outcome of one 80th pack adult’s intentions to seek out an answer to escape football and competition failure and disappointment? An episode of disbelief. Of…..’What?’ An adult seeking someone or something to blame for their loss. Result from the enquiry? I didn’t bother becoming a scout. Why? Nasty taste after the politics. In the cubs, as said, we won the tournament final. My younger brother alongside me, we scored a fair few goals. Him the most. The opposition team (the 80th), the team we played in the final, found I was 11 days too old according to the rules, complained and a replay was the result. That’s when I realised there were sore losers. Ideology, excitement of 11 players (children) winning and the fact an adult chose to challenge the system because they LOST, was a bit of a life changer. For all concerned. Firstly, my team mates. Because my friends in the cubs had to play again. And this time they lost the match. Success was torn from them. And me because I was portrayed a cheat. An unknowing cheat. But a cheat nonetheless. Because those 11 days turned me into Pele apparently. I was so influential, because I was practically an 11 year old adult, that it was deemed unfair. Can’t remember ages of what cubs or scouts should be. A team mate, born 14 days earlier to me was still a cub child! Losers? Went by the rules and not the moment. And certainly not with children’s psychology. I didn’t intentionally go into the match knowing I was a week and a half over age according to the rules. I went into the match as a cub. Not a scout. Pathetic is the adult who actually inquired into all inherent as to repair the damage that the 80th NEVER lost. They didn’t lose. They were deemed the best! And no longer so? Seek something to change all that. What mind looks into finding something that changes outcomes. Especially one that affects childrens’ euphoria. Very, very sad. They actually LOST. Unthinkable. Blame a boy who has the actual temerity to be 11 days over age. Thanks for that. You deemed me a cheat. Not the adult who ran the 90th, my team, who didn’t intentionally or knowingly put me into the team. We were all unknowing.

Roy’s goal above. He scores a goal to be remembered. Sod the score line. It is a beautiful thing to behold. Seek one positive in the negatives. England played some great football this tournament. So. I’ll remember the positives and know that those experiences will make the players stronger for the next matches.

So, what does this all mean? It highlights for me the complexities of football and the rules. The inconsistency of decision making. A high extended dangerous ‘possible kick in the face from a foot’ goal by Croatia and a decision of ‘it was OK and valid’ by the same referee who sent Nani off for a similar high foot intervention challenge in a champion’s league match between Manchester United and Real Madrid shows exactly that. One rule for one. One rule for another. Does it matter? Not really. Because that’s what football and life is about. A collective where individual inconsistency and injustice is highlighted. Because everything is captured on film we can reflect and moan. But there’s no point. What is done is done. Move on.

We then reflect of what might have been. Not the collective 90 minutes of to and fro. But individual actions that damage psyche. All we need to do is accept and carry on. Injustice? Hopefully justice eventually outweighs it. We can but hope. You can’t analyse or determine. So much depends on ‘luck’. So much depends on strange decisions. VAR even gets it wrong on analysis and reflection. You just have to sometimes accept. And move on. The next championships? England? We’ll be European champions. Unless sore losers are inherent.


Umbrella, Tree, Firepit and Night sky stars.


I am sitting outside. In my direct and peripheral vision are umbrella, tree, fire pit and star filled night sky.

Umbrella. Lasts as long as it’s man/woman made status dictates.

Tree. Mother Nature and therefore, if looked or not looked after, lives or dies.

Fire pit. Transient, either lives for the moment, kept alight for as long as it is nurtured, therefore…..intense and bright flame brilliance or slow burning live life with intention to experience all……which equals…..short or long lived.

Night time stars. Infinity, unlooked fors and unknown. The maybe of what may be. The hoped fors that keep the spirit alive.

Isn’t life like that?


New experiences of visual and olfactory nature.


Strange collective of happenings resulting in said title. In the fire pit? A collection of fragrant hollow candle wax, old crystals and resins and bamboo. Ate a veggie BBQ……with resulting wipe your hands clean with kitchen roll chucked into the fire pit. Inside the fire pit? A mix of already there’s. A bed of beech, apple, damson and pine log ash. Old collection of house fragrances tapped out from the metal melting pot containing a mix of Frankincense, Myrrh and Benzoin resin and crystals which have melted into synergy. The BBQ had accompanying candle light. So…..Outside scents? The last of a wax scented candle of Cinnamon and Orange with it’s walls hollowed down. A couple of wooden/bamboo skewers from said BBQ sat upright in candle hollow. Collectively….all put into the old ashes of previous night burns. A couple of puffs on the pipe filled Clan baccy and the match put to this collective fire pit inherent of wax, crystal, resin and tissue sitting amongst said ashes. Result. Visual and olfactory bliss and sadness. Twenty minutes of the Baby Jesus gifts of Frankincense and Myrrh with added Benzoin burn accompanied  by Cinnamon and Orange burn. The air filled with odour. The eyes filled with fire dance. The memories filled with initial contentment. Result? Emotional turmoil. Started with startling olfactory relaxation. Smoke and odours to make the heart strings crack. Ended with startling visual reflection of haunting memory. Why? Because the two skewers sat there smoking like the Twin Towers tragedy. Startling imagery. Again to make the heart strings crack. Strange indeed is the unexpected.

Why bother?


I took this photograph with insight to what lay behind. It had various dynamics. It has made me realise that a photograph jangles the memories. Involved in verbal inclusions? Angst in collectives.

So pinpoint. What is ‘Involved’ here in this photograph? Enquiry. Concern. Not coping. Head in hands disbelief. Seeking answers. Calming the one who we think suffers most….but is actually attention seeking. Indifference or deep in own thought patterns? People bouncing off each other. Telling others to Shush.

I took the photograph. Kept quiet and simply observed. There are situations out of your control. You focus upon them. But, realise you have no influence. Actually don’t want to influence anyway. Why bother? Because some situations are, once again, out of your control. If they are out of your control. Again. Why bother?

Yes, my words are intentionally cyclic. Because life can be repetitive. Deja vu. You haven’t the answers. Timing for repair……..too late, much too late, so the result…….Fail. Timing of seeking the answers after events?….Fails. Times of wondering what you did wrong not to intervene in the first place……Fails. No answers to satisfy your soul. So, why bother? Too much energy is spent in “Why bothering”. So….why bother? Live life without bothering. Go into self preservation and forget struggling. Enlighten the self. You’ve done nothing wrong. Others have created the initial question of “Why bother?”. Push the camera shutter button…….a moment in time, And forget? The image lives and results in visual enquiry. I remember again those moments and……..Bother no more?

No…….I still bother nonetheless. Why? Because, as the saying states:

“Don’t let people pull you into their storm. Pull them into your peace”.

(Kimberly Jones).

One hour of collective visual and emotional holistic thought out answers…….

Well, actually……..A weekend plus one hour moment in time……..


No. Not me above. I took this picture and called it ‘Eating chips with Betty Boo’. Betty Boo, as I thought could be her name, was eating chips. So was I. Hence the ‘with’, although separate nature. Put said chips down to take the photo, picked them back up and carried on eating. I thought of sitting and thinking about stuff when you have the additive of bag of chips equivalent. My equivalent a few hours ago was Booze and Baccy. Betty Boo? Looked like she was contemplating life and the sea was whispering answers to her questions.

I’m sitting drinking and puffing away on my pipe and looked at the surrounding nature and scenery from the side of our house. I have just had a weekend visit of family and very close friends. All exceptionally close. 6 people, myself included, who purposefully put out intentional escape with a get together scenario. This avoids the reality of what we are all subject to with individual everyday, current life’s experiences of work, health and relationship impacts. We put together a situation where we create a weekend of gentle experience and in doing so, create lightweight diversionary tactics. As said…..Each of us going through these problematic, stress related work, family and health related issues which are burdens of immense force. It’s a small contribution of planned activity to seek positive diversion from life changing situations.

So……..Needed? Another weekend of escapism. Done before and fondly remembered. Intentionally and democratically planned. Emotions and discussion held back? Oh Yes! Why? Because to dig deeper would provoke inner turmoil to each of us. 6 people with inherent problems that, if we were to open up and share, would provide something of a situation of massive analysis need. We avoid the absolute enormity of needful talk. You sometimes cannot share experiences of such profound impact. We get together on Friday night. And say goodbye on Sunday. Friday? We’ve come from a week and more, much more, of conundrum and being battered in various ways. I’ve had a long Friday day shift ending a week of the stuff nurses go through. Hours of this and that. ‘This and that’ nurse wise is not to treat the day with wipe away disregard. It’s deep, confidential and involves the worrisome thoughts of people in a mix of hope, positivity, negativity and jeopardy. The others have been through weeks, months of terrible impacts too. Not lightweight either. Problems to really rock ‘each of the individual 6 of us’ boats. But ‘back burner’ is the art of intention to adopt.

So. I’m now having a break of one week on a holiday. Not a holiday, but a break from intensity. Suddenly, I have an ‘I’m not at work hurray intensity’ of not waking up and thinking, I’m in the hospital again! Oh deary dreary sarcastic me. Or deary dreary naughty plus ecstatic words of happiness to that effect sarcastic me. The other 5 family and friends? Not at work also and therefore……..A weekend of escapist hoped fors and expectations. Arrival. Here in Wales. Wales is the witness to a small 72 hours of cathartic delivery. Planned activity through negotiations? A train trip. Meals and chit chat sitting around our table and in our small, but friendly old comfy and historically familiar front room. A fire pit outside to be lit. A front room open fire with log basket that may be lit, but isn’t because it’s warm outside for a change. A few guitars waiting to be played. Songs of importance to show, tunes you want to share. Meals that are prepared with considerations. Drinks, a mix of alcohol and soft choice, to be imbibed with resulting ‘they’ll hit the spots’. Late nights, early mornings and a million and one thoughts inside your mind that can’t and won’t be truly discussed. Why? Because if you did it would ruin the need for essential lighter approach. So you create a positive atmosphere. And in doing so you come through the 72 hours with a smile and stronger outlook. Yes, we talk briefly of the background problems. But intentionally lightly and quickly change the negativity. We need to look forwards. Not dwell on what is, was, may be or, in actuality, what will be. But we truly understand each other’s ‘What lies beneath’. Now is not the time to discuss. Now is the time to laugh at the stupid things we’ve done and carry on doing or saying. ‘I didn’t know he’d died until afterwards’. We’ll give you 3*** because you have no en suite and refused to cook poached eggs and offered unhealthy fried. A collected curry which provided the hottest and spiciest to the one who wanted the coolest/mildest. But a dish of quickly made mint and yoghurt cooling raita saving the day. Bigger conversation, totally bonkers statements, occurrences witnessed……they’ll be there forever and a day. The woman chatting to us in a pub garden in Barmouth. Takes a bite of her sandwich and her false teeth go flying. The suspicious bag and laptop on the train, unaccompanied next to us and the dread of a possible threat. The lovely blokes, three seats ahead, who owned said bag who didn’t get the alarm we felt. What unaccompanied bags and the nervous scenarios involved. Innocence still exists. Tens to twenties of little scenarios to remember and laugh about. ‘Trouble with charity shop shirts? They don’t have the right sizes labelled in them. Never fit!’ Nothing to do with expanding stomach girlth has it? This weekend’s little gems. Added to the loads of previous gems from older visits here.

I have just sat outside my house. The extremely important 4 now gone home. Number 5… Wife sleeping on the sofa. Number 6, me, sitting contemplating happenings of life and what has been. Evening still dusky light and stars hidden behind unseen, but imagined, cloud formation? I have lit a pipe of fresh tobacco. Drunk from a red, beautiful ‘flick the rim and it sings’ glass which is filled to the rim with a lovely earthy red wine. I look at the surrounding view and images. And they are a reflection of life as seen through a parallel scenario. The Mirror Mask.

They are apt and link to the weekend’s and, ultimately, life’s experiences. The fields opposite? Familiarity and comfort in recurrence. An open, sun filled field area of timetabled green growth to following year on year plowed earth to followed shoots of crop growth. The countryside green, blue, red, white hue again and the year after year of remembered constant changing images of light, to flickering faerie dance moments to ghost like shade colours of dread and followed joy and ‘here we are as ever again’ looked fors. All opposite our house in the storytelling nature of ongoing developments born from nature and earth and crop growing cycles. Familiarity and knowing it’s Constance breeds contentment. Invasive creeping Ivy growing up the telephone pole. This ivy that needs to be eventually cut off at the root source to stop it’s overwhelming tenacity in it’s intended need for destruction of the said telegraph pole and, subsequently the wires, which would therefore cut off the information source of broadband which enriches our lives. Issues like invasive Ivy need to be cruelly, but reluctantly, cut out of your life, shoved aside and disregarded. The beautiful beech tree, initially loved and admired, that gets taller by the year, but in doing so blots out the Aberdovey bay and sea in the distance view because it has its own purpose and dynamic to reach onwards and upwards. It isn’t bothered about inhibiting your joy in outlook. It has it’s own purpose and a ‘stuff you’ attitude. But it does provide the bees with sticky leaf nectar to eventually realise honey. Look for positivity in all things. Everything has purpose I suppose. A plethora of Valerian plants, pink in splendour, but which clutter the garden, destroy other plant life and the eventual need to weed out their invasive roots because they’ve got too big for their boots. They destroy our stone built walls. Widen the cracks and push closeness and the knitted strengths of the bricks, stones and mortar apart. Resulting in…..Fragmentation and chaos. Just because it’s what they do. Pull them out or hit them with weed killer? They die…..and the resulting result. They stink. A smell of rot that lingers. The fire pit that can provide warmth and comfort in its crackling activity and heart repairing flame light dance. A simple match struck and applied to the fragility that is paper, added broken small Beech branch kindling starters, to small Rose, Damson and Lilac midway branches and eventual fierce and warming damson, Apple and ash logs to give an eventual glow of heat and ability to survive the future awaiting and oncoming night chills. But……which isn’t lit whilst I sit on this Sunday night due to the fact that I am alone. I could light it and give comfort to myself. But, want to save log supplies so others can share the experience of it’s healing nature. These visuals are comparisons in my minds eye to occurrences in my life. Personal Parallels. Experiences in the past where I thought “If I were to reluctantly cut that person/ivy out my life… couldn’t cause harm. If I had kept an eye on that tree/person over the years, it wouldn’t have blighted and negatively influenced my pleasure in seeing the beauty out there beyond. Not stifled my abilities and ambitions in seeking higher realisations”. Those people have gone now. No longer in my life. But leaving such profound impacts that they changed me oh so much. That kind of analogy. Weird analogy actually. They are no longer influencing. But still influence. All 6 of us have had similar impacts over our lifetime.

And finally. Back to pipe, tobacco and wine. Staple relaxation tools. Both can kill in excess. Booze and Baccy. Dangerous or comforting? At the moment I actually don’t care. Red wine and tobacco sooth the nerve jangles. It’s not addictive to a person who possesses a non-addictive genetic makeup. I have a non addictive nature. At present it is the small answers that provide the ability to survive. The larger answers can wait. My own intended prescription is a weekend I have just experienced, a final weekend one hour dose involving one bottle of red wine and two pipe fills of tobacco. Small, perfect needful occurrences to get through the chaos of both historical and very recent life’s unlooked for horrible experiences.


A VW bus is a lifestyle.


I’ve just realised the answer to my current state at the end of a fourth triple Jack Daniels. Or maybe more? Pasrpt (Hee, Hee) caring. Passed caring. I can type. Yippee! The fifth will render me past focussing. So get on with it. But why JD? It just feels nice. Right! My Blog…..focus!

My VW bus is, like JD, my perfect lifestyle. It really, really matters. I seem to have forgotten how much I loved the bus. But, I’ve put it on a back burner. Pushed to the back of my mind due to the fact that if I thought more about it….I’d go nuts. I’ve been without it now for four years. Now? I’m on yet another holiday. Yet again, from Friday I’m making stuff up as I go along. No holiday purpose. Just what I’ll do I’ll just do. My brother and one of my best mates are arriving with their wives on said Friday. When I knew they were arriving about a month ago, I had visions of all 6 of us popping to a local or near/far off destination to have an experience of the VeeDub chill factor. This chill factor was a vision of bus with inherents. The comfort of Billie Budd and all she provides in psychological comfort. Basically, my bus, a stash of needful stuff and the kettle on. Still not a realisation. But hey! That’s life. Then I thought of stress. My workload is dynamic. Being a nurse I have a shed load of emotional turmoil in my day. Every day is linked in some respect to other’s worriesome thoughts. Also, medically and clinically I have to keep people safe. In keeping them safe, they keep me safe. The pressures are relentless. In the past I have never felt so pressured as I do so now.

Then? I suddenly realised. Why did I cope then? When I drove into work every day in a ‘put-put VeeDub engine sound’ of lovely bus and not like now of ‘listening to car revs engine sound’. Now, just jumping in, starting the engine and simply driving to work. John Muir wrote about philosophy of driving a Dub. The thought processes required in ‘Keeping it Alive’. And Robert Pirsig wrote about Motorcycle Maintenance and it’s affinity with eventual answers to ultimate calm. Their vision, both of them in different approach, was Zen like and enlightening in the qualities they proffered and discussed. They are not book/author/philosopher best sellers without reason. They have also changed people’s lives completely. Mine included.

Work is work. Preparation in going to work is vital. A cigarette on the way. A bus or train journey of visual escape in the surrounding views. A time of reading a favourite novel or listening to a catalogue of music on the MP3. Or the knowledge that in 5 days you’re on holiday.

But actually thinking now…..when did I actually have holidays I enjoyed. My holidays have been a conundrum of planned visits to seek catch ups and resulting chaos involved. Not a number of days of relaxation selfishness. They have been a rush of inclusions. In other words. Feeling guilty you need to sort out the “Haven’t seen you for ages and must rectify this” situations. I don’t do selfish seeking. I try to seek calm in what ever presents itself. But I realise after years of not having a proper full break, my health may well be at risk. Maybe psychologically or biologically. A week in Tenerife and a 10 day holiday in Palma over the last 10 years is my only time of actual total relax.

But. Back to the subject of the VeeDub.  The bus helped me to survive. And in an everyday sense. Luckily I live near the coast. Billie Budd gave me the chance, on days off, to just pop down to the sea edge and truly seek life’s needed switch off ability. You’ll argue, ‘Get a life and just go for a walk. You’re lucky to live where you do!’ OK. I bow to your reality check. But, the bus gave and will give purpose to me. Others? A different focus. Many of us can’t see the woods from the trees. Focus is a needful and blessed thing. Sameness, tradition and the uniform approach matter. How many of us sit and watch the ‘soaps’ to escape? Or do other distractions in watching a documentary, football, Netflix or seek a chat on the phone. A phonecall full of nonsense chat that just blows away the tangled angst. My answer? It was the bus. Before I owned it? Music. A guitar and the ability to write my own or sing others’ songs. But now I’m all sung out.

So. The VeeDub. When I drove it to both work and for pleasure it was the same. Trundle to work for long day shifts and trundle home. Hectic at work so needed the bus to provide the thoughtful approach, chill factor driving to the hospital. It was calm preparation there. And separation back. Wind down and drive along in procrastination involving leisurely and the ponderous thought, with an eventual wind up to relaxation over the 10 mile journey after the day’s chaos. I’m in a car at the moment. No comparison. Maybe it was the VW engine singing to me. Like one of those new age cd’s that provide brainwave patterns. It’s like I’m on holiday in the VeeDub and I’m one of those tourists that point at everything in front of me. Wonder and delight. So slow is whoa and stay in status quo. Miss the bus. It’ll be nice to see her back. And 50 to 55 mph is perfick. Now is different though.

What is happening now is that I feel fraught in going to sleep, usually at midnight or later, knowing I’m in work next day, waking  up at 05.45 (or, in reality. often at 04.00) realising with a gulp and a downward spiral gut wise that today, yes…..I am actually on shift……fought with a ‘please NO!’ and a ‘maybe not’ with a vocal outburst of ‘shit….yeh…..I am in work today’ realised with my memory through the sleepy fog. The way the heart leaps when you realise that you have a day off is actually fairly worrying. No gentle knowing of life’s calendar. It’s chaos of shift work and hoped fors. Forever getting into a pattern of work that is the same old, same old, but with the gut wrenching adrenaline driven ‘Hope I make it through the day without making a mistake’. I love being a nurse. The NHS, as everyone can see, has Doctors and Nurses and other essential professional NHS inherent roles, living a life of challenges. Is it pathetic to seek answers in yearned for lifestyle to balance the difficult tasks? Not really. Life is very hard sometimes. And you need those times of escape. Maybe the musician that performs a night of singing to others on an open microphone event. The swimmer that visits the sport center and receives water’s regeneration properties with swimming a number of lengths. The pub up the road, a pint and the opportunity to talk to locals full of chitter chatter. The bath tub filled with bubbles and surrounded by candlelight. Me? A bus. Simply….a bus. And a fifth Jack Daniels.

My Girls.


My Girls? I have my boys too. Later I’ll write a blog. So when I write that future blog……all will be equal in love and family. The above photograph was taken a few years ago now. Not a great focus. But how on earth do you use a camera phone? But it captures perfectly the mood. The time it was taken? At a time when my daughter and granddaughter came to stay with us in Wales to re-evaluate life after horrendous experiences and turmoil and get back on their feet. They stayed for quite a few months. It was a breath of fresh air them staying. It was also difficult too with talking through the emotional conversational content of finding answers to seemingly impossible tasks in getting things sorted. They moved back to Worcester after we all made a massive effort to get them back there with solid foundations. A house was found and their life was back on track.

A time where family ties are cemented in total and heartfelt trust due to the emotional turmoil that was going on at the time. Nothing breaks those values. They have always been there since birth. The times that closeness is tested is in support values. People say ‘Oh! They’re grown up now. They have to find their own solutions. Learn how to survive in their own way. They’ll never learn otherwise.’ Sometimes I can’t even find my own solutions at times of deep need. I flounder and can’t cope. My Mum has died. She was there for us. We were there for her and our Dad. Did I say, ‘Mum and Dad are all grown up now. They’ll survive this hiccup. They’ll get by’. NO! My Dad is alive and still there to help me out when I really need it. I’m there when he needs it. A phonecall of elongated conversation is not enough. And infrequent visits are not enough. I know that. When you live the other side of the country, it gets so difficult. Social values have changed. People are so far apart now that closeness can’t be emulated as once was with old fashioned family living in the same environmental area. I remember running across the road or jumping on my bicycle to visit Grandparents, aunties and uncles, and cousins. Black and white photographs of scenarios full of smiles and activity.

And that is what this photograph above shows. A time of heading for the dunes. A time that was emotionally led by my granddaughter. A time that showed the healing qualities because my granddaughter was an innocent and didn’t realise what was around her in the negative aspects. We provided positivity for her, and in doing so, provided positivity for us. Her excitement in what lay ahead. Infectiously heartwarming and lifting. This balanced the worriesome thoughts of how we were all going to solve a conundrum of how to plan for the future. Money needed to set up a stable life.

Money? Who cares about money? You find it through a yearning to get life back on track. Debt is the result. But myself and my wife don’t care a jot. Because now my daughter and granddaughter have the addition of a fiancé/Daddy, a step-sister (drop the traditional ‘step’ addition and state reality……a sister and new granddaughter) and a little brother/grandson. Friends in the street that they now share similar family experiences with. A family who still struggle, find answers, and carry on. That’s what life is about.

So, the photograph of my girls above shows the smiles. The strength of my wife to sort the problems of the other two girls in the photograph. My daughter who was there to support her daughter and give emotional balance and purpose to my wife. And my granddaughter who gave joy to both of them through innocence and finding joy in sand, sea, picking blackberries, second hand books, nighttime stories and being taught how to chop vegetables. Christmas was pretty perfect that year. My son and his family (who provide more in the sense of my girls/my boys) who live close to us in Wales, got a whole lot of joy too.

Me? The blog is really about a window in time. A time of what happened then. And because of what happened then and the outcomes? Life has changed and people have now arrived and become close and loved family. More grandchildren, more amazing people in my life. I was pretty much over the moon then. I’m still over the moon now. Because the move back to Worcester allowed the story to change, experiences to develop and life simply to go on.