April 2019


Hayburn Wyke. Once a smuggler’s cove, then a potential entry point for Russian spies in the seventies and now a beauty spot on the Cleveland Way. In fact, it’s always been a beauty spot, despite what other purposes it might have been put to. That goes for all places and most people as well. We are more than the sum of our parts. We are more than our jobs or our place of residence or even the things we’ve done or had done to us. Regardless of any past, present or future darkness in our lives, we are still beautiful and we are still unique!

I guess that’s a glass half-full philosophy. And I don’t apologise for having that view. The alternative is appalling.Glass Half Full Imagine only being able to see the negative side of the world; that way lies madness.
If you picked up a virus that turned every experience into a dark, hateful, fearful event, then you would seek some sort of medication to rid you of that. And yet some people choose to live their lives with that kind of outlook. Some people only see badness. All modern buildings are terrible; all modern art is terrible; all new ideas are terrible; kids aren’t what they were or cars or the weather; only the rose-tinted memories of several decades past have any value at all. Ever likely they’re angry all the time. They’re living in abject misery and, worse than that, they’re choosing to do so. I’ve known quite a few folks over the years who have suffered from clinical depression; I’ve never heard one of them extol it as a preferred way to live.

Not that I would ever compare being clinically depressed to being a cockwomble that finds fault with anything post-war. Just to be clear.

I think that the rose-tinted reference explains a lot. We all remember the summers of our childhood as being hot and sunny and wonderful; the music of our late teens as being unparalleled; the comedy programs that we watched on Saturday night or the films on Sunday afternoon being the funniest and the best and that they have never been equalled. DSC05438Those of us of a certain age remember going out on our bikes at nine in the morning with a sixpence in our pockets and maybe a squashed jam sandwich and a bottle of water and spending the day out in the middle of no-where with our friends, only returning home as the street lights came on and the light began to fade. We didn’t wear helmets or seatbelts and there was no health and safety to spoil all the good times. But then, I do remember falling from a tree in Harleston Firs and my mate kicking me as I fell to stop me landing on a sharp tree stump that would have impaled me; and I remember my mate Ronnie drowning in the gravel pits; and I remember the man who used to hang about near the school gates in a raincoat who was treated as some sort of bizarre local joke; and I remember being caned and not having a clue why. Bad things are not unique to modern times; all that shit was going on in the olden days just the same and maybe more so and worse than now, it’s just that we didn’t have it reported to us twenty four seven so we don’t think any of it really happened. So, life isn’t worse, we’re just better informed. Happiness in ignorance. There’s a lot to be said for it.

Still, worry is a thing and it’s very real and, at times, debilitating. I have always worried about my four kids, probably unnecessarily, and now I have two grandsons to worry about. There is little purpose in worry and it won’t stop anything bad from happening but it has to be managed somehow. Deaf CrowsWe never used to worry about being shot or blown up or knifed (although, I have to say, I deplore the government and media that made me grow up in a world where I was convinced that we would all perish in a blinding flash of light) but now those things are constantly in the backs of our minds: a huge concert, a plane journey, public gatherings and transport. We are all told to be vigilant and report anything suspicious. It’s sensible to be aware but that comes with a cost. I suffer anxiety dreams which I guess is more about my personality that the times we live in but the constant references to terrorism and violent crime in the media feed into that and make it worse. One way forward is ‘mindfulness’ but I’m not very good at that either. I had a few sessions with an expert in the field who taught me how to deal with skin problems by going to a special place in my head and reassuring myself that everything was alright and that, slowly, it would deal with the itching. It sort of worked but I couldn’t help dragging myself out of that happy place just to check that I was still in some discomfort. My own worst enemy.

I don’t really have an answer here other than just don’t be one of those pillocks that I describe in the second paragraph. If you construct a narrative world of negativity then expect to be miserable. On the other hand, don’t turn into an overtly positive bore.strange-fruit.jpg
Try and keep the negativity at bay, look for the best in people and places, and be nice to people. You build a nicer world by being nicer. There will still be idiots and bad people but, individually, we can make our own little corners brighter. Try to see both sides of the story, like this cherry tree here.

And yes, I am a bit of a hippy. If you want more of this fascinating stuff and a bit of exciting fiction as well then why not head over to my Website?