Land of my fathers

Today marks the beginning of the six nations rugby competition for 2023, since as long as I can remember the family would gather around the TV to watch Wales play rugby against the Irish, Scots, English, French and Italians starting each year in February.

Watching Rugby is one of the few times when in my heart I know I am welsh. Having spent most of my life living in England which I enjoy and feel a part of and accepted as a citizen of the UK, there is no national event quite like it for me than when Wales take to the pitch and play a game of rugby in the six nations championship.

I don’t mean this unkindly but were not the best team in the competition and we don’t win all our matches, so there is always the underdog mentality. As much as we have the potential to beat every team they have the potential to beat us too. The buzz of seeing them play well and scoring a try or the drama of seeing them count down the seconds to hopefully win a game, there is nothing quite like it.

I have watched Wales win the six nations a few times sometimes even beating every team that is known as a Grand slam and there is nothing quite like watching them do well in the competition. But we have also had more than our fair share of beatings too.       

I have just had a quick look at the betting odds for this years’ competition and Ireland are the team that Wales play today are favourites to win the whole thing and Wales are most likely to be predicted to come 4th out of 6 in the competition according to the odds at the bookmakers, so a win today for Wales would be a huge boost but again not likely buy I can always dream prior to the game and hope during it.

Stereophonics – Just Looking

Have courage and be MORE kind

I miss read the quote in the photo above when reading it the first time around and though it meant and said have courage to be kind instead of have courage and be kind. I think it can and does take courage to be kind at times. Men more often than not there is talk of courage in the context of a threat of violence, rather than being brave enough to speak out and be kind and have courage in our conviction of what we do we see courage as means of facing down violence with an act of risking physical harm to oneself.

One such circumstance I remember being involved in when I lived in Abergavenny many years ago was being a witness to an assault taking place to a mentally disabled young man. The girls I was out with that night were walking down a road after being to a local night club and we were on our way home,  I then had seen down another road there was a group of guys that looked at first to be having a group fight or some such ruckus going on. I stopped and stared at them to see what was happening I hate and hated fighting but instinctively wanted to see if anyone was hurt or anything like that. Then the young man that was in the middle of this group staggered out from the middle of the group it then became clear that the group were assaulting him and no one else.

I slightly recognised the guy now I did not know his name I just knew him as a local mentally disabled young man I walked towards him and could hear him saying ‘I’ve got blood on my shirt, I’ve never had blood on my shirt before’ I walked up to him and said something like ‘your ok, you have done nothing wrong, walk over there and they will look after you’ in the distance from the road we had just walked up from was the nightclub that we had just come out of and I pointed to him to go to see the police that were outside the nightclub.

I was drunk while all this was going on and when I woke up the next day I thought, bloody hell what were you thinking stopping and getting involved in that situation, I was firstly lucky that the young disabled man did not lash out at me thinking I was part of this group and I was also lucky that the group did not attack me as it just would have taken one of them to start on me and like a pack of wild dogs I could have the group on me but I was lucky I guess and able to with an act of care towards that young man help him too.

Jacinda Arden is a living legend of emotional and political sound judgment and progressive thinking and leadership, unfortunately as with Obama possibly leading sadly to the rise of Trumpism in the US, New Zealander’s just need to hope and vote in for no anti Arden, Trump like figure to rise up on the side of the opposition of her party when she steps down.

I like to think of myself as an effective human-being and love the fact that i don’t need to be aggressive in order to express myself or be myself or in order to do the right think. In work during training this week I was told I can be too helpful to customers of the council – I can’t really see how I can be too helpful. If they need the help and I have the knowledge, time or power to provide it then why not?

There is a phrase about random acts of kindness in my mind acts of kindness are not random it is the consequences of those acts that are random.

Sometimes if not all the time I want to express acts of kindness because we live in a cruel world and not decide to be unkind because of that cruel world, I’m not a push over and have values, ideas, opinions and boundaries. There are things I will help to happen and things I will help to prevent and my views will most likely differ to yours in what I consider to be an act of kindness as opposed to an act that will cause more harm than good.

Dreaming the dream!

So it is 3.33am as I write this, the heating is now back on after 3 days of being off and it was uncomfortable and depressing to be without it for a few days. I had to persevere with try with trying to get in contact with the right person to come and fix it, I also got some advice from a Facebook group on how to contact my landlord which was really helpful. One of the pieces of advice was to contact the team I work for in the council on Monday but luckily it is all fixed now so I should not have to worry about it for a while (fingers crossed).

I had just woke up from yet another war like dream this time it was about Russia invading and attacking Ireland and bombing the place with some kind of poisonous gas. I feel extremely sorry for those people in the Ukraine living in such a cold country at this time of year going through an invasion by their neighbour, going without electricity, gas and food on or near the front line. It’s still very unclear to see what will happen with regard to the outcome of the war and what Putin wants to happen. I do worry that it could still escalate into world was 3 in our life time and that really is a scary prospect and that worry does appear to be showing up in my subconscious as I hope for the best but fear the worst.

Oxygene Part 4 (extended) – JeanMichel Jarre.

The system only dreams in total darkness

Woke up at 1:30am after having a dream that I was in my lounge in the house we used to live in, in Liverpool, in the dream I was half asleep and half awake just about to nod off in front of the TV. Then from the window I see an explosion of a mushroom cloud of a nuclear detonation going off in the background. Back in the real world I wake up and open my eyes just to make sure it is not really happening and so now its 2:30am and I am sitting in front of my PC/TV typing away about what I just saw in said dream.

Dreams and nightmares are very intrusive at times I can rationalise or come to terms with my waking thoughts but dreams can sometimes catch you off guard and inflict ideas and visions onto you that you perhaps would rather not think about or comprehend.

So then I went to twitter for some inspiration and that then led me to  Pintrest where I saw this little iced gem of inspiration.

Speaking of icicles my heating stopped working yesterday and I have had no hot water or heating on since yesterday morning I was out most of the day so did not find out until getting home at 10pm and phoned the emergency number and reported it. They said they should be out in 24 hours or so and I am guessing they don’t work weekends so probably catch up with an enginner on Monday now.

I hope it stays like this as my home feels warm to me and I am wrapped up warm too with a hoody on my top and a blanket on my legs. Its about -3 oC outside and still about 15 oC in my flat so not to cold.

Song The System only dreams in total darkness by The National

You need your eyes testing!

Well I cannot prove this for sure but this could be my first photo taken with me wearing glasses at the age of 47 in 2023. I also wore glasses as a young child to correct my sight when I was about 5 or 6 which fortunately worked well so I stopped wearing them up until the age of 45.

Just before Covid broke out back in January 2020 I got a covid flue like virus that also seemed to damage my eyesight and so arranged for an eye test where upon it was agreed that I needed some glasses for reading and mainly computer use. So now when in the office or at home doing computer work on our databases on small screens reading small letters and numbers of the screen I have been tending to wear my glasses which have been ensuring that I do my job correctly and write down and read the correct information off the computer screen.

I arranged for an eye test just before Christmas with an option and then had to cancel the appointment due to going out to my mum’s house to look after her dog while she went into hospital for a day. I was in no hurry to see the opticians and so I rearranged my appointment for last weekend. It was very busy and they had no record of my appointment when I turned up but were ever so good and still able to squeeze me in.

The optician said I have very good long distance sight still but my short sight distance had got a little worse again. But with all things considered I think my sight is doing ok. It’s one of my senses that I do hopes lasts the longest as I do enjoy to see more than I appreciate to hear, odd but true.

You ain’t seen nothing yet by Bachman-Turner Overdrive

Friday 13th January and my own Superstitions for this time of year!

So how was your Friday the 13th, I hope it went off without any snags, accidents or panic attacks. Friday the 13th has not one but two unwieldy terms to describe it—paraskavedekatriaphobia and friggatriskaidekaphobia—  supposedly the unlucky day.

Although my unluckiest day of the year so far kicked in on the evening of Thursday the 12th of January – so I seemed to be planning ahead when it came to my unlucky actions, thoughts and behaviours. Although I did not walk under any ladders, break mirrors or cross paths with any black cats. I did however fear for the safety of a good friend whose last post on Facebook stated they had no money to buy food that day and they were not looking after themselves physically or mentally. I was worried about them so when I left work I started to message them on Facebook, and text and phone them. Sadly there was no response and then my phone also died on me to.

I was out in the centre of Exeter trying to arrange to meet up with them so that I could buy them an evening meal treat them to a beer or three and give them some money for a food shop if needed. I have a reasonable disposable income at the moment and so offering to help a friend in need would be no trouble at all and a treat for me as well as them. My phone then went dead as the battery was flat and so I went to get out my charger in order to breath a little life back into the phone but sadly for the first time in years I had took the darn charger out of my bag so did not have it to charge up the phone.

I then thought it was best to catch the bus home and see if said friend had left any messages for me. So got home no messages from friend but I was a little more relieved to see that he had deleted my message from his Facebook page so at the very least I now knew he had read it and knew I was trying to get hold of him. He then messaged me saying he was ok and had actually sorted out some food and was getting paid on Friday 13th and was doing ok.  

A big part of me wanted to give him a bollocking for frightening me probably his other friends and his family like that, but people that are in some way in crisis don’t realise the fear and fright that they cause to others and if he is vulnerable already any bollocking from me is not going to help him so I bit my tongue anyway and wrote this instead getting my Thursday evening experience of my chest in this way instead.  

To be fare though things had gone well in work during the day on Thursday, a colleague had been struggling earlier in the week and due to some signposting and a little advice by me and also through their own resilience and determination to sort out their own problems, they were able to pull through and help themselves out.

People that struggle with life and their emotions that work at helping themselves, can be tremendously resilient and face battles that we might never see in order just to be keeping their heads above water or holding down a job or looking after a family or even finding the strength and time to look after themselves. I have huge respect and patience for people that do their best to help themselves and do right by others even when experiencing difficulties themselves.

January can be a tough time of year for some people that struggle and it is seen as the most depressing Month of the year or the Monday of all months. With a Friday the 13th occurring in January as well on the following Monday, statistically the most miserable day of the most miserable of months coming up which is the 16th of January this year being basically the most depressing time of the year, I kind of try and look out for people at this time of the year to see if there is anyone I know and care about that I can intervene with that needs any help that in my own limited way I might be able to provide.

MyBrother Andy Edwards

My brother died on 28th Feb 2015 and I am sure in the last two months of his life he was really grappling with his life, looking to get out of one job where he felt used and undervalued and start a new job where he could earn more money and have a stable future for him and hjis family, he was fearful that his then boss was not going to pay him for works that he had done, fearful that he could not pay the rent on his mortgage for his family home and also upset that he lacked the way out of the situation that he was in and perhaps did not know who to ask or what help was available.  

There is an article link here which is more about him and his life and death here

https://www.falmouthpacket.co.uk/news/13733452.helston-man-took-own-life-in-moment-of-madness/

His life was to my mind stopped short, I miss him and am sure he could have been still with us today had his choices and options been different and he had felt like he had more options than those he thought he had at the time. His life was a joy but his death was a true tragedy on which ripples of consequences across time still can be felt to this day and will continue to be felt into the future by many.

The people that were around my brother on the last night of his death feel tremendous sadness and pain due to his death and I wish they did not feel those emotions and worry so about this terible night that my brotehr took his own life upon, I think that many of us feel and wish my brothers actions were in some way preventable but people should not look ti blame themselves for what he did what we did not see coming or could prevent.

I don’t want another soul to go through what we all went through that night and the nights after, although I am not strong enough to save everyone or do everything all the time to help everyone or sometimes fail in seeing the warnign signs in even the peopel I am close to when they hurt. I can always try though to spot those warning signs in friends and family and keep an eye out and try to do my best to help people as and when I can. I little prevention is far better than dealing with the aftermath of a disaster or death.

  

Planning for a future

I do not normally do New Year’s resolutions but I also find that this is the time of year to reflect on what has happened in the past and where I am now and what might happen in the future.

I am now 46 I have no children or partner I am in full time work, which is relatively stable and if I am lucky I might be able to retire in say 20 years or so. The combination of these facts got me thinking that I should try and do a little financial planning in order to make sure I have a roof over my head and a meal in my belly and can buy what I need not just today but for in the future too.

First things first and I have to admit I find having any money or planning what to do with it not normal part of my life, up until the last few years I have never really had a disposable income to have as savings for years and decades I lived within my means not earning a lot and not spending a lot.

When people were settling into university life and planning how there careers would develop, I went off the rails taking illegal drugs which although my brain loved the experience and times that I had, it did me no good academically and certainly did damage my mental health and long term financial stability. But even without the drug taking I don’t think my brain is made for academic achievement. I have tried a few times trying to study and I get lost in words and tremendously forgetful during exams regarding facts and figures. I’m dyslexic which I only discovered and had diagnosed at my first stint in university and when I undertook IQ tests they would show I have a high capacity for reasoning and problem solving but a low score on such things as memory tests. I find it much easier to remember things that I have an emotional connection to rather than dry facts or quotes of ideas and opinions from others.

Though this is no poor me story as I think I would not be the person that I am pleased to be today had it not been for the long and winding road I have travelled and continue to travel upon. Although there are times in my life I regret doing what I did and I hope I learned from those situations and decisions and there are also times when I think what I have done is something good not just for myself but for others to.

Well with this years planning for the future I am actually trying to find ways to save, invest and provide for myself in the future mainly trying to make sure I have some kind of income when I retire. During the first lock down I was still in work and with not going out and working at home a lot more I had a little disposable income that I wanted to experiment with and so I started putting savings into an ISA a (savings account in the UK that does not get taxed and you try and pay a monthly amount in to accumulate savings in). I also started to look at ways of buying stocks or shares. Now I love a little gamble but the idea of gambling on life savings where you do long term investments into things that go up and down feels a little bit of an oxymoron in other words contradictory.

Small time investors like me have no easy way of saving money and making a reasonably good return on funds that goes on to beat inflation and there for increase the amount of money you have (and after loads of research trials and tribulations I am afraid this is still very much the case.

I have tried slowly saving up a few hundred pounds here or there in a stocks and shares account purchasing a few stocks (the easiest way I can describe a stock is a fund where people invest your money on your behalf in the items they believe will make the most money for you and also ideally risk losing the least amount of money for you also). I also bought a couple of shares in a gaming company in the UK called Games Workshop ( a share is like owning a small amount of a company directly). I have played their games since I was a kid and still play some of their computer games and so thought it would be a good place to buy some shares in a company that had the potential to grow.

I am no venture capitalist but do with what little means I have still invested in my future. I am not used to having savings or thinking about pensions and so trying to make my savings and pensions work harder for me is still a new concept and this is very much an ongoing new thing for me.

I would not invest in crypto currencies and strongly don’t believe that they have any economic grounding or long term future at all. A digital currency not supported by a country, it’s just there for the sake of making someone more money, just makes no real economic sense to me it feels more like a modern day pyramid scheme where those that create the currencies will become exceptionally rich but those that try to follow on afterwards will at some time sooner or later get burned and lose whatever savings they have in said crypto currencies. I do realise that all financial markets and products are in many ways a gamble but I also want to have at least some sort of a chance that my little gamble might at least keep up with inflation and at best make some profit I am not looking to shoot to the stars of crypto currency highs only to fall back down to earth with a bang when the latest crypto currency goes bust.

Money – Pink Floyd

Huwspace blog 3 years old today

Well I am still here and really enjoying being a part of a blogging community. I have done a few screen shots to show some stats about what has been viewed on the site over the last 12 months and which locations around the world were viewing the posts from.

I am pleased that my top posts are an eclectic mix of politics, perspective on society my own life and family.

Map showing which counties view blog

I love that I can view blogs from people from all over the world and see there posts as well as they have a chance to see mine.

I still think what we have all been through over the last few years is crazy and speaking as a person that has personal experience of mental health difficulties I think if this decade was a person it would have been sectioned and heavily medicated by now so much so that it would be a dribbling wreck unable to identify the day of the week let alone the year that it was causing chaos within. 

Good old blighty or err cough, cough, splutter, splutter, Great Britain really is a little broken at the moment. I remember when the last labour government got in the 1990s they had huge plans and a vision for good old blighty or err cough, cough, splutter, splutter, Great Britain! Though it all went to hell in a hand cart eventually due to a global markets crash and with London’s stock exchange being at the heart of global business markets when the markets coughed the whole of the British economy caught a cold, and by the time that that financial recovery was underway Corona Virus reared its ugly head and battered blighty further.  

Well in 2010 the Conservatives gained a form of power and they had the not so genius ideas of austerity cutting services and support to the bone and calling for a referendum on our membership of the European Union which led to us leaving the EU and the Conservative are still in the middle of attempting (with ease) to dismantle any and all useful social, economic and environmental protection for citizens of the UK in order to cut so called red tape or as I prefer to describe it shaft people and planet for a few lousy pounds more in profit to themselves and their former school chums who are now in business.

Conservative Party Manifesto Commitment

 The Conservative seem to have an obsession with a race to the bottom of the quality and functionality of society and will do whatever they can to cut corners in order to save a penny and make a further quid (£) in profit.

In the new year here in good old blighty, errr cough, cough, splutter, splutter Great Britain we are presently living though a very serious health crisis in the NHS hospital system. Many news papers in the UK were reporting today that there were 500 deaths each week presently due to the failures of  our government to resource, plan and manage our health system during a major crisis not just down just to flue & covid, but also a lack of beds for patients and lack of staff resources and and an inability to recruit enough health staff and those poor souls working in the NHS are overworked and underpaid and their are simply not enough of them to nurse and treat patients or beds in hospital for patients or social service to support and discharge patients to once fit to leave hospital.

Hopefully this is all fixable but will take years and a serious resolve and financial input to fix and will not be done overnight or through gimmicks or political sound bites. Sadly the lack of fixing and investment shall also continue to cost many lives, Conservative blood money you might say.

Emeli Sande – Read All about it, Part III

Happy New Year 2023

Well we made it, another year turns to dust as a new one rises from its ashes.

I hope I’m right in writing that it is 2023! I feel like in some ways in the early hours of this morning I have woken up as a time traveler. Wanting to ask just one simple question which is ‘what year is it?’ hoping that the first random person I see will answer that it’s 2023.

As mum had to go into hospital a week before Christmas it kind of put us all out of kilt. We cancelled Christmas Dinner and dad’s partner had the flue so dad cancelled opening his presents this year, his are still under the darn Christmas tree. My dad has never really been excited about Christmas present opening though so having an excuse or reason not to open his presents in 2022 was something that he took all in his stride.

In his defence he does want to hopefully open his presents with his partner when he sees him when he is feeling better, which is fare enough but there was no way I could have the will power to keep my gifts unwrapped this long. We finally got around to cooking a Christmas lunch on new year’s eve and I am pleased to say I did most of the cooking and the food was lush even if I do say so myself.

The image above is of particular significance to me relating to many, many people I know love and respect in my life. And I wish them all a positive, prosperous and happy new year in 2023.

Friends, family, fellow bloggers and people I work with too. Sometimes I see simple random acts of kindness, courage and love from others that just show an insight into the depth of goodness in their souls that makes me happy to know that I know them and have them in some way in my life.

No one can no what tomorrow brings but built on the acts deeds and ideas of yesterday today can be another good day.

The Phoenix Foundation – Buffalo

Christmas put on ice!

So last week the presents were bought, holidays were booked and plans were being made for family Christmas celebrations to begin this weekend. This time last week I was out with some friends at a bar in Exeter listening to and singing a little to in a bar on the kareoke night.

The following day I had the day off work all prearranged as a little Christmas treat to myself. I then get a call from my mum in the morning saying she had been awake most of the night in considerable pain and had seen her doctor and needed to go into hospital today in order to get some medical help. We both agreed I should get out to her house as soon as I could and Dad had kindly offered to meet up with her and driver her into hospital.

So I get to mums to look after her dog Milly while she is taken into hospital by dad. At this time we did not know if she was going to be in for days or for the day. Her dog is a rescue dog and normally barks when she sees me and certainly does not trust me. But in the time that mum was out the house I needed to let the dog out in the garden to do its business and then try and pursade her to come into house again. We did this little dance twice over a few hours. Though not sure how many times the dog would have listened to me.

So mum was able to be in the hospital and back in a day after having been examined and given more medication to help her. She was still in and still today is in a lot of pain but is gradually getting better and hopefully things are presently stable and going in the right direction. I’ve been staying with her since last Friday and though I try to help I’m not 100% sure if as a son I get in the way and make mess rather than be here as a help.

I was due to take some holiday leave the week after New year but cancelled that leave and booked off this week instead. So I’m still at my mums tonight typing this blog on my tablet. I have not tried writing on my tablet before so apologies if my spelling is poor in this blog post. Mum will not be well enough to eat Christmas diner this Sunday and the bulk of the food is in the freezer presently so we’re going to postpone the meal until next weekend when hopefully she will be feeling better. She asked if I wanted to postpone the present opening and I said, hell no. So we’re still going to open the presents on Christmas day.

I have offered and am well up for cooking Christmas Dinner when we do finally have it I love cooking and enjoy cooking for myself and others. One problem being is mum’s house is spotless and I am a messy cook but I will do my best to cook a good meal for me, my mum, my dad and his partner when we all get together to have the belated Christmas meal in a week or so.

I’m a natural born worrier and I do worry about my parents health. Ever since my brother took his own life I feared, worried and realised that more responsibility will be placed on my shoulders concerning trying to help my parents as we all get older. I guess you just try to do what you can, enjoying the good times and try to do your best to help in the not so good times.

Merry Christmas to one and all
Gabrielle Aplin – Happy Xmas (War Is Over)