Saturday, 31 July 2010

Saturday evening self pity

The grey shade that my thoughts seem to take on from time to time has seeped back into my head during the course of this afternoon and evening's late shift at work. Late shifts, especially at weekends, are a long standing pet hate of mine, but that, in itself, isn't really why I've ended up feeling sorry for myself. Nor is it the fact that I'll be going back to an empty house when I finish here, I'm unsociable enough to be able to cope with that. It's one of those slightly nebulous, difficult to define feelings, which often boil down to the fact that, in many ways, I consider large chunks of my life to have been a catalogue of failures. This blog, and 'Nephelokokkygia', have joined that catalogue at least partly, I think, because while they have provided me with a canvas on which to inscribe and organise my thoughts, and even provided a slight degree of catharsis in one or two areas, it hasn't been done in such a way as to persuade many other people to find interesting and readable, which was one of my objectives at the outset. There have been a handful of notable exceptions, and I'm very grateful for the interest of, and feedback from, those few individuals, but, on the whole, I don't seem to have created too many ripples in the blogsphere ocean. I'm well aware that I've said in the past that I'd carry on the blogs even if no-one read them, so it could well be countered that I shouldn't complain if no-one does, but I have spent a fair amount of time today introspecting about whether to continue. Despite my less than positive feelings on the subject, I think the balance of probability is that I will carry on for the moment, if only because I'm a bit of a 'hoarder', and it would go against the grain to 'throw away' what I've done over the last few months. Whether I can cope with an almost unbroken wall of apathy (always remembering the honourable exceptions noted above) indefinitely remains to be seen. Maybe, unlike the Vogon captain in 'Hitchhikers' Guide', I really do want to be loved, despite my myriad flaws.

Love & best wishes to all
Sammy B

Saturday morning rant

I took my wife and daughter across to our neighbouring town this morning to catch their train to the Midlands, en route for their few days away. I needed a bit of weekend shopping, so I called into the main supermarket in the town after leaving the station, and being Saturday morning, the shop was pretty busy. I have to admit that I'm not really a 'people person' - in fact, I can be a bit of a cold fish at times - but what I do always try to do is to have some consideration for others, and try to be polite. While I was making my way round the various supermarket aisles, I must, and I'm not exaggerating, have stopped and stood aside on 10 separate occasions to let other people come through gaps, or go ahead of me, and not a single one of them had the decency to say 'Thank you'.
By the time I got through the checkout and left, I felt like shouting at the top of my voice 'Has no-one here got any *&£$?!* manners!' I don't want to sound like some old fart bemoaning how 'it wasn't like this in my day', but surely it's not too difficult to show a modicum of gratitude? (For the record, I said 'Thank you' twice to people who had stopped for me.)
Thank you for reading. Rant off.

Love & best wishes to all
Sammy B

Remember the relaxed cat?

She wasn't very bloody relaxed at 5:15 this morning! We were woken up by the cat yowling and galloping about like a mad thing, obviously chasing some representative of the local wildlife (which eventually proved to be a large moth). It all quietened down again after a few minutes, but, by that time, I was wide awake - once I wake up, unless it really is the middle of the night, I find it almost impossible to get back to sleep again, so, despite the fact I was on late shift today, I only got up about an hour later than I did for the two previous days' early turns. Thanks very much, Miss Cat!
If I'd been full of proactivity, I'd have made good use of the extra time, but I'm afraid I wasn't, so I didn't. One of the many reasons I dislike late shift is that the mornings of those days just seem to be dominated by waiting to go to work - I suppose it's all a matter of mindset, and if I looked towards the 'glass half full' side I could say I had 2 or 3 or 4 hours to get things done, but I never seem to be able to do that.
My wife and daughter are making preparations to go away for a few days, over the weekend and into the first half of next week. My mother-in-law's health is still a cause for considerable concern, and possibly isn't likely to improve greatly, so my wife's family have decided to have a get-together before things get any worse. I'm not able to go because I can't get the time off work, so I'll have the house to myself, cat and moths apart, for a few days. Given that I'm on late shift tomorrow, and then start nights again on Sunday, I doubt that I'll be having too many wild parties!

Love & best wishes to all
Sammy B

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Fragments

A pleasant surprise this evening with a new post at 'House of Mattie', albeit the first half of his news was sad, about a family bereavement. It's nice to hear from him though, even if the circumstances could have been happier.
I've spent the last hour with little bits and pieces of things I might write about flitting through my mind without anything much actually coalescing. I thought about my favourite holiday haunt, Gran Canaria, but if I think too long and hard about the island, I tend to get a bit depressed, because it's almost six years since I was last there, after 15 visits in the previous 14 years. I still daydream from time to time about retiring out there, but whether it will ever come to fruition is, as things stand at the moment, doubtful at best.
I've spent a little while today thinking about the roots of my attraction to boys as well, and, to be honest, I'm pretty much at a loss as to where it comes from. I've read a fair bit about sexual orientation just 'being', as in you're born with it and there it is, and that may be the case with me, because I can't remember any specific incident in my childhood or youth that might have tipped any theoretical balance in one direction or another. It's certainly been there from my early teens, at least, if not even earlier - my closest friend when I was 8 or 9 was a 5 year old boy in the infant classes at my primary school, if that has any significance, although there was absolutely no conscious sexual component for me at that age, I was almost completely clueless about sex until I was at least 12 or 13. Maybe there is no answer, which would, in its way, be something I might find slightly difficult to assimilate, because I'm one for rationality, on the whole, so that the idea that things, especially significant things, just happen for no very good reason is rather unsettling.
Whatever the reason for the attraction being there, it certainly asserts itself on occasions. I've had a couple of teeth-grindingly frustrating sightings of 'DBJ' over the last two days at work, frustrating because I wasn't on my own on either occasion, and I was trying to look without looking, as it were, not wishing to draw attention to the object of my interest. All part of the dubious joys of living in hiding - seeing the boy is always such a big deal for me, but the idea of anyone else finding out or working out my inclinations is something that scares me if I think about it too deeply. Would that I could tell the world under my own name rather than in this pseudonymous forum, but the chances of any such tolerance any time soon are, basically, nil.

Love & best wishes to all
Sammy B

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Unblocked

Just under 24 hours ago, I was sitting in front of a blank 'New Post' screen, unable to think of anything to write about, apart from the blogsphere events of the weekend, which have probably been discussed in enough depth for the moment. (On that subject, I see Rowan has decided to take a break from Blogger for the moment, and as he's been one of those close to the epicentre of what's been going on, I can't say I blame him.) Today, however, I'm feeling a bit more articulate, even though nothing of any massive import has happened.
I had a visit from my boss's boss at work this morning, and left him in little doubt at my dissatisfaction at still being stuck where I am, but, in the manner of such situations, he had little beyond platitudes to offer. I've never had any great problems with dealing with those higher up the food chain than me in a managerial sense, but I've got even fewer problems dealing with this particular individual, because I've known him for over 20 years, going back to when we both worked in the Midlands in the late 1980's. I have no doubt that what I said this morning will have no bearing at all on my eventual transfer date, but at least I got it off my chest.
It was a fairly big day for my daughter today, in that she took her first trip into 'town' on her own. My wife was a bit edgy about the idea, but it all went pretty well - she's a sensible enough girl, and we're lucky enough to live in a relatively 'safe' part of the country, although I hasten to add that we're not complacent on that front, and made sure that she checked in with us a couple of times during her outing. The joys of mobile phones, of course, compared to when I was her age!
A new story for the other blog is well advanced in gestation - I was hoping to make a start on it this evening, but I've been up since 'stupid o'clock' this morning, and I've got a repeat performance tomorrow, meaning it's not going to happen now, but it's one of those that has come to mind 'ready-hatched', in plot terms, so I've every confidence that I'll get into it sometime over the next day or two.

Love & best wishes to all
Sammy B

Monday, 26 July 2010

Out and about (and a P.S.)

Two trips out today, as my long weekend off continued. My daughter and I went into our (relatively) local city centre this afternoon, mainly by way of familiarising her with the local bus services, because she's getting to the age where she wants to be doing her own thing, and meeting up with her friends in 'town' rather than having her boring old parents ferrying her around all the time - not that she's incapable of using a bus, but she knows now where the relevant stops in the city centre are where she can get on and off, depending on where she needs to get to. My daughter and I, thankfully, always seem to get on well - my wife often gripes about her being 'Daddy's Girl' - but going out with her on a sunny day during the school holidays isn't without its slightly surreal side, because we're both attracted to the same sector of the male population! Harking back slightly to my 'Room 101' post of the other day, albeit in a slightly more light-hearted vein, I have this recurrent vision of my daughter bringing home her first serious boyfriend, and me promptly being smitten by him!
Our second outing of the day was one that had been postponed from yesterday. We'd decided to eat out some time over the weekend, something we don't do all that often of late, mainly for financial reasons, but my wife wasn't feeling all that special yesterday, so we rearranged it for this evening. We took a trip to a fairly reasonable Tex-Mex diner not too far from us, and I awarded myself Cajun chicken fajitas. How authentic they are is a moot point, of course, but enjoyable, nonetheless. The waiter was a bit taken aback by our dessert order - the girls chose sweet treats, mine was a pint of Budweiser! Whatever other bad dietary habits I might have, a sweet tooth is not one of them.

Love & best wishes to all
Sammy B

P.S. It seems that I'm not the only one who's having misgivings about 'Yacky Box'. There's a very forthright (but sadly anonymous) comment on Rowan's 'JJ & DJ' post of today. I can only reiterate that I hope I'm so far from the truth that it's 'not even wrong', but I'm still, even with a day's worth of reflection, getting very uneasy feelings about all of this.

SB

Lucubration and lugubriousness

Nice word, lucubration. I'd come across it once or twice before, and found it again yesterday. It fitted the latter third of my day and into the early hours of this morning - it means, in a nutshell, 'burning the midnight oil' - as I spent a few hours writing a new story for my other blog.
The 'inspiration', if that's the right word in the circumstances. for the story is still rumbling on. DJ's blog has now been deleted, but at least we know he saw the supportive comments that were left for him, because they'd appeared on his last post yesterday evening. I really hope things work out for him.

Love & best wishes to all
Sammy B

Sunday, 25 July 2010

What's happening?

Strange days in blogland. After yesterday's situation with DJ and his blog, it now appears that JJ's blog has been deleted as well. Has anyone out there got any idea what is going on? Not, I suppose, that any of it's any of my business, but it all seems very odd.

Love & best wishes to all
Sammy B

Saturday, 24 July 2010

Sadness, frustration and ineptitude

Not, as you might guess from the title, one of my better days. Contrary to the impression my 'Room 101' post  might have given, I was pretty upbeat for most of yesterday, enjoying the first day of my long weekend off and looking forward to a continuation today. The fates decided otherwise, it seems, because one of the first things I came across this morning, after a welcome (by my early riser standards) lie-in, was what appears to be the last post on DJ's blog. I can only go by the evidence of his blog, given that he lives something in the order of 4000 miles away from me, but DJ really seems to be a lovely young man, kind, generous and talented, but he really has had some rough times in his life of late, and now he's been badly upset all over again, and, for whatever reason in connection with this latest problem, he's evidently decided to give up his blog. I feel thoroughly frustrated that there's nothing I can do to help him, because there's no-one I've come across in my meanderings through Blogland who I feel better deserves a magic wand to solve his problems than DJ. All I can do is hope that he finds a way to come through, as he said, 'stronger and smarter'.
If that was an example of 'sadness and frustration', this afternoon threw up a decided 'frustration and ineptitude' episode, over, and I have no doubt that this is going to sound ridiculously inconsequential in most people's scheme of things, fitting a new toilet seat. I have no claims whatsoever to any practical aptitude, DIY and I are hostile strangers, if not mortal enemies. There are jobs around the house, however, that a trained monkey ought to be able to do, but, if this afternoon's shambles is anything to go by, I'm not even up to trained monkey standards. I did manage to complete the installation eventually, but the job took 3 or 4 times as long as it should have done, and left me in almost inarticulate annoyance at my incompetence. There are far worse problems in the world, I know, and I expect that I sound fatuously trivial, but that, sadly, is just the way I feel at the moment.

Love & best wishes to all (and big ((hugs)) to DJ)
Sammy B

Friday, 23 July 2010

Room 101

"You asked me once, what was in Room 101. I told you that you knew the answer already. Everyone knows it. The thing that is in Room 101 is the worst thing in the world."

Purely on the basis of numerical coincidence, and not because I'm in any morbid kind of mood, that quotation from 'Nineteen Eighty-Four' sprung to mind this afternoon, getting me thinking about what might be in my personal 'Room 101'. I suppose it could be a number of things, depending on context, but, given much of what I've written about in this blog, perhaps the worst scenario I could envisage would be to become entangled in another situation similar to the one I wrote about in 'The dark place' a few months ago, where I ended up almost sexually assaulting someone I cared a lot about because I read much more into simple affection than I should have done, but with the difference that this time I wouldn't be so ridiculously lucky as to find someone who was mature, wise and magnanimous way beyond their years. I'm so wary now that I strongly doubt that the situation could arise, but the prospect of the whole 'house of cards' of my life, my marriage, my status as a parent, my job, my ability to look after my family or even myself, my very liberty, all coming crashing down because of desire overwhelming rationality is a nightmare that I find it hard to even contemplate.
 Even in the face of all the potentially dire consequences, though, there's still a corner of my mind that won't let go of the faint and fading hope of finding someone who would be both willing and able to countenance the sort of relationship I fantasise about almost every day, even if only for an hour of my life, then walk away leaving both parties to resume the previous paths of their lives without any damage or ill feelings on anyone's part. Ludicrously optimistic, I guess, but I can't help being the person I am, that's a matter of the interaction of genetics and environment over the last 50 years - it's only how I act on my deepest feelings that I've got any control over. I just hope, above all else, that I never do anything that would hurt another person, especially anyone I love. My own happiness and wellbeing is vanishingly irrelevant in comparison.

Love & best wishes to all
Sammy B

100 at 100

For my 100th post, a list of 100 things that enhance my life.

People/Places/Lifestyle
My wife
My daughter
My niece
My cousin & best friend
My brother
'DBJ'
Sunshine
Clear, starry night skies
Sea or river views
Beer gardens on summer afternoons
Cornwall
Gran Canaria
Paris
Jersey
Craster
Arnside
Dovestone Reservoir
Richmond Hill
Harrods Food Halls
Science Museum, London
The Inn on the Shore, Downderry
Moulin de Lecq, Greve de Lecq
The Dove, Hammersmith
My laptop
Mobile broadband
DAB radio
Beer
Chardonnay
Smoked salmon
Beef Wellington
Paella
Papas arrugadas con mojo rojo
Mint ice cream

Books/TV/Radio/Films/Culture/Entertainment/Nature
Ada - Vladimir Nabokov
The Chrysalids - John Wyndham
The Moralist - Rod Downey
1984 - George Orwell
A Clockwork Orange - Anthony Burgess
Loving Sander - Joseph Geraci
The Hitchhikers' Guide to the Galaxy series - Douglas Adams
The Story of the Weasel - Carolyn Slaughter
Fire from Heaven - Mary Renault
The Castle - Franz Kafka
The Marriages Between Zones 3, 4 and 5 - Doris Lessing
A Boy's Own Story - Edmund White
The Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger
New Scientist
Horizon
Timewatch
Any art history programme presented by Tim Marlow
Winter Sports coverage on Eurosport
Monty Python's Flying Circus
The Young Ones
Night Waves
Damien - Omen 2
Another Country
The Silence of the Lambs
Rupert Everett
Jodie Foster
Piet Mondrian
Santiago Calatrava
Backgammon
Various games on Freearcade
Blogging
Cheetahs
Birds of prey

Music
Bad - U2
Sheer Heart Attack - Queen
Time - Pink Floyd
Karn Evil 9 (Live) - Emerson, Lake & Palmer
Astronomy Domine - Pink Floyd
Red - King Crimson
Woodpeckers From Mars - Faith No More
Smells Like Teen Spirit - Nirvana
Never Understand - Jesus & Mary Chain
The Only One I Know - Charlatans
Silent Lucidity - Queensryche
Stargazer - Rainbow
Carry On Screaming - Extreme Noise Terror
Lagartija Nick - Bauhaus
Stockholm Syndrome - Muse
I Am The Resurrection - Stone Roses
Paranoid - Black Sabbath
Spirit Of Radio - Rush
Planet Claire - B-52's
I Will Follow - U2
Mystery Song - Status Quo
Holy Wars - Megadeth
Providence - King Crimson
Save A Prayer - Duran Duran
Drowse - Queen
Bomber- Motorhead
Silver Machine - Hawkwind
Mysterious Ways - Julia Fordham
Swords Of A Thousand Men - Tenpole Tudor
Gary Gilmour's Eyes - Adverts
I Vow to Thee, My Country - Spring-Rice/Holst
Carmina Burana - Carl Orff
Night on the Bare Mountain - Modest Mussorgsky

And last, but certainly not least, all you good people who have come here to read and comment on my blog, and encourage me to continue into the next hundred posts.

Love & best wishes to all
Sammy B

Thursday, 22 July 2010

The weekend starts here

I seem to be determined to injure myself at the moment - before I even got into work for my last shift of the week, after my day and a half on the sick, I managed to strain a muscle in my arm when I was out shopping this morning. There was no way, short of total incapacity, that I was going to cry off again, though, so I swallowed a few more painkillers during the afternoon and evening, and managed to get through what was a comfortingly quiet shift and head home for the start of my long weekend off. It looks as though the first engagement of my time off will be as taxi driver for my daughter tomorrow - she's apparently arranged to meet up with some friends, now that the holidays have begun, so it was a case of the "Dad, can you take me..." conversation when I spoke to her on the phone from work earlier on. The joys of parenthood!

Love & best wishes to all
Sammy B

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Today - Take two

It looked as though today was going to be a bit of a downer (apart from having a evaded a late shift to go to the doctor's) from early on, because I jumped to the conclusion that I'd been ostracised in a certain place in the blogsphere, when it actually turned out that a comment I'd tried to make on that particular blog had been tripped up by a technical hiccup. I would've hated to think I'd upset the blogger concerned, and I'm very relieved that I didn't. The upshot of all that was my doing something I've never done before - I actually deleted a post from my blog, given that it had been overtaken by events.
The visit to the doctor was worthwhile, I learned how to juggle my prescription medication with painkillers which should adequately keep my aches and pains under control, as a result of which I'll be going back to work tomorrow (sadly!) - at least I've only got one more shift to endure before launching into my long weekend, five days away from purgatory, and another step closer to moving to my new job around the autumnal equinox.
My daughter is just coming to the end of her first year at grammar school - it's her last day of term tomorrow - and we've had a couple of bits of good news today in that area. She's accumulated over 50 'merits' - bonus points, for want of a better description - over the course of the school year, and will be presented with a nice certificate at final assembly, and she's going to be in the top stream for maths next term - maths is the only subject where pupils her age are streamed for ability - so all the hard work for her to have passed her 11-plus to get to the school in the first place has been worth it, especially as she's genuinely enjoyed her time there so far. I was a grammar school boy, and even appreciated I was at a good school when I was actually there, so I'm pleased things are working out for my daughter in the same way, at least at the moment - only another six years to go! (Sorry, Babes!)
Anyway, because I've cheered up since this morning, I'll regale you with the song that's highest in my personal hit parade that I don't actually own in any format at all!



Thank you very much to Lauren for becoming my latest follower.

Love & best wishes to all
Sammy B

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

On the sick again

I'm off work again after this morning - I had to throw the towel in and ask for relief at 8:30, as my groin strain from earlier in the year reared its head again. It's been playing up since the middle of last week, and I've been trying to keep it under control with industrial strength painkillers, but I finally had to surrender when most of the muscles in the top half of my leg started going into spasm. I was keen not to go sick again, given that I've already had almost 6 weeks of that this year, and also because I have no ambition for my manager to accuse me of skiving because of disillusionment after last week's 'going or not going' fiasco, but, as my wife said, it's not as if any of my time off has been for anything other than genuine reasons. I'm off to the doctor's again tomorrow, anyway - I'll be needing a season ticket at this rate!
The cat is obviously unfazed by her moment of cyberspace stardom - she's assumed the same position as this time yesterday, blissfully asleep about three feet away from where I'm typing this!

Love & best wishes to all
Sammy B

Monday, 19 July 2010

It takes a relaxed cat....



Al least one member of our household knows how to cope with the stresses and strains of life!

Love & best wishes to all
Sammy B

Not the worst weekend of all time

Considering that I was working, the weekend just past had its brighter moments. I've already mentioned the unusually good view from my workplace window on Saturday morning, and I had another nice experience on Saturday evening, when I received a most uplifting reply to a comment I made on Rowan's blog (Daily Doings). After my recent doubts, it made me feel a lot better about my place in the blogsphere - thanks very much to Rowan for that.
Yesterday at work, apart from a brief exchange of words with the local pondlife and a flirtation with the idea of rushing out and doing one of them some serious damage, which I thankfully managed to restrain myself from, was largely taken up by finishing my latest story for the other blog. I received some positive feedback soon after I'd posted it, for which I'm very grateful (Thank you Brian and Mark), all helping towards encouraging me to keep at my fiction writing and trying to keep improving.
I've said a few times that I would still keep the blogs going even if no-one read them, and I think I'm being honest in saying that, but a little sign every now and again that at least a few people think what I'm writing is worth reading is a great fillip. Thank you again to everyone who has taken the time to read and comment on my blogs.

Love & best wishes to all
Sammy B

Saturday, 17 July 2010

Climate, Chaucer and Cuties

Well, to be honest, 'climate' is just for alliteration purposes, the weather was the main talking point on Thursday - it was absolutely foul, pouring with rain and blowing close to a gale by the evening. Anyone would think the Cornish summer had arrived! That about summed up the day - stay at home and avoid getting drenched.
My daughter has been performing in her school's drama group's production of three of Chaucer's 'Canterbury Tales' over the last couple of nights. My wife and I went to watch last night, and it was all very well done, both by the individuals performing, and in terms of the overall quality of the production. My daughter has enjoyed acting and singing from an early age, and, even allowing for a little bit of parental bias, she's pretty good.
The last twenty-four hours has been marked by some delights for the eye (the eye of someone like me that is). The most predictable, and, given my impending job move, the most poignant, was this morning at work when I had my best view of my favourite boy for months and months, when he got held up outside my window for a couple of minutes. The fact that I'll miss seeing him so much is offset a little by the fact that he's growing up so fast that it won't be long before he grows away from my tastes - perhaps it's the best time to leave, with the memory of him at his delightful best. He was sandwiched, as it were, by two much younger examples of the 'lovely to look at, but only to look at', but two very different ones. On the way home from work this afternoon, I stopped off at a supermarket to get a sandwich for my lunch, and a couple of other odd bits of shopping. As I got to the top of one of the aisles, I almost fell over a pretty boy of about 8 or 9, who any of the very few people who know about my predilections would pick out of an 'identity parade' as one who would catch my eye, blond, tousled hair and a sweet face. I saw him a couple more times as I made my way round the shop, leaving me smiling (inside, at least) by the time I paid for my purchases and left.
The first of the three, though, was an oddity, in more ways than one. We had to drop my daughter off at her school about an hour and a half before her performance started last night, so my wife and I went to a supermarket (not my lunch stop of today) for a drink in their pleasant cafĂ©. Sitting a few tables away from us was what I can only describe as an odd couple. The adult was a man in his late twenties or early thirties, who looked a bit of a rough, tough kind of character - cropped hair, tattoos, t-shirt and jeans - while with him was a boy of about 10 or 11, who was 'dressed to kill', black shirt, matching black and white tie, formal trousers, and who, and I'm going to use a word I almost never use about a boy, was frankly beautiful, in a markedly androgynous way, long, almost jet black hair, looking, apart from not having the classic 'olive' skin, almost Mediterranean, a boy who, in my limited experience of such things, looked as though he ought to be signed up by some modelling agency. I'm almost never attracted to boys with his kind of look, but he was just so eye-catching and different. I'm sure there was some perfectly rational explanation for the 'odd couple' syndrome, but it was all a bit curious, so I couldn't resist a last look, and the boy 'caught me looking'. Nothing was said, though, and we just left.


Thank you very much to Ian (Mind of Mine) for taking the time and trouble to become my latest follower. I've found his blog recently, and would recommend it as interesting and thought-provoking.

Love & best wishes to all
Sammy B

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Virtue, perforce

Most people, I suspect, unless they have reserves of righteousness that are completely alien to me, have jobs that they put off until circumstances force their hand. I had one such moment today. On the top shelf of my desktop computer's workstation (as the piece of furniture I'm sitting in front of now was grandiosely called when we acquired it) for some considerable time has been a pile of more or less 'official' correspondence which has built up because I considered it might need to be kept for one reason or another. As I reached for something else on the shelf earlier this evening, I managed to trigger an avalanche of paper of biblical proportions. After I'd finished swearing loudly and eloquently, I decided that the time had come to sort through the contents of the shelf and see what, if anything, had passed its sell-by date. Completely unsurprisingly, 95%, give or take, of the snowstorm of paper was utterly dispensable, and is now in the recycling bag ready for our next collection on Tuesday - there was stuff there going back to 2007!
Just to prove, after yesterday's fiasco, that there is some slight element of man-management expertise in my company, I received a very pleasant phone call from the manager of my former workplace (who's back 'in post' this week because my former shift-mate who's acting manager is on holiday) this afternoon, thanking me for my efforts in trying to help out, and acknowledging the fact that I've been stymied by circumstances beyond the control of anyone other than my present manager. He didn't need to call me, so the fact that he did is much appreciated.
Another story is taking shape for 'Nephelokokkygia', although, not for the first time, my hopes of finishing it today have been dashed by a combination of indolence and genuine distractions. I think this one will, at least, get finished, but it's going to be one that won't please everyone, not because of unhappy endings, or otherwise, but because it's going to be the first one that's going to need a serious disclaimer - there's going to be some sex in it, I'm afraid.

Love & best wishes
Sammy B

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Months....

....to answer my own question of a few days ago. As of 9:00 this morning, I was expecting to be starting a 'loan' period of at least 2 weeks at my old workplace from Monday, now, less than 3 hours later, I'm being told I'm staying where I am until October, and, to make the situation even less palatable, my manager didn't even have the courtesy to tell me of the change of plan directly, leaving the 'dirty work' to the roster clerk. To say I'm unhappy is a considerable understatement, and my manager is now well aware of the fact, after an acrimonious telephone conversation a few minutes ago. If there was any realistic way I could afford to resign right now, I'd be doing just that. And I'm on bloody late turn today. All I can say is, I hope the local scum have the common sense to stay away from me.

Love & best wishes to all
Sammy B

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Tman's dilemma - and mine

I've just been reading a post on 'tony's red flash' on his doubts about whether to continue blogging and commenting, and the reasons behind those doubts, and I have to say I feel a number of the same reservations. I was just going to leave a comment on Tman's post, but I've never commented on his blog before, and I didn't want my first comment there to seem cynical and misanthropic, so I've decided to make a post of my own here. I've already said that I'll no longer comment on the younger bloggers' sites except in specific, limited circumstances ('Not one of the good guys'), for a couple of reasons. One is that, like Tman, I don't feel that, despite my best intentions, I've made a difference to anyone's life with the comments I've made. I don't comment with the expectation of reward beyond the feeling of doing my best to help, but, with only two small exceptions, all the comments I've made seem to have disappeared into cyberspace without even creating the slightest ripple. Perhaps I'm expecting too much in expecting anything at all, because from most of the evidence I've seen, the only thing distinguishing GLBT teens from their straight counterparts is their sexuality, with its concomitant problems of discrimination, bullying and the like - for the rest, they're just as self-centred as any of their coevals, just as I was at that age. To make matters worse, the assumption of 'society' at large, certainly in the UK, is that any adult male who attempts to connect in any way with anyone under the age of consent who isn't a blood relative is a potential, if not actual, child molester. Any thought of 'helping' anyone is immediately discounted as a mask for 'ulterior motives'.
As I've said before, I'll carry on with my blogs, because even if no-one else reads them, and I've no right to expect that anyone would, they at least provide me with an outlet for things I can't say in any other way. If that means that I'm destined to remain in splendid (or wretched) isolation in the blogsphere, then sobeit.

Love & best wishes to all
Sammy B

Saturday, 10 July 2010

Quiet

Too quiet, in a way. With my daughter being away on her marathon day trip, there was only my wife and I in the house during the day, but our levels of conversation were pretty minimal most of the time, even allowing for the fact that I was asleep for a few hours, being, as I was, between night shifts. I suppose it's better than perpetual arguments, but it does raise the spectre of 'two individuals living under one roof' rather than being a couple. It might be easier if we shared a few interests, but we don't, in all honesty. It was always a bit of a standing joke in our early years together that we had nothing in common except a liking for extra strong mints, and that, perhaps, is coming back to haunt us.
I was playing a word game on the computer this afternoon, and came across the word 'cuddled'. It left me feeling more than a little reflective, particularly about my childhood. I'm not suggesting for a moment that I was in any way abused or neglected by my parents, who did as well as they could for four children in rather straitened circumstances - we weren't exactly poor, but there was only ever enough money for the necessities in food, clothing and housing - but, looking back, there wasn't much, if any, overt affection around - I can honestly never remember ever being told by either of my parents that they loved me, even though I'm sure they did, and I can never remember being hugged. I know memory, especially at the distance of 40 years and more, can be unreliable, but I'm as sure as I can be that I'm not colouring my childhood with later experiences. Maybe that's why I can be a bit of a 'cold fish' at some times, while at others I feel very needy emotionally, seemingly always looking for something more than my current life can provide. I'm sure a psychoanalyst, if I could afford one, would have a field day trying to unravel my knotted personality.

Love & best wishes to all
Sammy B

Best of luck, Babes

I won't be seeing my daughter at all today (Saturday), because she's going on a day trip to Alton Towers arranged through her school's PTA. As I've probably said before, one of the few downsides to living in this part of the world is that it's a bloody long way from anywhere much else, and this trip is a good example of it. They will be leaving at 5:30 this morning, and won't be back until 11:30 tonight, so she'll have left before I get back from work, and I'll be back at work again before she gets home. I just hope her and her friends have a good time while they're there, because it's going to be some endurance test for them!
I seem to have slipped back into my old, bad habits with 'Nephelokokkygia', starting things but never getting anything finished. The novel has been in abeyance for a couple of days, although that's mostly because of my general malaise - I've only written about 200 words in the last three days, and I'm seriously considering deleting them, because, to be frank, they're not very good. I might move them to an 'outtakes' file instead, just in case there are one or two gems amongst the dross that I can recycle at a later date, but most of it is beyond the point of resuscitation. Given my disenchantment with life at the moment, I've been trying to write a 'happy ending' kind of short story tonight, if only to try and lift my spirits a bit, and it got off to a promising start, but, again, I'm finding myself flagging - it's certainly not going to be finished before the end of my shift, which was the original plan. I'll just have to see if I can refocus sufficiently later on to get it into a postable state.

Love & best wishes to all
Sammy B

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Days or months?

I don't seem to be fated to having the benefit of a quick resolution to my work situation. I spoke to my manager this morning, the first time I've been able to get hold of him since receiving the phone call about the possibility of my moving temporarily on Monday, and the news was mixed, to say the least. It seems that it's in his mind that I won't be able to move to my new permanent job until October, because of a potential staff shortage due to annual leave various people are taking at the end of next month and into September, but that the staffing situation for the next 5 or 6 weeks is less problematic, so I may get a chance to move to my potential temporary placement for a few weeks, before having to come back to my present job for a few more weeks, and then finally moving permanently. A bit messy and complicated, but I'm prepared to take any chance that's going to get away from where I am now, even if only briefly.
My relationship with my wife has been reasonable of late, but there was another example of the underlying brittleness of things this afternoon. Neither of us has been at our best in recent days, with my downcast mood and her ongoing worries about her parents' and her own health, so it could be said that this afternoon was an accident waiting to happen. Most of our hiccups seem to be either directly or indirectly about money, and this was no exception - I made what I thought was a fairly inconsequential remark about having seen a gadget I thought might interest her in a catalogue, which prompted her to list various things that she considered more worthwhile targets for spending money on, which in turn led me to suggest that she was spending the extra money that will hopefully be coming our way soon before I've had the chance to earn it. All rather petty, it's fair to say, on both sides, but there do seem to be times when our holding any sort of conversation is like walking blindfold through a minefield, and about as much fun.

Love & best wishes to all
Sammy B

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Lower

I apologise in advance, but this isn't going to be a very sunny post.
Yesterday's mood seems to have deteriorated into a thorough slough of despond today. I'm trying my best to keep up a facade of normality to my family and the few work colleagues that I come into contact with when I'm on nights, but, if I'm being honest, it's just a mask to hide the fact that I'm crying inside - and the worst of it is that I can hardly even explain to myself what the problem is, much less talk about it to anyone else. It's like a jigsaw assembling itself in my head where all the pieces are blank and black.
Trying to think and rationalise my way through the situation while I'm sitting here typing, it seems like a combination of forces conspiring against my equilibrium - I'm desperate to get away from my present job, desperate to be able to better provide for my family, both of which can only be facilitated by being away from home, but I'm also feeling as though I'm missing other things in my life, things that no realistically achievable scenario can provide. I love my wife, I love my daughter, I know they love me, but it's never quite enough - it's all my fault, I know, I want the best of all worlds, I want something that I can't have - sex isn't the issue, it never has been - what I really want, I guess, is the scenario I wrote about in Revenant in the other blog, not necessarily with one specific person, although I am in unrequitable love with one specific person, but the almost certain knowledge that I'll never be in that situation with anyone, on top of all the other problems in my life, is breaking my heart. I know I should be grateful for what I have, and I am, I'm so much better off than so many other people, but the perception of the void that's always been lurking in the shadows of my life won't go away.

Love & best wishes to all - please be happy
Sammy B

Downbeat day

A bit of an odd day. I don't know whether it's because I'm tired or not, but I've been feeling a bit low for no very obvious reason. If anything, I should be optimistic, because the 'tug-of-war' for my services is probably just about on the side of me going rather than staying, although nothing is certain as yet, the first chapter of my novel is starting to take shape - indeed, it's almost finished, with the framework for chapter 2 already in my mind - but still I don't seem to be able to shake off a slight sense of despondency, as though there's an ill wind heading my way. I suppose most people have better days and worse days, but when I have my lows, there generally tends to be an identifiable cause which is absent in the instance.

Love & best wishes to all
Sammy B

Monday, 5 July 2010

In demand

Today has seen me treated to an unusual experience - I'm actually in demand! I had a phone call this afternoon from one of my former regular co-workers at my last workplace, who's currently acting manager for that area, asking if I'd be prepared to go back there on a temporary basis until I move permanently to my new job, because they are apparently desperately short of staff at the moment. The place where I used to work is due to close at the end of next year, the work being amalgamated into a new, larger centre covering a bigger area, and some of the staff have already started looking elsewhere rather than waiting to be made redundant, or being forced to move to a new location that wouldn't necessarily suit them, and, on top of that, there are 2 people on long-term sickness absence. I've told my former colleague that I'd be quite happy to step into the breach, as long as my current manager and the manager at my new place agree, so I'll wait and see what happens. It would suit me on a number of levels - more money, a better roster pattern (better than my forthcoming new job, as well as what I'm doing at the moment), but, most of all, a rapid exit from my present job. It would also mean I wouldn't have to undergo a longish period of training and familiarisation, at least not yet, merely a week or two of 'refresher' training, and then up and at it. Not that I wish to seem excessively mercenary, but I'm also hoping I might be able to use the fact of being 'headhunted' to my advantage, especially in terms of some accommodation being provided, at least partly, at the company's expense - after all, they've got a lot more money than I have!

Love & best wishes to all
Sammy B

Sunday, 4 July 2010

Improvements in productivity

At the second time of asking, after yesterday's non-event, the start of my new night shift week has seen a much better work ethic on my new story. I've written about 1200 words in the last couple of hours or so (I've discovered the joys of the word count option in my word processor software!), albeit writing up a scenario I already had in my mind to follow on from what I'd written on Friday.
I've discovered another interesting blog today, the first I've added to the list of those that I follow for a couple of months, namely 'a pilot living two lives', which I found courtesy of the 'following' list of 'A Wandering Pom' (thank you, Mark!). There's a post from the end of last month entitled 'My message to you' which is one of the best I've seen on any blog since I began dabbling my toes in the blogsphere ocean. I only wish someone had sent me a message like that when I was in my confused and conflicted teens.

Love & best wishes to all
Sammy B

Saturday, 3 July 2010

How to waste a sunny Saturday afternoon, in one easy lesson

Come to work.
Bring the laptop and mobile broadband device with the intention of writing a chunk of the new story.
Sit around playing games and/or moping over the unapproachable and unobtainable.
Simple.

At least the good news is that I've received my offer letter for the new job with this morning's post, although, given the incorrigible daydreamer that I am, I'm waiting until after I've seen tonight's lottery numbers before I sign on the dotted line. I know I've got more chance of being struck by lightning than of winning the lottery, but I can live in hope, even if I die in despair. The job news was sweetened a little further by reading the rates of pay and conditions section - I'll actually be £1200 a year better off than I thought I was going to be, because I'd forgotten that frontline operations staff get an extra London weighting over and above that paid to everyone else. Every little helps, as the slogan goes!

****

Back at home now, Saturday rapidly expiring. I've finally got the urge to write something, but the couple of attempts I've had in the last half hour or so are stubbornly refusing to take any sort of meaningful shape. Lateness, tiredness, lack of the requisite capability all conspiring to have my mind flitting from one place to another without alighting anywhere worthwhile, a bit like the tiny moth that's been flying, apparently aimlessly, around the room for the last few minutes. Time to consign the day to the dustbin of history, I think.

Love & best wishes to all
Sammy B

Friday, 2 July 2010

Is there no limit?

No limit, that is, to the unutterable, traffic-stopping gorgeousness of a certain young man. I guess it's just the stage of growing up he's reached, but every time I see him at the moment, he looks more and more irresistible, surpassingly so today, even to the extent of being close to dethroning my long-standing number one, blond hair, saucer-sized blue eyes and all, from 1982. He was with his mother when he passed by today, not ideal, but on the basis of my impending departure for the metropolis, I was probably rather less subtle in my perusal of his charms than I should have been - or, to put it another way, I'm pretty sure she 'caught me looking'. I'm not actually expecting to be moving on until the main part of the holiday season has passed, September is my guess at the moment, but I'm still more than a little aware that each time I see him now might be the last. There's nothing else I'm going to miss about my present job, but 'the boy' is no small loss to bear, even if I've never spoken to him and simply moon over him from afar, so to speak.

Love & best wishes to all
Sammy B

Early, but not so bright

The screwed-up sleep patterns that are sometimes the price of shift work kicked in this morning. I'm on late shift today, but after the 3 previous early mornings, I wasn't able to stay awake later than 10:00 last night, which in turn meant that I was awake before 6:00 this morning, even though I didn't need to get up that early. At least I managed to make reasonably productive use of the extra time, in making a start on the new story. One page down, plenty to go, although I did do a little online research as well, finding a couple of web sites that will be useful for my purposes. I'm still quite enthusiastic about the prospects for this story, although whether I'll be able to maintain the commitment needed to get to on towards the 100,000 words that seems to be about par for the course for a novel remains to be seen.

Love & best wishes to all
Sammy B

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Blue eyes and bright ideas

I woke up before my alarm went off this morning, from a dream I remembered almost nothing of except looking at myself in a mirror and seeing myself with blue eyes, a very similar colour to my wife's eyes, rather than my real-life nondescript brown. For some reason I'm completely unable to explain, or even adequately describe, that snippet of a dream has given me an idea for what, if I can find the level of commitment and determination required, might become my first novel. I've talked a good fight about writing a novel a few times before, but this really might be the time when it comes to fruition. The plan is to write four or five chapters, then release Chapter 1 onto 'Nephelokokkygia', then each time I finish a chapter, release another, so there's some kind of logical progression, rather than trying to write the whole thing and then putting out 'x' number of chapters all at once. I've got the basis of the plot - it is, to put it simply, a love story spread over about 20 years - and the two main characters, so I'll have to see where, if anywhere, it goes.
I've had my first official confirmation of my new job - an e-mail telling me that my offer letter is in the post, although it didn't arrive today. On the basis of 'Sod's Law', a few days after I'd verbally accepted the new job, a vacancy has arisen in the place I worked before moving to my present job. In some ways, going back to my old haunt would be better, but the job is only going to be available for about 18 months, and then I'd be uprooted again, so I'm reluctantly going to stick to Plan A, because I suspect it's going to take 3 or 4 years to get our finances back on a properly even keel.

Love & best wishes to all
Sammy B