Monday, 30 December 2013

Escapism

I've just done something I don't do all that often, reading back a series of blog posts I made over the course of a fortnight a couple of years or so ago. It was about six months before my life imploded, and, self-evidently, not a very happy time. Sadly, the main feeling I got was that life was shit then, and it's shit now. So I'm going to escape to the illusory, but comforting warmth of 'Xander-world'. Again.

Love & best wishes to all
Sammy B

Sunday, 29 December 2013

Chilly and cuties

I haven't been working today, so, as is my wont, I came up to town to meander. It took me a while to get going this morning, though, because the view from my window made it obvious that it was cold outside, clear skies and a heavy ground frost in evidence. Once the sun came up, though, it started looking like much too nice a day to waste, so I got myself in gear and into the outside world. It's stayed blue-skied and sunny all day, if distinctly chilly, and, now that the sun has gone, another frosty night looks likely. The bright weather, though, has brought the eye candy out in force - I've seen more cute boys today than I have for quite some time. One in particular, outside Euston station, was - even though I hate using this adjective in this context, but nothing I can think of would fit better - simply beautiful. Cold outside, but a warm glow within.

Love & best wishes to all
Sammy B

Friday, 27 December 2013

Back to mundanity

Back to work, after my huge, expansive, two day Christmas break (and yes, I'm well aware that was two days more than some people got, I was staying in a hotel and eating out, after all), and back to the prospect of being on my own again when I get back to 'domicile-ville' this evening, K having gone on her way to Shropshire to see her boyfriend this morning. Still, on the basis of being grateful for whatever good things do come my way, it was a thoroughly enjoyable Christmas with my girl - the hotel was fine, the Christmas lunch in my 'London local', and, indeed, the 'full English' in the hotel restaurant yesterday morning were very good, and, best of all, the company was as congenial as I could have wished. When K comes up to live with me next summer, I know it's not going to be wall to wall fun and frivolity - I'll be working, and she'll be embarking on her A-Levels - but, compared to the way my life has been for the past couple of years, it's going to be so much better.
In connection with the forthcoming move, we spent quite some time yesterday roaming around the northernmost section of Greater London - another advantage of metropolitan life, public transport on Boxing Day! - reconnoitering prospective places to live. One area has come out as a distinct favourite in the race, within the Oystercard zone, and with 24/7 transport options, but still only a twenty minute bus ride from K's new school, so that's where I'll be concentrating my house-hunting (or very much more likely, flat-hunting) efforts after New Year. We did go and look at the 'just outside Greater London' town where the school is again, but its lack of night buses or trains will probably mean that we won't end up living there. That part of the trip did have, for me, a little collateral advantage, though, as I enjoyed one of my very few and far between interactions with a cute boy - I was waiting outside a shop while K was buying some toiletries, and a cutie whose family was also evidently in the same shop asked me to keep an eye on a pair of electric scooters he was standing guard over while he briefly went into the building. I obliged him, of course - when, as I said to K as she came out of the shop, am I ever going to say 'no' to a cute boy!

Love & best wishes to all
Sammy B

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Yuletide

Well, it's almost here again, another Christmas Day. My girl and I are comfortably settled into a rather nice hotel room, and the first evening of our festive season has been very pleasant. I hope that wherever you are, and whether you celebrate the day in a spiritual or secular way, you all have a happy, peaceful and thoroughly nice Christmas.

Love & best wishes to all
Sammy B

Monday, 23 December 2013

Sex

It's just occurred to me that if I'd decided, at 12, to be celibate and live alone for the rest of my life, virtually all of my troubles would have been non-existent. Not for the first time, hindsight proves its status as the most useless commodity known to man.

Love & best wishes to all
Sammy B

The answer is blowing in the wind

At the eleventh hour, it looked like my daughter's trip up here for Christmas might have been in some doubt, with some very wet and windy weather predicted to play havoc with travel arrangements, but trains are still running, albeit very late in some cases, and it seems that the worst of the weather, at least for this part of the country, has passed, so, unless something completely out of the ordinary crops up, K should be able to get here tomorrow, especially as she won't need to travel until early afternoon. It would have been a bitter pill indeed if our plans had fallen apart at this stage, but, thankfully, that doesn't look likely now. My day at work today, given that it could, in a worst case scenario, have been a complete nightmare, wasn't actually too bad, and I've managed to get back to 'domicile-ville' without undue delay, so I'm now in the pub, indulging in a little liquid entertainment, just for a change! Well, it is nearly Christmas, after all!

Love & best wishes to all
Sammy B

Sunday, 22 December 2013

I doubt he'd get my vote

I've been gobsmacked by the outlandishness of things said by the religious right so often that I'm almost becoming inured to it. But, once in a while, something crops up that takes my disbelief to new heights. Things like this. I don't care if you're gay, straight, or have a deep and meaningful relationship with your pet anaconda, if you're tempted to vote for people like Kilgore, you should be instantly disenfranchised, on grounds of insanity, if for no other reason.

Love & best wishes to all
Sammy B

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Hopes, but fears too

I have to admit to never having been much of a optimist. Almost every time, it seems, that something good happens, or even threatens to happen, in my life, something else comes along to spoil the party. In particular, and well-documented here, the last two years have been particularly difficult, with the breakdown and eventual end of my marriage and all that went with it last year, then this year's health problems, and, just when I'd got back to something approaching my normal self, the nightmare of September 21/22 when it looked as though what little was left of my life had collapsed into ruins (and, frankly, it still might - the Damoclean sword is still there, if a certain person chooses to wield it). Now, as 2013 approaches its end, things seem to be looking up again, with K having won her place at the school of her choice for her A-Levels, and the prospect of my girl coming to live with me next summer. I'm looking forward to that, very much, but I can't seem to quell the nagging doubts that it's all too good to be true, and that something will intervene to throw it all into disarray once more. The glass is at halfway, but half-full, or half-empty? I wish I knew.

Love & best wishes to all
Sammy B

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Obstruction

You can't please everyone, of course, and a rather sour little episode this morning was certainly evidence of that adage. After the interview on Tuesday, and the subsequent good news yesterday, there was still one element of the process that needed to be done, and done straight away - posting the acceptance slip for K's place at the new school back to them. They needed the paperwork in hand by Monday, and, given the vagaries of the Christmas post and the nearness of the end of the school term, it really needed to be posted today. The problem was that K isn't very well at all - she was already well on her way into a nasty cold on Tuesday, and, by today, she was effectively confined to bed - she had almost completely lost her voice, amongst other symptoms, when I needed, as events panned out, to speak to her this morning. Those events stemmed from a phone call from my ex not long after I'd got in from work this morning - she started by complaining about K's attitude, how she hadn't cleaned her room, typical 'parent of a teenager' stuff, but the subtext soon became apparent, namely that she didn't want to do anything to help K's application, it was my business and K's, nothing to do with her. Given that a parental signature was required on the acceptance slip. and I was, of course, 200 miles away from the relevant piece of paper, it looked as though my ex was going to try to 'veto' the whole process. When I pulled her up on it, by reminding her what she'd said herself only a few days ago, about not wanting K to go, she hung up on me and refused to answer the phone when I tried to call back. The upshot of it was that I had to ring K on her mobile and effectively tip her out of her sick bed to prevail upon her mother to sign on the dotted line and then go out and post the letter herself. I was thoroughly annoyed by my ex's attitude - I can understand that she isn't happy about the prospect of being left on her own, I know all too well what that's like, because it's effectively been my situation for almost two years, I've probably only spent, in total, around three or four weeks' worth of days with K in that time, but for her to seemingly be prepared to torpedo K's chances of getting the education that's right for her just so she isn't alone struck me as unforgivably selfish. For the most part, our divorce and its aftermath have been reasonably amicable, particularly in respect of K's welfare, so this morning has left a particularly nasty taste in the mouth. At least the outcome, of the acceptance slip finding its way into the local postbox, was the right one.

Love & best wishes to all
Sammy B

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

She's in!

I've had an e-mail from the college where K went for her interview yesterday - and they've offered her a place! It's conditional on her achieving an easily atttainable target, for her, of 5 A*-C grades in her GCSEs, and our moving into the catchment area, which will be dealt with at the beginning of next month. I rang her with the news a little while ago, which, predictably enough was somewhat (!) well received. I think the only person who was, or even could be, comparably pleased is me, of course!

Love & best wishes to all
Sammy B

A big day

Big in a number of ways, but, barring any unforeseen hiccups, a successful one. K had her interview at the college where she wants to do her A-Levels, and was, in all but the bare words, offered a place. K, needless to say, was thrilled, and I'm very pleased for her, because she's driven much of the process herself, more than impressive for a 15 year old. The only condition she'll have to fulfil is to live within the catchment area, which is, obviously, my part of the equation. I was actually in on the interview - I wasn't expecting to be, but I was invited in by the assistant principal who was the interviewer, so I was able to apprise him of the 'domestic situation', as well as prompting K to mention a couple of her accomplishments that nerves had pushed from her mind. So, after the holiday season, I'll be settling down to some serious flat hunting, probably in North London, although the actual town where the college is situated is a possibility, the only major problem being that getting to work from there on a Sunday morning would be difficult. Any such practical issues are far outweighed, however, by the fact that it really does look as though, from midsummer next year, my girl will be living with me for at least two years. To say I'm pleased is one of the understatements of the year.

Love & best wishes to all
Sammy B

Monday, 16 December 2013

Yeah, well, actually he is!!!

K's new boyfriend that is. Absolutely *^%@$£+ gorgeous, that is. My daughter has achieved one of my lifetime ambitions - having a megacute, blond boyfriend. I'm so bloody jealous!!

Love & best wishes to all
Sammy B

Sunday, 15 December 2013

End of an era

As someone at work this morning said. What era? Well, today marks the last time I, and the others who I work with most regularly, will be doing one of our double shift Sundays, as our new roster, compliant with the revised rostering principles handed down from company HQ, comes into force at the end of the month. There's been much talk from the upper echelons in the company about dealing with 'excessive fatigue', making it sound like there's some concern for the workforce, but, in reality, I suspect that it has more to do with fear of ambulance chasing lawyers should there be an incident which could be traced back to shift patterns. If it was really about 'fatigue', I wouldn't be finding myself working four extra Sundays in each thirty week roster cycle, as I will be from January. How can working all those extra weekends be seen as less fatiguing? It doesn't, I suppose, matter to those who have drawn up and implemented the policy, because they don't work weekends anyway. Cynical, moi?

Love & best wishes to all
Sammy B

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Links in a chain

I'm in my 'London local', for what might be the last time before K and I come here for lunch on Christmas Day, and I've just been handed a glass which has impelled me to write a post which I evaded, in a way, earlier this week. It's a San Miguel glass (although that's not what I'm drinking), and it occurred to me that the last time I drank from a similar receptacle was on the night of the meltdown with my cousin, 10, or is it 11, weeks ago today. The reason I might have blogged about him earlier in the week was a dream, rather a vivid dream, of my being in bed with a younger, but past the age of consent, version of him. But it wasn't an erotic dream, in the usual sense of that phrase, all that was going on was cuddles and endearments. I'm not a great believer in 'interpreting' dreams, to find meanings beyond the literal, but I do think that dreams can be a continuation of waking thought processes, and that's what I think was going on in this instance. I've said before that I consider my cousin to be the greatest love of my life, but he was (is) straight, so a sexual relationship was never going to be viable. I would, though, had it been possible for him, been perfectly happy to have spent the rest of my life with him in a non-sexual partnership. This Christmas will be the first, as far as I can remember, since 1979 that I won't be speaking to him. So much loss.

Love & best wishes to all
Sammy B

Thursday, 12 December 2013

The new dark ages

Where we seem to be heading if the forces of reaction, especially their religious contingent, have their way. Two stories, both referred to in this post, which I've seen in the last 24 hours and which I find thoroughly disheartening. Another report I saw regarding the Australian situation said that 27 couples are going to have their marriages annulled in the wake of that particular court ruling. Disgusting, as far as I'm concerned. The right are very fond of screaming 'judicial activism' when any court hands down a judgement that shows the slightest hint of being 'progressive'. I haven't seen any such outcry this time. Why am I not surprised?

Love & best wishes to all
Sammy B


Wednesday, 11 December 2013

It's still there

Work, of course. Actually, it wasn't too bad a shift to return to after my extended break, which I was getting very comfortable with, so I shouldn't complain - but I'm going to anyway! I'm sure there's some sort of work ethic I'm supposed to ascribe to, but, on the whole, I'd much rather be a member of the 'leisured classes'. The 'idle rich' would be best, but even the 'idle poor' appeals more than the hamster wheel!

Love & best wishes to all
Sammy B

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Well, that's pretty much it

The end of my time off that is - I'll be getting up at 'stupid o'clock' in the morning to head back to work. It's also been the only day of my 16 days off that I haven't left 'domicile-ville', because I had some domestic-ish things to do. I did take myself out to lunch in the local Wetherspoons, though, which was acceptable enough, but, by the time I'd done some shopping and was ready to head back to my accommodation, I was starting to feel rather fed up. Just to prove how trivial things can change a mood, though, within an hour or so, I was feeling distinctly more cheerful - firstly, after deciding to catch the bus back from the town centre because my hand is still very sore, and not conducive to carrying a heavy bag of shopping, I got a free ride because the ticket machine on the vehicle wasn't working, and then, for the first time ever, I heard one of my favourite songs, Holiday in Cambodia by The Dead Kennedys, played on the radio. Good old Planet Rock! No-one else was in the building, so I turned it up very loud! I'm easily pleased, sometimes!

Love & best wishes to all
Sammy B

Monday, 9 December 2013

Well, he is

Nice, I suppose, to be right once in a while. After speaking to K just now, in relation to something my ex said during our lengthy conversation last night, she's confirmed that her new boyfriend is bi. That isn't, of course, remotely a problem for me, but I've advised my girl to, shall we say, tread delicately on the subject with her mother. This could turn out to be the proverbial 'tangled web'.

Midnight edit: I'm in the mood to avoid ambiguity, so, before the self-appointed moral guardians leap in, a little clarification - the 'tangled web' I referred to will never include me, because, even if I could, and that's not conceivable given the old, fat me, I would never try to come between K and her boyfriend. And even if it was possible, he's of legal age, so the only issue would be consent, which, for me, is an absolute prerequisite.

Love & best wishes to all
Sammy B

Articulacy after the event

Ever had the experience of knowing what you wanted to say, but not being able to find the right words? When I was out with my friend yesterday, I lightheartedly mentioned the accusation of my being 'a nice guy' made while I was carousing with my work colleagues last Friday, and how I knew it wasn't true. When he kindly suggested that it actually was true, I couldn't find a way to properly explain my assertion. Now, more than 24 hours later, I've organised my thoughts sufficiently to express what I was trying to convey. That there's just too much darkness inside, darkness born of who I am and what I want, but also a product of the way the world views me and those like me, for me ever to be considered 'nice'. Even, or maybe especially, by myself.

Love & best wishes to all
Sammy B

Eventful

Yesterday proved to be interesting, in more ways than one. The best part of it was meeting up with a good friend in London, and an enjoyable get-together it certainly was - visiting, food, drink, conversation, all extremely congenial. Then discussions of a different sort, as I spent the best part of an hour, most of my journey back to 'domicile-ville', on the phone to my ex, and then to my daughter. My ex seems to be having more problems than usual around realising that our daughter, while still not totally 'grown-up', is far closer to being an adult than a child these days. I can't claim to be blemish-free in the 'letting go' process, but it's something all parents have to come to terms with, the acceptance that your offspring is an autonomous individual with their own views, aspirations, character, that they have their own life, in short, and that's exactly as it should be. I don't think anything was fully resolved in the conversation, but I hope that my ex, in particular, will understand what's necessary, however little she might want it to happen, but I've also asked my daughter to try to help make the process as painless as possible. Either side of that phone call, there was another airing of views, this one in cyberspace, but one which was never going to end in any sort of agreement, except agreement to disagree, perhaps. Ultimately, I am who I am, have been that person for a very long time, and can't change that, because if I could, I would have, long since. That said, though, my sexuality doesn't mean that I can't live as 'legal' a life as anyone else, or that I shouldn't have the right to live that life, so long as I comply with the law. And I still find the seeming assumption that being attracted to boys means that I don't possess a shred of morality or self-control extremely annoying. The final incident of the day is the one that might have the most consequences, short-term, at least. I contrived to slip on a drink someone had thrown on the floor on my way back to my accommodation, and collided with a wall with my outstretched fingers. I don't know whether I've broken any bones, but my hand is very sore this morning. And, needless to say, it's my right hand, and I'm very right-handed. I've already found, in the few things I've needed to do this morning, a considerable degree of awkwardness. This injury could be a pain, figuratively as well as literally.

Love & best wishes to all
Sammy B

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Not everyone

“We cannot take away someone’s rights because they are different. We cannot take away their right to breathe, right to eat or right to start a family. We must allow everyone to live as is natural to them.”

A quote I found in a blog post this morning, apparently said by Israel's president about marriage equality. And I couldn't help but feel the irony, having not long woken from a dream where I was forced to make arrangements to leave the country after being 'outed' by my attraction - just attraction, not action - to a cute boy. Some are definitely 'less equal than others'.

Love & best wishes to all
Sammy B

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Chapter 11

That chapter of that story. The one that always turns me inside out, makes me cry like almost nothing else has ever made me cry in, certainly, my adult life. And I've just read it again. And, yes....

Love & best wishes to all
Sammy B

Superfluity

Overheard just now, and from the book of 'the bleeding obvious' (Fawlty Towers reference there!), from the team leader in the pub to one of her underlings, as they were lighting candles to put on the various tables - 'Please don't burn the pub down'. If he couldn't work that out for himself, unless he's an inveterate pyromaniac, I think their recruitment policies might need some attention!

Love & best wishes to all
Sammy B

Faces. And a misconception

I'm up in town, just for a change, and, as well as it being very busy (or maybe because it was so busy, law of averages, and all that!), there's been plenty of eye candy on view again. Some have been more notable than others, though, for a variety of reasons. It began as I made my way out of Vauxhall station, heading for my first bus of the day - there was a boy of 10 or 11 who threw me back more than 40 years in a heartbeat, because he bore such a close resemblance to one of my best friends when I was that kind of age. I hadn't thought about Paul for, literally, decades until that moment - we lost touch after going to different senior schools - but this morning's boy brought back quite a few nice memories. The 'resemblance' theme has characterised the whole day, really - the cutest boy I've seen today looked more than a little like Jonathan Scott-Taylor as he was in Damien - Omen 2, albeit a fair-haired version (the actor's natural hair colour, from what I've read), while a few minutes ago in my 'London local' I saw a girl in her late teens who looked very like one of our group of friends that used to socialise at weekends when we were doing our A-Levels. The other face that really made an impression was seen while I was on the bus coming down here - a heartmeltingly cute little boy (and I mean little, he couldn't have been more than 5, and I mean cute in 'Grandma-speak, not 'boylover-speak'!), who most certainly wouldn't have looked out of place on a chocolate box!
The titular misconception happened towards the end of last night's session in Camden, when one of our number - and the youngest member of our staff - referred to me as 'a nice guy'. I might be a lot of things, but 'nice' isn't one of them! Put it down to the callowness of youth, or a bit too much alcohol, or probably both!

Love & best wishes to all
Sammy B

Friday, 6 December 2013

Dilemma

I used to be indecisive....but now I'm not so sure! I'm definitely uncertain about today, that much I can say. It's the 'works Christmas do', or as close as anyone can arrange to one, in the face of shift work, this afternoon and evening, up in London. I've been working for the equivalent outings since I moved to my current job, but, of course, I'm still on leave this time around, so I'm able to go. What I can't decide is whether I should. If the attendees are similar to last year's bash, which was in Brighton, there are a number, maybe three or four, who I wouldn't mind having a few drinks with, but there are others who I suspect, particularly given the tongue-loosening potential of alcohol, could very well engender considerable friction, or even lead to me managing to out myself. It would only take something like a bout of 'Tom Daley baiting' to set things off. I've got a few more hours to decide what to do, and I'll almost certainly be up in town later in any case. Anyone got a reliable crystal ball I can borrow?!

Love & best wishes to all
Sammy B

Thursday, 5 December 2013

No more drama, thankfully

After yesterday's to-ing and fro-ing around K's school application, which was about as much fun, and as productive, as trying to plait sawdust in front of an industrial strength fan, things fell far more readily into place today. Despite a little more typically teenage procrastination, and another (fairly subtle) paternal boot up the backside, K confirmed that she had e-mailed her application form, but couldn't make next week's interview, because she has an assessment that counts towards one of her GCSE exams that day - in Drama, how could it be anything else! One phone call to the school sorted everything out, though - they confirmed they've received the e-paperwork (if that's not an oxymoron!), and we arranged a revised interview date, for the following week, which K can go to without a problem. Even my ex, when I rang to update her, seemed more amenable to the arrangements than she had been yesterday. I just hope no more spanners will find their way into the works in the next ten days.
I was up in West London during the aforementioned calls, but the weather was starting to look decidedly non-user friendly, windy and with very threatening dark clouds, so I decided to make an early exit back to 'domicile-ville'. The first leg of the return journey was by bus towards Clapham Junction. The route took in South Kensington, almost always, in my experience, highly fertile 'cutie-spotting' territory, certainly during the day, and my timing was definitely good today, because the French school there had just ended their day. There were at least half a dozen 'stunners' on view, including a gorgeous, dark-haired 12-ish boy I'd seen on a different bus route in the area a few months back. Not a bad end to the afternoon, I have to say!

Love & best wishes to all
Sammy B

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

It's started

On the evidence of my 'London local', at least - pulling Tom Daley to pieces, that is. The 'ignorati' are in full flow, with their vile 'jokes' and undisguised homophobia. How long before tales of a 'paedophile ring' at Central Park pool in Plymouth, dedicated to 'grooming' the young Tom, begin to surface? Cynical, moi?

Love & best wishes to all
Sammy B

Like herding cats

And cats that someone is trying to nudge in another direction, at that. A day of phone calls and texts around K's application for the place where she wants to do her A-Levels has been substantially more stressful than it needed to be, for a number of reasons. K had an e-mail from the school a few days back inviting her to arrange an appointment for an interview, but for unknown reasons - beyond being 'too busy' - hadn't got around to it. I've offered whatever help she needs from the outset, but she's wanted to be in charge of the process herself - until last night, when she asked me to ring and sort the appointment out. Which I did, first thing this morning, to find that not only that they can't find her application form, but that the closing date for applications is this Friday. Having arranged a provisional appointment, I rang my ex to tell her what was going on. Which is where the problems really started. I've known from the first time K mentioned the possibility of coming up to London, well over a year ago, that my ex didn't want it to happen, but today has been the first time that it's been openly admitted. Not only that, but K knows what her mother thinks. And I'm supposed to be the one putting pressure on the girl. Yes, I'll admit I'd love K to be up here with me, but I honestly think that the priority is that the girl should be in the place that's best for her life as a whole, and I've said so on numerous occasions, to both K and my ex. The upshot of it all is that K is still adamant that she wants to go to this school, so I've told her, pretty robustly, that she needs to get her finger out, and make sure the school get the paperwork, or electronic equivalent, they need before the deadline, and that she confirms with me by tomorrow whether she can make the appointment I've arranged, so I can give them a definite 'yea or nay'. We'll see what happens.

Love & best wishes to all
Sammy B

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

I can't manage any more in one sitting

I've just managed to read three chapters of an online story that always makes me cry, without crying. Just. I can't possibly manage any more of it at the moment, though. Almost everyone who knows me would be amazed that there's this swamp of emotional turmoil beneath the 'cold fish' exterior. Even I find it hard to believe it sometimes, and I'm on the inside. One of these days, there's going to be a cataclysmic meltdown. I just hope I don't have it anywhere too public.

Love & best wishes to all
Sammy B

In an ideal world

Still being off work, and not wanting to sit staring at the walls of my room, I've spent most of my days recently out and about. And thinking, prompted particularly by two things that happened on Sunday, about what would constitute my 'ideal' relationship, the way I am now. On the way to the station on Sunday morning, I was walking a hundred yards or so behind a boy, maybe 12 or 13, who was on his own. About halfway, he stopped, and began talking on his mobile phone. As I overtook him, a brief sideways glance confirming my first impression that he was more than passably cute, I heard him say 'I'm near where I met you last time'. A few moments later, he ran past me, until, once more, he was some way in front of me, before returning to a walking pace. Due to the 'lie of the land', I lost sight of him for a minute or two, but as I got closer to the station, he came into view again. And it turned out that the person he'd met, and presumably who he'd been talking to on the phone, was an adult. There was probably a perfectly reasonable explanation for the scenario, the man, who I only saw the back of, could well have been an uncle, a football coach, even his father, if he came from a 'broken home', but it did, unsurprisingly, I guess, cross my mind that there may have been something else between them. Then, later in the day, I was on a bus in South London, when a slightly younger boy, 10 or thereabouts, sitting in front of me with (probably) his father, turned round, apropos of nothing, and smiled sweetly at me. The combination of the two moments left me thinking about what I really want in my life, and the answer I came up with is that I would be quite happy with a simple friendship with a boy, just being able to spend a little time together, maybe, if I was very lucky, a hug every now and again. The sexual side of my attraction to boys can be (and is) dealt with in ways that don't require a 'partner', just a little imagination (Yeah, I know, TMI!). The problem is, of course, that I don't know any boys, and even if I did, in the face of the rampant paranoia that reigns supreme, no-one would believe that I wasn't intent on molestation, or worse. It's the same story I've faced for most of my life, trapped in a maze, partly of my own making, partly of society's, without a hope of a solution. And that realisation is when the 'why carry on?' demons enter the picture. Because it's hard to find an answer to that superficially simple question. Why do I bother?

Love & best wishes to all
Sammy B

Saturday, 30 November 2013

Too much

A rather shorter than usual foray into town today - I'm back in 'domicile-ville', and it's not even dark yet. But, wow, the place was awash with cuties! They were all eclipsed in a moment, though, as I walked through Covent Garden, by the most amazingly, mind-meltingly, heartbreakingly beautiful boy I've seen in....well, possibly ever. He was too young - 9 or 10, at a guess - for anything other than looking at, but, oh, I could've looked for hours rather than the handful of seconds the convergence of our paths allowed. Far too much, really, for a mere boylover to cope with!

Love & best wishes to all
Sammy B

The power of fiction, yet again

I've been literally shaking for the past ten minutes, after beginning to read the latest chapter of an online story I've been following, only to find one of the main characters being killed off in a particularly nasty and unexpected way (accident rather than malice). I've thought, almost from the first, that this particular story had a 'heart of darkness', but I was expecting something else entirely. My first reaction, after immediately closing the tab I was reading the story in, was anger at the author, then distress at the character's fate. Now I've had time to think about it a little more rationally, though, I guess it's no different to what I did when I wrote Valediction more than three years ago, and which badly upset at least one of my readers. Rather than being angry, I guess I should admire the author's ability to affect his readers' emotions in such a visceral way. I won't be reading the rest of the story, though.

Love & best wishes to all
Sammy B

Friday, 29 November 2013

Dinosaurs, brown eyes and assumptions

As dusk fell this afternoon, I was on a bus in a fairly upmarket area of West London, heading, as it turned out (it wasn't Plan A), for my 'London local'. A few stops after I'd boarded, the pair of seats in front of me were occupied by a youngish woman and a boy of 6 or 7. They may have been blood-related, but there wasn't a family resemblance, and she had what sounded like an Eastern European accent, so she may have been a nanny rather than a parent, especially given the affluent nature of the locality. He was rather cute, with reddish-brown curly hair, and, as I noticed as he turned around and knelt on his seat to play with the toys he had in hand, Triceratops and T-Rex models, big, lovely mid-brown eyes. I looked his way a few times as he played, benignly, I hoped, and he looked back, maybe wanting to interact in some way. But, of course, I didn't, afraid of what his carer might think if I'd spoken to him, assuming that she would think the worst. But maybe that, in itself, was an assumption, perhaps she might, given the totally public environment, have decided that it would have been perfectly safe for me to have talked to him about dinosaurs, or whatever. As I've said before, the paranoia engendered by the 'stranger danger' meme sometimes works both ways.

Love & best wishes to all
Sammy B

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Meme

I've never really had much time for the 'meme' phenomenon, maybe because I don't find myself all that interesting, maybe because I don't want to inadvertently give too much away about my 'real' self, maybe both. The idea, though, found here, via here. of a meme about blogging itself has caught my interest. So, using the questions from the original, here goes:
What you like most about being a blogger?
Connecting with people who I wouldn't ever have met, aside from infinitesimal chance, in any other way, while having the opportunity to say what I think about issues of personal interest that would be, to say the least, difficult in my everyday life.
How many bloggers have you met?
Two. Both of whom I'm honoured to be able to call friends. Actually, I should probably say three, because my daughter has a Tumblr, and she, of course, is the most important person of all in what remains of my life.
Do you ever go back and read your old entries?
Fairly often, certainly in the case of my fiction blog, somewhat less so in this main, journal blog. Masturbatory as it may seem, I actually like reading some of my own stories, particularly the magnum opus (so far) that I wrote earlier this year.
Do you share your job skills here?
No - I try to keep my cyberlife and my 'real' life as separate as possible.
Have you changed your views about anything thanks to blogging?
I don't think any fundamentals have changed, but there are probably some issues I feel more strongly about now than I did three and a half years ago when I started. Perhaps the post I wrote earlier today might be illustrative.
Do your coworkers know about your blog?
It would, frankly, be a disaster if any of my colleagues read my blog, given its principal subject matter. I move in horribly homophobic circles at work, and that's before we even get started on the boylove side of things. If my 'wall of pseudonymity' was ever to be breached, I think my career would be over immediately.
What advice would you give for successful blogging?
Be yourself, and if you don't enjoy it, don't do it.
What is your opinion of aardvarks?
They successfully occupy their ecological niche, and should be able to continue to do so without interference from invasive, parasitical species - such as Homo sapiens.
Do you publish everything you write ?
In the main blog, more or less everything - I've only ever deleted one post after publication, after finding I was completely wrong in what I'd written, and have only deleted a very small number, probably in single figures, at the draft stage. The fiction blog is a completely different scenario, though - I have literally dozens of stories at various (usually early) stages of incompleteness, most of which will probably never see the light of day.
If you could make ‘three rules’ for blogging, what would they be?
1) Tell the truth, at least as you see it.
2) If you've got nothing to say, say nothing.
3) If people are kind enough to visit and, particularly, to comment, have the courtesy to acknowledge/reply.
Do people help you write your blog?
My daughter has written one comment, in response to something nice someone said about an artwork of hers I posted, otherwise every word (apart, obviously, from quotes) is 'all my own work'.
Who are your blogger super-heroes?
In the sense of 'role models', no-one - I've always tried to make my blog my own - but in terms of people I've come to care about and wish the best for, there are a number, Mark, Jay, Randy, Tony, Rowan, Lauren, but, most of all, and, doubtless, to the surprise of no-one who's read my blog for any length of time, David.
Final question (if you dare!) :
Have you slept with any of your fellow bloggers?
No. A very unlikely scenario, to say the least.

****

Love & best wishes to all
Sammy B

I know I've said this before....

....but it keeps happening, and it annoys me intensely every time. I've just heard a news story on the radio about a Welsh rock musician who, according to the report, was convicted yesterday of 'being a paedophile'. No he fucking wasn't, because being a paedophile isn't illegal (although I have little doubt it would be made so if politicians could find a way of getting away with it), any more than thinking about robbing a bank or killing your boss is illegal. What he was convicted of was a result of acting on his sexuality, not its existence. That distinction made seem pedantic to many, but if the line between thoughts and actions is ever removed in a formal, legal way, then Orwell's 'thoughtcrime' based society would be here, with everyone - because who can honestly say that they've never even thought of doing something illegal, or 'immoral' - open to conviction at the whim of politicians and/or political expediency. Some might think it perfectly justified for those like me to be locked up just for who we are and what we think, and might very well vote accordingly, but when they themselves found they were being locked up for thinking of voting for the 'wrong' party, they would have no grounds for complaint, as far as I'm concerned. A cliché, yes, but it would be the beginning of a very slippery slope.

Love & best wishes to all
Sammy B

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

He's still the one

DBJ, that is - yesterday, one bus stop into my day of wandering around town, I saw a boy, around 11, who was a 60-70% lookalike of my unrequited love, while today, my blog stats page revealed someone had viewed the post from last year where I published a photo of a boy who bore an even closer resemblance to 'the real thing'. I couldn't resist revisiting the post myself, spending, not for the first time, long moments gazing melancholically at the picture. It was never going to be, but I still can't stop myself from wishing that we could, somehow, have been together. Not in this life, I'm afraid.

Love & best wishes to all
Sammy B

A bit fragile

I've woken up feeling a bit 'morning-afterish' today, but, for once, not for a bad reason. I spent yesterday evening with my brother, who is up in the London area on a course, and we went out for a meal and, needless to say a few beers. A few too many, evidently, in my case! He's recently set up as a self-employed consultant in his area of expertise, after being made redundant in a 'management reshuffle' at his former company over the past summer, and his new venture seems to have taken off pretty well, with a goodly amount of fairly well-paid work heading his way already, including, ironically, working (albeit indirectly) for my benighted employer - he's off to their national HQ after his course finishes later today, for the rest of this week. Hopefully, the good start to his business will continue and expand, something that seems likely - another contract he's been working on will, in all probability, involve his spending a week in the US early next year, at a rather lucrative daily rate, and with travel and accommodation expenses paid on top. I wish him the best of luck, of course - he and my sister-in-law have helped me a great deal over the last 18 months or so, as my life disintegrated around me, help for which, as they know, I'm extremely grateful.
Well, now that I've had some toast and coffee, I'm feeling rather more human, so I'll be getting ready to head out and about for another day's meandering shortly - trying to avoid too much alcohol!

Love & best wishes to all
Sammy B

Monday, 25 November 2013

Darwinian day

Well, actually, the title is rather an exaggeration, but, in the course of my meanderings on what is the first of sixteen days off I'm lucky enough to be embarking upon (using up the leave I couldn't use earlier in the year because of my health issues), I went through Downe, the village where Darwin lived and worked, and past his home, Down House, which is open to the public, albeit not today. The village itself is a bit of an anomaly, if a nice one - it's an almost stereotypical Kentish rural place, with its pub, shop and church, narrowish lanes leading to it, fields and chalkland scenery all around, but it's actually in the London Borough of Bromley, and in the Oystercard zone. Apart from the pleasant surroundings, the village led me to think about Darwin, and his legacy - I can't think of any other individual who has done more to illustrate that the biblical view of the world, its origins and composition, is completely wrong and nonsensical. I'm well aware that there are many who would disagree, but I'm convinced that the scientific evidence is on my side.

Love & best wishes to all
Sammy B

The good, and the bad and ugly

Two posts from the same blog, both made yesterday (as it is now), which I read within around ten minutes of each other. The first, which really made me smile (and which K liked a lot, too, when I rang her and pointed her in its direction), the second which immediately deflated my upbeat mood. Christopher Hitchens, who I didn't really know much about until his life was almost over, wrote a book called How Religion Poisons Everything. A difficult premise to argue against, in my opinion.

Love & best wishes to all
Sammy B

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Antisocial

What a waste of time and money. Half the people, at least, who were supposed to be going didn't turn up, including the only one of my colleagues who I genuinely would like to socialise with, the pub, which I'd been past numerous times, but had never patronised before, wasn't 'my scene', and was expensive, to boot. At least I didn't out myself, largely because I started on the periphery, and then moved even further away from whatever centre there was to the evening, mostly my fault, of course, because I didn't make any more effort to engage with those there than they made to engage with me. It's pretty hard to out yourself when no-one's talking to you, needless to say. There is a 'Christmas do' during my forthcoming time off, with what will probably be a rather different group of people, but whether I'll go is pretty doubtful at the moment. Not, on the whole, the best night out of my life.

Love & best wishes to all
Sammy B

Friday, 22 November 2013

Social

I'm doing something this evening, unless unforeseen circumstances intervene, that I haven't done since I've been in my present job - I'm going to a social event with a goodly number of my work colleagues, namely the 'leaving do' for one of our shift managers, who's moved to a 9 to 5 job in a different part of the organisation, albeit still in London. Such outings are few and far between - it's pretty difficult to get shift workers together, almost by definition - and I've missed those that have happened in the past either because I've been working, or because, in my previous life, I've been in Cornwall when they've taken place. Tonight, though, I should finish work at 7:30, all being well, and the event is taking place in a pub outside a station just a couple of stops from 'worktown', so there's no reason for me not to go. Except that, while I haven't had the (ultimately all too justified) premonitions of disaster that preceded my visit to Manchester a few weeks back, there are still a few potential banana skins involved. Mostly in the sense that at least one, and maybe more, of our collection of outspoken bigots will be there, and, given the disinhibitory nature of alcohol, I might just be inclined to bite back at the sort of racist, xenophobic, misogynistic and, especially, homophobic bullshit I spend my working days surrounded by. And outing myself in the process, which could make my subsequent working life more than a little problematic. I'm not going with the intention of 'looking for a fight', even a verbal one, but I've spent so much time over the past three years or so silently seething about the stupid, ignorant and downright antediluvian attitudes of certain of my colleagues, and everyone has their threshold of tolerance. Time will tell whether mine gets breached this evening.

Love & best wishes to all
Sammy B

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Priorities?

....the weaker the opposition, the tighter the despotism.

If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face - for ever.

A couple of news stories I've come across in the past 24 hours seem to me to illustrate both that the priorities of modern society have become ridiculously skewed, and that the day when the Orwellian concept of 'thoughtcrime' (hence the Nineteen Eighty-four quotes) becomes reality has come much, much closer.
First of all, I saw on the front page of a national newspaper yesterday that the prime minister has 'directed' the intelligence services to 'investigate the 'dark net' of paedophiles'. The resources of GCHQ, supposedly one of country's major bastions of national security, are going to be utilised to deliver another 'stamp to the face' of the softest of soft political targets, 'these revolting people' as Cameron was quoted as saying. It's just cheap, cynical political point scoring, something the 'sheeple' can look at and be conned into thinking what a wonderful job the putrid collection of self-serving twats masquerading as our government are doing. But what the vast majority of the public won't have the wit to understand, of course, is that it's the thin end of a very large wedge - if 'filthy paedos' can be spied on, so can everyone else. And who sets the criteria for what's 'acceptable' to think or speak about? Those same self-serving politicians.
And then this morning, Northern Ireland's attorney general has suggested that there should be no further prosecutions, or even investigations, into killings related to 'The Troubles' in the province. If a senior law officer had suggested that a similar amnesty be invoked for 'historic sex offences', there would, with no doubt at all, be howls from all sides for him to be sacked, if not lynched. But for suggesting that many, many individuals should literally 'get away with murder'? All in a day's work, seemingly. Just when I think my contempt for politicians can't be any deeper, they prove me wrong.

Love & best wishes to all
Sammy B

Monday, 18 November 2013

Oh no, she's really done it this time!

My daughter, that is. She's acquired a new boyfriend - and he's very cute! And, at 16, he's even legal! Nightmare!!

2320 edit: And just having had a little look at his Tumblr (via K's), he might be bi as well! NIGHTMARE!!!

Love & best wishes to all
Sammy B

10, 15, 17

10 - The average age, at a guess, of the boys who caught my attention while I was out and about yesterday. Even I think I should be (in)humanely destroyed.

15 - The age of consent our wonderful government won't even consider, because the current age of 16 'protects children'. How many 15 year old 'children' do you know?

17 - Happy birthday, David. I hope the place you're in now is working well for you. ((Hugs))

Love & best wishes to all
Sammy B

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Pros and cons

It's sometimes said that history is a cyclical process, and it seems that the 'history' of my blog falls into that category, in the sense that I periodically arrive at the point where I am now. Wondering whether to carry on, or not, whether the advantages of writing about my thoughts and feelings, of trying to get stuff out of my system, are outweighed by the disadvantages of, at best, brooding about my situation, or, at worst, wallowing in self-pity. The fact that I find myself, more often than not, writing about variations on the same theme, my attraction to boys and society's reaction to the subject, serves only to underline, in my eyes, the futility of the exercise. It doesn't change anything in my 'real life', I'm still alone, with no realistic prospect of any movement on that front, and even if I did, by some miracle, find a young person willing to engage with me, I'd still be forever looking over my shoulder, waiting for society's judgement and vengeance to fall. Maybe the impending end of my night shift week, with its relentless work-travel-sleep-eat-travel-work cycle, might allow my horizons to broaden a little, renew my impetus to write, but, then again, maybe it won't. Whither goest thou, Quinquagenarian? Very much an open question at the moment.

Love & best wishes to all
Sammy B

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

A place I don't want to go to

I'm on nights this week, a scenario which brings most of the rest of my life to a halt - by the time I've got back from work in the morning and had anything resembling a sufficient amount of sleep, it's pretty much time to start getting ready to go back out to work again. About the only other thing I seem to have time to do is to think. And those thoughts, at the moment, are sending me in a direction that has, maybe, been there all along, but about which I've long been in denial.
Before I first saw DBJ, in 2006, had anyone asked, and assuming I'd been in the mood to be truthful, I'd have said that my primary attraction was towards boys in their early teens, maybe 13 or 14. After that encounter, series of encounters, with the person I still consider to be the most beautiful boy I've ever seen, that 'age of attraction' probably went down by a year or two, and I found myself being drawn towards the earliest stages of pubescence, towards boys around 12, maybe 13. Of late, though, I've found that those most readily catching my eye are younger still, and that's where the title of this post kicks in. Because when you're looking at those who, by any reasonable definition, aren't pubescent at all, there's only really one valid conclusion. That word, the one I hate more than any other, really does apply to me. Paedophile. However much I try to convince myself I'd never act without informed consent, which boys of that age are never going to be equipped to give, the fact that the attraction is there at all is bad enough. And what's worse is that I've really got no idea how I would react if an opportunity arose. I can tell myself, and the world, whatever I like, but the fact remains that I can't give any guarantees that would mean anything at all in the face of temptation. All I can do is to hope that the fear of consequences, if nothing else, would be enough. Hope. All I have left. It's not much to rely on.

Love & best wishes to all
Sammy B

Monday, 11 November 2013

Anniversaries

Today is my cousin's birthday. In the aftermath of the meltdown of our relationship six weeks ago, his first birthday in 32 years that I haven't considered him as my best friend. Tomorrow is the 22nd anniversary of the day I met my ex, and the first of our 'alternative anniversaries', as I used to call them, since our divorce was finalised. When the foundations of your life, in however self-inflicted a way, are pulled from beneath you, it does make you wonder why you carry on at all. It's a question I've been asking myself for more than a year and a half now. I still haven't found an answer. And, to judge by the contents of today's post, the financial vultures are beginning to circle again. The futility of it all is beginning to tell once more.

Love & best wishes to all
Sammy B

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Saturday afternoon in West London

Here I am, in the pub, just for a change, a few miles from the hotel I've booked for tonight, thoroughly not looking forward to going back to work in the morning, and basically just killing time before I head for an early night. There has been a bit of eye candy, until literally a couple of minutes ago, two cuties who were part of a family lunch party - it seems to be one of their number's birthday - but they've just left. Unless anything unforeseen happens in the next couple of hours, it will simply be a case of a few more beers, maybe something to eat, and then look for a bus to the hotel. A bit of a wasted day, really.

Love & best wishes to all
Sammy B

Friday, 8 November 2013

Sod the public

Two examples this evening, of organisations, one large, the other small, having no regard for their customers. My doctor's appointment was a shambles, well over an hour late, and, effectively, achieving nothing - and this was an appointment they requested me to make, rather than one I'd wanted. When I asked the receptionist, as the delay had reached three-quarters of an hour, what was going on, she asked me if I wanted to cancel. Had I known when I arrived at the surgery how late they were running, I probably would have cancelled, but when I asked her why nothing had been said, she claimed not to have known. Frankly, lovey, if you 'don't know' such a basic piece of information about the process you're supposed to be facilitating, you're in the wrong bloody job. On top of that, my scheduled return to work on Sunday morning was thrown into chaos by the local train operator choosing not to supply a bus service to replace the only train I can catch which would get me in on time, and which can't run because of pre-planned engineering work. The upshot is that I've had to book a hotel room for tomorrow night, at a price that will swallow something over a third of the money I'm going to earn for doing the shift at all. I can hardly restrain my joy. Still, at least it's not all entirely bleak - I'm now in 'domicile-ville' Wetherspoons, and Ben is working. Eye candy can't cure all, but it's better than nothing!

Love & best wishes to all
Sammy B

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Never understand (reprise)

The things you see, we'd only disagree
You'll never understand that's what I want to be

Lines from a song I've mentioned on a few occasions, my 'personal national anthem', Never Understand by The Jesus & Mary Chain. It's come to mind again today, after a discussion I had with the community heart nurse, when she came to visit me for a prearranged appointment this morning. Another health professional who, no doubt with the best of intentions, wants me to stay on Warfarin, that vile rat poison, for ever and a day. The good intentions, though, are based on a fundamental misapprehension. Namely that I actually care whether I live or die.

You're never understanding
You never understand me, yeah

Love & best wishes to all
Sammy B

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Reconnaissance, and unrealism

Despite some rather non-user friendly weather, I've been out and about in London again today as my time off continues, the day's main mission being to investigate some aspects of the North London/Hertfordshire border area where the college that K wants to attend is located. I saw the place itself, which proved to be where I'd thought, and looked into some public transport issues, in terms of what both of us would need to make the scenario workable, and into the rental housing market in the area. One major bonus from my perspective is that I now know I can get from the Northern Line underground platforms at Waterloo to street level - thinking about it now, I'm not sure if I've mentioned this before in the blog, but I've got a phobia about using escalators, so quite a chunk of the Tube, especially in Central London, is off limits for me - albeit by scaling 115 steps (yes, I did count them, saddo as I am!), which would make the potential commute to work substantially easier and slightly quicker, if we were to end up living in the area concerned.
It was getting late by the time I arrived back in 'domicile-ville', so I decided to let indolence win, and go for a takeaway rather than cooking. As it happens, there's a reasonably good Chinese outside the station, so, by no means for the first time, that was my preferred port of call. They have a species of 'open kitchen', so that it's possible to see the chefs at work to some extent, which is where the reality failure kicked in. The youngest of the staff, who's probably around 18, but looks a little younger, and who I've seen once or twice before, is more than passably cute, and caught my eye again this evening. A couple of times, though, he seemed to look my way as much as I was looking at him, which, in my usual desperate style, set the fantasy machine in motion. It wasn't long before logic reasserted itself, fortunately - I can't conceive of any circumstances under which an attractive young man 35-odd years younger than me would ever be interested in the ogre that I am. A total non-starter.

Love & best wishes to all
Sammy B

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Too close to the truth

Certainly too close to the truth to be laughed about, in my opinion. And, having grown up in a working-class environment being 'too clever for my own good', I should know.

Love & best wishes to all
Sammy B

Another small step closer, maybe

We had confirmation yesterday that the school/college that K wants to go to next year is in the process of recruiting a new Year 12 for September 2014, and we now have the information as to what my girl is going to have to do to apply, which, given that they're already interviewing candidates, she needs to do as soon as possible. For once, when I spoke to her an hour or so ago, she seems ready to overcome her usual procrastination - she isn't her father's daughter for nothing! - and get stuck in to get the application done. There are still numerous potential pitfalls to evade, but it certainly seems that the prospect of K being up here with me in nine months time is a little bit more likely. I certainly hope so.

Love & best wishes to all
Sammy B

Monday, 4 November 2013

I know it shouldn't make a difference....

....but I always get more emotional if it's a cutie. I was aware of this story more than a week ago, but there was a follow-up on the local news when I was at my brother's yesterday evening. Last weekend, a 14 year old Sussex boy was swept out to sea and, presumably, drowned, last night's story being about the local lifeboat crew still searching for his body. They showed a picture of him, which I'd seen online a few days ago, and he was a very good-looking guy. Several times today, I found myself thinking about how terrifying and awful his end must have been, getting thoroughly upset in the process. I remember a similar scenario with a gay boy in the US a while ago who committed suicide after merciless bullying, and who was also very cute, in my eyes. Intellectually, I know that any life has equal value, and any premature loss of life is tragic, but my gut reaction of being more upset if I find the person concerned desirable is something I don't seem to be able to avoid. It makes me feel so shallow.

Love & best wishes to all
Sammy B

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Hometown

Three-quarters of the way through a weekend in Kent, and I'm not quite sure how I feel. I'm grateful to my brother and his family for their hospitality, as ever, yesterday's brewery trip was interesting and entertaining, the seafront walk earlier this afternoon, in notably sunny and mild, if windy, weather for November was enjoyable, but there's still, it seems, something missing. Maybe it's being around three couples, my niece and nephew and their respective 'other halves' as well as my brother and sister-in-law, maybe it's being involved in family things, all of which isn't part of my life anymore. It all goes to underline my isolation, I guess, albeit isolation that's largely self-inflicted. Get used to it, I suppose, is the answer to that, because I can't see any way my situation is likely to change any time soon.

Love & best wishes to all
Sammy B

Friday, 1 November 2013

Domiciled

Unusually for when I'm not working, I haven't left 'domicile-ville' all day. I couldn't make my mind up about what, if anything, I wanted to do, and I wasn't all that happy with life in any case, so I just dossed around this morning, before finally dragging myself into the outside world at around 2:30, heading to the town centre for a couple of beers and some grocery shopping. The fact that I'm still in the pub nearly three hours later tells its own story, probably, although I haven't had all that much to drink - I've been reading, for the most part, bloggy stuff and an online version of The Catcher in the Rye I found the other day. I will be doing something more substantive tomorrow, albeit another alcohol-themed activity - I'm going on a brewery trip with my brother and his family, down in Kent, and staying over at his place tomorrow night, unless something unforeseen happens. A bit of human contact, at least, unlike today.

Love & best wishes to all
Sammy B

Alone again, naturally

The song was pretty dire, but its title encapsulates my position all too accurately. As I've said many times before, there's no-one to blame but myself, being what I am, wanting what I want, exacerbated by putting a small succession of people at the centre of my universe, my cousin, my ex, my daughter, only to find that they can't reciprocate. And nor, of course, should they. There's nothing in me that anyone in their right mind could find attractive, on any level. So I'm going to try, albeit belatedly, to foster realistic expectations. I deserve nothing, so if I expect nothing, as I said in reply to a comment on my last post, I can't be disappointed.

Love & best wishes to all
Sammy B

Thursday, 31 October 2013

Irritating interlude

Well, to judge by K's Tumblr, the few hours she spent with me were marked only by regret in leaving where she'd just been and anticipation of where she was going next. Hardly surprising, then, that she didn't even want to see me for half an hour earlier when she was passing back through London. Nice to know you're valued.

Love & best wishes to all
Sammy B

The ultimate timewaster, revisited

I have, if I'm being honest, spent an inordinate proportion of my life playing computer games of one sort or another, going right back to my good old Sinclair ZX81 thirty or more years ago. If I have to nominate one game, or series of games, on which I've wasted the most time, though, there's just one candidate - the Sports Interactive series of football management simulations, Championship Manager/Football Manager, which I first came across in the early nineties, and of which I was, frankly, an addict for nearly twenty years. Ironically enough, it was my entry into blogging which finally dragged me away from the 'virtual dugout', if not exactly into more productive pastimes. After a three year hiatus from the game, though, I've bought the latest version, released yesterday, this afternoon, despite the fact that I can as already see much more of my diminishing stock of days disappearing as a result! Addiction is a terrible thing!

Love & best wishes to all
Sammy B

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Been and gone

Well, I had my day and a half with K, and now she's off at her next port of call. It was, of course, lovely to see her, but there was a distinct feeling of 'out of sight, out of mind', in that she was supposed to text and let me know she'd arrived, but didn't bother until I prompted her, several hours after the event. She 'forgot', allegedly - yes, I know she's a teenager, and I'm a boring old fart, but, as I told her, it does reassure me if I know she's safe and sound. The joys of parenthood, part whatever.

Love & best wishes to all
Sammy B

Monday, 28 October 2013

Frustration, but awesomeness, too

One of those decidedly mixed days. I went to bed last night, along, no doubt with millions of others, wondering whether the meteorological Armageddon we'd been promised (threatened with?) for days was actually going to come to pass, only to wake up this morning with little to show for the apocalyptic prognostications - except that the train service in most of South East England was non-existent. There were various trees on the line and other damage, but I have little doubt that most of the reluctance to commit to running a service until everything imaginable had been checked and rechecked to a ludicrous degree was down to fear of ambulance-chasing lawyers, had an incident ensued.
My journey to town was circuitous, to say the least - I had to catch a slow and not very comfortable, albeit punctual, local bus to get myself into the Oystercard zone, but K's situation was worse. There were no trains at all from her friend's local station until teatime, so I still haven't met up with her, although that should be remedied in just over an hour, given a fair - or preferably no! - wind. My meanderings around London weren't entirely without bonuses, though - the start of half term, 'hurricanes' notwithstanding, seem to have brought the cuties out in droves, especially, it seems, blond guys. I think I've fallen in love - or lust! - about a dozen times today! I hope the rest of the week is as visually rewarding!

Love & best wishes to all
Sammy B

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Another 'London local' experience

I'll be heading back to base pretty soon, after another afternoon/evening of fairly limited meandering and plenty of time in the pub. There are occasions when I feel, if not guilty, then at least concerned about my propensity to drink more than is realistically good for me, but, on the whole, including now, I really don't care that much. If I'm going to die, and I surely will, I'd rather die of something I enjoy.

Love & best wishes to all
Sammy B

Friday, 25 October 2013

En passant

Well, I spent the princely total of an hour and a half with my daughter this afternoon, between meeting her at Paddington at 3:30 and dropping her off, and into the company of one of her cyberfriends, at a small station on the Hertfordshire/Cambridgeshire border at 5:00. I only went to her friend's local station because she hadn't previously met him in person, and just about the only rule my ex and I have ever insisted on as regards K's 'cyberlife' is that she shouldn't meet anyone in real life for the first time that she's only met online unless someone else is with her, preferably one of us. It all went smoothly, the young man (he's a year older than K) was who he purported to be, and was expecting me to be with K, as they'd discussed it in advance. My girl was quite happy with the arrangements, too - she's sensible enough to want to be careful of her own safety, which, ultimately, is what the exercise was about. I will see some more of her after the weekend - she's coming back to London on Sunday evening to meet up with me when I finish work, and staying with me until Tuesday, before going on to get together with some more friends, who she has met a number of times before, later in the week. Crumbs from her table, a little, for me, but I'll take what I can get for the moment. Because there's still a chance, maybe even more than a 50/50 chance, that she'll be living with me by this time next year. I certainly hope so.

Love & best wishes to all
Sammy B

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Cutie hunting

Only in a visual sense, I hasten to add, and, in that sense, rather successful, given that I was only engaged in the pursuit for a couple of hours. There were a goodly number of boys, almost all with family groups, needless to say, out and about in town as I meandered after an earlier than expected finish at work, and there were quite a few who were genuinely scrummy. The one who really caught my eye, though, was spotted walking past where I am now, Wetherspoons in 'stereotypical suburb', when I first got here around half an hour ago. The face was different (and not remotely as beautiful, although far from difficult to look at), but everything else, his height and build, his hair, and, most of all, his delightful grace of movement, was so reminiscent of DBJ three or four years ago. Never 'my' boy, of course, but still the ultimate, as far as I'm concerned.

Love & best wishes to all
Sammy B

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Truism

I saw this in a comment on a blog post just now, described as a truism - 'to create an atheist requires a religious education'. As I've doubtless said before, that's certainly the case with me - I was exposed, in my formative years, to far more religion than the great majority of my peers, by dint of being a church chorister for five years, and, without wishing to sound conceited, being bright enough to actually think about what I was listening to twice each Sunday. Those thoughts led me, by the time my voice broke, at around 14, and I left singing behind me, to conclude that religious belief was a pile of irrational nonsense. Almost 40 years on, that conclusion still holds for me.

Love & best wishes to all
Sammy B

Downtime, or wasted time?

It could probably be convincingly argued that I've largely wasted my day off today - it was raining, again, early on, which didn't exactly inspire me to rush around getting ready to go anywhere, but I did finally get showered and so forth, before heading off to the hospital for yet another rat poison blood test, the only substantive thing that's happened so far today. After an hour of waiting around for the test, I came straight back to 'domicile-ville', and, more or less, straight to the pub, where I've been ever since. I'll be back to work in the morning, so I won't be here for too much longer - and my Kindle will run out of battery life in the fairly near future, too - so after a bit of shopping, it will be back to base again. 'Shorter of breath, and one day closer to death', as Mr Waters observed many moons (dark sides and all!) ago. The upside, though, is that I am, at least, relatively chilled, something unlikely to change too much, especially in the wake of the couple more pints I'm likely to imbibe before I leave here. I guess I could've done something more worthy, but downtime is sometimes its own reward.

Love & best wishes to all
Sammy B

Monday, 21 October 2013

Christmas for two in the big city

I was going to say 'in Surrey' until I realised that there was a loose end or two - while Christmas dinner will be in Surrey, geographically, at least, the accommodation, because it's the other side of the Thames, is in what used to be Middlesex, and as Middlesex hasn't had a formal existence since 1965, it's simply less complicated to cut through the rather pedantic nomenclature and just say 'London'! Anyway, before I get ridiculously bogged down, the upshot of this evening is that K is going to come up for Christmas, we're going to stay in a Thames-side hotel, albeit of the generic 'Lodge' type, and have Christmas dinner in my 'London local'. My girl finally committed herself to a decision - not the easiest thing to wring from her! - when I spoke to her at teatime, and I had everything booked and confirmed within the hour. I spoke to my ex as well. albeit a little later, and explained the arrangements. She got rather upset - sad upset, rather than angry upset - unfortunately, even though she knew what was in the offing, which wasn't my intention in the slightest, because, as I told her, I still care a great deal about her, but, ultimately, it was K's decision, and not one I'd put any pressure on her to make in my 'favour', as it were. If anything, I'd been trying to nudge her in her mother's direction, given my greater self-sufficiency, or insularity, or whatever you want to call it, but I have to admit I'm pleased with the way things have panned out. but not at all in any sense involving schadenfreude. Of course, there are things that could happen in the interim that could shoot it all down in flames anyway, particularly things with a Mancunian slant, but, given a fair wind, Christmas is certainly something I'm now looking forward to.

Love & best wishes to all
Sammy B

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Nothing

Four weeks, almost to the minute, since I received the text message which looked, on first impressions, as though it signalled the collapse of what little remains of my life. But....nothing. I still have no idea what, if anything, is going to happen. I'd like to be able to relax, to go back to living normally, or what passes for normal in my situation, but that, I suspect, would be tempting fate a little too much. If his intention was to have me living on tenterhooks, he's succeeded, in spades.

Love & best wishes to all
Sammy B

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Discharge, and a collateral benefit of a strike

I had a follow-up appointment with the thoracic consultant at my local hospital this morning, and, after a chest X-Ray and a chat with the doctor, I've been discharged, the official 'end' of my pneumonia and its after-affects, I guess. I'm going to be referred back to the cardiology people, though, largely because the chest doctor thinks I should stay on the rat poison because of my ongoing heart condition. Not if I can help it, I can assure you! Part two of today's medical thrills and spills came an hour or so ago, when I went to my GP's for a flu vaccination, which even I, with my reluctance to engage with health matters, think is a good idea, after the dramas of May and June. The absolute last thing I want is to run any risk of ending up in hospital again.
Much of England has been affected by a teachers' strike today - K has had a buckshee day off - including 'domicile-ville' and surrounding areas. The benefit, from my point of view, is that there have been more than a few cuties out and about, given that it's a reasonably nice day. There was one in particular, as I walked down to Wetherspoons a while ago, 14-ish (yes, I know that's still under the UK age of consent, but it wouldn't be in numerous other places), who I would quite happily have sold my (non-existent) soul for. And I don't think I was alone - a girl of around the same age with his group of friends appeared to be thinking along very similar lines, the way she was looking at him!

Love & best wishes to all
Sammy B

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Missing muse, is that you?

I've been suffering from what I described in conversation at the weekend as a 'Xander hangover', my seeming inability to write anything fictional, or, really, anything much at all since I finished Alexandrine almost six months ago. This morning, though, not only did I set out on a new story (and yes, I'm well aware that I've made these claims before and got nowhere near a completed product), but I also experienced something that hasn't happened for perhaps two years, a plot coming into my mind more or less fully formed, needing only the right words in the right order to hang onto the already existing substructure. I know the beginning, middle and end already, all I've got to do is to commit it to the screen in a coherent way. Fingers crossed!

Love & best wishes to all
Sammy B

Monday, 14 October 2013

A good day, thanks to a good friend

I had a long day out yesterday, but not meandering on my own around London as I'd anticipated. I received a text on Saturday evening from a friend I've neglected shamefully in recent months, asking if I was free yesterday and suggesting that we meet up. That, indeed, was what happened, in his home town, and it proved to be a thoroughly good afternoon of food, drink and conversation, even if some of the conversation was rather self-centred on my part, wrapped up as I still am, to a considerable degree, in my recent issues. I don't know what I've done to deserve such a degree of empathy and understanding, but I'm nonetheless wholeheartedly grateful.

Love & best wishes to all
Sammy B

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Who knows what I was expecting?

But, predictably, I achieved nothing. I've been thinking, over the past couple of days, about whether I could possibly try to get involved in any sort of gay 'social scene' stuff, and had done a little bit of online research to that end. Having walked past a couple of apparently well-known gay bars in town at lunchtime - lunchtime, when they were almost empty! - and still not been able to rustle up the courage to go in, I think the answer to my rhetorical question is a resounding 'no'. It's like the gay group that meets, in seemingly very informal circumstances, in 'domicile-ville' once a month, barely fifteen minutes walk from where I live - I thought about trying that well over a year ago, but the idea of just walking in is terrifying in itself, never mind anything close to an exposition of the realities. I can just imagine how an 'introduce yourself' conversation that went along the lines of 'I've known I was gay since I was 12, but I've never fancied a man in my life' would go down. It's another of those irreconcilable dichotomies in my life - if I don't make the effort, I'm never going to meet anyone, even on a 'friends' level, but if I do put myself 'out there', I'm either going to have to lie, or hide, and I've done quite enough of that in my life, or expect bucketloads of opprobrium to rain down on me. The phrase 'no-win situation', at the risk of being accused of self-pity, seems to have been written with my life in mind.

Love & best wishes to all
Sammy B

Friday, 11 October 2013

Out is better than in, even in the rain

Into my second day off of four, and in the big city again (actually, in almost stereotypically suburban Suburbia at the moment). The weather, since late morning, has been vile, cold, wet and windy, a harbinger of the coming winter, no doubt, but, in current circumstances, I'd rather be out and about, even on a day like this, than contemplating my navel in my room. And, of course, it doesn't rain in the pub!

Love & best wishes to all
Sammy B

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Reasons to be (slightly more) cheerful

I've just been speaking to K, and I certainly feel a little better than I did before the phone call. She's had a couple of A grades in important pre-exam tests, including her English Language mock, and she's also e-mailed the college she would most like to attend if she does move up here next summer, in a very preliminary way, although she hasn't had a reply yet (her e-mail was only sent yesterday, so there's no panic). We also talked about a plan which has gelled in my mind in the past couple of hours, and which certainly seems to be doable, namely for her to come up for Christmas, and for us to eat and drink exactly where I am now - in my 'London local'. There are rooms available in a 'lodge' style hotel ten minutes walk away, at an affordable price, and places still free for Christmas Day lunch here. The only thing I wouldn't want, though, is for my ex to be left on her own as a result, so I've asked K to have a chat with her mum before we get any further into the planning stage. If I'm being honest, though, I'd love to spend the festive season with my girl. We'll have to see how it pans out.

Love & best wishes to all
Sammy B

Losing the will

An hour, ninety minutes ago, there was a serious rant writing itself in my head. Nearly all of it was self-pity, if I'm being honest, but at least there was some fight in me, some impetus to kick back against the world, those who would deny me any prospect of love and affection, of the kind that I feel is right for me. But, after an hour of sitting in traffic queues on the top deck of a London bus, all of that spirit has evaporated, the hopelessness and helplessness of my situation seems overwhelming once more. It's like being buried alive, with just enough air left to exist, but not enough to live. People often talk about 'the benefit of hindsight', but if I'd known, on the sunny Spring day in 1972 when I first remember myself being entranced by a beautiful boy, even though I didn't fully understand then what that entrancement meant, if I'd known how my life was going to be, I'd have gone straight home and slashed my wrists there and then.

Love & best wishes to all
Sammy B

Panic

I'm not sure how long I can carry on like this, succumbing to hammer bangs of panic in my head almost every time I'm insufficiently distracted by my doings. Maybe nothing will happen, but he could do what he threatened to do, to destroy my life, if he chose to. And it's the not knowing, not being able to say whether it's going to be nothing or everything, that's left me in this nightmarish morass of, frankly, fear. There's no-one to blame but myself for being in this situation, but it was a much younger, much more immature self that made those mistakes. No excuse, but simply an explanation - I was 20, 21, going on about 11. I couldn't cope with who I was, as he rightly said the other week, and he was caught in the crossfire. I just wanted someone to love me back, but I was asking something of him that he wasn't able to give. Would that I could reach back and change the past, but that's obviously impossible. And so my life is in his hands. The hands of someone who now hates me.

Love & best wishes to all
Sammy B

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

This will probably get my blog nuked, but....

....I think it makes an important point.



Love & best wishes to all
Sammy B

Things

A year, fifteen months ago, there was quite a lot of discussion between my ex and I about what, if anything, I was going to take of the contents of our former family home. In the event, I took very little, losing, give or take, 95% of everything I owned, most notably hundreds and hundreds of books. I wasn't overly concerned at the time, and I'm not now, except in so far as K has been deprived of what could have been a pretty substantial library, but there are a few things I regret having left behind - my DVD of Another Country, all of my virtually complete set of Nabokov's novels, and my prize for having been a series winner on a TV quiz programme, well-known and popular in its time, amongst the most significant. I salvaged a few things, though, including the item that started this train of thought, a crystal wine glass, currently containing some Australian Chardonnay which was on special offer when I went shopping this afternoon, and which was originally one of a set of six given to us as an engagement present, although only two were left by the time of the split - symbolically, I guess, I took one and left one for my ex, even though she virtually never drinks wine and never has. It's a nice thing, not wildly expensive - I could probably find a replacement for a few pounds if I ever happen to break it - but it is, as they say, of 'sentimental value'. Ultimately, though, it's the 'people things' that are the greatest loss, far outweighing any material possessions, twenty-odd years of loving and caring, laughter and tears, sharing my life with another. When, as I was thinking on the way back from work earlier, I've lost my best friend, too, it's all pretty bleak. The greatest loss in that case is trust - we've always been there for each other, even if only at the end of a telephone - but, even if he got in touch and made peace overtures, something I've absolutely no expectation will actually happen, that bond, the sense of having someone who knows you will listen if they want to talk, and vice versa, is, in the wake of things that were said, and later texted, over that Mancunian weekend, gone forever. The love, despite everything, is still there on my part, but that doesn't change anything. All gone, smashed to pieces. Like most of my life.

Love & best wishes to all
Sammy B

Sunday, 6 October 2013

I'd say you had the manners of a pig....

....but, sadly, you haven't. I had a disagreement, ages ago, and not even a particularly serious one, with one of the bar staff in my 'London local', and, ever since, she's gone out of her way to be offensively rude every time I've had the misfortune to be served by her. Without wishing to sound like 'Outraged of Tunbridge Wells', don't these people realise who's paying their wages?

Love & best wishes to all
Sammy B


Max-ed out

I did almost nothing yesterday - I was rostered a one-off night shift, which didn't start until 11:30, and simply couldn't be bothered to get ready to go anywhere during the day. This wasn't, entirely, a good move, and underlined the reasons why I've spent as little time as possible at 'base' in the past couple of weeks, because I spent far too much of the day brooding about 'worst-case scenarios', stressing myself out to the extent that my heart meds could barely keep my arrhythmia under control. I haven't made the same mistake today, though - I left work at 7:30 this morning, and I've been meandering since then, until I fetched up in my 'London local' about 45 minutes ago. And there have been some collateral benefits, most notably the eponymous Max - a bloody good name for a sheepdog, in my opinion, rather than for the cutest boy I've seen for a week or three! - who I saw not more than about 20 minutes after I'd left work, thought I'd seen the last of when he and his mother got off of the bus at its terminus, but who then miraculously reappeared on my next bus, as they got on at the stop after me, and ended up sitting immediately behind me, hence my getting to know his name. He was in the 'strictly eye candy' category - he was 11, give or take - but he certainly brightened my morning. So, the plan now is for a moderate amount of Staropramen, and then back to 'domicile-ville' for an early night - I'm back on earlies in the morning, for my sins. Another chapter in the 35 year endurance test called shift work. Such fun!

Love & best wishes to all
Sammy B

Saturday, 5 October 2013

Prescience

Over the past couple of days, I've been re-reading, for the umpteenth time, The Chrysalids by John Wyndham, having found an online version I could read on my Kindle. It's been one of my favourite books since I heard a serialisation of it on the radio when I was 11, and certainly since I first read a copy I filched from the English storeroom at school at 14 (I always meant to put the book back after I'd read it, but it somehow never happened, and I kept the copy until it finally disintegrated, about 20 years later!), but I've always looked at it as a science fiction take on a post-apocalyptic world. This latest re-reading, though, has made me think about another layer of meaning in the story, namely the portrayal, and, it seems to me, condemnation by the author, of the ills of a society dominated by religious fundamentalism, patriarchy and outright theocracy. The sort of society that some, particularly in the US and some Islamic countries, seem to consider to be some sort of paragon. And worthy of being imposed on everyone else, by military force, if necessary.

Love & best wishes to all
Sammy B