Month: June 2021

Being open and honest in dark times…

I wrote a few weeks ago about being very very down and living through very dark moments. Although at the time of writing that post I didn’t express how truly dark those days were, but at the time I was considering ending it. Now, before I continue, I have NO point of life I can place this on, and really there is no rhyme or reason for my “black” thoughts, but all the same, they existed, they were real and nothing at that point moved me from this runaway train of thought.

Over the years so many rock icons had taken their lives by hanging, and I thought this to be a horrific, almost barbaric death. Then, this year our dear nephew hanged himself with his “best friend” dog by his side. He was at a point that this course of action seemed logical and to him his only friend was his dog, but even his dog could not chase the demons away. At the time of his death, I thought to myself how could he go through with it? What a terrible way to go. But, yes, there is always a but, in my head during those three or four weeks my thoughts changed and blocked the “how” question to something that now made sense to me. I even thought of exhaust fumes into the car, but my mind kept turning to the thing I thought barbaric and horrific, which at the time made sense.

These thoughts plagued me 24/7. In my dreams and my waking hours. It was monotonous and wore away at me. To me it was like something was daring, tempting, wishing me to follow that rabbit down the hole. Every song I listened to pulled me in the wrong direction and my head followed the trail of breadcrumbs to darker and darker places, like unseen hands relentlessly tugging at me, almost taunting me to the final act.

I can’t say what changed, what brought me back to a “sensible” train of thought, although still my head “goes west” but so far without the need for finality, however, it is still dark.

A week or so after writing that post I was wondering about the house and garden aimlessly and Mazikeen came to me wanting to play. Of course, I played with her and her ball and eventually, I sat in the arbour and she sat with me. She was leaning on me just staring at me with nothing but love in her eyes, and maybe the thought of a biscuit. I sat looking at her, holding her and asked knowing I was never going to get a spoken answer “will you miss me if I go? I need you to look after your dad for me!” She is a dog, indeed a very intelligent dog, but all the same, a dog, and I never expected an answer. She looked at me in the eyes, maybe sensing my turmoil, without breaking eye contact moved over to my knee and literally hugged me and gently licked me like she was giving me kisses of support, and maybe even telling me she would miss me. I have no idea what she was thinking but it was a gesture that unknown to me at the time made a big difference. Later that evening Harper did the same. Harper is a hugger, but again this probably made a difference.

Maybe that was what I needed. Maybe my girls really knew where my head was and formed a plan between themselves to help, or maybe they were being themselves and that was my point of return, a push in the right direction. Do not get me wrong, M knew I was in a dark place, but, I did what I always do, and pushed him back, told him to “leave it”, “don’t push it” and I am sure many other damning comments. Not that I wanted to hurt M, but I am someone that needs to deal with things on my own, and anyone trying to help gets pushed away. Not ideal, but I do not know any other way. I grew up with a hateful father who thought with his fists and “boys DO NOT cry” and the notion that emotions are weak. This is something I cannot change in myself even though I know it is self-destructive. I am over half a century old and old dogs don’t learn new tricks no matter what people believe.

Whilst in that frame of mind, the so-called sense is buried out of reach and dark thoughts emerge as sensible courses of action. Maybe my girls understood and their actions were just enough to pull me through, or maybe my head sorted itself out? I don’t know, and honestly, I’ll never know. I am still not right, but the edge of the precipice seems a little further away today.

One of the many songs I turn to when I’m down is “Hope there’s someone” by Antony and the Johnson’s. It is a beautiful song by a beautiful person.

Walking Challenge – New York

My latest walking challenge was through New York which was nice as it is one of the few places I really want to visit before I expire.

The challenge this time was 42km / 26 miles and started at Prospect Park. As always at each place, there is a virtual postcard and I got to learn a lot about each place, so that is a bonus. The medal is like the others, chunky and well made and in a presentation box, but this one glows in the dark, the city skyline glows, so that is a bit of fun.

The Route

  • Prospect Park – Starting Point
  • Brooklyn Bridge
  • Flatiron Building
  • Empire Stat Building
  • St. Patrick’s Cathedral
  • Rockefeller Center
  • The Museum of Modern Art
  • The Metropolitan Museum fo Art
  • Central Park
  • Broadway
  • Times Square
  • Vessel
  • World Trade Center
  • Charging Bull
  • Statue of Liberty – End Point
New York
Certificate

I am going to do Paris next which is 60km, and as I seem to be doing city walks I may continue with those challenges for now. I would like to do a big challenge like Camino de Santiago which is 819km / 509 miles. Conqueror does Route 66 which is 3669km / 2280 miles but the medal does not look all that good, and Pacer medals are really nice and chunky. I will keep looking out for other challenges.

Not so guilty pleasures…

Do you have songs that are your not so guilty pleasures? Now, by that I mean guilty pleasures that you should but don’t feel guilty about. I have a big love of odd songs and the 70’s definitely fills the brief. Roxy Music is one of my favourite bands, and one song in particular “In every dream home a heartache” I have listened to it for most of my life, it was released in 1973, so it is as old as M is.

Let me know what your odd guilty not so guilty pleasure is.

Until next time…

Visit to Llanberis

A few weeks ago we decided to go to my homelands and have lunch in Llanberis. It was such a beautiful day, the sun was out, the sky was blue and we had lakes and mountains to look at, and to round the evening off we had fish, chips and mushy peas which were delicious.

Llyn Padarn is a glacial formed lake and the largest natural lake in Cymru, 105 meters above sea level and surrounded by the slate mountains, so it is quite spectacular. It is however quite cold in the water as both the dogs found out. Mazikeen was first in after seeing something in the water that she thought she could fish out and fell straight into it. When her little head bobbed up out of the water she looked a little shocked. I had to help her out as it was a little too high for her to get out, but she shook herself and carried on as if nothing happened. We were laughing at her doing it when both of them decided to go down one of the boat jetties which stops about 2 feet into the water and there is a drop. Harper was the first to look down at the edge whilst she was paddling about, then decided she could keep waking and went head first in. She was under the water for about 5 seconds and I thought I would have to jump in to get her out and then her head popped up and I pulled her out as she still had her harness on. Mazikeen, completely unperturbed by falling in and also seeing Harper fall in kept walking further out and then she vanished under the surface. I stepped forward ready to wake in and her little head popped up and she was swimming further out then realised and started going to the right to get back to the shore. Second dunking and she was not put off, and in and out the water for most of the day, but she was a little more careful from that point onwards.

Just for contrast…

As we can only enter one photo of one dog in the Purina competition and Mazikeen was the best for posing I went with her photo, but just for contrast, this is one of my favourite photos of Harper.

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