Fifty

Today is my birthday. And by a minor miracle I’ve made it to fifty!

Those of you that knew me in the late eighties & nineties would probably agree that’s quite an achievement considering my reckless abandonment back in those days.

How that taxi outside the Festival House missed me, when I rather drunkenly slipped off the curb, I’ll never know. The day I survived rolling over the bonnet of a car, having rather stupidly and dangerously decided it would be a great idea skateboard down Gas Hill to see how fast I could go, I’ll never forget the look on the face of the poor woman who was driving as I screamed in horror as my Sims Pure Juice board carried on across Riverside Road and was lost forever to the bottom of the Wensum. It had cost a weeks wages back in 1995 and I had only had it barely a week. I was absolutely fine, apart from the 35 year heartache at the loss of that fabulous board.

Then there was the time I wound up in casualty with cracked vertebrae after losing a piggy back fight outside the Pottergate Tavern. How I survived (along with a few of others) the Potts is another miracle and a story in itself.

There are quite a few other notable incidents to mention as well, Charlie with the Flymo in the kitchen at the notorious house in Honey Close waving it around, blade facing forward chucking bits of dried grass around the room, while I stood with spinning blade inches away from my face while telling him to put it down. Setting fire to my hair in a cupboard at one of the many Honey Close parties. Knocking myself out after falling into sixty or seventy empty Newcastle Brown bottles we were storing on the kitchen table just to keep a record of how much Newcastle Brown we could drink in a month. In hindsight a tally with pen and paper would’ve been a more sensible solution. Just to finish that event off, two of my friends tried to shove me head first into the oven while I was unconscious. How about passing out half in and half out of the front door having barely made it home after a full days session in the Potts. Where did these shenanigans take place you ask? Honey Close of course. I lived there with various housemates for nearly two years between ’94 and ’96, me being the only consistent resident, before buying my first house in 1996, which upon reflection, probably saved me from a demise that would no doubt have made the Darwin Awards.

How about the time I fell off the stage at the arts centre when putting my foot on the monitor in front of me in a classic rock pose, missing it completely and heading head first into the audience, who rather than trying to save me, parted ways as if for Moses, presenting me with a nice open space on the floor on which to land heavily on my knees. They may have swelled to the size of footballs, but I still finished the gig!

There are many, many other stories of this nature, and thanks to my insomnia, I’ve managed to commit these few to my blog space. Unfortunately though, it’s now nearly 6:30am, and it’s time to get up and battle with the kids to get them fed and ready for school. Then I’ve got to fight the traffic on Norwich’s wonderful inner ring road to get to work, a journey of 2 miles that takes longer than the 12 mile journey from home to the school. If it’s anywhere near as traumatic as yesterday morning’s escapades, I’m in for a very stressful treat!

Happy Birthday to me!

The Perils of Travelling to London For Work

One of the things I have to do for work is travel to our London office fairly frequently, usually once a month, and usually I have an overnight stay as it gets me in bright and early the following day, usually a good two hours before anyone else which allows me to get a hell of a lot done. Due to hospital and doctor’s appointments preventing my planned overnight stay last week, this is the second consecutive Monday I find myself sat on the 09:00 service on my way to Liverpool Street Station. It is also the second consecutive Monday the 09:00 service has been late (although, if I’m honest, every time I get the 09:00 service to London Liverpool Street it is late), and the second consecutive Monday, the automated announcing system at Norwich Station had everyone but me (I’ll explain this further down)  shuffling from one platform to the next while it tried to decide which platform the train would be departing from.

Usually it’s pretty straight forward getting the train from Norwich, and in the past I would always get the 08.30 which gets into Liverpool Street at 10.20. Due to moving the kids to a school in Norwich, though, I’ve had to change my pattern and get the 09:00 instead. It doesn’t make a massive amount of difference journey wise, as it’s the fast train from Norwich with only one stop at Ipswich, and arrives at 10.30. The tube and walk to the London office in Clerkenwell is only ten minutes, so, as you can see, not much of a hardship.

Getting on the 09:00 is an absolute ball ache though. My usual routine for getting a London bound train is to check the arrivals board online for the last previous train to my intended departure, which gives me the platform to head to when I get there. It’s then just a brisk walk from the office to the station, followed by a five or ten minutes relaxing, stress free sit down to get my laptop ready to do a bit of work on the way.

This, however, does not work for the 09:00. I still check online for the platform but, as the 09:00 service to London Liverpool Street relies on the 08:56 service from London Liverpool Street arriving on time, the incoming passengers disembarking, then the great throng of us standing on the platform to board the train, it’s always an utter pain in the arse. First of all you have to contend with the automated announcer shuffling us from platform to platform, like male emperor penguins huddling together for warmth and respite from a blizzard. I’ve become wise to these shenanigans and have learnt to stay put when the announcement is made. It happens because there is a slower service that departs at 09:03 to London and if the 09:00 is late the automated system gets itself all in a tizzy, and starts sending us back and forth between platforms, well not everyone, as there is always a few others, like myself, who have figured out this glitch in the system, and while the rest of the throng is shuffling from one platform to another and back again, we position ourselves in the prime spots on the platform to ensure we are first on the train and bag our favorites seats.

Me? I like to sit in one of the double window seats travelling backwards as you get a better view out of the window, I find if you sit facing the direction of travel, everything rushes towards you and has gone past you before you’ve had a chance to take anything in.

Stay tuned for the return journey, I always aim for the 14:30 from London Liverpool Street back to Norwich so I get back in a reasonable time and get home to spend time with the family before the kids go to bed. It doesn’t always work out that way, mainly due to a certain individual in the London Office, although sometimes, fate just gets in the way as it did a few weeks ago. If I’m not to drained and sleep all the way back to Norwich later I’ll detail that journey on here while I’m heading home.

This Week’s Deity

Hello my lovely blog readers and followers (I’m getting 2 or 3 reads per post now).

I just thought I would share with you my deity of choice for this week, and having said that, I have decided that my Deity of choice for this week is going to be (drumroll)…

Oizys.

A rather miserable choice, I hear you say, considering her Latin name is Miseria, which is where we get our word for misery from, and she is the Goddess of Misery!

All of which I suppose is a bit obvious now, isn’t it?

Anyway, Oizys is also the Goddess of grief, depression and anxiety, and I have chosen her as this week’s deity as, despite having an excellent morning of getting myself out of bed, showered and ready for work, along with getting the kids dressed and out of the house on time, and an excellent school run, my day has somewhat gone downhill since!

What else can I say about Oizys? Not a lot really, as it’s been a very long time since I read Hesiod’s Theogony.

What I can tell you, if my memory serves me correct, is Oizys was the daughter of Nyx and Erebus. Both Nyx (Goddess of night) and Erebus (God of darkness) where born of Chaos, which according to Hesiod is “…the gaping void above the earth created when the Earth and Sky separated from their primordial unity” or something like that.

Now then, Nyx was about at the very beginning of time and with Erebus had a lot of progeny (progenies? I’m not sure what the correct term is here), Hypnos (Sleep) and Thanatos (Death – bit like Thanos from the Marvel comics, I wonder where they got the idea for the name from?) were two of theirs, along with Hemera who was the primordial goddess of the Day, I can’t remember the others at the moment, but I’m sure they’ll come to me over the next few hours (which will no doubt lead me to make a lot of edit’s to this post). All Nyx’s other children along with herself and Erebus make up the majority of the Greek primordial deities. Hemera is a little bit hazy as she is considered in some to have given birth to the Titans, (other writings state Aether, and others state the both Hemera and Aether!) being the mother of both Gaia and Uranus. According to Hesiod, though, Gaia conceived Uranus alone and went on with him to parent the first of the Titans.

All very confusing, I know. And probably not helped by my hazy recollection of things and my bad narrative.

Anyway, despite all of that (quite wildly inaccurate) rambling what I’ve written up there. This week’s deity is Oizys. When I’m cursing, thanking or praying for things to happen, it’ll be Oizys I’ll be doing the cursing, thanking or praying to.

Oh, and as with everything I write, make sure you fact check it all rather than accepting it as written, my memory is very flaky and it’s been an exceedingly long time since I studied any of this stuff.

Also, while I think of it, this post can also serve to show my very dear friend https://morethanablackcoffeegirl.wordpress.com/ how easy it is to write 500+words, on just about any absolute nonsense you can think of, in the space of 10 minutes over lunchtime.

A Day Off With the Kids

Today I had a day off work to spend with the kids for the beginning of half term. That, however, is not quite how it worked out. Instead, I’ve spent most of the day in bed having been awake all night following a bout of food poisoning.

I went to the theatre last night to see Jack Whitehall. To be honest, I didn’t find him hilarious, but he did raise a few laughs. Before the show, my wife, my father-in-law and I had a meal in the restaurant. There was not a lot to choose from, this being a Sunday, so we had a sharing platter of olives, falafel, little mushroom balls stuffed with rice (a bit like a mini risotto in a ball), sun dried tomatoes and salad, you get the gist. I then had the “superfood salad” which consisted of cold broccoli, what seemed to be a whole tub of cherry tomatoes, avocado and rather a lot of gritty quinoa. I didn’t eat it all, it was too large, but on the whole it was absolutely fine.

As the show went on, I could feel the falafel settling, and by the time we left I could feel my stomach cramping up which made for an uncomfortable journey in the back of the car.

Rather than heading home, we went back to my in-laws to stay the night, it being half term, and having come straight from the caravan earlier, it made sense to do so, I planned to head out with the kids somewhere first thing in the morning. I headed up for bed not long after we got back, discovering T asleep on my side of the bed I decided to sleep in his bed.

I couldn’t get to sleep. Unusual for me as I’m usually out like a light then struggle to stay asleep. After a couple of hours of tossing and turning I felt that sweet taste in my mouth which means run to the toilet quick!

I won’t go into details, but it wasn’t pleasant and there was a lot of it. After an indeterminate amount of time spent languishing on the bathroom floor between bouts of vomiting, I made my way back to bed. Unable to go back to sleep for fear of a repeat experience, with a pain in my gut and my head both of which throbbed rhythmically in time with my heart.

I finally drifted off about dawn, into a solid six hours of uninterrupted sleep. Waking up about an hour ago as my wife brought me a cup of tea and some plain biscuits.

The upshot is, I now feel guilty. Guilty for spending a days holiday from work in bed. Guilty because my mother-in-law has had to entertain the children while I’ve been asleep. Guilty because my wife has had her day interrupted at work with the kids hanging around. But, I feel most guilty for missing out on the time I should have been spending with my children today. I get to spend such precious little time with them as it is, and on a day that has been anticipated for months, I spend most of it in bed.

No Biscuits

I’ve just been musing with a mate on WhatsApp about a world without biscuits. Isn’t it weird the places your mind takes you to when you’re bored? Transcript below:

Just imagine a world without biscuits. There would be carnage! Thank God (I have chosen Dionysus, the Greek God of wine, intoxication, chaos, and ritual frenzy, as today’s deity) for biscuits!

BTW, Dionysus had the power to bring the dead back to life. A power that was bestowed on him by his father, Zeus. Zeus had resurrected the young Dionysus after the Titans had lured him into their cave, slit his throat, chopped him up and roasted him for dinner! It came back to kick them in the arse though, as it was then that Zeus, having finally had enough of the old gods, killed them all! Dionysus also had the power to induce mass hysteria and madness. What a dude eh?

At least I think that’s right, you may want to google him to double-check, my Greek mythology is a bit hazy these days.

Whilst I’m procrastinating about gods instead of doing any housework, did you know the story of Noah’s Ark was actually plagiarised from a much older Sumerian story?

From what I can remember the story first appeared around 2000BC, a full 1000 years before the Biblical version, in the tales of Atrahasis and Gilgamesh. In the Sumerian story, a dude called Atrahasis is told, by the gods, to build an Ark to preserve the species of the Earth from the Deluge, as they called it.

The Sumerians had a shed load of gods, all led by the big three. Anu, who was in charge of the sky, Enlil, who looked after the earth, and Enki, who lived in the oceans. Now, these three were normally squabbling amongst themselves, but having finally had enough of the humans they had created mucking things up on the Earth, they put their differences to one side, clubbed together and sent the Deluge to wipe out mankind.

Just like the story of Noah in the Bible.

It’s quite interesting reading, if you ever get the chance. Atrahasis and Gilgamesh. There’s a lot of similarities between the Sumerian writings and the Old Testament, with plagues and famines and droughts being sent by the gods to sort out man before finally reaching tether’s end and flooding the world to get rid of him.

And to think people actually believe all this shit actually happened for real and was done by the One God? Just goes to show how gullible humans are.

n.b. You might want to fact check this as it’s been a very long time since I studied any of this stuff.

Another poem

I used to write a lot of poetry and stuff when I was younger. I don’t seem to do it so much these days. Here’s another one, from years ago. It’s called Annabel.

Annabel tries,
but misunderstands.
The memories of yesterday,
the shadows of time,
lay up upon her mind.
She’ll try to run away,
on to another day,
she’ll pray for rain today,
but, the sun is awake.

If you wanted to try singing it, it works to the tune of See Emily Play, an early Pink Floyd song.