I’ve fallen out with quite a few people this year. Probably because my bullshit and negativity tolerances are low. I hate fallouts. They upset me. One person told me I didn’t have a monopoly on grief. I hadn’t actually thought that I had such a thing. I choose to write about it and she chose to read what I wrote. But the impact of that one sentence has been that I stopped writing. That makes me cross and it’s been about 4 months without any prose writing until now.
I did start doing a bit of lyric writing. I get some tunes in my head but I haven’t captured them and it’s too early yet for me to work out how to get the tunes onto the guitar. I’m still too shy to put my lyrics out anywhere. At least I’m enjoying a bit of creativity.
To monopolise grief a bit more. I’ve joined a queer bereavement group online. It’s very supportive and loving. It took me over 2 years to find it thus demonstrating a woeful lack of facilities world wide. There are still places and events I find hard to revisit but in this group there is no judgement and we laugh and cry and listen. I can talk about things that some of my friends and family would probably not understand. It feels like I’ve come home.
Music is still a very big thing. Wish I’d started learning to play guitar a bit sooner but it’s the one thing I really look forward to every day. I got quite a long way with free online video lessons from Justin Guitar but I’m now having a weekly lesson in Hebden with an actual teacher not online. I have tunes in my head nearly all the time. Even when I go to the loo in the middle of the night! Sometimes that’s a bit annoying and it’s nice to have a little break from it however I don’t have any control over it.
I managed to be infatuated with Natalie Maines for 9 months. I listened to everything The Chicks recorded, read everything that’s been written about them, played their music over and over day after day after day, made a not insubstantial website about the band. At last my obsession is abating and I’m almost back to boring old normality. I quite liked being in love with my hero. I still really like her a big lot. And I did all that, it sustained me through lockdowns, through loneliness, through boredom, without any input from the object of my desire other than the videos and recordings.
If I can do that with someone who has no idea that I even exist, well apart from when she liked a comment I made on one of her Instagram posts, then god help me if I feel that way towards someone I actually meet. And god help them too. The last time I was so crazy was for Carol in 1993.
My latest rave is Sheryl Crow, I knew her some of her early records but hadn’t listened in much depth. I love her music and there are some great lyrics but I don’t fancy her the same way as I do Natalie, not such a mad obsession. These lines are from Crash and Burn:
Well, it’s laughter that comes up when I cry for youSheryl Crow
And my heart may break again before it learns
And I might be stupid enough to want to fall again
‘Cause I’ve gotten used to the crash and burn
I might be stupid enough to want to fall again.
Bruce said “I lost everything I loved or feared”. Love has been the best years of my life, the pain has been/still is the worst hell on earth.
I’m having a bit of a life now, much smaller thanks to Covid and very different from any expectations I had. But unless Natalie Maines comes walking by…..
This third lockdown has been a lot harder for me. I’ve seen just two people who are friends, I’ve seen a lot of passers by and neighbours but whilst those conversations are pleasant enough, they aren’t people with whom I can really talk about the big stuff. We had a week of extreme sub zero temperatures when it wore me out just trying to counter the cold. The cold set off my herpes so that was horrible for a couple of weeks. I managed to fall out with a friend and yet again with my brother. That stopped me from being able to write until now.
It’s been the longest year ever since 23rd March 2020. I have spent by far the largest part of it entirely on my own. I got out/get out as and when we were/are allowed to and I did take a couple of trips last summer and I did see family and friends then.
I haven’t had any human touch since 15th March 2020 and now I don’t know how I can do that again. It will surely be like opening up a dam. Whoever that first hug is with needs to bring a bucket.
There have been lots of positives through all of it, my house is looking a lot better inside and out. Every week I meet up on Skype with some ex colleagues and that’s been something I look forward to. I’ve had video chats with friends of course, thank god video conferencing more or less works now as opposed to when I was first using it back in about 1996. I remember chatting to a guy in the US from my flat in Salford, the video on my screen was a tiny little box about 2 cm square, surprisingly it did actually work, that was in the days of dial up modems and when you had to leave the computer overnight to download a browser and if you were lucky the line hadn’t hung up when you looked the next morning. For anyone who wants to remember here is the sound of the dial up modem! The good old days of the web in black and white.
I’ve had madnesses and obsessions. Music has been massive but ultimately it’s probably one of things that has kept me sane. I like how that doesn’t even sound logical. Carol would be calling me out for not being logical. I can sort of play some tunes on the guitar now but am reaching a point where I need some proper Zoom lessons. I still wake up in the night with tunes going round in my head. It’s ok. I’ve found lots of new music and that’s been great.
It’s coming up to my 3rd birthday without Carol, she’s only been dead 2 years so that in itself is a bit weird.
This is the stupidity of what I did on my 61st birthday, less than 2 months after Carol died. Because I’d been made redundant as she died I missed out on my usual first aid at work update course. I enrolled on an outdoor first aid course, which I needed to have in order to continue to work teaching navigation.
I packed my bag and drove to my B&B in Llanberis. When I unpacked I realised the bag with all my outdoor kit was not in the car. I drove all the way back home, collected the bag and then drove all the way back to the B&B. A total of about 8 hours driving. I was so ashamed of how foolish I’d been I don’t think I told anyone. The actual course went fine and I passed. On the birthday itself I wandered round some National Trust places.
Last year I was on a hiking holiday in the Lake District and that too finished up on my birthday and I spent the day wandering around National Trust places and had a nice meal in Grasmere. There was no paracetamol to be had in Ambleside. I’ve looked back at a blog post from this time last year and can see how scared I was of what lay ahead. Thank god I didn’t know about 125,000 dead and the never ending parade of disasters. But now, I’ve had my first vaccine jab and maybe I can start to think about doing the things I wanted to do last year for 2022. I’m cautious as my no. 1 priority is to remain alive. At least we don’t have to hear the monstrous #45 hurting our heads every day anymore.
This year for the birthday, I’ve booked parking at the Nat Trust at Nostell Priory, it’s not exactly local but since we have no definition of what local means or how far it extends that’s what I’m doing, walking somewhere different. Then on my way home I’m picking up a meal from my favourite local restaurant, The Moorcock. I’ve got a bottle of bubbly to go with it.
Maybe next year I will have a birthday with other people before I go travelling…..