My Medical Condition – I look OK but I’m not.

I have mentioned this before but, I am sure others find it difficult to recognise that any of this applies to me.

One of the side effects of it is that the sufferer (that’s me) keeps pushing through which is actually the very worst thing which can be done.

Take a look at these posters showing the typical symptoms.

I am going to concentrate on the last poster and explain it, how it relates to how I am …

  • Muscle Pain – Can be severe and is random across my body and can change throughout the day. It’s rarely a ‘real’ pain in that, there is no injury or damage creating it. What happens is that the pain receptor nerves randomly fire sending signals to the brain identical to those as if there were a physical injury so, to me, it’s very real.
  • Joint Pain – Much the same as Muscle pain only this one creates confusion with my joints leading to weakness which are the cause of falls.
  • Post-exertional fatigue – This doesn’t differentiate between physical or mental exercise.. In a ‘normal’ person they can have a run and the recovery time is really quick. If I were to run it could use all the available energy I have for that day. Just typing this out for you is killing my available energy. Prolonged exertion such as several days of a ‘work’ equivalent will often take weeks to recover from needing considerable bed rest, more on that later.
  • Chronic Fatigue – This is the ‘normal’ state for me. I never feel fully awake, never ever. Imagine how you would feel if you lost a complete night sleep. That is how I feel on a good day. On a bad day it is two nights sleep and jet lag.
  • Brain Fog – This one looks like dementia which scares the hell out of me. Going into a room and not remembering why is common. Forgetting names or muddling names up. Not recalling simple words in conversations.
  • Memory Issues – This isn’t much difference to brain fog but specifically it refers to not being able to learn new things, such as a language. Having a lesson and understanding it but, losing it all really quickly.
  • Concentration Difficulties – In me this is such things as struggling to watch a TV show or a movie
  • Headaches – Thankfully, this is one I rarely get.
  • Sleep Dysfunction – This is a huge part of it. Essentially, this illness stops my brain from recognising when I have slept. A sleep monitor will show several hours of REM sleep yet, my brain registers nothing. It is similar to those people who don’t register they’ve eaten and always feel hungry. It is also not something whereby I can logic my way out of it. Even though I know I slept OK, the chemicals my body would produce with sleep to refresh me, don’t get produced. Several hours sleep might be needed just to achieve a minimal increase in energy levels.
  • Heat/Cold Intolerance – This is quite bizarre. It is around 14°C in this room and yet I am sweating. If I picked up a cool can of drink, I’d find it uncomfortably cold. It is why I now must have a car with a heated steering wheel and air conditioning. Things which used to be a luxury have become a medical essential.
  • Marked weight gain/loss – This one makes perfect sense. If I cannot exercise as I used to then unless I reduce my food intake radically, I am going to put on weight quickly.
  • Flu like symptoms – Again, I am fortunate that this doesn’t happen often. That said, other symptoms I shall mention later do resemble this.
  • Sweats – Not in the last list but in others and related to the point above. I randomly sweat and feel really hot and this has nothing to do with the temperature. It is annoying during the day but, it wakes me up at night to the point I will throw the bed clothes off and then wake up some time later shivering.
  • New Sensitivities – For me this is light and sound. I find many sounds uncomfortable. Even music I have put on myself can become uncomfortable after a while. I love bright light, a glorious sunny day is heaven to me but, at the same time, really painful.
  • Tender Lymph Nodes – Yes, this is true but, it doesn’t trouble me as it seems so minor by comparison.
  • Sore throat – Yes but again I don’t see this as particularly worrying
  • Orthostatic Intolerance – I feel this is too closely connected to some of the earlier points to deserve a separate mention. Needless to say, I find just standing very uncomfortable.
  • Vertigo. palpitations – Not something I suffer from
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome – Most definitely and one of my main reasons for never wanting to stay in someone else’s house. Alongside this is severe bloating and discomfort. When I have to go it is consistently explosive and creates a huge mess. Again, one of the reasons not to be somewhere I can’t easily clean up. Just about anything can bring it on.
  • Bladder Dysfunction – My bladder can ‘forget’ to tell me I need a pee for an age and then it goes from not needing to pee to major bladder emergency in minutes!

So, that breaks it down for you.

What can you do to help me?

  • Don’t have expectations that I can do what it looks like I can do
  • Don’t be shocked if I use a walking stick or an electric scooter to get about
  • Do ask questions if you are unsure about what I can do, it will change from day to day
  • Please don’t question my decision not to drink alcohol, it makes my condition worse very quickly.
  • Please, don’t be offended if I appear anti-social. It just means I have run out of energy and need to rest.
  • If I seem angry just ask me if I am OK, it’s most likely I am really struggling to get through my day and will need some help.
  • Talk to me like I am ‘normal’. I don’t have dementia even if it seems like it! I am just really, really tired.
  • If I am driving and say I need to pull over for a nap, allow that to happen, indeed, encourage it.
  • Make sure I drink plenty of water, dehydration is a common issue.
  • If I cannot learn your language it is not because I don’t want to or I am not trying. My brain just isn’t functioning at that level much of the time. Never give up trying though. Just try not to get frustrated as, there is no point, your frustration is nothing compared to mine.
  • If I mess up my words or get yours and everyone else’s name wrong, it’s OK to laugh about it, it is how I deal with it.

Why do Men Keep Quiet?

Male suicide is at an all time high and it’s practically ignored. Were it women who were killing themselves something would be done but, for some reason, it’s not something men want to talk about.

Men don’t tell others when their World is falling apart. They don’t complain when, perhaps they should. They don’t go to their GP with medical issues and they suffer in silence until they cannot deal with the things which weigh heavily on them. Why are we not doing something about this?

What should you do?

If you have a male friend and you notice any change in him at all, speak to him. If you are a man, still speak to him. It doesn’t make you gay, it doesn’t mean you fancy him. It is just one human reaction, an act of compassion to another person. Never tell him not to cry or to pull himself together. Never point out that other people are watching, it doesn’t matter.

It is not just men who go to war and pick up a gun who are heroes, just helping one other man is as heroic an act as anything the forces do. Just letting one other man know you care is often time all it takes.

If this is someone you look up to, don’t look down on them because they are not coping, give them support. They can still be your hero if you have to be their hero.

Why am I writing this now?

Well, it’s not me, it’s you! I am fine but, I know how not fine feels. I am struggling like hell with the pressures of life and my illness but, I am OK. I am managing and my coping mechanisms are in place and mostly functioning. But look, let me show you signs in yourself when you know that stuff in your life is getting on top of you. I know as it’s happening to me right now.

Little things suddenly get you really angry like, you want to things sorted as they’re just wrong, someone needs to know they are wrong. The war in Gaza or Ukraine, the government or, the stupid price of fuel at Sainsbury right now. It’s realising that our reactions to such things are chronically disproportionate to how much they personally affect us. Maybe there is a feeling of obligation to ‘get involved’, get it sorted and, maybe, you feel if you do get involved you will have at least cracked one problem that annoys you in life.

You know what though? These are not ‘your’ problem. Sit down for a bit and contemplate all the things making you angry or confused until you come to some closer to home.

I am realising now how events going back decades in my own life still have a huge effect on me and how I think now. Certain things trigger me. A comment which might even seem like a funny joke to someone else and to me, it gets me so angry, so uptight and that is, to me, it’s a trigger.

Bottling up our history

When we have a bad experience we store it up. We may not realise we do but, as men, we do. I am sure some, perhaps even a lot of women do this too but, right now I am focusing on men.

Maybe someone significant to us died when they were young or, at a time in our lives when we vitally needed them? Maybe we have been physically or emotionally abused? Perhaps we were given unrealistic expectation of what success looks like?

What do I have?

I grew up raised by an overbearing father with expectations of his son I did not match. I was expected to be captain of every school sports team or, at least, the football team. I had zero interest in sport. I was meant to show a young interest in girls, I showed zero interest in girls. I was meant to match the men in the family and be high up in banking, I had zero interest in banking and was not actually very fond of maths either. If I achieved anything it would be “well done … but.” I was emotionally abused by him well into my adult life.

I was emotionally and physically abused in a Long Term Relationship. The shame of that was huge and, of course, I genuinely had no one to talk to as, well, men don’t get abused you see, doesn’t happen.

I was raped by a good friend. I stayed with him overnight, I don’t recall going to bed but woke up with him raping me. I felt confused, very confused and I did nothing about it. After all, even I believed then that men don’t get raped but, what else do we call it when we discover someone screwing us from behind without ever giving them permission to do that? It wouldn’t even matter if I’d ever said it might be OK, at that time he did not have my permission. It was unprotected too and for weeks after, until I got myself tested, I was terrified I might have contracted something.

I became a single dad. I am taking nothing away from the male partners I had a LTR with at the time but, they were not parenting, they were just there. I was abused in another way at that time, by the discrimination by women who would not accept my role. Teachers who kept wanting to speak to the mother of the kids just as one very basic example. As a gay man I also had a social worker question whether it was appropriate for me to take my son into the male toilets given my ‘persuasion’. For the benefit of doubt, my son was doubly incontinent and needed to be toileted. Fortunately, there was a witness there who herself put in a complaint.

How am I affected now?

Yes. I did notice myself get angry when I saw Sainsbury have raised petrol by nearly 3p a litre in the past week. My brain was going there, who do I write to, this has to be stopped. That’s a warning sign, it’s the time when we need to either talk to someone or, we need to have a good coping mechanism in place or, both. Come on, realistically, I only have a tiny amount of energy each day, do I really want to waste it on such things?

How do I live with it?

One of my ways of dealing with things is to write. Write in the hope that it might encourage another person to not let it go to far. To appreciate that many of the things we think are important really are not and can be ignored and, many more things we are ignoring are the very things we need to sort out either in our own mind or with the help of someone else.

I can honestly say I rarely feel depressed, rarely feel out of control. Sure, with my medical condition (M.E.) I do struggle just thinking but, I am still mostly in control of my destiny.

Earlier I knew I needed to eat but, the thought of just making a sandwich was too much. My solution was to do a quick analysis, why was I feeling like that? The actual process of making a sandwich was painful but, manageable. The alternative was to go back to the car and drive elsewhere and eat. Logically just making food at home makes more sense but, that would only be if I ignored what was really the problem. It has nothing to do with whether I could make a sandwich or not, it had everything to do with needing some ‘me’ time. A time when I didn’t need to avoid tripping on the cats, when I didn’t need to speak to anyone where I wasn’t able to get distracted and take on another task around the house.

I went to McDonalds, I got a free meal (I go there too much and earn a lot of points apparently). My phone data was off, I ordered on my phone using their WIFI and chose to ignore any messages coming through. For just half an hour I shut the world out.

… and after?

Sure, I saw the same sign for fuel but, it didn’t bother me, it’s fine. As soon as I got home the messages came in, the phone kept ringing with problems to solve for other people but, this is my life. It will not always be this way and I have maybe written something here which might help just one other person.

The Wonders of the UK

Cheddar Gorge, located in the Mendip Hills in Somerset, England, is renowned for its stunning natural beauty and impressive limestone cliffs. It is also the birthplace of the world-famous Cheddar cheese, which has been produced in the region for centuries. The gorge offers picturesque walking trails, fascinating caves, and breathtaking panoramic views, making it a popular destination for nature enthusiasts and history buffs alike.

The Natural History Museum in London is located near Harrods, the store of the super rich. This world-renowned museum houses a vast collection of specimens from various aspects of natural history, including botany, entomology, mineralogy, paleontology, and zoology. Its iconic Victorian architecture, featuring a striking Romanesque design, provides a captivating backdrop for the diverse exhibits and interactive displays. The museum’s highlights include the popular dinosaur gallery, the famous blue whale skeleton, and numerous interactive learning experiences for visitors of all ages. Entrance to the museum is free, making it a must-visit destination for both tourists and locals alike.

Buckingham Palace has a rich history that dates back to the early 18th century when it was originally constructed as a large townhouse for the Duke of Buckingham. It was later acquired by King George III in 1761 as a private residence for Queen Charlotte and was then known as “The Queen’s House.” In the 19th century, under the reign of King George IV, extensive renovations and expansions were carried out, transforming it into the magnificent palace known today. The palace has since served as the official London residence of Britain’s sovereigns, making it an iconic symbol of the British monarchy and an essential part of the United Kingdom’s rich heritage. If the Monarch is home, the Royal flag is raised, if not it will be the Union Flag

St Paul’s Cathedral is an iconic architectural masterpiece located in the heart of London. This magnificent cathedral holds great historical significance, and it’s no wonder that it was chosen as the venue for the wedding of Princess Diana and Prince Charles. The grandeur and solemn beauty of St Paul’s Cathedral have made it a popular attraction for visitors from around the world. Its rich history, stunning architecture, and role as the backdrop for significant events have secured its place as a must-visit destination in London

Westminster Abbey is a historic church located in London, England. It is known for its stunning Gothic architecture and has been the traditional location for coronations and burials for English and, later, British monarchs. The abbey has also been the setting for many royal weddings, including the wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a popular tourist attraction, drawing visitors from around the world who come to admire its architecture, learn about its history, and pay homage to the notable figures buried within its walls.

The Houses of Parliament is more of a description than a name. There is some confusion as to what to call it.

The Houses of Parliament are strictly speaking, what it contains. The House of Commons and The House of Lords. The building itself is The Palace of Westminster. Attached to it is what many call ‘Big Ben’, again, this isn’t the name but the contents. Big Ben is the name of the largest bell inside the Elizabeth Tower.

In this picture, just to the right of the Elizabeth Tower can be seen the twin white towers of Westminster Abbey.

The bridge is not very originally named ‘Westminster Bridge’ and is one of many which cross the Thames. The first of those is not tower Bridge as many think but actually the Queen Elizabeth Bridge which connects the counties of Essex and Kent East of London.

The history of the Tower Bridge in London dates back to the late 19th century. Designed by Sir Horace Jones and engineer Sir John Wolfe Barry, it took 8 years to construct and was completed in 1894. The bridge’s design was a solution to the increasing traffic in London while still allowing large ships to access the port facilities. Its iconic look with two towers, drawbridge, and Gothic architectural elements has made it a renowned symbol of the city. Today, the Tower Bridge is not only a vital crossing over the River Thames but also a popular tourist attraction, offering magnificent views of the London skyline.

The Tower of London, officially known as His Majesty’s Royal Palace and Fortress of the Tower of London, is a historic castle located on the north bank of the River Thames in central London next to Tower Bridge, England. Its origins date back to the Norman Conquest of England in the 11th century when William the Conqueror began building the White Tower in 1078 as a symbol of power and as a stronghold to control the city of London.

Over the centuries, the Tower has served various purposes including royal residence, armory, treasury, menagerie, and most notably, as a prison. It gained a notorious reputation as a place of imprisonment, torture, and execution, with famous prisoners including Anne Boleyn, Lady Jane Grey, and Sir Walter Raleigh.

In addition to its grim history as a prison, the Tower of London has also served as a royal mint, a public records office, and a home to the Crown Jewels of England which are securely housed within the Jewel House. Today, the Tower of London is a popular tourist attraction and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, drawing visitors from around the world to explore its rich history and imposing architecture.

Hampton Court Palace is a historic royal palace located in the borough of Richmond upon Thames, London, UK. This magnificent palace has a rich history, with its origins dating back to the early 16th century. It is closely associated with King Henry VIII, who extensively expanded and renovated the palace during his reign.

King Henry VIII is perhaps best known for his six marriages and his role in the English Reformation. His connection to Hampton Court Palace is significant not only because of the extensive building works he undertook, but also because of the various events and intrigues that unfolded within its walls during his reign.

The palace is a remarkable example of Tudor architecture and boasts stunning gardens, intricate courtyards, and impressive state apartments. Visitors to Hampton Court Palace can immerse themselves in its rich history, exploring the opulent Tudor kitchens, the Great Hall, and the beautiful Chapel Royal, among other attractions.

Overall, Hampton Court Palace stands as a testament to the grandeur and power of the Tudor monarchs, particularly King Henry VIII, and continues to attract visitors from around the world who are eager to experience a piece of England’s royal history.

Leeds Castle, located in Kent, is often referred to as the “loveliest castle in the world.” This enchanting fortress has a rich history dating back to the 9th century and has been home to royalty, including King Edward I and Henry VIII’s first wife, Catherine of Aragon. The castle is surrounded by stunning gardens, a moat, and offers picturesque views of the surrounding landscape. It is a popular tourist destination and hosts various events and activities throughout the year, making it a must-visit for history enthusiasts and admirers of breathtaking architecture.

Warwick Castle is a medieval castle located in Warwick, the county town of Warwickshire, England. It was originally built by William the Conqueror in 1068 and has undergone numerous renovations and expansions throughout its long history. The castle is known for its well-preserved state and its beautiful architecture, making it a popular tourist attraction. In addition to guided tours of the castle and its grounds, visitors can also enjoy various events and activities, including falconry displays, archery, and jousting tournaments. The castle also offers stunning views of the River Avon.

Bamburgh Castle

Bamburgh Castle is a historic fortress located on the coast of Northumberland, England. With a history dating back to the 5th century, it has been a site of strategic importance and has witnessed various phases of construction and renovation. The castle stands on a basalt outcrop, offering stunning views of the surrounding area and the North Sea. It has played a significant role in battles and conflicts throughout the centuries, making it an iconic symbol of Northumberland’s heritage. Today, Bamburgh Castle is a popular tourist attraction, offering visitors a glimpse into its rich history and breath taking architecture.

Dover Castle

Dover Castle is a medieval fortress located in the town of Dover, Kent, in the southeast of England. It is the largest castle in England and has a rich history dating back to the 11th century. The site features defensive earthworks, a Roman lighthouse, and a Saxon church, showcasing its significance throughout different periods of history. The castle played a crucial role in defending the English coastline and was often referred to as the “Key to England” due to its strategic location. Today, it is a popular historical attraction, offering visitors the opportunity to explore its well-preserved structures and learn about its compelling past.

The Peak District National Park is located in central England and is known for its stunning natural landscapes, including rugged peaks, open moorlands, and gentle valleys. It is renowned for its outdoor recreational opportunities such as hiking, rock climbing, and cycling. The park also boasts picturesque villages, historic landmarks, and diverse wildlife, making it a popular destination for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts.

The County of Cornwall

The County of Cornwall, located in the southwestern tip of England, is known for its stunning coastline, rugged moorland, and picturesque villages. With a rich history and distinct cultural heritage, Cornwall offers visitors a unique blend of natural beauty and traditional charm.

Cornwall is home to the famous Tintagel Castle, linked to the legend of King Arthur, as well as the enchanting Eden Project, showcasing a variety of plants from different climates. The region’s culinary scene features delicious seafood, traditional Cornish pasties, and local cream teas.

In addition to its natural and historical attractions, Cornwall hosts a range of events and festivals throughout the year, celebrating everything from folk music to surfing. Whether exploring its scenic landscapes, enjoying its cultural offerings, or simply relaxing on its sandy beaches, Cornwall beckons travellers with its timeless allure.

The Wye Valley is a picturesque area located on the border between England and Wales, following the path of the River Wye. This stunning landscape is known for its dramatic limestone cliffs, dense woodlands, and charming market towns. The valley is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts, offering opportunities for hiking, canoeing, and cycling. Additionally, the area is home to Tintern Abbey, a magnificent 12th-century ruin that draws visitors from around the world. With its rich natural beauty and historical landmarks, the Wye Valley holds a special allure for those seeking a tranquil escape in the midst of striking scenery.

British food is known for its hearty and comforting dishes, often influenced by the country’s history and diverse culinary traditions. Traditional British cuisine includes iconic dishes such as fish and chips, shepherd’s pie, bangers and mash, roast beef with Yorkshire pudding, and the famous English breakfast. The use of locally sourced ingredients and a focus on simple, flavourful cooking are characteristic of British food. In recent years, there has been a surge in modern British cuisine, with chefs putting a contemporary spin on classic dishes and embracing global flavours while still celebrating the rich culinary heritage of the UK. It is worth remembering the multicultural nature of the United Kingdom. It would be quite accurate to say that the most popular ‘British’ dish is actually the Chicken Tikka Masala. Though that meal has some base origin in India, it is entirely a British creation.

Many different cultures have integrated their food into British cuisine. Many will eat meals from all over the world and it is common to do so. We value our traditional meals but we are not slaves to them.

The Union Flag is the combined flag of the United Kingdom. It incorporates the flags of England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Confusingly, the flag of Wales is not included because, by the time the flag was designed, Wales and England had already combined.

Sometimes referred to the Union ‘Jack’ but, this is incorrect. The ‘Jack’ is just the flag as flown on a naval vessel. Elsewhere it is the Union Flag.

You don’t have to be religious …

… To work out some things in life just cannot be explained.

When I was a kid, back when I had to run away from dinosaurs and there was no McDonalds or Sainsbury I had some really crazy wishes for a kid growing up on a council estate.

  • I want a 4 bedroom house
  • I want a new car
  • I want children
  • I want to be happy
  • I want to see Disneyland
  • I want to be married

Let me tell you how that worked out:

  • I have a 5 bedroom house
  • I get a new car every three years
  • I have 4 children and 4 grandchildren
  • I am happy
  • I have been to 4 Disney parks (some many times), just two to go!
  • I have been married to a lady, I have been civil partnered to a man, I am now married to a man

Now, what I had in mind as a kid is not how it worked out. To my immature mind I thought we just aspired to something and there would be no cost, there is always a price to pay and those who know me, know some of those prices I have paid.

Every parent says the same “I don’t care what they are as long as they’re healthy”. Well, mine were not healthy, they all have problems, some more than others but, I am grateful for having them. I got the house because not all my kids were healthy. I get a new car because I now am not healthy. I am happy because what I have outweighs what I suffer. The Disney parks, well, they’re just a huge bonus, even I wonder how that happened. Being married, yes, I also got divorced and dissolved (eww) but, that’s OK as we’re still friends. For sure there was a lot of intervention for me to find Dennis, it’s not like our eyes met in the store! He lived 7000+ miles away!

I wrote something earlier, read that:

Sa bata pa kita gisultihan kita nga mosalig nga ang Dios mag-atiman kanato
Samtang nagkadako na kita, ang mga katingad-an nga wala damha nga mga butang mahitabo
Mga butang nga dili nato mapasabot sa bisan unsang paagi gawas sa, nangutana ko sa Diyos ug nahitabo ra.
Samtang kita adunay mga anak, ang Dios nagbilin kanato sa pagpadayon niini
(Kinahanglan naton ang responsibilidad sa usa ka butang)
Samtang sila nagtubo siya mibalik ug diin kita nagkinahanglan kaniya, siya anaa.
Sa panahon nga kita moretiro na ug modawat sa pagka senior
Makataronganon ang kinabuhi
Atong naamgohan nga ang mga importanteng butang sa kinabuhi atong naangkon.
Nasayud kita nga gibayran nato ang bili sa Dios alang niadtong mga butanga ug, OK ra.
Nakakat-on mi nga magmapainubsanon.
Nakakat-on kami nga magmapasalamaton.
Ang akong nahibal-an labaw sa tanan mao
Kung kita naghunahuna nga ang Dios maghatag sa atong kinabuhi sa mga ganti
Sayop mi.
Ang iyang gibuhat dili kaayo klaro apan kini mahitabo.
Dili perpekto ang kinabuhi pero, nakakat-on ta gikan niana.
Usahay ang kinabuhi lisud, kini makalilisang, kini makalilisang
Naglisod mi
Kita makakat-on gikan niana
Unya kita molingi ug, ang atong kinabuhi mao ang kinabuhi nga atong gipangayo.
Bisan kinsa nga naghunahuna nga ang Dios walay bahin
Nagtuo ko nga mahimo nimong gimingaw ang usa ka daghan sa dalan!

When we are young we are told to trust that God will take care of us

As we get a little older, strange unexpected things happen

Things we cannot explain any way other than, I asked God and it just happened.

As we have children God leaves us to get on with it

(We have to take responsibility for something)

As they grow he steps back in and where we need him, he is there.

By the time we get to retire and accept being a senior

Life makes sense

We realise that the important things in life we got.

We know that we paid God’s price for those things and, it’s OK.

We learnt to be humble.

We learnt to be grateful.

What I know more than anything is

If we think God is going to pave our life with rewards

We are wrong.

What he does is never so obvious but it does happen.

Life will not be perfect but, we learn from that.

Sometimes life is hard, it’s awful, it’s terrible

We struggle

We learn from that

Then we look back and, our life is the life we asked for.

Anyone who thinks God played no part

I think you may have missed an awful lot along the way!

Things I know.

  • If there is no God, how can there be an afterlife and, I know there is because I have witnessed it. I saw my granddad after he died, clear as day, when my mum was alive she told me that her old landlady promised that when she died she would make something move which didn’t usually move and they would then know, she was OK. Soon after her death a hot water bottle hanging on the wall, moved. When my mum died, before I knew she was dead, weird stuff happened. She was in hospital, I didn’t even know she was that ill. Her crutch which had stood at the top of the stairs fell over. I went to pick it up and her dressing gown fell off the door behind me and on a door I had not walked past. Those delays forced me to stay home an extra few minutes at which time the phone rang to tell me to get to the hospital. She had died just before they called me.
  • I overdid it with two of the children back in the 1980’s. We walked too far, I mean, miles further than we should and ended up on the wrong beach in Spain, the one which had no way to get back and it was really hot. I could see no way of getting back so I did a hail Mary, well, in the non religious sense and I prayed. Within a few moments a very random Spanish lady who spoke little English approached me and asked, was I OK. I don’t know how much she understood but she gestured for us to follow. She squeezed us into a tiny little car with her kids and drove us back into town and then drove off before we could say thank you. Intervention of a divine nature? I choose to believe that, yes.

There have been many similar experienced throughout my life. Everything I ever asked for I got. I say God has a wicked sense of humour because he did. This would be an example and a tiny one. I ask for a lottery win and, low and behold, I win the lottery. Sure, it’s £1.75 but I wasn’t specific!

I always wanted to be different, right from as long as I can recall. My questions were answered years later. I was gay, I was mostly deaf, my eyesight is shite, I was born with really short legs, my teeth have always been terrible. So, yes, my feeling was correct and I am different. Perhaps I shouldn’t have wished to be because, this isn’t what I meant when I asked to be different.

I am no bible basher. I have no respect for any organised religion, absolutely none. I honestly believe they are all power hungry, dangerous and corrupt. But, just because they created their own version of things doesn’t mean that the basic of those things are wrong. What they are based on was pure. Things like us all being God’s children, us all being in his image and created equally.

None of those things sit at all well with my being condemned to hell for being gay. Nothing pure demands me to show pure devotion to the organisation with gifts of money.

No, I believe in the pure being, that the church is all around us, freely created. That we can speak freely, there are no rules on how to speak to God.

You know what? I also believe that we are here for a reason, we are here to learn to be better, to live a life we do not understand or accept. The homophobe must live life as a gay man before he can be reconsidered entry to eternity. The murdered must live life experiencing tragic loss … indeed, until we understand how to be good people without prejudice, we just keep living one life after another until we finally get it. I think I might still have a few more to go as I know I still have some prejudices I need to resolve.

Anyway, until than, thanks for reading