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

Gay Rights again takes a nosedive!

I wonder how many I have looking at my blog are in their late teens? From distant memory it was seen as a huge success for a teen 16+ to bed a much older woman, to have their own ‘milf’. Society seems to accept that this is OK, some might even argue, it’s good to have a woman with some experience to show them the way and then we have Huw Edwards!

I do not pretend to know the man. This said, I am a bit of an expert on gay dads. Many will have known about their sexuality before they got married. They will have lived in an environment where even for them to accept their sexuality was not acceptable, just not a realistic option. They would have to give up everything familiar. Mr Edwards is the same age as me more or less. Back in the 1970’s there were very few parts of the UK where being out and proud was an option. The vast majority of men will have suppressed their sexuality, got married (to a woman they no doubt love) and had children and as life progressed the very real difficulties will have hit.

Sometimes, when we are young, it’s really difficult if not impossible to comprehend what a lifetime actually is, just how long it is. What we think we can manage in our late teens or early 20’s eventually catches up on is.

Many men will just leave their wives and go it alone but for most, they’d already have children by this time. They will have realised that they are performing with their wife but they still love her and absolutely adore their children, they struggle on managing their repressed sexuality as best they can. Sometimes with their wife’s knowledge and sometimes in secret they will find a way to satisfy their need to be with a man or even convince themselves that doing it virtually is enough.

Would it have been a news story so enormous as this if a newsreader had a distance fling with a younger woman? No, it would barely have attracted a mention. Maybe, as was the case with me, the wife is fully aware and accepting because it maintains their life of respectability. We just do not know but ‘The Sun’ came at this from the outset with their suggestions of what went on. To read what they wrote there was a newsreader obtaining sexually explicit images with a teenager. For many reading that they would have presumed the teen in question to be around 14, very much still a child. As it was, nothing illegal happened, both were of legal age and consenting.

I was listening to the radio this morning. People phoning in to explain how disgusting it was for this married man to have sex with a teenage boy … not that there has been, as far as I am aware, a fact that sex occurred but, even if it did, how is this in the public interest?

If Mr Edwards had spent his career being homophobic and challenging same sex relationships then yes, that is in the public interest but, again, AFAIK, he never did. He and his family have struggled through trying to have their private lives.

Then people are saying victim blame is going on, how so? The alleged ‘victim’ was legally able to consent to what he did AND had said prior to the printing of the story by the sun, that the story his parents told is just untrue. We cannot blame a victim who doesn’t exist?

Those who feel gays have got full equality need to understand from this story that they don’t. The UK press will still see their activities as a scandal, their life choices are not private.

Thoughts today

For most of my adult life I think I’ve lift for now. Maybe I am in the minority for that with so many investing for the future, ensuring their retirement is the best time of their lives. There is a lot of merit in that but, here is why I chose not to do it.

Way up there on the top of that list is that my mother died at 52. Her and Dad went down the route of saving for their retirement, buying a house and so on and yet, there she was. For her it didn’t pay off and how might her life had been different had she lived to the full whilst she could?

My nan would have got another 13 years out of her life in retirement though, she didn’t take the route of investment for the future. She remained in her council house her entire life and seemed happy. Nowhere near as stressed as the home owning elements of the family. Her husband, my grandad, he went at 67. He got just two years of retirement before he died.

A boss of mine had this huge retirement party when he left at 65 on his last Friday which turned out to be just that, his last Friday.

You may have gathered that what I am saying here is, to me, buying a house, going short, managing for most of my life didn’t seem to make sense, I just didn’t know what the future would hold.

I cannot say how my life would have been different if I had of gone the house ownership route. What differing opportunities I may have had and taken. Would I have picked up a virus in 2014 which would leave me disabled for the rest of my life? Maybe not.

If I did not invest for the future, what did I do?

Travelled mostly. My kids didn’t just read about Europe at school, they went there and not just the tourist places either. I know I got a lot out of that and I am sure they did too. Perhaps even a love of travel which will pass to my grandchildren, a legacy maybe?

My homes were always comfortable. Furniture was placed when it needed to be as were carpets and walls decorated. The kids grew up in lovely places despite all the family difficulties we were to face.

Sure, in the back of my mind there was always that question: What about when I am older and perhaps in need of extra love and support? I always imagined it would be like my nan. Always getting someone popping in, invited over for Sunday dinner, doing holidays with her children and never alone at Christmas. Sadly, it is looking like that is not going to happen to me but, it was my gamble to take and I would do it all again just the same.

Here and Now I still need to invest in my comfort. All the carpets needed to be replaced, many are over 20 years old. It was bugging me that they looked so horrible and were impossible to keep clean so, they are being done. I still feel the need to feel safe and comfortable in my own home. I know it is ‘only’ a rented place. These spends will gain me nothing financially but, that is not my chosen path. What they do now is to ensure my life is as pleasant as it can be.

The problem for me, having a much younger husband is that we differ in our outlook. When he retires I will be 83 presuming the retirement age remains as it is. I won’t have many years in front of me assuming I last that long. Investing heavily now for that future is too high risk for me. For him it makes perfect sense. In 20+ years he can retire in comfort to his country of birth still a relatively young man. It makes sense for him and yet, not for me. Sure, I could get lucky and live until I am 100 but, it doesn’t look likely given my health issues.

My children, they aspire to house ownership and I would always argue, if the salary is high enough that it’s not a significant drain on daily living and leaves plenty of saving room then, it’s good, long term it makes sense knowing that some day that mortgage is paid and that will be extra in pocket income. However, if they must struggle to afford it, I can only advise, don’t do it. Enjoy your lives and your time with the children whilst you are able.

Ultimately, we only know which case is right or wrong when we die. Only then do we know whether we made the right choice or not. For now, I have some amazing memories to carry with me, worth every penny.

I’ve included a gallery which only brings me up to 2010 with so many great times after that.

Marriage and what it means

Marriage Vows

I have strong feelings about this and a reason for why.

My parents got married in the 1950’s I believe. Toward the end of the late 60’s mum developed rheumatoid arthritis and it got worse and worse.

By the 1980’s mum really struggled. Dad wasn’t keen on taking over and mum frankly, wouldn’t have wanted that. However, certain aspects of their marriage had long since ended as mums level of pain rose over time.

On one occasion dad randomly started a conversation about toilet use and during it he made the statement, in front of mum that “to be honest, a good shit has always been better than sex with your mother”. That was his kind of humour but it’s a humour I know mum never got used to and I didn’t also. That comment really upset her.

in Late 1985 mum had to go into hospital. They took her in as much for a complete rest as anything else. However, on this occasion during usual visiting I noticed some weird shit happened with the fuel and mileage of the car I shared with my dad. I would not have noticed had he not begun to complain I wasn’t putting in my fair share. I discovered that each time he visited mum at the hospital and extra 40+ miles got added to the odometer in the car more than the journey actually took. As it kept happening I got out a map and drew a circle covering the additional distance. The conclusion was quite clear, he was meeting someone and not only anyone, he was meeting my aunt, one of mums closest friends.

He just randomly came out with it at Tesco one day when mum was still in hospital. I cannot recall anything relating leading up to him just coming out and saying “So, you know I am seeing Kath, don’t tell your mum”.

I said that if she didn’t ask I would say nothing but, on the contrary, any question she did ask I would answer honestly. Sure enough, within 24 hours she had asked me outright if Dad was seeing Kath. I told her what I knew.

Her heart was broken. She told Dad to go that Christmas of 1985 which he seemed to do willingly moving in with Kath. Some six months after that, after giving up on life, she died at the age of 52.

From that point onwards my life was devastated. Most of my closest family members I lost as they started to take sides. I was deemed to be on Dad’s side just because I had the surname and resembled his appearance. I totally was not on his side so I was just left in limbo right at the start of my own marriage and the birth of my eldest son.

A few years later I did ask Dad outright, why? His response sticks with me and prompts this blog post.

“I gave her the best years of my life, I got nothing out of the relationship after she got ill and I would have got less for murdering someone, I was entitled to a life too.”

Looking at the promise he made to mum, was that right or fair? I can see at least two broken promises and the other was relieved to boast about that she was dead so death had parted them!

Now, we have a friend who is from another country. The man to be her future husband contacted her, was very open with her, gave her all the information of a degenerative condition he had and what it might mean for her but, despite that, she agreed to marry him anyway.

Less than 20 years later she was complaining that he expected too much, wanted her to wash him, sometimes feed him and look after their kids. She left a few times going back and now she has left for good and also washed her hands of her kids neither of which are yet adults but teens. She is proud to boast she called one of them a prostitute for what she was wearing and content that her daughters regularly took over with their dad including bathing when she opted out.

Her parents she says, have turned against her saying she should have stayed and honoured her marriage and, of course, she disagrees, she’s ‘done enough’ which, to me, sounds all too family.

It worries me she has any influence in my own marriage. As my own condition gets worse I am terrified that those like her will persuade my own husband that I expect too much and that the marriage vows do not matter.

Now, to come clean. I used to be married to a lovely lady. I got married because in my life I had been convinced it was my only option. That living a life with respect to my own sexuality was not a choice I was ‘allowed’ to make. I had explained to my wife about my sexuality and I did try really very hard to ignore my dominant side of being gay, indeed, my only side. Eventually we did agree after around a decade to slowly, at our own pace, move away from our marriage. Live together but separate lives. Within 5 years it became apparent that this was not workable and we agreed to divorce. She knows that I remain there for just as I promised. Sadly, this was one of those occasions whereby marriage should not have been an option for us. Glad as I am that it was because of the experiences and the children but, this was not the honest life either of us should have lived and we remain good friends.

Why is it, I have to ask, that people are prepared to spend £10’s of thousands just to say those wedding vows *promises and yet, they mean so very little with them thinking that when the going gets tough, the promises don’t mean anything?

Makes me sad

Marriage and what it means