Thoughts

Most of my life I have been a caring person and attracted people into my world who needed me for something. This with a few exceptions was the same in romantic relationships too. I am an empath and naturally listen to others who would gravitate towards me and unburden themselves. For the most part I have been happy to do this even though it can take its toll.
It was natural also for me to move towards a more professional role as a counsellor and psychotherapist although I later realised that the training was benefiting me as I came to terms with my own childhood memories.
I was often involved in relationships that slowly fizzled out when the original problem had been solved and as I say with a few exceptions this was a repeated pattern. I began to slowly feel that was all I had to offer. A constant flow of people stopping by for guidance but moving on once they came to terms with their issues. In truth helping others can make me feel lonely.
For many years I have suffered bouts of depression and for the most part I am able to embrace them and take advantage of the creativity that feeds off them. Sometimes they are deeper than others and I never know which type will happen as they all form in the same way.
In the last year, I have not had many of these deeper ones but they have been replaced by something else. These new feelings are not depression but are still disturbing. I can only describe them as an overwhelming feeling of sadness that comes in like a wave. They last 10 to 20 minutes and it’s all I can do to stop myself weeping.
I am sure the roots lay in my childhood and these emotions are little more than suppressed energy. It is strange because it often sweeps over me when I see couples together that appear in love or are happy and I don’t like feeling sad in those moments because I genuinely want people to be happy.
This has got me reflecting on my life and I do wonder that despite the fact that people see me in the caring role whether I might be the one that needs the rescuing. Rescuing is a strong word and perhaps I really mean that I need to be able to have a degree of support myself and finally talk through past issues that are still holding suppressed emotions which are slowly and surely leeching into my daily life.
I may have been escaping them all along in the guise of helping others. After all, while I am listening or dealing with other people’s problems I am in reality escaping or ignoring my own.
Perhaps I needed fixing as much as I wanted to be the fixer.

Andy Beveridge

 

The Loss of the Greatest Showman on Earth

Posted on June 6, 2016

Ali recently passed away and the self-proclaimed greatest leaves a gap in showmanship that is likely never to be filled. In truth, he left us a long time ago as Parkinsons disease had already stolen the speed of mind and body which entertained us for so long.

I personally do not think he was the greatest boxer of all time but he was involved in some great fights especially in the 70’s when Foreman and Frazier were challengers. Ali was never the biggest puncher but was extremely mobile and had incredible fast hands. It has to be noted that he was involved in some fights at his peak that just take your breath away when watched even now. He also took on a lot of men much smaller than himself and got pushed the distance which back then was 15 rounds. He lost a number of times but also bounced back. It is also hard to forget the punch that never was that seemingly knocked Sonny Liston out. Clearly it did not land and was a fixed fight but I suspect the Mafia may have had a hand in that and perhaps we should not blame the boxers themselves.

It is not inside the ring that I criticise Ali as he was one of the best in his era but outside with his views is a different matter. Some of those views also belonged to a different era and coming from his background it is easy to see where they came from but if said today then the world would erupt with offence. What’s more if a white man said those things Ali said then there would be riots.
Ali was quoted and recorded saying that he felt homosexuality was a white man’s disease. He strongly disapproved of mixed race marriages and was heavily influenced by an extreme version of Islam which I think was called the Nation of Islam. He later left them and I assume that was maybe where his bigoted views began to change. Sentences like “If a black man sleeps with a white woman then he should be killed” would have damaged his career if said later in life.

The racist remarks and bigotry were all said back in a time when people were not so easily offended as they are today and I think it is clear he was heavily influenced by extremists and the way he saw the black people being treated back then and some anger was clearly a result of that.
Ali managed to mask a lot of his bitterness through humour and people were naturally drawn to him. He is forgiven by the masses now and he did leave in fairness a lot of that controversy behind.
There are of course other aspects of his life that could be pondered like his refusal to fight for his country and stating that “White man sending black men to fight yellow men” was not his fight. He served his sentence for that but there must have been many a soldier that felt negative about that attitude.

It just remains to be said that controversial as he was we have lost an icon. Yes, he was racist in his early days but it was a different era and it is easy to judge it from today’s standards. I hope that his family are allowed to grieve in the normal way but I sense the lawyers are already sharpening their knives in preparation for long drawn out legal battle on who gets what from his $80 million legacy.

Andy Beveridge

Synchronicity

It’s a word that gets misused in my opinion as so much is easily explained in a non spiritual sense. Not that two people can’t be connected at a deeper energy level as I know that to be true, but more that a lot of people ignore the obvious with the word synchronicity and almost go out of their way to give it a different meaning.
For example, today I heard a story of a person who thought of a tune or a song and within moments a man sat opposite on a park bench I think and began to hum that very song. Now on the strength of it you can say what an amazing thing, I mean it is almost like they were mind reading, however surely the it makes more sense to believe the logical explanation in that their subconscious picked up on the man no matter how faint or brief humming the song already and laid that down in the brain. They then unware at a conscious level had that thought and along came the man and sat down and continued his rendition? Of course if it was a popular song then they could have both easily heard it on the radio or such earlier.
You see we are hard wired to look for patterns and our brains are constantly looking for reasons but our thinking is often flawed. If you stare at the clouds or a stone wall you will eventually see a face or an object and that is your brain looking for patterns it can recognise and we do it all the time. The trouble is with this way of thinking is it is very subjective and often forgets the misses and only remembers the hits.
An example would be that you think of someone and the phone rings and there they are but it is easy to forget of the scores of times that you have thought of that person and the phone did not ring. We remember the hits far more easily than the misses.
Synchronicity does exist to me but not at that spiritual level as there really is nothing to back that up apart from people wanting to believe it or flawed thinking. Two people who are attracted to each other often mirror one another by drinking at the same time or touching their heads and this is synchronicity to me.
It stands to reason that two people who talk to each other on a regular basis and do have a shared energy in the fact they have deep feelings with each other will say the same things and even finish each other’s sentences but this is very easily explained in a logical way.
If you don’t have so much in common this level of synchronicity would naturally lessen. When there is a perfectly sound and provable idea of how something happens, it makes sense to me to go with that probability and not one that can’t be proven or carries no real weight.

Andy Beveridge

Parrots hate me and I don’t know why.

Now I like parrots, they are intelligent and colourful and for the most part quite cheerful. However, they dislike me with a passion, I don’t know why this, but even the most docile African grey can transform itself back into an ancient ancestor and  flip into velociraptor mode at the very sight of me.
I had a girlfriend who had a parrot and it was called Freddie and he seemed to like me because when we first met as he would come to the side of his cage and allow me to stroke the top of his head. This apparently was unusual as Freddie had previously shown a dislike to other would be suitors to his owner’s affection. In fact, my girlfriend was very impressed but none of us had any knowledge of Freddie’s real intentions.

After a few days of leading me into a false sense of security things suddenly took a turn for the worse as Freddie’s real plans were revealed. On this particular day my courage and confidence knew no bounds and I was eager to show off my latest party trick which basically was me allowing the parrot to groom my eyebrows through the bars of the cage. My girlfriend was suitable impressed as Freddie gently nibbled and tweaked away until almost in slow motion his head turned sideways and close up I saw his beak open and then close over the bridge of my nose.

For the next few seconds all hell broke loose as Freddie attempted to pull me through the bars, the less impressed girlfriend tried to prise his beak open as a stream of life blood flowed down my face. Then tiring of his game he suddenly let go and started preening himself like it was just a normal everyday thing. I swear he had an evil grin on his beak.

After that I allowed my eyebrows to grow wild and free and Freddie no longer liked me as he would shriek at me when I visited and to his pleasure my girlfriend and mysef split up a month later.
Another instance of the rage that I can produce in the parrot world was when we visited someone in Spain. They had two of the things that were allowed to fly around the house, I can’t remember what type they were but they were fairly small as parrots go. At first it was ok as they landed on me and sat on my shoulder or my head which everyone thought funny. I was quite happy with this mysef until I tried gently I might add to remove one from my head as its claws were scratching me. Outraged by this it closed its beak around my thumb and nigh on took it off. This spurred the other one into action and not to be outdone it pierced my ear in exactly the right place if I had wanted to wear an ear ring. The owner had to remove them and from that day forth they had to stay in their cage whenever I was present. They shrieked at me when I walked into the room so it was fairly obvious what the outcome would be if they were allowed to be free.

I have had several other minor displays of horror when parrots have set eyes on me. There was an old ladies African Grey that nearly decapitated itself trying to get to me and a few times when I have had to leave a pet store as my presence evoked chaos.

Now I live in Spain and to my horror there is a local population of parakeets which can number up to 30 or so. When I walk across the nature reserve I am aware of them watching me and waiting. Daphne De Maurier would surely have gained inspiration for the sequle to “The Birds”
If I ever go missing and after a search they find my lifeless body I am pretty certain you will find a few brightly colored feathers nearby.

Andy Beveridge

The Quest for a New Car

It has always baffled me that back in Catalonia people thought the price they paid for their cars would still be obtainable many years later. The fact that no one ever looked after their vehicles added to the weirdness of their perceived value.
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I mean often these cars would look like the annual bull-run had taken place over them, wing mirrors were considered a luxury and often one just hanging down was clearly viewed as a selling point. The same car could be seen parading around with the for sale sign and over inflated price stuck in the back window for years. I fear often passed down to the next generation who had the same viewpoint in that their cars like their wine would increase in value through time.
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It is not quite as bad as that down here in Spain but still can be amusing. Take for instance a car I looked at the other day. The advert boasted that it was well maintained and immaculate in and out. On arrival I could only assume he meant his other car as this one did not match those bold claims.
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True the one hub cap that remained on the vehicle did look kind of clean, which prompted me to ask if the other ones were inside the house and being cleaned as we wait.
The immaculate inside fared no better, it looked like flock of pigeons had used it as a holiday home for several months, and then had employed a troop of untrained baboons to tidy it up.
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“It’s got seat belts” he said, in a voice that was I think hit by the realisation that his previous well scripted description was now failing him. I pointed out that I could see one of them pocking out of the top of a Mcdonald container, the pigeons clearly ate out a lot.
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Further inspection revealed the wing was really just a memory and the exhaust was held together by wire. I did offer a compliment at this point as it had already dawned on him that it was not going to be sold to me at any cost. I said, “Well done on being able to use so much wire and yet still make it look like it came with the original exhaust system”
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The words “well if you don’t want it” were uttered and there was an awkward silence while I waited for him to finish the sentence with maybe you should take a look at the real car I am selling, but the wait was in vain.
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Before departing I informed him that not only did I not want it but I feared for the safety of other vehicles nearby because there must be a risk of contamination.
No moral to the tale but be cautious when employing troops of untrained baboons to clean your car.
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Andy

The day I learned to swim

Some moments in life stay with us forever and one of those moments for me is when I first plucked up the courage to trust my buoyancy (Drummed into me by several teachers “You can’t sink boy if you just relax”) and attempt to swim in a fashion the width of the school swimming pool.
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The reward was a small red ribbon which at a later date could be sown onto the trunks by a parent. Although the blue ribbon was the ultimate prize, (an entire length of the pool was required for this) the red one was still a sought after by us none swimming oiks.
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Looking back as an adult, the distance was really just a few feet but even with my ridiculously long orangutan like arms it seemed like the width of the Thames.
This was another blight I had to suffer, my arms outgrew the rest of my body and remained that way to a degree into adulthood. Something that for a few years worked in my favour in the boxing ring, but for a sprat of a child this was a huge embarrassment.
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I will never forget that moment when I became the focus of attention of the entire class. Almost breathless as the chest deep water seemed to crush my lungs and that moment when the master blew the whistle and I fell forward into the blueness. For a moment all noise disappeared as my head went under although that was not in my plans. Then back up to the cheering and life giving air.
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My method of accomplishing the distance was kind of based on doggy paddle but leaned more towards drowning really. Arms and legs flaying out in all directions I somehow managed to get enough water under me or behind me to propel myself painfully slowly across the few feet required and then suddenly breathless and exhausted I touched the side.
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This was of course long before the days of camera phones, so my amazing feat was never recorded and I am glad about that as I am sure my parents would have been mortified to see a video of their child basically drowning.
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I now of course could separate myself from the boys who could not swim but was still looked down upon by the blue ribbon holders. A few days later I was handed over a certificate and the sought after red ribbon. They are long gone now but the memory stay with me. In fact when I achieved blue ribbon status a few weeks later it held less importance because by now I could swim and it seemed simple. It never held that dangerous fear of leaving the comfort zone like the first attempt.
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True success often requires you to do that.
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Andy Beveridge

An Acceptance of Blame

My earliest memory of my Mother was when I was three years old, in fact she is my earliest memory. I remember trying to hold her hand and I never forgot the pain that gave her, although I can’t pretend that I understood that then.
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Her illness had already been with her for two years and her joints were already swollen and stiff. To cuddle or touch was painful and as a loving Mother that must have hurt her in other ways too
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As the next few years drifted along I learned to show affection in other ways. I wrote about her and did chores. I can’t pretend that it hurt me not give my Mum a cuddle because I didn’t know any different, but I do know it carried a legacy long into my adulthood. In fact it is still with me today.
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You see I learned to love but in a none-tactile way and I can now see the problems this has caused. I show my love for someone by supporting them, by buying gifts, by protecting them and throughout the years I have kidded myself that this was enough. It was never enough and I know that now.
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I avoided embracing even when it was what I so badly wanted to do. I felt awkward all the time in being demonstrative. I made excuses like “It’s just the way I am” and “I show how much I care in other ways” All the time of course I am starving that person of their basic needs.
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I slowly without knowing squeezed the life out of relationships, even though I loved with all my heart the very footsteps that person made.
The fact that my last relationship lasted 16 years is testament to just how strong our bonds were, but even then the process was only slowed up and the rope that held us together became too thin in the end and finally snapped.
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I am saddened by this because I had more control than I thought and could have put this right within myself, but it has taken to this point to understand this.
So many times in our lives it becomes easier to blame others or place barriers up to protect ourselves when in fact that very act will always lead to our own pain and that of the people we love.
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My Mother is not to blame, she loved me as much as anyone could and her illness was not her fault. My partners who I have let down are not to blame for it is I that never met their needs. It can only lay on my shoulders for not allowing myself to face what I already knew.
When I think of the countless people I have helped in a professional or friendship manner it seems strange that I could not look into my own issues and face them head on.
I guess as long as I exist, then for my own part lessons can still be learned.
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Andy Beveridge

 

The case of the Jalapeno pepper

This post goes back to my bedsit days, I lived in a tiny street called Dolphin Street, and it was situated in the oldest part of Salisbury. I loved it there and when looking across the roofs from my bedroom window you were offered a view that not that many see. All the old buildings could be seen and when it snowed in particular it reminded me of a Dickens scene.
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It is also the scene of a very painful memory too.
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It was common place for me in those days to buy takeaway food in the evening and eat it cold in the morning for breakfast. Not good I know but I used to work late as a doorman and a couple of kebabs was all there was to buy. One on the way home and a cold one for breakfast get it?
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This day however I’d gone up market and purchased a pizza, the owner of the pizza place knew I liked peppers and used to sprinkle a few loose ones on top. I had eaten half of it as was the way and the rest lay by the side of the bed for the morning.
It was a Sunday morning and the sun streamed through the window pulling me away from slumber, I contemplated getting up and making my way down the three floors to the kitchen but I slumped back still tired from the late night before.
Then I remembered the pizza.
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Still half remained which was more than enough for breakfast but in truth I couldn’t be bothered to get up. I reached down a grabbed a slice and carefully raised it up to above my face. It was at this point that a Jalapeno pepper that had been placed there previously as an act of kindness chose its moment to make a break for freedom.
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Why it chose my eye I will never know. There was a moment when time seemed to stand still, almost like everything was waiting for something to happen, and happen it did as the first fiery surge of stinging pain shot through my eye. The pizza slice went flying and stuck to the screen of my tv which I also felt was a bit mean.
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Then almost at the same time I tried to escape the bed but my foot got tangled in the bed clothes and panic set in. I ended up with my shoulders in the remaining pizza and my legs tangled in a knot of sheets that even Houdini would have been pushed to escape from. The bedroom now looked like a war zone and even Kate Bush didn’t escape unharmed, well at least one of her records., because a beer bottle still half full managed to topple itself over in the melee and the golden liquid once named “Harvester’s moon” made its way slowly across the floor to the album cover. I watched almost in slow motion as Kate’s image greedily soaked up a good glug of Harvester’s moon and ruined its self.
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I treat all chilli peppers with a little more respect now.

Andy

My views on the Feria


Posted on July 13, 2014

The Feria had its annual visit to Ceret this weekend. There are the two sides to it really, one is the bit that involves bulls and the other is thousands of young people getting drunk and making a mess. Neither one appeals to me.
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The bull part also breaks down into two parts. On the Saturday the cobbled streets of Ceret are flimsily fenced off and a lorry placed at either end of the main street which for the rest of the year is beautiful with it tall plane trees and ancient buildings.
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The lorry at one end contains several young bulls and the idea is to run the bulls down through the street to the other lorry. Horses and riders control the bulls as they escape the first lorry all wide eyed and frightened. They get a few hundred yards if that before the horsemen sandwich them, which slows them up enough for drunken idiots to climb over the barrier and grab a tail. It is the horses that hold the bulls and not the young men who believe them-selves to be showing bravado. It is the same ritual every year. The horses part and the young bulls run on and head straight to the other lorry.
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It is wrong for me to moan about another culture when living in the country but I just don’t see the point to this one. It isn’t brave to catch the bull’s tail, we are not talking fire breathing giant bulls that could tear down castle walls here and it requires no skill or real courage. It seems to be all pointless. The bulls are frightened creatures that just want to escape. The noise from the baying crowd confuses them and nothing much happens expect that now and again a drunken idiot steps over the barrier in front of the running horses and gets knocked over.
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The other part of the bull thing is the actual bull fights that follow in the afternoon. I imagine it is different bulls than the ones that run through the streets, because there would be not much of a fight with them. That said I don’t think there is much of a fight anyway. The bulls have a few inches of horn removed and then the tip glued back on, and this apparently causes them to misjudge distance.
They also get several lances thrust into their shoulders weakening them and lowering their heads. It really is just a ritual slaughter and how anyone can find the spectacle entertaining is beyond me. From where I live I can hear the bloodlust in the crowds and sometimes hear the bulls bellowing. Not a sound I enjoy or want to hear again.
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The thing is it is not even a French tradition and the Spanish are slowly stopping the practise. The old King was completely against it and I hear his Son who has taken over the throne is even more so. Long live the King.
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Here in French Catalonia they have no intention of stopping this bloodshed. Although it is getting harder to find the matadors these days as it is a tradition that is dying out as quickly as the bulls in the ring.
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The other side to the Feria is the huge number of people visiting the area. Thousands camping out on any bit of available green (including the park opposite my house) They all drink pretty solid for 48hrs and the consequences are rather messy. The shops and private doorways are usually covered in plastic the day before in preparation for the urine soaking they are almost certainly going to receive. Various bands set up and there is general chaos from dawn to dusk and beyond.
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I have to say the local council do a grand job of cleaning up the day after and within a few hours the streets smell of cheap disinfectant instead of piss.
Apart from some broken glass and the constant noise there is very little real trouble and the local clubs who set up the bars do make some money from the whole process, but it not a spectacle that I will ever return to see again.
Andy Beveridge

Just some random thoughts about opinions, storms and Mozzies

I have strong opinions of that there is no doubt. They cover a wide range of topics like religion and moral values, we all have these thoughts and beliefs, and they often differ from other peoples. That kind of makes the world an interesting place to be honest.
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I do find myself from time to time having to adjust how I share those opinions with others, because I am aware that it is important to not try and force my values onto other people. Just because those are my thoughts does not mean they have to be other peoples too.
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This is easier said than done but I try because I recognise that we gain more from listening to each other. I am rarely offended by other people’s views but I find that my own often do put out a cat among the pigeons, especially where religion is concerned.
If we become blinkered and only focused on our own beliefs then we run the danger of becoming self-centred and it is important in (my opinion) to see it from all sides.
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This week we have had the usual pattern of intense heat followed by thunderstorms in the evenings. Where I currently live in the Pyrenees, it is perfectly positioned to create such weather. The last valley in France is surrounded by high foot hills and mountains and you can clearly watch the clouds gathering over these peaks as the cooler mountain air meets the warmer air rising up from the valley.
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The intensity of the following storms can be quite amazing and ever since childhood I have been in awe of such events. The fizz and crackle of lightening and the following clap of thunder is both beautiful and un nerving at the same time, and serves to remind me that nature still retains the power and can change our lives in seconds if she wants to.
Then that period after the storm where air becomes clear and steam rises from the ground to begin to fuel the whole process again. When I leave this area I will take that memory with me.
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Mosquitos like me, that is a fact. Actually they love me and I should start naming them because I am sure it is the same ones that follow me around all the time. You get to know these things after awhile, they all have their own little mannerisms and habits. Perhaps I should look on them as pets and this might make my acceptance of them a little easier. Even hidden in a crowd of people they spot me and before very long I have a little cloud of them circling above my head.
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It may be my head that is the attraction, being completed shorn of hair has its positives (easy to get ready in the morning) but I feel it makes a perfect landing pad for mozzies and house flies.
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I suppose as this is a summer thing then I could look on my head as being a kind of holiday resort for these little creatures. If only I could charge them rent!
I have tried covering myself in any number of things designed by clever people who see this as gullible market and then even more cleverly marketed by people who are the direct decedents of the snake oil sellers of the past.
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With natural Aloe Vera to sooth and infused with real lemon juice it said on the tube. My first worry was why I needed a soothing type component when the lemon part was supposed to keep them away in the first place.
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Then there is a product called “After bite” Now this felt pen type looking creation is supposed to offer relief straight after being bitten, but it fails miserably unless you consider that having a burning sensation is superior to having the original bite. It is like being bitten and then arming the mosquito with a red hot poker.
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There is also a device that sends a small electrical charge into the bite and renders it soothed. I have yet to try this one and have to admit that my nerve fails me. Judging by the success of the other products on the market, sending electric charges into my body no matter how small they are seems almost suicidal.
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No, it is better that I think of them as my little pack of airborne pets, you never know by the end of the summer I may have them doing tricks.
Andy

My encounter with the hate monkey

We saw each other at the same time. One of those moments when even through the crowd and the noise and the lights a connection was made. He was a small hairy monkey (Species unknown) I was a small boy of five or six. The place was a fairground full of tinsel and tack.
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I already hated the fair, I didn’t like the noise and the rides offered me no comfort. I had already suffered massive humiliation on a previous visit the year before. Almost made to at least try something I chose the Helter Skelter. I regretted this within my first few steps, because although it might not seem that high to an adult, to me it was like climbing a sheer cliff face without a rope.
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My slow progress up the stairs built a back log of kids behind me and I could hear encouragement from my Dad that really was a desperate command. “Get up those stairs, you are nearly there”. That was quite clearly a lie because I could see ahead how many spiral stairs that awaited my nervous steps.
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Once at the top I was handed a rough hairy mat and told to sit on it and keep my hands off the side of the walls. The Helter Skelter is just a giant slide but to me at that very moment I may as well have been about to take on a Bobsleigh run, and that is why I disobeyed the orders from the fairground man and put out my arms before I reached the first bend. My theory was that by letting go in stops and starts I would build no real speed up thus arriving at the bottom to cheering crowds in perfect safety.
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I had not taken into account that other kids would follow so soon and quickly a build up of kids had formed. The fairground man was shouting at us by now but it fell on deaf ears because of the noise of the fairground and that one kid behind me had started to cry. I don’t know if what followed was the fairground man’s tactical display or just a random sequence of events, but the next kid to come down the slide was the size of Billy Bunter and the laws of physics would have had to be broken to have kept our kiddy dam intact.
The result was that we hurtled down the slide at break neck speed all arms and legs flaying in different directions. The mass of mats at the bottom was in no way designed for a mass landing and several kids flew off to the sides, I however did land in the middle and rolled forward in a straight line but it was no dadah! moment, as my hand was firmly grasped and I was pulled away into the crowd.
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However back to the monkey incident. My parents this year were better equipped to deal or at least avoid helter skelter type situations, and to this effect I was steered clear of most of the intimidating rides.
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One side of the fairground was more interesting than the other as it had all the candy floss and toffee apple stalls plus some stuff that gave Fathers a chance to show off by winning coconuts or stuffed toys. However it was here that I met my hate monkey.
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The hate monkey in a way looked a lot like me, its arms were too long and it had a school cap on (Quite why I had to wear my school cap when out still mystifies me to this day)
The idea was that young children could hold the monkey and have a photograph taken and indeed proof of this existed in the line of happy children ahead. The monkey seemed to know what to do and although it was on a leash the owner didn’t have to do that much as the monkey happily settled on each child’s arm.
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The giveaway to the horror to come was that the hate monkey never took his eyes off me even for a second. Other kids came and went and my turn approached and despite my reluctance I once again was forced to do something that my gut feeling told me to avoid.
The creature shrieked and glared and showed his teeth and I resisted as best I could at having my arms pushed forward. Then for one moment a kind of peace seemed to wash across us, the hate monkey forgot where he was and calmly stepped on to my arm, the owner jumped at the chance and the camera clicked and flashed.
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I blame the flash for bringing the hate monkey back to his real agenda. Another shriek followed and this time the monkey bared its teeth and promptly bit me on the arm. This would have been humiliation enough in the fact that it had singled me out amongst all the other children but to drive it home further it urinated on me as well.
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There is no getting away from such events, they leave triggers behind. I am forever reminded when I see a fairground being set up and I avoid them at all costs. I would think in modern times monkeys would not be abused in that way but the hate monkey lives on in my mind anyway.
Worth noting that my parents never took me to a fairground again.

Andy

The long goodbye

June 2014

A relationship that breaks down puts you through a period that feels almost the same as grief. Well that is what it feels like to me. It is well documented on my Facebook account that my long term relationship of 16 years came to an end just after Xmas. There is no animosity and no bitter feeling, just an acceptance that what once was is no more.
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In fact we still live in the same house and to those on the outside they would not really know that much is wrong, but that all comes to an end when September comes and it approaches everyday as the usual long hot summer kicks in. We both then go our separate ways, her to the UK and me almost certainly to Spain.
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The trouble is it has produced a long slow death, one that is inevitable but elongated. Neither one of us can move forward with our lives, and each day for me at least brings thoughts and fears of that single moment when it is finally over. The thought that not hardly one day has passed in sixteen years when we have not talked or seen each other, then suddenly it will all be gone forever.
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Then I wonder if I will ever meet anyone else again, what have I to offer? How will I deal with loneliness? The thought of starting again with someone else fills me with fear. Do I even have the energy?
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There is another part of me that seeks adventure and of course Spain will offer me that, but I wish I could see the future to see how it pans out.
Andy

 

Music was my first love and it will be my last

I can, given the right inspiration write a good yarn or two, and usually have no problem expressing myself through the written word, but musically I am about as useless as a for sale sign stuck into a wheelbarrow full of sand in the Sahara.
Yet I love music, and often thought of myself years ago as poet who could write the lyrics that could change the world. All I needed to do was to learn to play an instrument of some sort.
The story though begins way back when I was a five year old boy and ready start my musical career off, all I needed was the right encouragement and guidance. I found however a conspiracy to halt my budding future before it had even a chance to take off.
It started with a glockenspiel which to me is a wooden version of xylophone. Not I admit the kind of instrument to get the heart pounding or inspire the latest Bob Dylan to surface, but class A of Meadow park infant’s school was never going to be that anyway.
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The girls seemed to be given all the favourable instruments and it seemed already that a life of possible percussion lay ahead of me. In fact I can remember it annoying me that flocks of girls skipped around the class with recorders seemingly already mastered. Were they born that way? The best I could do was to produce a high pitched shriek that killed songbirds from a distance. This was actually in my favour as I found out the recorder was really only meant for girls or future gay men.
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The accident that got me barred from further glockenspiel activities was I still feel to this day an injustice, I had been told to leave it alone but inspiration is hard to hold back in a five year old boy and I had watched in envy as a huddle of girls played simple little tunes like they were born to it. That was right up to the point when another lad pushed the instrument over and everyone ran away. I seized my chance and reinstated it to its rightful place and began to play or at least thump it when the door opened and in came the teacher who had previously told me to keep away from the ruddy thing. It was at that point that the glockenspiel chose to fall apart, obviously hideously wounded from its fall and in some way weakened further from my over enthusiastic playing. I can see how this looked but was terribly unfair.
I was made to stand outside and informed that my final humiliation would be to be demoted to what was deemed to be the second lowest of all instruments the cymbal in the up and coming school musical event.
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Rehearsals turned out to be another bad day in my music career. To cut a long story short I was sat behind the boy who pushed the glockenspiel over and he had become my arch enemy number one. He was at the bottom of the pecking order in holding the only musical instrument that ranked below the cymbal, the triangle.
*
I don’t know what came over me but I chose my one and only opportunity to shine by clashing the cymbals together at the right moment but on his head. He was apparently quite deaf for a few days which I think was a serious advantage in that orchestra.
My punishment was to be demoted to the triangle but without the little wand to hit it with.
*
Later my challenges with the violin and guitar will be revealed

Andy Beveridge

Acceptance the route to freedom

One of the gifts we are given in life is the ability to explore our thoughts and expand our reasoning powers. To better understand how we think and more importantly why we perceive things to be how they are is extremely powerful.
To do this with conviction we have to accept certain things that our emotions bring into play, these are born from different experiences which have been built up layer after layer throughout our lives.
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For instance the acceptance that it is alright to cry can be a breakthrough on its own, because pent up emotions like grief or anger act like a pressure cooker with no safety valve. Something has to give and it always does and often when you least expect it.
It can take one tiny trigger to release this stored energy and often it is not directly associated with the original problem. This can make it difficult for family or friends to understand where a sudden outburst of emotion has come from which sometimes compounds the problem further, and creates “a nobody understands me” feeling.
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It can be as easy as saying I allow myself to feel upset or afraid or lonely. Allowing your-self this freedom from inside is kind of like releasing the safety valve slowly.
It worked for me. I was once a child that had to grow up too quickly and in the end I became an adult who yearned to be a child. Essentially I became two different people in one body for a long time. I had an ultra serious side now seen through adult eyes, but inside I was breaking up with conflicting emotions. I still battle a little with that today, but the moment I allowed myself to express those feelings was the day I finally saw some light.
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This enabled me to view the world in a different way, and no longer bound by chains that had no right to be there, I became far more interested in how others also perceived their world. I know now that we don’t all see it the same way.
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Acceptance is a word that can bring so much change.

Andy Beveridge

 

How a stubbed toe can turn you into the walking dead

It is well documented if you are a visitor to my Facebook timeline that I have been suffering an injury this week. I have chosen every possible moment to whinge about it including the middle of the night when the cat was the only listener.

It was caused by bashing my big toe against a step, the kind of accident that warrants thirty seconds of swearing and the overwhelming desire to be left alone, then disappears as quickly as it came.
Not this time though, because it had manifested itself overnight into gargantuan sized foot that bore no resemblance to what had carried me around the day before. Yet the x-ray revealed no broken bones, and yet I was so sure that it would have created an image so distorted with fragments of bone that it would have better been suited to representing an archaeological dig.
Apparently it is an impact injury (fairly obvious I thought) that crushed nerves and tore the cartilage surround the joint. This I am told is far more painful than a break and thus warrants extreme amounts of whinging. So there!

Treatment came in the shape of a couple of drugs one of which was Tramadol. I had never come across this medication before but I will surely remember it for some time to come.
The first tablet of which there were to be three a day brought on a mild and relaxing few hours. In fact I could have sat back in a field of poppies writing folk music or penned a medieval poem about dragons and kings. The second tablet taken just after mid day changed my mindset completely. This was more like the walking dead and I shuffled through the rest of the afternoon with my mind trying to desperately to remember who I once was. Even the cat became a bit wary as I lumbered across the room, one foot trailing behind.

The third tablet basically removed the few remaining brain cells left and turned me into a drooling mess. I watched television without knowledge of what the program was about, I stared at things like there were mysteries to be discovered inside of them.
However today is a whole different ball game, and I awoke bright and early with the foot almost back in shape and the pain reduced to just a low ache. With some of my brain cells returning I made the decision to not take the rest of the medication. Maybe one day when I need to sleep they might get a use. At the moment I have no desire to return to the ranks of the walking dead.
So, no more whinging I promise although I may share with you the story of how I once got a Jalapeno pepper in my eye.

Andy Beveridge

A broken toe and a pretty mean mosquito

A broken toe or at least the knuckle part has rendered it almost impossible for me to walk across the room. I must look like a very poor surfer as I flay my arms out in every direction with each step.
The thing is I don’t really know how I did it. I mean I can remember stubbing my toe on the step the day before but that was one of those swear like mad for thirty seconds and then it was gone moments. Waking up this morning with my foot swollen and in so much pain does not make sense when related to that.

The Cat, who I rescued from a life in a hedgerow only a few months ago I might add, has shown his true colours by allowing me to sit down before demanding the door to be opened. I was expecting a little more in the sympathy stakes than that. Billy-Bob (Named because he has an almost toothless grin and was the only name I could think of that sounded like a hick name) has taken over the house and nothing would change my mind that they remember that they were once worshipped as Gods.
To add to my woes I have come across what must be the meanest mosquito in the Northern hemisphere. I have a six foot fourteen stone frame and yet she chose the one spot that would cause the most discomfort. You got it she bit me on my broken toe. I now can’t satisfy the overwhelming urge to itch it without sending a thousand volts of pain shooting up my leg.
Seeing as I have an almost Budistic way of thinking about the natural world it seems a little unfair to be honest.

Andy Beveridge

PS: Female because only they have mouth parts. Make what you will of that.

Trump That Ego!

I really do not get what all this fuss is about in America at the moment. There was an election and one candidate won and the other lost. In my humble opinion both candidates were a joke right from the start, but at the end of the day you have a new president.
All these marches (Well parades really) what is that going to achieve? What difference does it make? Just because you don’t like the democratic vote does not give you the right to go and lay on the floor like a child in a tantrum.
What has made any country great has always been the people and not the elected leader and it pays to remember that. Most of the people moaning and it would have been the same no matter what the outcome, do not have first -hand knowledge about Trump. From what I can see and my knowledge too only comes from the media, points to him being an ego fuelled business man who knows how to win.
That ego might well be the point here as it needs feeding and Trump needs to be successful because of it. He can’t be bought that is for sure and so success and possibly a second term would feed that ego well. That could well be to the benefit of the American people.
The media paint a pretty bad picture of him morally wise and if only half of it is true then he would not be the kind of person I would want at my table but corruption and low moral standards fits in well previous holders of this title. However, his morals do not make him bad at his job. You employ someone to do a job it is not necessary that you are required to like them as well.
Clinton herself had plenty of corrupt moments and I am sure we would have seen the same bleating and moaning if she had got in but she didn’t so buckle down for the ride.
The most sensible thing people can do is to get behind him and wish him the best. If you were on an aeroplane and you happened to dislike the pilot you would still wish him the safest journey possible, well Trump leads your country right now and you are part of that journey.
If Trump makes a mess of things, then everyone opposed to him can say we knew it would happen but until then you are only guessing. I am not a fan of his but I have a sneaking feeling that he might do better than people think.
The media is dividing you as a nation and its not Trump or Clinton that is doing it. Most of you do not know these people with any first- hand knowledge any better than I do. You gain your opinions and understanding from a media that will be heavily leaning towards political views it supports. This mass control is painful to watch.
America is a great nation and it is great because of the people not its leaders whomever they are. Once the media divides you it creates pits of festering hate and frustration that spills into the very fabric of society. This does no good to yours or anyone else’s cause or beliefs.
As for the voting system, well if you disagree with the fairness of that, it would seem to me that might well be a reason to push for change. That said, would you have been happy with it if it was your chosen candidate that won? Have you been happy with it in the past?
People need to come together and dividing a nation because of a political power is just weakening no matter what your view or stand point. You can’t change it by violence or spitting hate as that just breeds more and allows those that want carnage to slip in under the radar and add their bit.
Trump may well go on to be the worst President ever, I can’t and nor can you know that at this stage. Everything we say will be heavily influenced by a media that is feeding off the hysteria it has created. Unless we sit with him one day we can’t possibly know his real intentions, second guessing or jumping on the next doom laden story will not help the common man or even back up your own views.
He got in instead of a corrupt lawyer, so on a personal level I think both candidates were about as poor as you could get and viewing from a distance it has all the hallmarks of a giant game show, and just like a game show it’s the media running it.
Pull together and not apart, you can’t change a single thing no matter what your views by spitting venom and dividing.

Andy Beveridge

Should Religion be Taught in School?

As soon as an atheist like myself mentions religion the theists gather up their weapons ready to pounce. I sometimes feel the venom before I have finished writing.
So, when the subject came up on the topic of whether religion should be taught in schools I think some people were prepared for my views to be somewhat controversial. However, in truth, I feel that religion is a very important part of our history, and it should definitely be taught in schools.

By that I don’t mean children should be indoctrinated into any particular religion of that country and nor do I think for one moment that they should be coaxed into thinking that the word of the Bible or any other holy book should be thought of as factual. What I would rather see is the history of all the main religions being taught so that children could see how people’s thought patterns from different cultures and throughout history have shaped society.

We also need to remember that religion was our first real attempt at science as it looked to the stars and made us try and explain our existence. We of course knew nothing then and so were mostly just guessing. There is a reason why bacteria and microbes and viruses are not mentioned in the Bible, this was simply because man did not know they existed.
Religions have given us other things that are worthy of mentioning, we have wonderful pieces of art and some of the architecture spawned by a belief in a certain religions introduced us to a creativity that may not of existed if those beliefs have not been followed. I find it hard to gaze up at a Cathedral and not be awed by the sheer beauty and power of such buildings. Some of the buildings and architecture of the Moores intrigues me and make me think about the history of that area. Other Gothic type buildings take me in another direction and this is all good for the senses and it is completely possible for us to enjoy this but still not believe in the religion that spawned it.
No I think the history of religions should be taught in our schools but nobody should be forced to believe in a particular type of religion. As that is simply brain washing a person into believing that a certain type of religion is the real one and the others are fake, somewhere someone will be saying the exact same thing about theirs.

History, culture and art are all things that should be taught and various religions have had their influence in that, and so to learn about them and how they shaped our lives is very important.

Andy

 

In Memory of TK Chin

I never met TK Chin in real life although I knew her for a number of years online. In truth, the percentage of time that TK spent in my life was very small but the impact she had was massive. I always felt happy and relaxed when we spoke. There was never a hint at anything other than friendship and yet she knew how to flatter without being sexual or romantic and that is a skill in itself.
A lot of her life was private, I don’t even know what the intials TK stood for, I never knew if she had a boyfriend or partner, I don’t know all that much about her business really and yet we talked about the world and all its amazing beauty with a passion we clearly both shared. Food and travel and a love for nature were very high on her own interests and most of our conversations centred around those three topics.

She saw life as something that needed to be explored, and I will always fall in love with people who do that, because it bleeds into me and how I feel about this brief moment in time we have on this planet. TK embraced everything and that is why she has left so many friends like me mourning her death.
Her death came as a shock to us not just because of her young age but also because she seemed so alive. She kept her illness to herself right until the end and in a way, that amplified the shock to us her online friends. We have to respect that she had her reasons and I guess she felt that she would not lose her fight, I know for a fact that she loved life so much that she would have held on to the very end.
Her legacy to me is that it has made me think very deeply about letting people know if you care or love them. Live each day and squeeze the beauty out of every drop of rain and shard of sunlight. Learn and grow and plan and take action. Never say goodbye to a life that was not lived at the end of your own journey. Fill it when you can with knowledge and positive energy.
TK lived her life in a way that many do not and her love of travel and food I am sure would have led to many books on the subject, I can only imagine how her life would have unfolded.
TK Chin you are gone now, but thank you for being what I consider a true friend. In truth, I and hundreds of other people will keep you alive with our memories for many years to come.

Andy Beveridge

Old England Gone

Where did we lose the England we once remembered? Was it back in the day when we welcomed the mixing pot of cultures that was supposed to open up a door to a new world of food and art? Was that the beginning of the end?
We can’t blame the influx of early migration for what is happening on our streets now. We did gain by opening our arms to other nations. Britain became alive with color and vibrancy and it was a good thing that it shed its dour grey meat and two veg image. There were early warning signs back then though.
People like Enoch Powell were largely considered bigoted racists and in truth I think some were but he was not completely wrong as one thing began to happen which I think was the turning point. We did not heed the one clear warning that made sense. We started to allow communities to isolate themselves and create little pockets of their own culture and beliefs. This meant we were no longer just enjoying new experiences and being educated, we were no longer learning and growing we were being separated.

Of course, many were peaceful, large China town areas sprung up in cities and largely are no problem as an example, but this was not the case in other minority communities that were growing all the time. Black and Asian strongholds became larger and to the point where there were some areas where it was not safe to be a white person. This in turn bred a backlash and atrocities happened on both sides of the fence so to speak. This should have been the warning but it went unheeded.
Instead of the promised multi culture Britain embracing each other in a sharing and learning community we simply allowed fractures across the very fabric of society to form, fractures where a dis-chanted youth quickly flooded into and reinforced the growing separation.
Even then our England could have been changed but saved.

Then in marched the liberalism that strengthened the belief that all minorities must be protected to the point that they can do no wrong. With this attitude raising a flag of surrender to our common ground so high it could be seen from around the world we opened up the floodgates. For every refugee that ran to our shores and needed help, another would be alongside them with no real rights or need to be here. This grew until it was so out of control that it was almost impossible to say how many illegal people lived in the UK. Many of these people sought anonymity amongst their own kind who had built up large areas within our cities of their own.
Unlike the first generation who did at least in part understand their role in a changing Britain this second generation looked on it like it was and is their right. Many not carrying the patriotism of past generations and most feeling ties to their bloodline.
Then came the biggest mistake of all. We not only allowed separation but we pandered to other belief systems like religion. We should have tolerated people living in our communities as long as they embraced the western world with its own values already embedded in by the blood still staining the ground of two world wars. Instead we did nothing but watch our society crumble and be taken over as Mosques appeared among the old Victorian buildings and memories of an old England began to fade. Not the odd one or two but currently 1700 and around another 2000 prayer halls.
This was the mistake, allowing religion to set its root in our soil and how we are suffering for it. It is too late to stop this now and those that support Islam are growing at a rate that means for certain a change in how the country will be labelled in the future.
Of course, not all Muslims are bad people in the same way that not all Catholic priests are child abusers, but as the Islamic stranglehold continues so will radicalism grow in direct proportion too. As our governments have seemed powerless to come up with a solution the inevitable will happen and there will be a rise of vigilante style groups often under the guise of a minor political force appearing on our streets. This will only damage things further and innocent people on both sides of the fence will mostly be the victims.
We should have stopped all this when we could have and not allowed other religions to take a foothold in our society. The people yes, but not the open support of a belief system that did not belong in England. There is much talk of deporting known extremist supporters but you can’t deport a person born here.
Our only hope now lies with the Muslim community itself, we need them to inform British police of possible radicalised members of its Mosques. They need to stand up and teach their youth the values needed for society to continue in a place of tolerance and positive growth.
All religions die out in the end as others take their place but for the next few generations at least the melting pot will become a cauldron of hate.

Andy Beveridge

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