Turning Out The Lights

Last night I had a dream which some people would find pretty disturbing but I can clearly see the difference between a dream and reality and on the whole I don’t look for hidden messages because my understanding of dreams are that they are pretty much safety valves to get rid of the built-up junk that congregates in our brains. However, this dream which centred around suicide is a kind of re-occurring thought but not for one moment am I saying I’m suicidal because I’m not as I have way too much to live for.
In this dream I had some kind of terminal disease but I can’t remember what that was supposed to be but it was enough for me to feel the need to end my life. I remember walking towards the sea and having to make a decision on which way should I face as I waited for the early morning tide. The intention was to remain in control and I think that is another theme that seems to run through my dreams if not my life. The memory of the dream is quite vivid as it was only a few hours ago and I can remember choosing to sit down in the shallow water and face the mountains, my thoughts were that I really wanted my last few moments to be looking at the thing I love most about the landscape and mountains have always called me.
There was not much reflection in the dream only that I was choosing my moment instead of the illness deciding that it would switch the lights off for me. I do remember that I could see the sky changing as daylight began to break the night’s hold on it and thinking that it was going to be a good day for those left behind. Writing this down now makes it all sounds so morbid and depressing but it was not like that at all in the dream as it was far more about release and control.
I do wonder if someone who is contemplating taking their life feels the same as I felt in the dream or if we could even imagine how someone feels. You often hear people say that suicide was the easy way out or that it’s a selfish act but I don’t go along with that because I think it takes a huge amount of courage to say this is it I can’t take any more. Plus, I also think that in many cases the person committing the act is actually trying to protect their loved ones. I do understand that every case would be different but I could see huge percentage fitting into this category.
I had a friend once and I will not mention his name here because it is possible that someone might read this and recognise him from it, and that might cause some grief to his family. It was a long time ago but he was the kind of friend that would call round my house only in trouble times. He would always thank me if we chatted and always said he felt better after we had a discussion, and nearly all of his issues were not really serious matters for the most part but we have to remember that how we perceive someone else’s problems is often not how they see the problem.
I had not seen him for a few weeks and then suddenly bumped into him in a local club, he seemed cheerful enough and our conversation was brief but warm and friendly. The next day I heard that he had walked from that place and straight to a railway track where a train finished his life. I can’t help sometimes think back and wonder why at that moment he never chose to talk to me. I can only imagine that he had made the awful decision sometime before.
So suicide does affect many other people of course but I do not think it’s fair to say the person is being selfish or taking the easy route out. These are just statements that are made by people who’ve heard those things before and are just repeating them or they have never been in a position where nothing seems like it could ever change.
My own dream as disturbing as that may be to some people in no way reflects upon how I feel. I personally have an enormous amount of life to live and because I’m aware of my own mortality I need to get on with doing just that.
The dream did have one moment where a new surge of energy coursed through my veins and it was a moment when the water had dragged me back and I was under looking up and catching glimpses of the brand-new day and I thought it’s me that switching the lights out and not you.

Andy Beveridge

Seriously I Am Not Offended!

How life has changed in the last 40 years, because it seems that almost everything we say offends somebody and we now live in a state of perpetual worry. We can’t say this we can’t say that without somebody falling off their stool with bouts of anxiety.
Take Facebook for example, I have had on numerous occasions when people who had previously been friends with me unfriending me because of a statement that I posted or maybe just an opinion, now it’s not wrong to have a different opinion than me and I am certainly not saying I’m right about everything but it’s kind of weird that people think it’s acceptable to be so offended by one line of thought that they need to eradicate that person from their life.
It is well known among those that actually know me that I am an atheist. I’m not an anti-theist but just somebody who does not believe in any of the gods. To me they are all man-made and came understandably from the time when we knew very little and were trying to make sense of the world. (Ironically I do love churches)
Now I have many friends who are religious and I might add from different religions and I regularly see their pro-religion comments and here is the point, although I disagree with them and don’t believe in what they believe in I don’t immediately unfriend them because they have many other values that I do agree with. I can have conversations with these people on many other topics and enjoy the interaction, and I am not offended because they believe in something that I don’t.
The trouble with this is that often once people find out that I’m an atheist some will try to change me and that can annoy me. It is then that I can be a bit more vocal about why I don’t believe in any of the numerous gods or religions.
However, it’s not just religion that people get offended over in fact it’s just about almost everything that gets covered by over sensitivity. Now I hate racism and bullying as much as anybody could, I think that when somebody openly attacks someone because of the colour of their skin or the shape of their body then it says a lot more about that person than it does the person they are attacking and I agree that we should eradicate that kind of behaviour at every level that we can.
The other side to this coin is that a lot of it is unbalanced and is just people jumping on a bandwagon, after all think of this, there are not many Irishmen that I know that get offended by being called Paddy and the same goes for Welshman who get nicknamed Taffy, Scotsman getting called Jock does not seem to create any extra wave of sensitivity but try calling someone from Pakistan Paki and the whole world erupts. Now if you say any of these words with venom that’s a different matter but just the use of the word is completely harmless it’s just a description.
I am not offended by the fact that a lot of Australians would refer to me as a pommy which I think refers to the fact that we first sailed out of Portsmouth many years ago. I am not offended if you call me bald because I undoubtably am and the hair that does still grow on my head gets shaven off every couple of days, because like looking like that. I’m not offended if you call me white because for most of the year I am (I say most because there are about three months of the year when I adorn a rather sexy tan.)
So, what I don’t understand is why people aren’t just proud of where they came from and their roots, there are many aspects of humanity which I dislike but being from a certain area of the world surely can’t offend anyone? After all it’s how you behave that makes a difference not what you look like or even what you believe in.
You know I am not even sure if we are allowed to call someone black anymore and yet if that is the colour of that person’s skin then surely they are black if I am white it’s not an offensive remark it’s just a fact. I really don’t care what the colour of your skin is if you are nice to me then I am going to be nice to you, and I think if we all stopped being over sensitive and were just kind and looked out for each other, then none of this nonsense would exist. Different cultures are important to us because we learn and expand by understanding different ways of life and that does include the things that I don’t believe in, and yes I can still gain from something that in my mind can’t be true or exist, the reason for this is that I can learn about different people and how they interact and where their belief systems come from, but I don’t need them to be exactly the same as me to gain the benefits in fact it’s more beneficial to me if they don’t.
If you behave like an idiot then I will treat you like one and I don’t blame you if you do the same with me, but don’t expect me to put you on a pedestal because your different than me or think different things than me.
So here’s a few topics that I don’t believe in and because I don’t can cause offence. I don’t believe in fairies, unicorns, the Loch Ness monster, alien abductions, after death experiences, people talking to the dead (never seen one yet that does not use cold reading and Barnum statements), religion, telekinesis, tarot cards and past life experiences. I’m fairly sure there are quite a few more out there.
Now I find many of those topics quite interesting and as I go through life I will never stop learning after all new things are being discovered all the time, areas like quantum are opening doors up that once we could never imagine even existed so we can’t really say no to anything and all possibilities are in fact possible. However, when there is no real proof of anything we cannot therefore say it exists and when someone states that something is true without proof then they are either seriously misguided or they are lying.
Here is the thing though, if you believe in any of the above I can still be your friend because I’m not offended that you think differently to me, in fact you might be correct and me wrong. I too have some spiritual beliefs or feelings that interact with many things that I don’t actually think can be correct, I don’t fully understand these feelings and so don’t push them onto other people but through healthy debate and interaction with others we can learn and grow. The point is to be able to embrace each others thoughts and share our growth and knowledge with each other in a friendly way that benefits us all.
At the moment, it’s almost like society needs to be offended and it wants to see fault in others and for me it’s hard to see where we go in evolutionary terms as a species because we seem to be subdividing all the time, and in my opinion the subdivisions are being caused by belief in things that don’t actually exist.
So, let’s get real and start thinking about the things that really make a difference in our short time on this planet and me worrying about if I’ve offended anyone is not one of them.
Much peace.

Andy Beveridge

Discovering Who You Really Are

Truly understanding who you are is an incredibly powerful thing and you would be amazed at how few people really have this information. We are born with a clean slate and a few natural instincts and all our knowledge is then acquired through trial and error or passed on information. This slowly increases over time into layers of learnt behaviour and we use it to govern our daily lives.
Parents are normally our first teachers and what they believe in is often what we at least in the beginning tend to believe in too. Then schooling takes over and teachers and even other children pass information into our growing data base of knowledge. Our own interests also add to this and as we grow older we experiment in other areas like relationships and work.
These layers of knowledge become the foundation blocks to how we live our lives and eventually the knowledge which we will pass on to our own children. What many people do not think about is just how much of this knowledge is true, and the original source that it was born from. Often our belief systems are actually made up from lots of other people’s beliefs and in turn their knowledge and beliefs were passed down to them too.
So it pays to sometimes question your beliefs and ask yourself “Do I really and truly have proof that this is correct?” When you start doing this it opens up a whole new way of looking at life and often leads to a path that reveals the true you.

Andy Beveridge

Universe I am here

The moon circles us like we circle the sun. In ancient times it is easy to understand how this must have been confusing. Stories would have been told and folklore and legends born as people tried to make sense of everything. Of course, they had no understanding that they were just tiny specks in space and that millions of years before, creatures existed that would have frightened the most hardened of story tellers. Religion much later was born in the same way as more modern humans looked for a way to explain things.
Now we have so much proof thanks to science constantly attempting to disprove various theories, and we understand so much more about how life was formed. Yet with Quantum opening up new doors all the time it gives a sense of possible new secrets being revealed for the first time to us.
Yet when I stand and stare at that inky blackness and know that our star is just one very small one out of billions of others and many will have planets around them, it makes you realise just how awesome it all is. Sometimes I can almost feel the energy surging through me. I want to reach out to those stars and in a way I know I will one day. We are but star dust.
It’s all carbon man.

Andy Beveridge.

The Balance Between Negative and Positive

When we think of negative and positive it is easy to think of it as black-and-white but this is not strictly true. As a coach for many years I pushed or tried to change people into thinking in a positive manner, no harm to this of course because being positive is beneficial to our well-being, in fact I often spoke of having a choice on how you view something, you can see the negative or you can see the positive and for the most part looking at things in a positive way tends to lead to a better outcome.
However much that I encourage positive outlook in life it should not come at the expense of ignoring negativity. Negativity is a balance and I have spoken about this in the past, it is important to understand that there are both sides to any thought process or outcome. It would be wrong to blindly ignore some negative thoughts as they can act as a warning and should be heeded.
So, it pays to understand that negativity also has its place in our thought process, we ought to be taking note of it but not allowing it to control us, in fact if we use it properly it can lead to us seeing a positive outcome from what would be a negative situation.

Andy Beveridge

When Dark Clouds Gather

Depression is one of those subjects that people tend to shy away from, but I prefer to bring it into the open. I think that I am one of the lucky ones in that my depression periods do seem to be controllable, in fact sometimes I welcome them as I become more creative during these moments that tend to last one or two days.
So clearly I don’t suffer as so many do but it still changes the course of how I think and act and often I find that I’m putting a mask on, not because I’m ashamed but because I don’t want to affect others. I often think of it this way, I see a dark forest ahead of me and there is a path that is lit up going right the way through, this path meanders like a river through a valley, so you can never see very far but as long as you stay on the path then you get to the other side safely. When I do my most creative work, I have 1 foot in the darkness and 1 foot on the path.
My fear is stepping off the path and walking into the darkness because I do have an urge to do that sometimes.
When all is said and done, depression like most things must affect us all differently, and as I’ve already said I am aware that mine is at least controllable, but it is there all the same and sometimes it feels very much like I’m drowning in emotion. Other times it feels like there is no emotion left and I think others will recognise that trait more than the first one.
For the most part as an individual I am really happy and it is hard to think what triggers off the sudden mood changes, there is no one big thing but more a series of smaller issues that can sometimes morph into something larger. Last year was an awful year for me with the breakup of a long-term relationship and ill-health following and later my business crashed through neglect but during that time I cant really remember being depressed, maybe ill but not what I would call in a dark depression. Ironically through some emotional problems I am on the border of depression now. I can feel dark shadows invading and although this is likely to pass quickly it can be a bit scary.
I think the message in the short article is really to reflect on the fact that any one of us can feel this and I think that most of us do at some point. It is never enough to tell someone to buck up and get their ideas together, we have all that in place. For me it is about having space and the ability to express myself and this prevents the darkness becoming overwhelming but do not think for one minute that every smile or joke tells the true story.
Andy Beveridge

Golf Defies The Laws Of Physics.

Golf is one of those games that defies the laws of physics. You know the trajectory of the club head is correct and you also know that your grip is not too light but firm enough to keep control. You have eyed the green in the near distance and lined up everything up in exactly the same way as you did when you hit that wonderful shot about a year ago. The breeze is gentle and warm and will not be taking a part in the journey of this golf ball through the air.
The club head slices through the air in a controlled arc and is every bit as good as professionals look on the television or at least that is what your head says, because your friends stood behind you are seeing a different picture. For them result is inevitable as they can see you are facing slightly to the right and that aged old excuse of I tend to bring the ball round doesn’t cut it anymore.
You can actually fool yourself right up to the point of impact that it is going to be a great shot as up to that point there is no proof of anything different. Once club and ball make contact then all bets are off and the savageness of your incompetency knows no bounds. The head of the club follows through in a manner that you practiced so many times in the past and your torso twists and the club head although nowhere near where you think it is does end up behind you. The ball however reveals the truth of how your stance and setup were all misaligned.
You could forgive yourself if the ball had gone a few yards right of the green as you were already facing away as your friends will repeatedly tell you later on in the clubhouse, but the fact that somewhere deep down in your subconscious you knew this mistake made for another problem. It’s a tiny movement but to compensate and your subconscious knew it had to, there was an adjustment mid flow. A slice had been produced. Now the ball already destined even with the perfect stroke to land a few yards right of the green has now developed a beautiful spinning action and arcs itself away from the chosen target and seriously threatens golfers on another fairway.
Little smirks appear on the faces of fellow players as their job just got easier, because it is one of the quirks of playing golf that if someone has made a mistake that you will never feel as bad as they did. Of course, there will be a round of how unlucky and I thought you nailed that one. None of this course compensates for the complete lack of skills on display. Little reminders creep in about how you’re actually paying for this in cash. Sometimes you even look at the clubs and think it’s time you changed them especially when a friend hits the perfect shot with their brand-new club.
Golf is truly a frustrating game at times and it does seem to defy the law of physics, it certainly does not live up to the law of averages or at least how I play it anyway. Yet it is strangely addictive and it only takes one perfect contact with the ball to have you planning next week’s game.
There must be some life lessons to be learned from this but for the life of me I can’t think of any.


Andy Beveridge

I Have the Most Laid Back Cat in the World

It dawned on me the other day that I have very few photographs of my cat Billy Bob with his eyes open and I take a lot of pictures of him. This is because he is so chilled he sleeps most of the time.
He has a gentle spirit and lives in a world where cats don’t hunt or spit at each other, no Billy Bob is more likely to share his stash of catnip on meeting another cat. I have seen doves edge him away from his water bowl.
The only act of violence I ever saw in him was when he caught a wounded dragon fly and he ate it before I could get to him. This could have been a moment of madness on his part where he returned to his primeval roots but I prefer to think of it as an act of kindness as he put the poor creature out of its misery.
He hates traveling but settles into any new home like he had it purposely made for him. “Put the sofa there and I will sleep while you unpack” He gives a lot of love and likes to be within about 20 feet of me all the time, strangely he does not like being picked up but loves sitting next to me with one paw on my arm.
He has his own Facebook page now where I often find myself writing on his behalf. You can check it out here if you so desire. My name is Billy Bob


Leaving the European Union Caused So Much Hate

It amazes me the hate and controversy raised by the vote to stay in the European Union or leave. Where does all this putrid and vile behaviour really stem from? In my opinion, it has been born from the scare mongering tactics that were constantly used by both sides in the run up and throughout their campaigns. Very few real facts came out and I think that was because even the politcians did not fully understand the future themselves.

So most people based their vote on a bed of lies that was designed to scare them and it appears to have worked because once you introduce fear it quickly overtakes logic in my eyes. Families fall out with each and other friends turn against one another and for what? A journey into the unknown? Surely this is the time when we embrace each other and walk forward into an unpredictable future but with a united front.

Look at some of the lies. Immigration out of control. Well immigration is a problem to an already overcrowded island but coming out of the Union does not mean that future elected governments will instantly solve this problem. Plus, we should encourage new skills into the country and perhaps the solution lays with a more controlled kind of immigration policy where young men are not instantly allowed in from war torn countries but women and children are in certain numbers for a period of time until it is safe for instance. Perhaps more people should be vetted and checked before entry but leaving the Union does not put any of that right.

Nobody will deal with us and we will lose out on trade deals. Well that one got put to bed fairly quickly as countries quickly put their hands up knowing that they could now create lucrative free trade deals. Even the European Union does not want to lose out on this and we have much to offer in the way of trading. India, Pakistan, Canada, USA, China to name just a few will be open to create new trade deals which would have been impossible while in Europe. That is one argument from both sides that was little more than scaremongering. There were many more as I am sure you are aware of.
The fact that most of us do not really know what the consequences are of leaving makes it even more absurd to spread hate in the way it has happened. I think the one thing for certain is that no matter what happens with our economy future governments will blame us leaving for the unpopular policies they bring in and that would have happened either way.
I live in Europe and a lot of people are panicking over what will happen to ex pats, well nothing really. I mean we are not all going to get thrown out of the various countries we live are we. Here in Spain the economy would simply crash if we all left and I am pretty certain that would be the same in other European countries. We have to remember that people lived abroad before we joined the Union but I get that it is a lot easier to move around right now. What will happen is people will have to become legal which of course they should be anyway and I am sure there will be a few euros added to the various forms that we fill in.
All in all, once the dust has settled life will go on pretty much as before and it surely is not worth falling out over and even more so if you are one of those that did not really know what you were voting for.
I will add one more thing, as it stands now we are not out of the Union as it takes a while to sort these exits out and of course it was only a referendum which carries no legal standing. That said I don’t think the result will change now.
Onwards and upwards to a bigger and brighter future and I would have said that whatever the result turned out to be.

Andy Beveridge


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


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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.
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”
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.
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.

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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
True success often requires you to do that.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
It is also the scene of a very painful memory too.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
I treat all chilli peppers with a little more respect now.


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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.

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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.


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